Re: SHOULD vs MUST case sensitivity

Iljitsch van Beijnum <> Sat, 28 June 2008 20:57 UTC

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From: Iljitsch van Beijnum <>
To: "C. M. Heard" <>
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Subject: Re: SHOULD vs MUST case sensitivity
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2008 22:57:28 +0200
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On 28 jun 2008, at 3:54, C. M. Heard wrote:

> The common usage in the IETF is to capitalize the words when used
> with the meanings in Sections 1-5 of RFC 2119 and to use then in
> lower case when ordinary English usage is meant.

Are you saying that according to RFC 2119 "SHOULD" means something  
different than "should"?

In what universe does that make sense?

The way I see it, these words always meant what RFC 2119 says that  
mean or something very close. Their capitalization doesn't really tell  
the reader anything, but is a good tool in writing specs: if the word  
is capitalized, the author was aware of the fact that the word shapes  
the specification. If the word wasn't capitalized, the author MAY have  
been sloppy.

Please spend some time on any of the ops wg mailinglists. People who  
are obviously new to the IETF ask all kinds of questions about RFCs  
that SHOULD be completely obvious from the text but either the text is  
lacking or the questioner managed to overlook the part that addresses  
the question. Specifications need to be clear to the point of painful  
bluntness, ANY level of ambiguity is unacceptable. This includes  
working under the assumption that in the version read by implementers,  
the definitions section is missing.
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