Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1998)

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Subject: RE: HTML-enabled mailing lists
From: "Woodrick, Ed" <ewoodrick @ ed-com . com>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 23:52:41 -0400
To: "'List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM'" <List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM>

Title: RE: HTML-enabled mailing lists


HTML starts to give you methods of better expressing yourself, one of the biggest problems in electronic messaging. It's a next step beyond the incredibly stupid utilization of punctuation for _expression_. ;-)  If you were to see a HTML exchange between people, I think that you would be rather surprised at the value. First, just the included text operation. Some HTML mailers put a horizontal bar down the left side and change the color/format of the reply text. It makes it significantly easier to read than the > characters that get so confusing when there have been five or six replies.

A choice of font (type, size, and color) can give a unique representation of a person, just like a voice does. Emphasis is so much easier with the ability to italicize or make characters bold. In longer messages, setting subject headings in larger text can ease reading.

If black and white courier 12 point text is so great, then why are there no more courier 12 point printers any more? I put my daisy wheel printer away many years ago. Most of my printed correspondence is now in color.

If you don't give a new technology a place to incubate, it will never grow, or at least it won't grow on your turf. Sure, you might think it is weed, but a worthless bread mold did change the path of modern medicine.

Ed Woodrick

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Voorhis [mailto:dave @ armchair . mb . ca]
Sent: Monday, April 06, 1998 11:40 PM
To: Woodrick, Ed; 'List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM'
Subject: RE: HTML-enabled mailing lists

At 09:28 PM 4/1/98 -0500, Woodrick, Ed wrote:

>     Why do yall go through so much trouble to not utilize existing
>Internet messaging standards?

I filter out HTML messages for two simple reasons:  They make digest
versions of my lists unreadable to many s*bscribers, and they increase the
size of messages with no increase in value. 

Value is the key point.  If HTML would actually make the average message
more readable, or clearer, or do ANYTHING except consume extra bandwidth
(and make me squint because of your poor choice of font), then I could see
the value of it.  I have yet to see a message that actually benefitted from
being in HTML. 

In fact, let's look at YOUR message, Mr. Woodrick.  Is there anything there
that couldn't have been sent as plain text?  Is there anything there that
was enhanced by being in HTML?  From the looks of it, the HTML tags in your
message were entirely redundant.  For that, the Internet should waste
additional bandwidth?  If some MTA's at least had the intelligence to shut
off HTML formatting when the user hasn't employed ANY font changes, bold
text, italics, or whatever -- then maybe I'd see it differently.

Until I see evidence that HTML formatting in mailing list messages has some
benefits that outweigh the disadvantages, I will continue to filter them

Interestingly, most of my s*bscribers who get bitten by my HTML filters are
thankful when I point out the problem.  As soon as they turn the HTML
"feature" off, it seems some of them like the fact that their messages trot
through their modems a little more quickly once all those pointless tags
are removed.

Dave Voorhis
mailto:dave @ armchair . mb . ca

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