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Re: Editing email replies

From: Sacha Chua
Subject: Re: Editing email replies
Date: 03 Sep 2002 09:14:14 +0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

Peter Davis <address@hidden> writes:

> Well, I know I'm probably in a minority here, but I actually think
> HTML e-mail is a pretty good idea.  You can get much more readable,
> and more *meaningful* content with HTML.  Typographic conventions of
> using boldface, italics, etc. evolved for a reason ... they improve

... or you can use Gnus and see smileys and _all_ *sorts* of /emphasized/
text. =) Seriously. Gnus is cool. And it comes with Emacs, too.

Why not HTML mail? Well, HTML mail calls on w3 for rendering - still a
bit slower than text. Also, many HTML messages are malformed, which
means I get quite a few warnings when rendering it.

Not everyone has a built-in HTML browser, too. What, would you so
easily ignore all the pine and mutt users who have to launch an
external process in order to read your mail? =) Not only that, a lot
of formatting gets munged when you translate it back to plain text.

And of course, I don't really trust HTML because of the sneaky things
it could do. On some popular operating systems, it could even lead to
a compromise of your system. =) Or think of webbugs - those little
images that tell another server that your e-mail account is valid,
read often, and ready for spam. What about Javascript? Pfft. 

Still, properly used HTML can be really, really nice. I feel that
sending HTML should be a conscious choice, not the default. Plain text
is enough for many of our thoughts. <laugh> (There are people who send
me large .DOC files with _plain text_ inside it! Pfft.) For the people
who want more, well... they can mime-attach an HTML page. <g>

It's probably just me, but I find plain text more readable - no
one trying to do any fancy tricks with colors, bold, or fonts, or
whatever. ASCII art's probably the fanciest thing you can do with a
plain text message (and even that can be a bit unreliable since some
people use variable-width fonts). HTML is fine in the hands of people
who know what they're doing, but for the most part, people don't.

Still, I'm not going to force everyone else to use text/plain -
thankfully, Gnus takes care of all of that automatically (most of the
time, that is - w3 complains a fair bit). Yet another reason why Emacs
is good. =)

Sacha Chua <address@hidden> - 4 BS CS Ateneo geekette
interests: emacs, gnu/linux, wearables, teaching compsci

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