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

Warren Kumari <> Wed, 28 October 2020 20:02 UTC

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From: Warren Kumari <>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:01:21 -0400
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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)
To: John C Klensin <>
Cc: Toerless Eckert <>, Jim Fenton <>, Working Group Chairs <>, Phillip Hallam-Baker <>, John Levine <>, IETF Discussion Mailing List <>, RFC Interest <>,, David Noveck <>
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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

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...

[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.