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On ABNF in 5322: Advice needed

2008-09-25 18:38:22

5322 (nee 2822upd) is in AUTH48. During this process, the editor noted some confusion about some of the text: Sometimes when I say (e.g.) "phrase", it's not clear whether I'm referring to the ABNF terminal "phrase" or a description of it. It's somewhat easy to distinguish, for instance, "a quoted string" from "quoted-string", but other places it's trickier.

The suggestion was made (and it's been made by others) that all ABNF terminals should be surrounded with angle brackets, so it's easy to distinguish "a phrase" from "<phrase>" and "a quoted string" from "<quoted-string>". My argument against doing this has always been (1) there are very few places in the text where it is ambiguous, and none (AFAIK) where it makes a difference; and (2) going through and making the change could result in errors. (It's a lot of occurrences to go through.) Advice sought:

Choice (A): "Don't touch a damn thing, Pete! It's too much of a risk to screw things up, and we're moving to Draft Standard. And nothing is so ambiguous as to make any difference."

Choice (B): "You absolutely MUST make the change, Pete! The ambiguities are serious enough, and there is little risk of making things any worse than they are now."

Choice (C): "I've got no horse in this race. Do whatever makes sense and that everyone else is up for."

Note for the record that the following is *NOT* an acceptable choice:

Unacceptable Choice (D): "I think it would be nice to do that, though not necessary. Do it anyway."

That's not understanding the issue.

If you choose (B), I'd also like to hear your answer to the question: Does this require cycling back through the IESG or (*gasp*) another IETF last call?

Please answer ASAP.


Pete Resnick <>
Qualcomm Incorporated - Direct phone: (858)651-4478, Fax: (858)651-1102

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