Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1998)
 

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Subject: Re: HTML-enabled mailing lists
From: Russ Allbery <rra @ stanford . edu>
Date: 14 Apr 1998 22:34:11 -0700
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: "Woodrick, Ed"'s message of "Tue, 7 Apr 1998 09:40:50 -0400"
References: <116338B0A28AD1118E6400AA005B102B108588@pumba.ed-com.com>

Woodrick, Ed <ewoodrick@ed-com.com> writes:

> I know of no one (aside from you) who thinks that a monospaced single
> color font is the easiest to read.

Single color?  No, I use multiple colors on a regular basis.  I do so by
having my e-mail client mark up incoming messages with colors according to
quoting levels, and it does so consistently, using the same colors across
every single message I read so that I can take advantage of the immediate
visual cue.  I can assure you that is superior in every way to letting
every single person I correspond with choose their own random colors for
their messages.

> How many books have you seen published in Courier?

First of all, Courier is a horrible monospaced font for reading on a
computer screen because the character strokes aren't bold enough.  It's
far too spindly to make a good display font, and the fact that some broken
operating systems seem to think it's a suitable monospaced font indicates
that those operating systems are broken, not that monospaced fonts are.
That's one of the primary differences between good display fonts and good
print fonts; good display fonts are bolder.

Second of all, how many books have you seen published on a computer
screen?

The correct font choices for presentation on a relatively-low-resolution
*light projecting* surface with flicker (below the level of human
perception) are NOT the same as the correct font choices for presentation
on an extremely high-resolution reflective surface with higher contrast
than a computer screen and the additional benefit of ink bleed to smooth
out the resolution even further.

Until you consider the differences between a computer screen, you are
expressing opinions on a topic about which you have obviously given no
thought whatsoever, and the only thing you're accomplishing is making
yourself look foolish in public.

> Think about it. When the auto was invented, people said that the horse
> was better. When the personal computer was invented, people scoffed at
> it's use. When the GUI was invented, people complained about the wasted
> use of processor cycles. Well, scoff all you want.

Are you familiar with the phrase "argumentum ad novitatem"?

> Many people are trying to get computers to fit into the human way of
> doing things as opposed to the computer way.  Humans don't write in
> monospace fonts.

Oh now that's a stunning argument.  Humans also don't send the same letter
to a thousand people for several dozen different letters on a daily basis.
Whoops.  Sorry folks, list-managers has to be shut down.  After all,
humans don't run mailing lists, and Ed Woodrick's decreed that we're
supposed to make computers more like humans, so they've got to go.

> It also won't be long before the mail lists become filled with full
> multimedia messages.

I'll allow multimedia messages in my lists as soon as the people on my
lists want them.  They don't.  So I'm not.  Eventually, I'm quite sure
that you're right, but that will be after there's some standardization of
transport, after they aren't as much of an imposition as they are now to
people with limited dialin access, and after the initial thrill has worn
off so that people use them when APPROPRIATE rather than including tons of
crap in their messages every single time they feel like it.

> P.S. I know I must be doing something right, to have upset so many
> people with responses that are grasping at straws!

Oh, of course.  How could I have been so blind.  Never mind all of the
previous, and ignore the fact that this person's arguments make no logical
sense, are based on blind assertion, demonstrate no logical thought, miss
obvious basic concepts, and serve as textbook examples of standard logical
fallacies.  He managed to piss people off.  Obviously he's not only right,
but he's the very model of perspicuity.

Yours in stunned admiration,

-- 
Russ Allbery (rra@stanford.edu)         <URL:http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


References:
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From: Jason Rasku <jrasku@ArmispianSystems.Rossland.bc.ca>
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