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Specification "NOTE" paragraphs and normative language

2008-05-18 07:40:59


A private comment on the BATV specification raises a basic point about specification writing that I thought worth pursuing independently:

Some normative statements are placed in a paragraph labeled "NOTE:" so as to emphasize the requirement of the text. It has been suggested that that label actually implies less importance, not more. (In regular prose, a footnote, for example, is indeed secondary to the main text.)

I think it is worth distinguishing text that is secondary from normative text that is being emphasized. So I'm inclined to agree that "NOTE:" should be used for non-normative stuff.

That leaves the question of what convention is appropriate for marking emphasized normative text.

I don't have a ready suggestion, so I thought I'd ask you folk...?


ps. Or let NOTE be used for emphasizing normative text, and have some other convention for secondary. Whatever works and is appealing to the community.

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking