Re: OT: Flamebait: Text vs HTML email
On Wed, Jul 24, 2002 at 03:18:23PM -0500, Kent West wrote:
> As a general rule, members of this list prefer email to be in plain text
> format. Over the years I've tried to adhere to that (and will continue
> to do so). However, I'm thinking that perhaps it's time to rethink that
> "rule". A more graphical format like HTML can convey more information
> (charts, images, textual structure, color, font, etc) than just plain text.
And then you wonder why we need that information ... Two of your
examples (colour and font) are useless for communication on technical
lists. Charts and images consume big honking chunks of bandwidth,
especially when disseminated on a list distributed to [fx: checks] 2116
people on an already busy mailing list server. And textual structure?
Well, I've seen that conveyed pretty well in ASCII.
> To me, the most significant compelling reason to stick to plain text for
> email is for those text-only email readers.
The most compelling reason for me why we should continue to use plain
text is because people tend to express their thoughts much more clearly
in plain text. Give somebody HTML, and you'll get lots of form but
little content; the act of forming thoughts into actual coherent
sentences tends to make the message much more useful and
There's a reason I use mailing lists rather than web forums.
> Can text-only mail readers (ie mutt) be designed to read HTML messages?
Yes (auto_view text/html), but I've never once seen one that used the
capabilities for anything other than pretty colours and fonts (well,
they might have looked pretty on the sender's screen ...).
> If not, does the "cost" of abandoning text-only readers outweigh the
> cost of reduced information flow, or is the opposite true (or perhaps
> it's a tie)?
In my experience, in case it wasn't clear above, text-only communication
results in increased information flow.
Colin Watson [email@example.com]
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