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2003-11-09 12:13:41

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Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2003 11:12:52 -0800
To: IETF RFC-822 list <ietf-822(_at_)imc(_dot_)org>
From: Randall Gellens <randy(_at_)qualcomm(_dot_)com>
Subject: Re: Format=Flowed/RFC 2646 Bis (-02)
Cc: "Adam M. Costello" <ietf-822(_dot_)amc+0(_at_)nicemice(_dot_)net>,
 Keith Moore <moore(_at_)cs(_dot_)utk(_dot_)edu>, 
ned+ietf-822(_at_)mrochek(_dot_)com
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Adam and Keith have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the 
draft and the underlying issues, and offering specific suggestions 
for improvement.  I am very grateful for this (although it would have 
been even better had this activity occurred sometime earlier in the 
past few years, since most of the text in question hasn't changed in 
some time.)  It's not too late, of course, and it's always preferable 
to improve the clarity of a document prior to publication.

On the questions of the terms "line" and "paragraph", I think it is 
best to keep the concept of "line" as a CRLF-terminated sequence of 
characters (in the canonical encoding).  That way "line" remains a 
familiar concept, and we can talk abut "fixed lines", "flowed lines", 
"quoted lines", and so on.  I also don't see the problem with calling 
a group of lines intended to be re-flowed a "paragraph".  If there is 
a consensus that this term is harmful I'm happy to change it, but 
currently I don't see much benefit in doing so.

Keith raises an excellent point about charsets and encoding of ">" 
and space.  Perhaps a clarifying note in the ABNF section that 
indicates that these characters are encoded according to the charset 
parameter?

Adam suggests deleting 5.7.  I have to admit I'm not enamored of this 
section and wouldn't mind deleting it if there is any consensus that 
this improves the document.

Adam also had a number of concerns over ambiguity in the grammar, 
with suggestions for improvement.  I generally like the replacement 
text, except for the removal of the distinction between quoted and 
unquoted lines.  I thought it was helpful to identify a non-quoted 
line on its own, and not just as a line with a quote-depth of zero. 
This is based on a perceived need to treat the two somewhat 
differently, in particular, quoted lines need extra handling, state, 
and display semantics.

Adam proposes labelling the space before the CRLF, as it does have 
importance and needs to be treated differently depending on the value 
of DelSp.  This seems like a good idea, and either "soft" or "flow" 
sound like reasonable names to me.

Adam also had a number of suggestions for moving text around to 
improve the readability of the document, such as having the section 
on interpreting appear before the section on generating.  I'm kind of 
neutral on this; and would appreciate hearing other opinions as to if 
this would be helpful or not.

Adam also suggests mentioning in the section on interpreting f=f the 
exceptions for Usenet signatures and  changing-quote-depth, which 
seem like good ideas to me.
-- 
Randall Gellens
Opinions are personal;    facts are suspect;    I speak for myself only
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People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought
which they avoid.                                       --Kierkegaard

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