[linux-elitists] HTML in e-mail

Joakim Ziegler joakim@avmaria.com
Wed Aug 20 22:09:48 PDT 2003

On Wed, 2003-08-20 at 19:08, Ben Finney wrote:
> On 20-Aug-2003, Bret Martin wrote:

> But mostly, the lack of education among Internet users is to blame.
> People who can't see a reason why email should not be pretty and
> animated, will demand it of their vendor.  Some vendors will comply.

> Again, the solution must be user education as to why these things are a
> bad idea.

Are they, though? I mean, animated, sure, that's a bad idea. But the
people who would put animated GIFs in their HTML email would likely
write plain text email that would annoy the hell out of you too. Newbies
being annoying in mail/on usenet was not invented at the moment HTML
became available.

Looking pretty, well, I'd say that most people who write HTML mails do
it because they want formatting. And they have a point. HTML makes it
easier to do some things that are possible, but hard, in plain text (try
tables), and possible to do some things that are impossible (embedded
images, which do have their uses), bold/italic (yeah, you can do *bold*
and /italic/, but if you actually think that's equally readable, you've
spent way too long in front of a shell), and other formatting.

The point is, you can do nice-looking things with HTML email. Things
that add information, help readability, and generally aid your message.
I'm not saying that all HTML email does this, or even most. But you're
blaming the tool for the use to which it has been put. Rich text
representation is a good thing, there should generally be more of it, in
my opinion (one can argue over whether or not HTML is the right format
to use for rich text email, but it's there, it's easy, so why not).

The malware argument is because of broken clients. The wasteful
argument, well, that's slightly ridiculous in today's world of 100k+
HTML pages and multi-megabit home internet connections.

That's enough Devil Advocating for today, I guess.

   The Private Joakim Ziegler - Not Speaking For Anyone But Myself
    joakim@avmaria.com - http://www.avmaria.com - rdgzt@Undernet
            http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.fix.no/

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list