RFC Style Guide


RFC Style Guide is defined in RFC 7322

RFC 7322 describes the fundamental and unique style conventions and editorial policies currently in use for the RFC Series. RFC 7322 captures the RFC Editor's basic requirements and offers guidance regarding the style and structure of an RFC. Additional guidance is captured on a website that reflects the experimental nature of that guidance and prepares it for future inclusion in the RFC Style Guide.

This document obsoletes RFC 2223, "Instructions to RFC Authors".


The ultimate goal of the RFC publication process is to produce documents that are readable, clear, consistent, and reasonably uniform. The basic formatting conventions for RFCs were established in the 1970s by the original RFC Editor, Jon Postel. This document describes the fundamental and unique style conventions and editorial policies currently in use for the RFC Series RFC 4844. It is intended as a stable, infrequently updated reference for authors, editors, and reviewers.

The RFC Editor also maintains a web portion of the Style Guide (see Appendix A.3) that describes issues as they are raised and indicates how the RFC Editor intends to address them. As new style issues arise, the RFC Editor will first address them on the web portion of the Style Guide STYLE-WEB. These topics may become part of the RFC Style Guide when it is revised.

The world of technical publishing has generally accepted rules for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, sentence length and complexity, parallelism, etc. The RFC Editor generally follows these accepted rules as defined by the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), with a few important exceptions to avoid ambiguity in complex technical prose and to handle mixtures of text and computer languages, or to preserve historical formatting rules. RFC Style Guide presents these exceptions as applied or recommended by the RFC Editor.

All RFCs begin as Internet-Drafts (also referred to as I-Ds), and a well-written and properly constructed Internet-Draft (ID-GUIDE) provides a strong basis for a good RFC. The RFC Editor accepts Internet-Drafts from specified streams for publication RFC 4844 and applies the rules and guidelines for the RFC Series during the editorial process.

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