--On Thursday, 05 April, 2007 15:48 -0400 Sam Hartman
Hi. I'm sitting here reviewing changes to a document to see
if I can last call it.
As part of a response to AD review comments, one of the
references were changed. This document uses numeric
references. Starting at reference 16, everything was
renumbered. That makes the diff a pain.
For this and many other reasons, I strongly encourage people
to avoid numeric references in their documents.
While I'm sympathetic to this, after all the statements of
support, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.
For whatever it is worth, I've used symbolic references in some
recent documents and numeric references in others, depending on
circumstances. Where numeric references are used, I generally
try to make it clear from context what is being referenced. For
example, I prefer "...as seen in RFC2223 ..." to "...as seen
in ..." or "...as seen in [RFC2223]...", _both_ of which
violate the rules of most of the style manuals of which I'm
aware. The fourth possibility "...as seen in RFC 2223
[RFC2223]..." doesn't violate any rules other than the metarule
against general redundant ugliness.
More generally, there are at least two reasons to use numeric
references, especially in conjunction with xml2rfc.
First, the decision to split normative and informative
references left us with a situation in which numerical
references are easy to find, while symbolic ones imply a need to
look, separately, in two different places. If we had wanted to
optimize symbolic references _and_ a distinction between
normative and informative references, we would have included the
distinction by notation in each reference, not made it by
creating reference subsections.
Second, because of the desire to create a universal naming
scheme in the bibliographical libraries, xml2rfc ends up with
symbolic references that look like
[I-D.rfc-editor-rfc2223bis] (one of the less unattractive ones)
things cause formatting problems, violate almost every known
style manual about forms for symbolic references, and so on. If
our tools permitted us to use the forms that are recommended in
the rest of the world, such as "[Nart07a]" for the above, it
would be different. But they don't permit doing so conveniently.
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