Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF

Carsten Bormann <> Fri, 26 February 2021 07:36 UTC

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Subject: Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF
From: Carsten Bormann <>
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Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2021 08:36:02 +0100
Cc: Keith Moore <>,
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To: Larry Masinter <>
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On 2021-02-26, at 03:06, Larry Masinter <> wrote:
> For collaboration, there's a generation of collaborative tools from Google Docs to Dropbox and Microsoft tools that are a lot better than GitHub for collaboration.

I’m sorry, Larry, you’d have to have a very weird sense of “better” to believe that.

I have had extensive exposure to the MS-Word type of “collaboration” (I was the editor of RFC 3095 which was done in MS-Word, with 16 collaborators).  The English language does not have words to describe that experience.

For hacking out a quick draft, shared editors like Google Docs are fine (we mostly use hedgedoc née codimd née hackmd for that, and it sure is fun).  For structured, controlled collaboration in a large team, nothing beats VCS systems like git, and github has a lot of mindshare in the tools around that process (issue tracking etc.).  

It is simply hilarious to imagine the QUIC or HTTPBIS WGs typing away at a shared Google doc.  That’s not how it works.  Specs are code, and there is a good reason why creating good documents (like the core ones of the above WGs) benefits from experience in collaborating on code.

Grüße, Carsten