Re: [MORG] [Technical Errata Reported] RFC6154 (5265)

"Randall Gellens" <rg+ietf@randy.pensive.org> Wed, 28 February 2018 01:54 UTC

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From: "Randall Gellens" <rg+ietf@randy.pensive.org>
To: "Arnt Gulbrandsen" <arnt@gulbrandsen.priv.no>
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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2018 17:54:30 -0800
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Subject: Re: [MORG] [Technical Errata Reported] RFC6154 (5265)
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On 26 Feb 2018, at 4:10, Arnt Gulbrandsen wrote:

> Barry Leiba writes:
>> That said, while this doesn't represent an error or omission in the
>> spec, it certainly wouldn't have hurt to have been explicit about
>> this.  So I also suggest that any work the Extra working group does
>> related to IMAP takes an extra sentence here or there to be clear 
>> that
>> the items it defines are case-insensitive, and that the case shown in
>> the text is merely an editorial choice (perhaps just by explicitly
>> saying "See the ABNF notes at the beginning of RFC 3501 Section 9.").
>
> The problem here is that IMAP documents suffer from a moderate case of 
> "do as I say, not as I do" syndrome. They say to treat flag names, 
> keywords etc case insensitively, but the document authors treat those 
> things case sensitively in the document.
>
> There's a perfectly clear rule on page 81, and most of the 107 other 
> pages are written as if the opposite rule were in force. That's not 
> kind to the reader.
>

Hi Arnt,

If you’re saying that writing a document using only one case form 
whenever the same token is used is unclear as to if case is semantically 
important, while mixing up the uses in the document so that some are 
capitalized, some are all lower case, while others are randomly mixed 
makes it clear that case is not important, I’d disagree.  I think the 
latter form merely enhances any confusion as to if the editorial case is 
saying something or just accidental.  Far better is to be explicit, even 
if only a handful of words (e.g., “case is irrelevant, per RFC 
3501”).


--Randall