Re: Jim: Re: [rfc-i] FIXED: Poll: RFCs with page numbers (pretty please) ? (was: Re: John/rsoc: Re: Page numbers in RFCs questions / preferences)

Christian Huitema <> Thu, 29 October 2020 19:32 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id E2D7D3A084D for <>; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:55 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -2.134
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.134 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, NICE_REPLY_A=-0.247, SPF_HELO_NONE=0.001, T_SPF_PERMERROR=0.01, URIBL_BLOCKED=0.001] autolearn=unavailable autolearn_force=no
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id 4EYyTAeeFj7U for <>; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:53 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( []) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256/256 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id B77B73A005D for <>; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:53 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ([] by with esmtp (Exim 4.92) (envelope-from <>) id 1kYDf9-0004an-NW for; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 20:32:49 +0100
Received: from (unknown []) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 4CMbF13zr6z17WW for <>; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:37 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from [] ( by with esmtps (TLS1.0:DHE_RSA_AES_256_CBC_SHA1:256) (Exim 4.92) (envelope-from <>) id 1kYDf3-0007Q8-Dz for; Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:37 -0700
Received: (qmail 29912 invoked from network); 29 Oct 2020 19:32:36 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO []) ([]) (envelope-sender <>) by (qmail-ldap-1.03) with ESMTPA for <>; 29 Oct 2020 19:32:36 -0000
To: Donald Eastlake <>, Warren Kumari <>
Cc: Working Group Chairs <>, Phillip Hallam-Baker <>, John Levine <>, IETF Discussion Mailing List <>, RFC Interest <>,, John C Klensin <>
References: <> <> <> <> <263C265C19B24BA97AF48934@PSB> <> <>
From: Christian Huitema <>
Autocrypt:; prefer-encrypt=mutual; keydata= mDMEXtavGxYJKwYBBAHaRw8BAQdA1ou9A5MHTP9N3jfsWzlDZ+jPnQkusmc7sfLmWVz1Rmu0 J0NocmlzdGlhbiBIdWl0ZW1hIDxodWl0ZW1hQGh1aXRlbWEubmV0PoiWBBMWCAA+FiEEw3G4 Nwi4QEpAAXUUELAmqKBYtJQFAl7WrxsCGwMFCQlmAYAFCwkIBwIGFQoJCAsCBBYCAwECHgEC F4AACgkQELAmqKBYtJQbMwD/ebj/qnSbthC/5kD5DxZ/Ip0CGJw5QBz/+fJp3R8iAlsBAMjK r2tmyWyJz0CUkVG24WaR5EAJDvgwDv8h22U6QVkAuDgEXtavGxIKKwYBBAGXVQEFAQEHQJoM 6MUAIqpoqdCIiACiEynZf7nlJg2Eu0pXIhbUGONdAwEIB4h+BBgWCAAmFiEEw3G4Nwi4QEpA AXUUELAmqKBYtJQFAl7WrxsCGwwFCQlmAYAACgkQELAmqKBYtJRm2wD7BzeK5gEXSmBcBf0j BYdSaJcXNzx4yPLbP4GnUMAyl2cBAJzcsR4RkwO4dCRqM9CHpVJCwHtbUDJaa55//E0kp+gH
Subject: Re: Jim: Re: [rfc-i] FIXED: Poll: RFCs with page numbers (pretty please) ? (was: Re: John/rsoc: Re: Page numbers in RFCs questions / preferences)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:32:39 -0700
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.12.1
MIME-Version: 1.0
In-Reply-To: <>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="------------4147065C7BCBA900E592F2F6"
Content-Language: en-US
Authentication-Results:; auth=pass smtp.auth=
X-Spampanel-Outgoing-Class: unsure
X-Spampanel-Outgoing-Evidence: Combined (0.15)
X-Recommended-Action: accept
X-Filter-ID: Mvzo4OR0dZXEDF/gcnlw0QBfAh7lyK8tB8mq1asnDr6pSDasLI4SayDByyq9LIhVUZbR67CQ7/vm /hHDJU4RXkTNWdUk1Ol2OGx3IfrIJKywOmJyM1qr8uRnWBrbSAGDAzc5Jb/eaE0k3pqeq35lKbgN zB/4Jkrw1eDLcif59fvtcYsnPZzSNnLZTmRMQIlbU7Tmz6iKnkQL9gqsxD347235Nhqq+/HvroPq 8GSPg+5hmwN8D4LrepG7AX8WNwY8X2XX9bIsGDSYq5OAASmskY6jSvfpO+1kZkomjtjB6X5Q5Q9f RUeIpTIC2ySfqvnqLwoxlgatmaBb0rBiK9xbkDrUqzcKIief90MVLZY9LbIZh9+IQ1oS9LBn3VIP 95Jz7ujRlJ9wSMlhvaudJXZ9EIBG/qaR+8r9SKFMmPJLf850OvZYsmoVQuOIhwKLK6IKBNB4LZ0v UHHKTzJX7b1JhLSQQ4vSj0QEim26t/Moy0UPX5E73H1QfrH/5kkrV/Cr0bm2vWdo8usP65i82q1C dZgGrpL44wdx9eXqjQjbvUopOMQJvQ/Ck3iiU+4DQAj3fuQgzT3K9JUHTNiGwfwAm9uTq5jW+H8q XQEUfWldI9mTKljyBuI7LCehsWeGXQOJkhnzhn2TWSHm5rOUJnTat9Dwji4iJBPB5JoOGFeZrE8M 7OYFXYdC3tRq275m/U3VJp8ICTCj2o4cY5+6rRvQyLdCp3Zd9clP8wSiJZWbJCj+xRrjVmRxpGtS cvUmgj1LoW2oGS3DjMHYBgCrK78UTV2jZAOanSBpz6Rja2u/0jKdCIgjNpF7bvTmMlOwmAt+V4EY AmEPdirMc+90MIX75vysta6u1iHEyuS7GD1uvcpyRStinjGBQwH6rJM/VYM5JOYIJd4MvQ0Nf4Ec bvHO1diDanHV9KirFAIIecsyj+YNTo81GR+jDXFsz/ZQnbbTizvwlZsrbltGiZoUh+c+5pFVgpT1 b21uZVckGp0ccOa2XhkGbmsUNPNkere1WheNsVXmhO8BzADiszcWR9bz/SDtF09JpSbuuCeiIDK0 C/0=
Archived-At: <>
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.29
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2020 19:32:56 -0000

I think I agree with Warren and Donald. The primary purpose of our
specifications is to provide guidance to people implementing and
deploying protocols. This requires that specifications are easy to read,
whether as text, or HTML, or PDF. And "ease of reading" requires a table
of content, with page numbers if the presentation format uses pages.

I understand the argument that people might them misuse these page
numbers, as in "page 16 said that you MUST do this." That could be bad,
especially if that argument happens during some kind of legal dispute.
But let's not lose sight of the main goal of the series, which is NOT
"solving legal dispute". If it were, the RFC ought to be formatted much
like legal documents, numbering not just every section but every
paragraph as well. We won't do that, because that would harm our primary
objective, easy to access and read by implementers and users. Instead of
solving the "legal reference" problem by making documents harder to
read, we need to find another way. Maybe point to a reference rendering
of the official XML text, or something like that.

-- Christian Huitema

On 10/29/2020 12:10 PM, Donald Eastlake wrote:
> I endorse Warren's comments. I use the text versions heavily and I
> believe that one of the formats available should preserve the
> traditional RFC format.
> -- All formats should have a Tables of Content. (Well, I guess I would
> agree that if an RFC had less than two sections, it wouldn't need a
> ToC, but I don't see how that is possible with the current requirements.)
> -- If a format is paginated, it should have page numbers. (A warning
> could be added something like "Warning: The page numbers in this
> document depend on its presentation format and will differ in other
> renditions.")
> -- If a format has a ToC and pages numbers, those page numbers should
> appear in the ToC and just before the ToC would be a good place for
> the warning suggested above.
> Thanks,
> Donald
> ===============================
>  Donald E. Eastlake 3rd   +1-508-333-2270 (cell)
>  2386 Panoramic Circle, Apopka, FL 32703 USA
> <>
> On Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 4:02 PM Warren Kumari <
> <>> wrote:
>     On Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 3:20 PM John C Klensin <
>     <>> wrote:
>     >
>     [ Massive SNIP ]
>     >
>     >  (a) They are traditional in the RFC Series and
>     >         preserving that rendering in a format consistent with a
>     >         significant fraction of the first 7000 or so of RFCs
>     >         would seem to have some advantages.  Of course, no one
>     >         is forced to use them, any more than anyone has been
>     >         forced to use the standard text form since HTML and PDF
>     >         forms became generally available years ago.
>     >
>     >  (b) Of the fraction of the community that still prefers
>     >         to use the plain text form (at least sometimes) and for
>     >         one purpose or another, some fraction of them prefer to
>     >         have the headers and footers and many of those prefer,
>     >         or are not disturbed by, the page numbers.  Because many
>     >         of the arguments against page numbers seem to be coming
>     >         from people who do not find the plain text form useful,
>     >         probably we should pay attention to that preference ...
>     >         or start making the case for getting rid of the plain
>     >         text form entirely, perhaps because those who prefer it
>     >         (for any purpose) need to be persuaded to join the
>     >         modern era and get with the programs.
>     >
>     I realize you aren't actually pushing this point, but this seemed like
>     the clearest expression of one of my concerns with this entire thread,
>     and so I'm choosing to hook onto it...
>     Full disclosure:
>     I'm one of the people who both believes that there is value in the
>     "traditional" aspect of the series, and the fact that RFC17 looks the
>     same as RFC42, which looks the same as RFC4217, which looks the same
>     as RFC8217 is a good thing.
>     I also like and use the text formats - I sometimes print out RFCS, I
>     have tooling which greps through documents for things, I generate
>     statistics, etc. It's a personal preference.
>     I've gotten 2 distinctly negative impressions from this thread:
>     1: "You need to join the modern era and get with the program" sums it
>     up well. HTML / flowed output is the new world, liking the text format
>     is bad and you should feel bad[0].
>     2: There were extensive discussions around the new format, and the
>     lack of page numbers was mentioned. You were not paying attention when
>     this happened. Not only do you lose any right to discuss this, but you
>     were lazy and should feel bad.
>     I'll happily admit that I didn't follow the new format discussions
>     closely, and that I do read a lot of things (including books) in
>     formats which don't have clear "pages", but the thing that is worrying
>     me is the underlying "and you should feel bad" tone in much of this
>     discussion.
>     Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive (or that I just miss seeing IETFers
>     in person), but it feels to me like the "and you should feel bad"
>     subtext seems to be cropping up more and more. We used to generally
>     assume that someone who had a bad or silly idea just had a bad or
>     silly *idea* - but it now we often seem to be implying that the person
>     is bad or silly.
>     Other than being able to meet in person again, I'm not sure how we get
>     back to where our base assumptions are that other IETFers are friends,
>     and are also trying to do the right thing...
>     W
>     [0]: Meme reminder:
>     > Probably I'm missing something important but, if the above
>     > analysis is even nearly correct, I don't understand why we are
>     > still having this conversation.
>     >
>     >     john
>     >
>     -- 
>     I don't think the execution is relevant when it was obviously a bad
>     idea in the first place.
>     This is like putting rabid weasels in your pants, and later expressing
>     regret at having chosen those particular rabid weasels and that pair
>     of pants.
>        ---maf