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 18:08:31 -0400
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B04F521@pumba.ed-com.com>; from Woodrick, Ed on Wed, Apr 01, 1998 at 09:28:45PM -0500
References: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B04F521@pumba.ed-com.com>

On Wed, Apr 01, 1998 at 09:28:45PM -0500, Woodrick, Ed wrote:
> Why do yall go through so much trouble to not utilize existing Internet
> messaging standards?

Please cite the RFC which specifies HTML as an Internet messaging standard.

> The overhead of an HTML message is pretty small.
> I wouldn't be surprised if it was near the overhead of a UUENCODE!

You're comparing apples and oranges.  UUencode is not used for text
messages, only for non-text files, such as images.  The overhead of
writing a message with HTML is non-zero and therefore exceeds the
overhead of text-only messages (which *is* zero).

> HTML is here to stay.

I doubt it. I rather suspect it will be replaced within five years.

> Granted, not everyone has a mail reader that will read HTML, but at what
> percentage do you make HTML a standard?

Well, *everyone* has a mail reader that will handle text.  Many people
have a mail reader that will handle MIME.

> Plain text messaging is on the way out.

Unlikely.

> Corporate messaging systems have been rich text for many years.

Corporate messaging systems (like Lotus Notes) have been hell-holes of
badly formatted, cross-mangled-indexed, multi-fonted junk for years as well.
Besides, have you noticed that many of the problems those of us on the 'net
face (when it comes to mail issues) are *caused* by corporate messaging
systems which are incredibly broken and do horrible things when plugged
into or gatewayed to the 'net?  (Microsoft Mail comes to mind here.)

No, I really wouldn't point to corporate messaging systems as sterling
examples of *anything* except bad design and implementation.



But let me put it to you this way: 99% of the people I've ever
encountered on the 'net -- during what is now approaching two decades
online -- are barely literate enough to compose a comprehensible text
message, spell-check it, trim the original text (if they're replying),
and get it to the right address/newsgroup.  (Sometimes *I* am one of
those people, e.g. on Monday mornings before coffee.)  If you are
concerned about making forward progress, then I'd worry about those
issues rather than trying to ensure that every newbie out there can
surround his or her babblings with <blink> tags.

---Rsk
Rich Kulawiec
rsk@gsp.org


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