Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1998)

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Subject: Re: HTML-enabled mailing lists
From: Rich Kulawiec <rsk @ gsp . org>
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 18:57:34 -0400
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B108583 @ pumba . ed-com . com>; from Woodrick, Ed on Mon, Apr 06, 1998 at 11:52:41PM -0400
References: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B108583 @ pumba . ed-com . com>

On Mon, Apr 06, 1998 at 11:52:41PM -0400, Woodrick, Ed wrote:
> 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 [...]

I have no problem with included text.  My mail client is Mutt (a worthy
successor to Elm), and has a very nice way of representing included
text (in color or not, depending on what device I'm using).  There is
no need to resort to HTML to handle this function -- and especially
not, I might add, when most users need to be trained to trim included
text to a bare minimum.

> A choice of font (type, size, and color) can give a unique
> representation of a person, just like a voice does. 

Yes, it can.  It can also allow them to be mindlessly foolish or to
embarrass themself by exhibiting their lack of basic typographical skill.

I think the point you're missing here is that most people have trouble
enough expressing themselves when limited to ordinary text; giving them
HTML to fiddle with will not assist them in doing so and will only allow
them to be even more incoherent than they are already.

> 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.

HTML has a fine place to incubate: it's called "the web".  That's what
it was invented for, and it's doing just fine there -- much better than
it would if misapplied to solve non-problems in the e-mail arena.

Rich Kulawiec
rsk @
 gsp .

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