Yaakov Stein wrote:
You seemed to have missed the point.
Almost all RFCs have ASCII art in them,
and although perhaps not absolutely needed for correct implementation
they are necessary to comprehend the document.
When you improperly break lines these figures are irreversibly corrupted,
and in essence you lose a large part of the document.
In fact, you lose exactly the same information that you would lose
were we to standardize some other format that embeds characters without compression
and merely pull the ASCII characters out.
So if you object to using a non-ASCII format because it will not be 100%
30 years from now, you should object to using the present format today.
I agree that ascii artwork has its limitations but I
find this hyperbolic and consequently unhelpful. First,
I don't think that diagrams are necessary to understand
most documents, although they can be helpful and I think
the documents should be written with comprehensibility
in mind - reading them should not be a reminder that
without suffering there is no growth. But I think the
documents that are completely incomprehensible without
the diagrams they contain are rare. Maybe someone could
identify examples if they're that common.
Second, I don't know what "irreversibly corrupted" means
in this context. Even though there can be issues with
trying to display them in a proportionate font or on a
narrow screen, I'm not sure how you can claim that they're
"irreversibly corrupted" since the documents aren't
corrupted at all, just hard to read. It's a display issue,
and I think you're overstating your case.
Right now ascii text is probably the most widely-supported
display format. It seems to me that the priority has been
openness and universal accessibility, and that's what's
behind the choices that have been made. It may be
appropriate to trade away a little bit of that accessibility
for documents that some people find easier to read,
although I think that would be a tough choice to make. But
I hope that as the discussion continues (and continues and
continues and continues and continues) the broader,
organizational goals are kept in mind.
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