Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1998)

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Subject: RE: HTML-enabled mailing lists
From: Chris Pepper <pepper-list @ list . audubon . org>
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 15:59:51 -0400
To: "'List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM'" <List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM>
In-reply-to: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B108583 @ pumba . ed-com . com>


	From your claim that font choice represents personality, I conclude
either that you whisper in conversation, or you're hard to see, being so
short, and further that you consider this to be a problem with my eyesight.

	Yes, colorizing of quotes is a nice thing; it doesn't actually
require HTML or enriched MIME, though -- just a mail client that recognizes
quoted text; I'll grant you that the drive to make mailers HTML-compliant
has dwarfed the difficulty of colorizing >-preceded lines, but HTML isn't
really significant here.

	Nobody told you not to have "a HTML exchange between people", but
we don't really care what you do with your friends/correspondents on your
own time. I and others *do* mind you sending large unreadable message
bodies (I can read them but many list members can't, and calling us
dinosaurs isn't a good bet for persuading us of anything), or just wasting
our time/storage.

	BTW, Eudora Pro 4 handles formatting acceptably for me; when
replying to a message that contains formatting, it uses fancified quoting,
rather than > , since it's a good bet the recipient can handle it. Eudora
also allows specification of MIME text/enriched or HTML formatting, and
defaults to plain text; when you send a message with formatting (either as
a reply to a formatted message or with formatting manually applied), you
can be prompted to confirm that you want to send formatting. This is pretty
good, but to handle it perfectly, Eudora would have to be able to send 3
copies of a given message, for people wanting plain text, those wanting
HTML, and those wanting text/enriched. This may not be worth implementing,
but until it is available we'll have problems with discussions among people
who are using clients with different formatting capabilities.

	Ed, I like Courier 12 -- the effect of your HTML message is that I
see an approximation of what *you* like. This neither endears you to me nor
makes reading your message easier.

	On the other hand, if you can cure a disease, you'll earn yourself
some more slack. It might be easier for you to point out an example of how
HTML formatting helped make a message clearer -- your own message was a
failure in this regard.

						Chris Pepper
PS-I'm going to agree with the consensus here -- the presence of an HTML
message in my mailbox is generally (at least 4/5ths of the time) an
indicator that someone doesn't know how to configure their mailer, rather
than a sign that this message has worthwhile formatting).

At 11:52 PM -0400 04/06/98, Woodrick, Ed wrote:
>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

Chris Pepper | National Audubon Society: Web & List Manager
212 979 3092 |    <>

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