W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg@w3.org > July to September 2013

Re: NEW ISSUE: Define "ought to"

From: Dave Crocker <dhc2@dcrocker.net>
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 09:55:56 +0200
Message-ID: <51F8C30C.2060103@dcrocker.net>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
CC: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
On 7/31/2013 9:50 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
> On 2013-07-31 06:41, Dave Crocker wrote:
>> On 7/30/2013 5:29 PM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>>> The point being that "ought to" being just prose, while "SHOULD" being
>>> defined by RFC 2119. Both of them having roughly the same meaning in
>>> English sounds absolutely right to me.
>> Well, the choice of non-normative vocabulary would do better to be for
>> words and phrasing that are not too easily confused with the normative
>> terms.  Cognitive separation will help the reader.
> That's why we use "ought to", not "should".

My point about that is that reading the use, here, is causing me to 
suspect that it is "too close" to the normative term.  That is, it's too 
easy for the reader to misunderstand whether the text is or is not being 

To repeat: the issue isn't formal clarity; the language is entirely 
precise that it is /not/ normative.  The issue is potential readability 
concerns in a potentially wide audience.  It's a psych issue...

>> Since this is a continuing issue in the IETF, Tony Hansen recruited me
>> to work on a document to help folk:
>>     Non-Normative Synonyms in RFCs
>>     http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-hansen-nonkeywords-non2119-02
>> In looking at this thread, I'm thinking we should take out the word
>> 'ought'...
> Consider me confused :-). Why take it out?

See above.

I think that the recommended(...) non-normative vocabulary should have 
substantial cognitive separation from the reserved, normative vocabulary.

This is a kind of information coding redundancy, to make it more likely 
that a reader will not think they've read something normative.


Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking
Received on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 07:56:31 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:14:14 UTC