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Re: p4-conditional proofreading

From: Barry Leiba <barryleiba.mailing.lists@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2010 16:38:28 -0500
Message-ID: <6c9fcc2a1001311338u19b73697g425d6de880a59f88@mail.gmail.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: Anthony Bryan <anthonybryan@gmail.com>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
>> I don't know if this section is consistent with the other parts of the
>> spec (I'm still reading my way through), but these sentence fragments
>> strike me as slightly odd.
>>
>> You may want to insert "they" (or "clients" or another suitable word)?
>> ...
>
> Not sure; the text has been that way for a *long* time, so unless there's
> something that's wrong or at least misleading, I don't think it needs to
> change.

Oh, my, I certainly think it's wrong and unclear, and it needs to be
changed (and I don't think "they" is sufficient).  I also can't
imagine that the RFC Editor would let it pass.  Each normative clause
has to have a subject, and it's confusing the have the subject sort of
presented at the beginning of the list.  That's not good English.

For example:

     HTTP/1.1 clients:

     * If an entity tag has been provided by the origin server, MUST
     use that entity tag in any cache-conditional request (using If-Match
     or If-None-Match).

This asks people to mentally insert "HTTP/1.1 clients" where there's a
missing subject.  Ah, I see, there's a missing subject before MUST, so
that's where I need to stick it.  No, that's too much to ask of the
reader.  That it's been that way for a long time doesn't mean that
it's right, only that no one has complained.  It's only been reviewed
by people who knew what you meant already, so they breezed through it.

Please change the list to look something like this:

     For HTTP/1.1 clients:

     * If an entity tag has been provided by the origin server, HTTP/1.1 clients
     MUST use that entity tag in any cache-conditional request (using If-Match
     or If-None-Match).

That really isn't a hard change to make, it will avoid any
misunderstandings, and it will avoid interaction on this with the RFC
Editor when the time comes.

Barry
Received on Sunday, 31 January 2010 21:39:01 GMT

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