At 07:11 18-05-2008, Dave Crocker wrote:
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.
There's "Nota Bene" which in IETF parlance is "Note Well". It's the
equivalent of "take notice".
In some RFCs, we have "Note that this .." which clarifies or enforces
a point made in the preceding sentence or paragraph. There's also:
"HISTORICAL NOTE: Several of the mechanisms described in this set of
documents may seem somewhat strange or even baroque at first reading."
"FORMATTING NOTE: Notes, such at this one, provide additional
nonessential information which may be skipped by the reader without
missing anything essential."
"IMPORTANT NOTE: These mechanisms end up being somewhat gibbous when
they actually are used."
"NOTE: The previous four definitions are clearly circular."
Although the above examples do not contain normative text, there are
cases where such notes do have them.
That leaves the question of what convention is appropriate for
marking emphasized normative text.
We already have the requirement levels in RFC 2119.
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.
A note sometimes provides the context or is a comment based on prior
observations of implementation behavior. Basically, it tells us how
that particular text should be read.