[linux-elitists] HTML in e-mail

Bret Martin bam@miranda.org
Wed Aug 20 09:55:52 PDT 2003

This is starting to bother me more and more.

How does an elitist properly deal with HTML e-mail?

In the past, I've had some success asking people to please at least set
their MUA to send multipart/alternative messages with a text/plain part,
explaining that then there would at least be a human-readable copy of
their message.

Recently, some people have even started to resist that.  One person even
cited a broken mailing list manager that he uses that somehow garbled
multipart/alternative, but worked fine with text/html, as a reason for
sending HTML-only mail!

Where does this fall on the be-liberal-in-what-you-accept/
be-conservative-in-what-you-send spectrum?

How do you deal with this issue, without engineering some hack to make
it easier to read text/html parts (which seems like you're just giving
in to the problem), and without simply refusing to communicate with
often non-technical people who don't seem to understand the issue very
well?  (As much as I would love to do that, it doesn't seem practical 
-- does that mean I'm weak? :) )

Is HTML e-mail inherently annoying, or is it just the way it's been
glued on the side of a traditionally plain text medium that is the

Given that "$x considered harmful" is such a cliché, I was expecting to
find various such manifestos against HTML e-mail, but I had trouble
finding any.  Am I missing them?

And, whom do we have to blame for HTML in e-mail?


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