[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Revisiting RFC 2822 grammar (Subject field)

2004-01-18 14:10:14

Bruce Lilly <blilly(_at_)verizon(_dot_)net> writes:

And pretending that there is a well-defined "current practice" does no
favors either.

I didn't mean to do that.  I am actually arguing the exact opposite by
saying that RFC 1036 is *also* not a well-defined standard to follow since
it won't interoperate with Usenet as it exists today.  I am arguing
exactly that Usenet is simply not well-defined, by RFC 1036 or anything

a) ignore RFC 1036, which means ignoring Usenet, since 1036 is THE RFC
  dealing with Usenet message format

This is simply nonsensical garbage.  The world does not magically stop
working when you don't have an RFC to work from.

Did I say the world would stop working?  Did I say that there isn't an
applicable RFC?  News flash: Usenet is not the world.  In the grand
scheme of things, it isn't even close to being important.

You missed my point.

You're saying that if you ignore RFC 1036 you have to ignore Usenet.  This
is obvious nonsense, since there are reams of software written to work
with Usenet articles that ignore RFC 1036.  My point is twofold:  one
cannot simply write to something that claims to be a standard because
sometimes it's badly obsolete, and it is actually possible to write
interoperable software without a standard (it's just very annoying).

It would be difficult to present a convincing argument that Usenet isn't
the least important application that uses the text message
format. Certainly email, which is legitimately used (i.e. excluding
spam) to a much larger extent than Usenet, and which has become an
essential tool for commerce, is far more important than Usenet.  Voice
mail, fax, EDI, and even SIP could be argued as more important than
Usenet.  Not to mention the fact that Usenet's historically appallingly
low signal-to-noise ratio (which seems to keep falling to new lows) is
making Usenet largely irrelevant, it having been supplanted by weblogs
and the like to a large extent.

This is a completely different discussion that I'm not going to have on
this mailing list.  I would prefer that this group *did* ignore Usenet
except for the small and very specific places where exactly following RFC
2822 makes it very difficult to use with Usenet-like applications, such as
allowing whitespace in the middle of message IDs.  Other than those very
specific issues, RFC 2822 work would be best served by ignoring Usenet
because Usenet would be best served by ceasing its attempts to tread off
into uncharted territory and moving back to using the same message format
as e-mail.

That amounts to precisely the same thing as c, viz. picking and choosing
bits and pieces, and has the predictable and observable consequences
noted, viz. incompatibilities and interoperability problems.

Okay, fair enough.

Writing code which attempts to "work with the Usenet messages in the
wild" amounts to picking and choosing from a plethora of incompatible

Yes.  And that's how you have to write Usenet software right now.

Where are all of these supposedly well-defined issues of "current
practice" actually defined?

I did not mean to claim they were well-defined.

Has the cognizant WG come to rapid agreement on any of those issues?

No.  The cognizant WG is completely disfunctional.

Russ Allbery (rra(_at_)stanford(_dot_)edu)