Effective Terminology in IETF drafts
draft-gondwana-effective-terminology-01

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GENDISPATCH                                             B. Gondwana, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                                  Fastmail
Intended status: Standards Track                          25 August 2020
Expires: 26 February 2021

                  Effective Terminology in IETF drafts
                draft-gondwana-effective-terminology-01

Abstract

   The IETF and the RFC series are trusted names, for producing high
   quality technical documents that make the Internet work better.

   While the success of our documents is variable, many of them are
   widely used over a long time period.

   As norms in the outside world change, our documents need to remain
   relevant and accessible to future generations of those working on the
   internet, everywhere in the world.

   This longevity of our documents, and the impossibility of predicting
   the future, implies that we should be conservative in the language
   that we send.  Effective language expresses our intent with clarity,
   and without distraction.

   This document describes a glossary for increasing awareness of terms
   which are going to be clear and effective without turning readers
   away, to enable our mission of making the Internet work better.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 26 February 2021.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (https://trustee.ietf.org/
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text
   as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Adapting to a changing world  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  Words have multiple meanings and change meanings over
           time  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Words can encourage or discourage participation . . . . .   3
     2.3.  Analogies change meaning over time  . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.4.  The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago . . . . . .   4
   3.  Change is not always necessary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.1.  What we're doing is generally working . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.2.  We will naturally follow emerging consensus in the wider
           world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  How to choose terminology for our documents . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.1.  Engineering considerations take priority  . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Avoidance of "pixie dust" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.3.  Decentralised control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.4.  Centralised knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.  Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   8.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1.  Introduction

   The IETF, and even more so the three magic letters "RFC", is a
   valuable brand.  This brand is valuable because we have produced many
   documents over the past 50 years which have helped others
   interoperate, and have kept the decentralized internet reliable.
   This is an amazing success, and a clear sign that we are doing a lot
   of things right.

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   The IETF has no coercive power in the world, our documents are
   adopted because of their quality and our reputation.  The documents
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