HTML and e-mail (was: Re: [LMB] Pictures to back up the idea of Jack Black as Miles)

Katrina Knight kknight at fastmail.fm
Fri Feb 9 20:36:28 GMT 2007


At 12:16 PM 2/9/2007 Peter H. Granzeau wrote:
>You're not SPOSED to put HTML into e-mail, you know.  E-mail is 
>an ASCII-only service.

E-mail is NOT an "ASCII-only" service. (This list, on the other 
hand, pretty much is.) HTML is quite common in e-mail, and is 
not against any of the standards for what e-mail can 
contain.  Whether that's a good thing or not depends on what you 
want. I don't want the HTML 95% of the times that it is used, 
but that doesn't mean it should never be used by anyone. Not 
using HTML when sending messages to plain text mailing lists is 
very much recommended though. The results of using HTML 
inappropriately vary from almost unreadable messages being sent 
out, to messages being rejected, to just aggravating people. I 
don't think anyone here wants any of those results. Use of HTML 
should be confined to situations where everyone involved agrees 
that it can be used. There are also assorted character sets that 
don't fit into what you'd call "ASCII-only". For some odd 
reason, people who don't use English want to be able to use the 
characters used by their own language in their messages. Again 
though, using other character sets is a problem with many 
mailing lists even though it is perfectly acceptable elsewhere.

Many problems with HTML in e-mail are caused by people not 
understanding what is going on. The e-mail clients that are the 
biggest offenders in sending HTML on their own are two of the 
ones commonly used by people who are new to the internet and/or 
inexperienced computer users - Yahoo and AOL. Yahoo apparently 
changed something a few months ago that has resulted in a number 
of their users sending messages that ended up with the line 
breaks and some spaces stripped out. AOL has had similar, 
although not quite as drastic, problems with that for a much 
longer time. AOL has a long history of sending messages with 
html even when the sender has not put anything into the message 
that needs it. In both cases, the messages look fine when the 
sender is composing them, so the senders tend to not realize 
there's a problem until other people start complaining, and even 
then, they often have trouble understanding what the complaint 
is about.

-- 
Katrina Knight
kknight at fastmail.fm 



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