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

Mark Andrews <marka@isc.org> Thu, 29 October 2020 00:31 UTC

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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)
From: Mark Andrews <marka@isc.org>
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Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2020 11:30:53 +1100
Cc: Toerless Eckert <tte@cs.fau.de>, Jim Fenton <fenton@bluepopcorn.net>, Working Group Chairs <wgchairs@ietf.org>, Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill@hallambaker.com>, John Levine <ietf@johnlevine.com>, IETF Discussion Mailing List <ietf@ietf.org>, RFC Interest <rfc-interest@rfc-editor.org>, rsoc@iab.org, David Noveck <davenoveck@gmail.com>
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References: <20201026181442.GA2438@faui48f.informatik.uni-erlangen.de> <CAMm+LwiVmE=qtSPCMD-3foPODL8bgETj3dQDKS-3BOM2021dEg@mail.gmail.c om> <CADaq8jdSeTDWy_0fCV25ykxKFMV1ZBtUMMNesoOuaXCzFVfpOA@mail.gmail.com> <D2D0455D-8D6C-4A19-ACAE-4DD972D83DC1@bluepopcorn.net> <20201028164053.GB12700@faui48f.informatik.uni-erlangen.de> <263C265C19B24BA97AF48934@PSB>
To: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
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John, with electronic versions the ToC *works* for PDF and HTML.

For dead trees versions the ToC does not work efficiently regardless
of the original form.  Binary searches through a stack of pages is
not efficient.  The plain text version also has this issue in the
electronic version.

The point of a ToC is to have list of the sections *and* to be able
to get to the relevant section easily.  When you can’t click on a link
you need page numbers especially as we have unnumbered sections.

One shouldn’t have to memorise the section names *and* order in the ToC
to find something in a dead tree version.

Mark

> On 29 Oct 2020, at 06:19, John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> 
> --On Wednesday, October 28, 2020 17:40 +0100 Toerless Eckert
> <tte@cs.fau.de> wrote:
> 
>> On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 04:57:38PM -0700, Jim Fenton wrote:
>>> but if some
>>> people are reading HTML versions, PDF versions, and TXT
>>> versions, the pagination is different anyway (and nonexistent
>>> for HTML) so trying to reference something by page number is
>>> problematic.
>> 
>> The thread is getting long so it is hard to not miss things
>> said earlier, so let me repeat: My proposal was to add on IETF
>> pages renderings with page numbers (not to remove any of the
>> non-paginated renderings), AND make sure the pagination is
>> consistent across them.
> 
> And, also to repeat, the expectation of consistent numbering (or
> consistent pagination) across different renderings is
> impractical and unwise.   As a specific and concrete example,
> consider the relationship between a PDF document that contains
> representations of several graphic images and the associated
> text version.  The only way I can think of to make the
> pagination (and numbering) consistent between them would be to
> leave large areas of white space in the text.   That could be
> done, but would make the text file longer and less useful.
> 
> AFAICT, the arguments against page numbers in the text files are:
> 
> (1) They are not allowed to be used in crossreferences within
> the document, therefore they are utterly useless.
>   Response: See many comments that contradict "utterly useless"
> in this set of threads.  And we've had that rule for decades and
> the RFC Editor and then the RFC Production Center enforce it.
> 
> (2) They are not allowed to be used in references within the RFC
> Series to parts of other RFCs.
>   Response: We've had that rule for decades and the RFC Editor
> and then the RFC Production Center enforce it.
> 
> (3) We don't want them used by third parties or their documents
> to references parts of RFCs.
>   Response: As you point out, many other publications already
> prohibit page number references to identify particular material
> and do so for much the same reason we have.  But, as long as we
> paginate documents, nothing we do is going to prevent someone
> who insists on page numbers from counting and using them.  And,
> as long as we have at least one paginated form (numbered or not)
> that will be possible.  However, page numbers that are
> inconsistent among renderings actually reinforces the "don't use
> page numbers in references" rule because it is then clear that
> they are too unstable to make good references, so maybe we
> should be promoting their inclusion.
> 
> (4) Page numbers in plain text documents are so inherently evil
> and/or the risk to horrible damage being done by anyone using
> them so high that we need to suppress them and headers and
> footers (and perhaps even pagination) as well.  That evilness
> and risk of damage is acceptable in the PDF form, just not in
> the plain-text one.
>    Response: In fairness, no one whose comments I have read has
> actually said/ claimed that, but it seems to me that it is were
> several arguments against page identification (numbered or not)
> seem to be heading.  YMMD.
> 
> By contrast, there are, it seems to me only two reasons for
> retaining the page numbers (and pagination, headers, and
> footers) in the plain text rendering:
> 
> (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.
> 
> 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
> 

-- 
Mark Andrews, ISC
1 Seymour St., Dundas Valley, NSW 2117, Australia
PHONE: +61 2 9871 4742              INTERNET: marka@isc.org