Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 2001)

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Subject: Re: Digest MIME types...
From: JC Dill <inet-list @ vo . cnchost . com>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 22:43:10 -0700
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <>
References: <><><v0313030bb6f6388e7bcc@[]><v0313036db6f51490e9f4@[]><v03130363b6f4eda6be8b@[]><><v0313036db6f51490e9f4@[]><><v0313030bb6f6388e7bcc@[]><v0313030cb6f8ff3ac542@[]><>

On 10:04 PM 4/10/01, Tim Pierce wrote:
 >On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 01:09:57PM -0700, JC Dill wrote:
 >> I'd like to see a new digest format, which would contain the index only,
 >> with URL links to the actual messages. ...
 >LISTSERV supports such an "index mode," though it supplies instructions
 >for retrieving the messages via e-mail, not the Web.  (At least, this
 >was how it worked up until a few years ago.  I don't know what the
 >current software supports.)
 >> As much as I personally hate HTMLized email, as list managers we need to
 >> think about how to effectively deal with it.  Our list subscribers are 
 >> going to want to use it more and more.  At some point we have to find a
 >> solution that meets their expectations, or all lists will ultimately 
end up
 >> hosted by yahoo.groups.
 >I kind of disagree for two reasons.  One is that, with respect to
 >digests, I don't think that GUI mail readers that support MIME
 >messages are really up to the task of handling digests with embedded
 >HTML messages.

I think you missed my point.  As I proposed, the options would be:

regular email, plain text (strip HTML)
regular email with HTML
digest, index only, read messages on the web (in HTML)
digest in plain text (perhaps, I don't know if this is really needed if you 
have the other 3 options)

So there would never be a digest where the *email* contains HTML.  You read 
the digest index, click on the URL of the particular messages you want to 
read, and then you read the message in your browser, as HTML, off the 
mailing list archive web server.

 >For example, some time back we found that AOL's
 >reader, if it encountered a digest that included embedded HTML,
 >would apply the HTML preferences (text color, backgrounds, etc.)
 >to the entire digest, not just the single HTML message.  Until mail
 >reading technology catches up with itself, I just don't think this
 >is going anywhere.

My experience is that people who use HTML email don't really care if the 
message gets read in a browser or in an email, so you only need enough 
technology to link from the email to the browser and grab the 
message.   The technology is already there.

 >The other thing is that I suspect people care a lot more about being
 >able to write HTML mail than being able to read it.  If you tell
 >someone they can't post to your list in HTML, they'll go off to
 >yahooonegroupselist and start a new list there.  If you let them
 >post but simply strip the HTML or render it in dumb text, they may
 >gripe a little but are less likely to storm off in a rage.

Until the stripped formatting causes a miscommunication.  Which is more 
likely when you offer both versions to readers, because those who read the 
formatted email are more likely to forget that others only get the plain 
text version.  And at some point, we are going to have to offer HTMLized 
email on mailing lists.  Yahoogroups already does.


Real courtesy requires human effort and understanding.
Never let your machine or your habit send courtesy copies.

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