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Re: Can anybody tell me how to send HTML-format mail in gnus

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Can anybody tell me how to send HTML-format mail in gnus
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 19:55:32 +1000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Xah <address@hidden> writes:

> On Aug 8, 8:19 am, Tim X <address@hidden> wrote:
>> If you can remember back to my original reply to the OP I
>> merely said that HTML in e-mail was a bad thing. You also snipped how I
>> suggested that he could do it if he wanted to. Of course, all you were
>> interested in is grinding your own axe and looking for any place you can
>> jump on a soap box!
> Hum? I don't really see how we got into this.

You can't. Let me explain. Someone asked how to send HTML in mail. I
responded with some suggestions of what he could do to achieve his
stated goal, which was to be able to upload to his blogger account via
e-mail and he wanted it formatted in HTML. I also said that HTML in
e-mail was not a good idea. I also informed him of a emacs client that
would allow him to interact with blogger directly from within emacs
without th eneed to use e-mail at all. 

You then snipped all of the message except my sentence that HTML was not
a good idea and proceeded to go on one of your rants about tech geekers
and the need for emacs to support HTML mail - effectively highjacking
the thread to push your own agenda and get up on your soap box. 

thats how we got here. 

> I was saying, that html email is a good thing.

which was totally irrelevant to the OPs original question. 

>> Talk about pot calling kettle black. You wrote "I
>> don't have stats on this, but it is my guess that 80%, or perhaps even
>> 90% of email traffics today, are in html" - You freely admit you have
>> not got any stats and that it is a guess. Maybe you should start doing
>> some research yourself!
> In my post where i gave percentages about html mail use, i also gave a
> link to Wikipedia. You said my percentage is bogus. So retort that
> they are not if one do research, and quoted the Wikipedia's stat about
> html mail pervasiveness.

You said you had no stats and it was a guess - that makes it an
unsubxtantiated claim and I'd call that bogus. 

>> If you do, forget about results from marketing
>> companies that have their own axe to grind.
> That's a bad attitude. How can you laugh at market research companies?
> Major corps such as google, Microsoft, Apple etc, pays tens of
> thousands dollars for their reports.

I didn't laugh at anything. All I said was that the results from market
research companies have their own axe to grind. It is obvious you have
very little commercial experience or much knowledge regarding how market
research works. I was obviously too subtle. What I'm saying is that you
need independent research showing what users think about HTML formatted
e-mail and to what extent they feel it is necessary or to what extent
they are aware of the technical issues and whether their attitudes would
change if they did have some understanding of the issues. 

> Are you getting into the attitude of all those conspiracy theories
> that hackers love? All lawers are bad, all companies are bad, society
> should be anarchy, government covers up UFOs, 9-11 is a act of US
> government, etc?

Its sounds to me that your more the conspiracy theorist than me. As soon
as someone has an opinion that is different to yours, you immediately
assume they are technical geeks with no understanding of society or
social issues. I find this amusing from someone who has obviously poor
social skills based on many of your responses in this thread, 

>> Go out and find out from
>> users what they actually think. I suspect you will find that the vast
>> majority of users don't really care and most aren't even ware that their
>> mail is bieng formatted in HTML or that it could just be in plain text.
> I forgot what exactly we are arguing about. What are we arguing about?

Convenient since you started it. 

> I suggest this: Emacs's rmail should have the ability to send and
> receive html mail.
> I've posted about 6 or so messages giving my reasons. If you say that
> this should be a low priority for lack of manpower, then i agree. But
> i think you and others emphatically say that html mail is bad, which i
> don't agree.

Your arguement seems to be that while you agree HTML is not the best
solution to providing some sort of formatting in e-mail and despite the
issues of security, inconsistent rendering and support, etc, because
supposedly 97% of mail clients support it that emacs mail clients should
also support formatting of messages as HTML. 

My arguement is that I don't agree that HTML mail formating is a good
idea, I don't agree emacs should do it because thats what the majority
of other clients do and I question your assertion that the majority of
people want it. Rather, I suggest that many of the users who are
using it are unaware they are because clients like outlook do it by
default and that if the default had been plain text and users had to
actively select HTML that there would be far fewer users. I further
suggest that if users were more aware of the technical and security
issues, even less would want to use it. 

The main issue I have with your arguement is that you have drawn the
logical conclusion that because there arre many clients that support
HTML it is because thats what people wanted. However, you have provided
no evidence that links your premise with your conclusion. It is a bit
like arguing that banks have added more charges to accounts because
thats what people wanted. You discount my suggestion that support for
HTML mail could simply be a result of software companies trying to find
an edge in marketing. Maybe people do love it now its there, but you
have provided absolutely nothing to support this. Consider all the
research done on Microsoft word that has shown the majority of people
only use a very small percent of the features that it offers - would you
also argue those features are there because people wanted them?

In my original reply to you I also suggested that HTML formatted mail
may not have much of a future given the move towards accessing e-mail
via phones and PDAs and the growth in things like markdown, which has
the advantage of being much simpler and quite readable in its
un-rendered form. 
>> yes, and the following paragraphs are less than praising of the benefits
>> of HTML. In fact, the very next paragraphs say
>> "As HTML mail is more complex than plain text, however, it is also more prone
>> to compatibility issues and problems with rendering consistently across
>> platforms and software.
>> Some popular clients do not render consistently with W3C specifications, and
>> many HTML e-mails are not compliant, either, which may cause rendering or
>> delivery problems, especially for users of MSN or Hotmail.^[3]"
> sure, html mail is not perfect technology. I agree. On the whole, i
> gave reasons that this is not a sufficient reason to say that emacs
> should not have the ability to send/receive html mail.

Yes and I argue that just because the others do is not sufficient reason
to add it either. You appear to have the belief that if emacs is to
survive, it has to be just like everything else out there. Maybe the
reason emacs has survived so much longer than most other editors is
precisely because it is different and not like everything else. I think
its pretty well recognised that in an environment with a lot of
competition, its differentiation that helps to ensure survival. 

> For example, unix's X windows is truly the worst technology. But do
> you suggest we ditch it?

I don't agree its the worst technology at all. I've had to manage labs
of computers running both MS Windows and X windows and the X windows is
much more reliable and easier to maintain than MS Windows. However, you
are yet again mixing up issues. X windows does have its limitations when
used as the GUI interface on a stand-alone PC, but that isn't what it
was designed for. Likewise, MS Windows has a number of shortfalls in a
large networked situation that X windows doesn't have. You cannot just
look at things in limited absolute terms. You need to consider what the
design goals of the different systems are. I find this to be a common
weakness in many of your arguements - you judge the merits or lack of
from a very limited perspective. Often baed only on your own ersonal
experience and totally ignore the history and how things developed.  You
frequently overlook the fact that many of your conclusions are based on
the benefits of hindsight and the complexities associated with changing
things to match with current tastes/knwoledge/trends, many of which are
likely to be considered mistakes by the next generation of critics with
new hindsight. 

I would never argue that X Windows was without faults and in hindsight,
some of the design decisions may be far from good choices, but at the
time, given the knowledge and experience available with respect to human
computer interfaces, the state of the technology at the time and the
types of softtware available etc, I don't think it is any worse than a
lot of other GUIs designs. Ironically, I was using X windows and had a
graphics based interface when all MS had to offer was DOS and was just
beginning to develop Windows for Workgroups, which was pretty much one
of the worst user interfaces I've ever had to suffer. 

> See for example:
>  The X-Windows Disaster

While that page contains some legitimate criticisms, it exagerates many
of the problems, is simply incorrect in some areas and is mostly
outdated and unfortunately is filled with far too much emotional
bias. It certainly doesn't represent the sort of experience people are
more likely to encounter with modern X window implementations and they
way they are handled on modern distros. For example, I recently setup a
ubuntu system for a friend. There was absolutely no requirement to do
any configuration with respect to text. In fact, the only configuration
that was done was to set the gnome theme. 

Note also with respect to programming. Back in the early 90s I had to do
both X and DOS graphics programming and guess what, both were of about
the same level of complexity. In fact, I found it more difficult getting
the DOS program, written in Borland C more difficult to get working in a
consistent way than the X windows version. Ironically, I can still run
my X program, but forget about the DOS version! 

Thinngs have come a long way in all environments since then. Those with
huge capital investment have progressed further, but that shouldn't be a
surprise. However, X windows, especially the fork, has also
evolved considerably since the late 80s and early 90s. 
>> and still, the real benefits in the sense of what HTML can give you that
>> you cannot do with plain text and MIME are minimal and largely just
>> fluff. I also find it ironic that the company that is largely
>> responsible for the growth of HTML mail has now got the situation where
>> customers using their mail systems (MSN/Hotmail) have problems with
>> poorly formatted HTML e-mails!
> Well, we can consider html as fluff from the tech geeker perspective.
> Considered by the whole human animal society, it's not “largely just
> fluff”.
> I gave several paragraphs of examples illustrating how the education
> industry, commerce industry, etc all need rich text in email. Please
> see my other post here:

You gave several paragraphs of your opinion on why it is required with
no real evidence. Thats fine, but it makes your opinion no more
legitimate than any other. I disagree with your opinion, its that
simple. I'm not claiming that mine is necessarily correct, only that it
is my opinion based on my experiences. Obviously, I believe in it more
than in yours. 

>> >> Up until recently, I administered an e-mail system that processed
>> >> gigabytes of mail per day. While there was a fair amount of HTML based
>> >> mail, it was less than 50% and nearly 80% of that was just spam. I will
>> >> readily admit that this is just what I observed in my small corner of
>> >> the world and this only represents a user base of just over 30,000
>> >> accounts.
>> > What comapany or type of company? i mean, what context?
>> > for example, if you admin some Open Source oriented community, sure
>> > there's a lot plain text.
>> No, nothing to do with open source, its a commercial entity with a lot
>> of education and research centres. Around 60% of the user base are on
>> Wndows and a bit under 40% on Macs. The remaining couple of percent are
>> Linux/BSD etc.
> Ok. But anyway, you can still set your email app to receive and send
> only plain text. If you are admin, you can set it at the server level.
> The ability to read and send html mail doesn't force emacs users into
> one way.

Irrelevant point. Nobody ever mentioned forcing anyone to do anything or
even that adding the ability to send HTML e-mail would force everyone to
do it. This is just a distraction from the original issue.

>> > Of the most largest email hoster in the world, gmail, msn, yahoo, are
>> > probably some 80% market share in terms of email traffic. (again, a
>> > rough guess. You can do research on the web i think the result is in
>> > agreement. I use percentage just to be precise, instead of the more
>> > fuzzy “majority”, “large number”, etc.)
>> so you use it to sound like you are precise when your making a guess?
>> Just admit your making a subjective guess and stop trying to make it
>> sound like you have some authoritative knowledge or research.
> well, if you interprete my use of percentage as trying to sound
> authoritative, that's fine. I gave you reasons as to why i use it.
> Also, as to authoritiveness, i do think i know about social issues
> much more than... nevermind.

Its good you stopped there. I have no idea to what extent you know
anything about social issues and likewise you no nothing about mine. You
make a totally unsubstantiated claim to some authoritative knowledge of
social issues, but what you base this claim on is unclear. You are
likely to claim you have read widely on the issue, but your not the only
person on the planet who has done so. Just for the record, my first
degree, back in the early 80s had a double major in Sociology and
Psychology and a minor in politics. I wold not claim Im an authority on
social issues by any stretch of the imagination, but I would say that
I'm informed with respect to many of the issues. 

> Perhaps we can more stick to topic? I suggest, that this thread to
> argue about:
> Whether emacs's rmail should have the ability to send and receive html
> mail.

I suggest that if you want to debate such a topic, you start your own
thread rather than highjacking someone elses.

> If we can all post with this in mind, that'll help.
> Of course you many disagree that this or the way i phrased it should
> be the topic. Suggest a good explicit topic then. We can be more
> focused that way.

Its your arguement. Call it what you want as long as you do it in a
thread you create for that purpose. Personally, I would not be
interested in such a debate. I only got into this one because you
responded to my post. 

> For example, if you suggest this: “HTML mail is comparatively not a
> good technology”. Then no argument from me. Let's be more specific on
> what exactly we are arguing about.

Well, I would not have labelled it an argument. I don't agree with your
claim that HTML in e-mail is a good thing. If you can convince the
necessary developers to include it then you will have got what you
want. It won't change my opinion its a bad idea with little real
benefit, but as long as I'm not forced to send my e-mail as HTML, I
don't really care. If asked, I will still maintain it is a bad idea, but
thats not an issue. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but until
someone is able to present a convincing arguement, I doubt my opinion
will change. 

>> > So, i'd say if you examp gmail, msn, yahoo, probably the bulk of their
>> > email format is html. In fact, the email account prob default to html,
>> > and or, any email received is converted to html anyway.
>> So if its converted to HTML on receipt anyway, how is it soemthing that
>> is beneficial to the end user as apart form something that just makes
>> the web interface easier for the provider?
> I don't know. It may be converted to html mail before transmission
> too. But let's look at it from another perspective. These mail service
> provides, gmail, msn, yahoo, are all using html. They perhaps account
> for 90% of emails sent today. Imagine, people at google says “no,
> gmail should not support html because HTML is a wart. It's spam,
> bloat, inefficient, used by stupid people.”

Yet gmail is often cited as having one of the best web interfaces to any
web based mail program and as someone who uses gmail and has used other
services, I have to agree. Most people would actually think given the
quality product they have produced, they may actually know a little
about what they are talking about. At any rate, I certainly feel their
credentials are rather more substantial than yours. If they were to
start argueing in support of HTML formatted mail, there would be a
higher likelihood of them changing my opinion, but they are also more
likely to present a reasoned arguement with supporting evidence (which
is partially why they have higher credentials IMO). 

>> >> I disagree with your suggestion that HTML is technically superior. You
>> >> can't just make a sweeping statement like that without actually defining
>> >> what it is that e-mail is supposed to provide. As someone else pointed
>> >> out, an F16 is technically superior to a bicycle, but if allyou want to
>> >> do is go to the corner shop, that technical superiority is not only a
>> >> waste, but also a handicap.
>> > HTML is simply technically superior. Sure, F15 is better than bicycle
>> > but ridiculous. However, HTML is better than plain text in email is
>> > not ridiculous. It is the standard the world uses by large, and people
>> > want rich text in email. Wikipedia says the support for html email in
>> > email programs is 97%.
>> Your still mixing up cause and effect. Wikipedia also says that many of
>> those mailers don't do a good or consistent job of rendering the mail
>> and it makes reference to things like fishing attacks, which are made
>> possible because of HTML mail. How much of the growth in HTML mail is
>> due to companies adding that facility to try and get some sort of market
>> edge? What proportion of users really care whether their e-mail is in
>> plain text or HTML? How many would have switched to HTML if they actually
>> had to change the default configuration if it had been set to plain
>> text out of the box? How many users would be happier if they hadn't been
>> caught by that fishing attack or their e-mail address had not been
>> confirmed as legitimate to the spammers when they opened the mail or
>> their download took only 1/3rd as long or their mailbox was able to
>> handle 75 percent more messages?
> You seems to have a geeker attitude towards corporations. Seems to
> suggest whatever corporations do, is to make extra money, and
> disregard users.

I do have some concerns regarding corporations, but it has nothing to do
with 'geeker attitude'. In fact, most of my concerns are the result of
my studies in sociology and politics regarding issues of corporate
capitalism and ethics compared to traditional capitalism where the
personal ethics of the owner tended to influence the activities of the
business. In large corporate capitalism, share prices and dividends too
often outweigh ethical and moral considerations. to some extent, I
believe this is due to the greater ease the corporate structure provides
to dodge moral and ethical responsabilities and justify decisions as
being what the shareholders demanded/wanted. 

Corporations don't ignore their customers, but at the same time, no
corporation will make a decision to do something customers want unless
it will generate additional income. Conversely, corporations regularly
do things that customers don't want if they beleive doing so will
increase their profits, which in some situations can mean a reduction in
their customer base. The situation is even more unbalanced if the
corporation has a majority share of the market or if they know that
either there is no viable alternative or that switching to an
alternative is prohibitive from a cost perspective.

To suggest that any corporation will adopt any change because their
users want it is naive in the extreme. for example, the decision of many
airlines to cut out providing food and removing of entertainment systems
to reduce weight and thereby reduce fule costs has nothing to do with
what the customer wants. The decision of some ISPs to limit bittorrent
traffic or block skype etc has nothing to do with what customers want.  

> I think that's at heart many tech geeker's unrealistic view came from.
> Companies exist to make money. They make money if people choose their
> product. Ultimately, it's the masses of people, everyone all
> considered together, that dictate trends and happenings in society.

Again, I find this naive. Sweeping statements like that assume a
situation of perfect competition with no product lock-in. Microsoft's
less than competitive practices are well documented as is there poor
responsivness to user demands. To argue that the current situation is
simply the result of user demand is even more rediculous in the sphere
of ICT than most other industries. 

> If people prefer plain text, gmail would not have supported html. If
> supporting html as default is some kinda corporate plot to add ads or
> whatever, then it may backfire and people will stop using that
> product.

> If corporations made html mail the default format for email, i simply
> think that they decided, after extensive research on all aspects, that
> it is what people want, and ultimately benefit the them.

Again, no evidence to support your claim. Your argument that it was done
because it was what people wanted has no more basis than my arguement
that many people are totally unaware that their mail is being sent as
HTML and that I suspect most actually don't even care. My opinion is
based on my experiences working in the industry, which is of limited
empirical value. However, it certainly doesn't support your claim that
80 to 90% actively want it which is based solely on unsubstantiated
figures on the amount of mail being sent as HTML. 

As my experiences are limited, I'm quite willing to accept that he
majority of people want HTML mail if anyone can present solid
quantifiable figures based on what people want as opposed from extremely
tenuous links between unsubstantiated claims regarding the volume of
mail being sent as HTML and that because the majority of mail clients
support it, it must be what people want. It's the old classic "all dogs
have tails, my cat has a tail, therefore it is a dog".

>> > Some sys admin refuses to
>> > install emacs an production server, and i was pissed. Did you know
>> > that unix is traditinoally the most insecure system?
>> Hogwash. You have to learn to be a bit more critical in your
>> reading (I'm assuming you have read that somewhere). Statements like
>> that are just emotional FUD filled rubbish.
> Well, it actually happened to me. I don't know what planet you came
> from. But when i was in the unix industry, managing servers with roots
> to tens of servers... some sys admin refused to install emacs on the
> server that's not under my control. It is brought up in a conference
> with managers. Basically, i was telling them, if you don't install
> emacs, i won't do it. You do whatever installations etc you have to
> do.
I was not saying your claim that a sys admin refused to install emacs
was hogwash. I was saying that your claim that Unix is traditionally the
most insecure platform was hogwash. 

> I mean, in my view, most sys admins are morons. (oops, execuse my
> french)
> Thinking back, i shouldn't have been rather confruntational on that
> issue. I could be more friendlier.

Well, I suspect that a different attitude probably would have gotten you
a better result. To make the sweeping statement that all sys admins are
morons only shows how judgemental and narrow minded you are. Ironic that
this is close to your frequent criticism of anyone else who disagrees
with you. Your arrogance regarding your intellect and insistance that
everyone else is stupid only proves how insecure you are. A treuly
intelligent and secure individual is not threatened by opinions that are
different to their own. In fact, they often seek them out in order to
help solidify their own beliefs and understanding. 

On some levels its a pity. On the very odd occasion, you have said
things that actually do make sense. However, more often than not, you
do it in such an abrasive and poorly sructured manner that all you
really do is immediately make people stop listening. I've often wondered
if all you really want to do is be contrary and argue and that in
reality you have no genuine interest in seeing things change or
improve. I will note that I have noticed some improvement in recent
months, particularly in this group, where you have asked on topic
questions and at times even provided helpful advice rather than
ideological dogma. 

>> For a start, there is no one
>> Unix - they are all different and have had different volnrabilities. You
>> also need to distinguish between security issues due to misconfiguration
>> and security issues that are a result of the fundamental design or poor
>> programming. Sweeping statements like that mean absolutely nothing.
> Well, i always thought, judging from your posts, that you are some
> student. Over comp.lang.lisp last months or so you indicated that you
> are 40 or 50 something? Ok, so i'm not sure you actually knew less of
> unix then me. But you can check out my unix tutorial and commentary
> here and get some inkling on what i know.

I looked over a lot of your stuff some time back. My feeling was that
you had some broad, but quite shallow, understanding of UNIX and you had
essentially both missed the point and again garbled cause and effects.
personally, I found your writing style unpleasant and some of your
advice misguided. However, I have no issue with it and if others find it
useful thats excellent.

> The Unix Pestilence

>> Note also, its not bot-nets of UNIX boxes that spammers and a growing
>> number of serious criminals are using - they are bot-nets of windows
>> boxes.
> Well, perhaps let's not start on the issue of Microsoft hatred ok?

It makes me laugh you post that only a few lines below your link to "The
Unix Pestilence" 

I have no strong hatred of MS Windows. I don't like it as an OS, but its
just one of many OSs I don't like (I didn't like SunOS or VMS either). I
don't understand why you immediately think that because someone is
critical of something they hate it. I personally think that the Windows
OS right up until 2000 was of extremely poor quality. However, with the
exception of Vista (which I've had very little to do with), I think they
have improved significantly. Some of MS' business practices are to say
the least, questionable and I don't think it is a company I would like
to work for. However, I don't have any hatred or other emotional baggage
relating to them. I personally don't like their OS, but as it does
represent the majority of what users have, I accept it. Luckily, for the
last few years, I don't hae to worry about it much as my work is now
focused at the server end and currently I only have to concentrate on
Oracle, Linux and Tru64. 

Pointing out that the bot-nets are almost 100% made up of systems
runninig MS Windows has no emotional context - its just a fact. You can
rationalise in whatever way you want to explain it, but don't assume
because I list that fact that it also follows I'm an MS hater - again,
another incorrect conclusion based on flawed logic (given how smart you
claim to be, you make this error a lot).

> Seriously, i consider Microsoft's OS far secure than unixes, when
> considered on the whole of the OSes's history. See for example, i've
> written rather detailed reasons on why i think it:
> On Microsoft Hatred

I find you totally lacking in credibility in this area. That link is
nothing but an emotional driven rant with absolutely no facts or
credibility. It also seems that the rest of the world disagrees with you
in your claim that MS is good as a server. All the research has found
that MS has completely failed to get any real traction in the server
environment. They have completely failed to get any real share of the
web environment and if the figures keep going the way they have been,
they may as well give up IIS and let Apache have it. Microsoft shares
have been pretty much stable for a long time and now they are getting
very worried about google and 'cloud computing'. I've lost count of how
many times they hav attempted to purchase Yahoo in order to get a foot
hold in the search and more importantly, lucrative on-line advertising
market. I can't believe you think MS Word is a good product. It has to
be the worst word processor I've ever used. I'd rather go back to
Wordstar 4 than use word. 

> Before MS hatred, there was IBM hatred around 1990. I suppose before
> that there was AT&T unix hatred. And now there's increasing bad
> mouthing on google. I think tech geekers simply hate anything big or
> successful.

You can be critical of something without hating it. I'm very critical of
your writing style, your aggression to those who disagree with you and
your lack of real deep udnerstanding on many of the topics you post
about, but I don't hate you. 

>> >> It has also wasted huge amount of resources due to the
>> >> huge increase in message sizes, provides extremely difficult spam
>> >> detection problems (i.e. using pictures to embed spam text, making it
>> >> almost impossible to detect effectively via a scan for known spam text)
>> >> all of which resulting in the need for more bandwidth, more mail servers
>> >> with more memory and storage and more hardware to perform anti-spam
>> >> processes - all of which leads to higher costs for all of us. It also
>> >> ignores the fact that there are still millions of people who don't have
>> >> broadband and for whom every extra byte of data is an issue.
>> > Spam happens regardless whether html email is used.
>> > Perhaps you are suggesting that HTML email increases spam. I disagree.
>> > I think spam frequency has little to do with email format.
>> > Perhaps you are suggesting that it is easier to detect spam in plain
>> > text email. I disagree on this too. There was the I LOVE YOU trojan,
>> > one of the most damagig bad thing that happened in computer viruses.
>> As I said in the previous mail, HTML makes it harder to detect the spam
>> because spammers can embed their message inside an image. You cannot
>> detect it unless you use sophisticated image analysis software or OCR,
>> both of which are too resource hungry to be of any practicle use on a
>> production mail server. I won't even go into the issues of fishing
>> attacks that HTML enables or the fact spammers can use embedded objects
>> within the HTML to detect when you open the mail - verifying that it is
>> a legitimate e-mail address and even recording the time it was opened.
> Well, as i explained with many reasons, that i think it is
> questionable that HTML is harder to detect as spam. For example, you
> cite images. Well, in my mail box, images are simply turned off. It's
> plain text i have to actually eyeball.

Again, you miss the point. For those who are using HTML mail, this is an
issue because it means they will get more spam. Even if your just
looking at the plain text part, you may not see the actual spam, but it
isn't geting blocked and kept out of your inbox - you still have to deal
with it even if that just means hitting delete. 

>> As to your reference to the "I love you" virus, that isn't what most
>> people would call spam, but rather a virus.
> well, what terms you like to call it doesn't matter. The point was
> that bad things, happens in plain text too as frequently in html.

I dispute that as well. By far the greatest increase in security
problems has been due to fishing attacks and they depend very much on
HTML mail. the fact that in some mail readers you can get them to
execute malicious scripts that are embedded in the HTML adds further
problems you don't get with plain text. although I've not examined in
any detail, I suspect there are also probably cross-site script
exploints that would impact mil clients set to display HTML that doesn't
happen with plain text. 

I can't think of a single issue with plain text that is unique to plain
text that isn't also an issue in HTML. However, I cn think of many that
are a problem with HTML and not with plain text. 

>> > Suppose your girlfriend send you a email with the line “i ♥ u!!” with
>> > the heart in bold and large and color red. Are you gonna bitch how it
>> > is abuse of fontification and lack of knowledge in writing and waste
>> > of bandwitth resource?
>> No I'd just dump her for being a tasteless unimaginative
>> cliche. Luckily, my current partner has better taste and while not a
>> person even slightly interested in tech stuff, she is smart enough to
>> understand the issues and has no problem with plain text.
> So you are ditching the market of sweet sixteens? You know, they hog
> on myspace with cellphones. Too bad for you.

I lost interest in 16 year olds when I stopped being a teenager -
probably because I don't think of women as objects and because I'm not a
pedophile. YMMV. 

>> This is another point I've noticed with your posts. I think you
>> unde-estimate people. You seem to have an attitude that anyone who has
>> even a basic technical grasp of things is a tech geek.
> Well, no. The tech geekers are thos who hog comp.lang newsgroups and
> slashdots, for example. They are a class of people with no knowledge
> in social sciences what so ever. They are the ones who said, i wrote
> before, here:
> (as a example of
> a characteristic thought pattern of these people... one can image
> they
> are the type of guys who said computers should never adopt the mouse
> (~1990), GUI (~1990), the web should not commercialize (~1995), web
> should not have cookies (~1997), css or javascript (~1998), source
> code should never have syntax coloring (mid 1990s), blogging is for
> teens (early 2000s), Wikipedia is for morons (~2004). In their quite
> strong opinion, these type of features or changes are a waste of
> computing cycle, fad, or for kids or dumbing down society, when these
> things were in their early days and their future is not certain.)
AGain, huge generalisation. What does amaze me is that you seem so
surprised when you go into a technical group like c.l.l and sprout some
unsubstantiated irrelevant (to c.l.l) content that your not woarmly
received or that the responses have a technical bias - what do you
honestly expect to be the reaction when you go into a technical forum
and start abusing people for being technical geeks/morons. 

> It's not about popularity. Yes pragmatic. And it's not about “go with
> the flow”. Consider technology and its history, adopting html mail in
> a email app is very reasonable.
> Let me make it clear. I consider, those who don't see this, or would
> argue about it, as most did here, are completely ignorant of anything
> about social or historical aspect of technology. COMPLETELY CLUELESS.
> I mean, this is rude to say, and i'm sorry. I don't mean to be
> disrespectful. I try to be on topic, and polite.
Then you have a very odd definition of polite. Calling whole groups of
people morons and tech geeks when they disagree with you is a long way
from what I would call polite. Assuming that because someone has a
different opinion to yours they are ignorant and don't understand social
issues is both arrogant and rude. 

>> My perspective could well be defined as being ideological, but unlike
>> you, I don't see that as a bad thing as long as its not taken to an
>> extreme. As I actually provided the OP with suggested solutions and only
>> mentioned that it was a bad idea to use HTML formatted mail, I don't
>> think my view is that of an ideological extremist.
> The reason i responded to the beginning of this thread is the typical
> plain-text-email fetish, added uncessarily when answering the original
> poster's question about how to send html mail in gnus. This Luddite
> attitude is very harmful and is popular among tech geeking communities
> (e.g. comp.lang newsgroups, slashdot). As i gave examples above, these
> attitudes typically are against any technology that are not useful to
> hardcore elite programers, from gui to mouse to commercializion of web
> to css to javascript to youtube.
That is just your impression and doesn't mean it is correct or even
close to the truth. I stand by what I said to the OP. Unlike you, I
didn't attempt to lecture, call anyone morons or even criticise him for
doing it. I simply said it was a bad idea and provided him with an
alternative solution that was actually better suited (in the sense it is
a blogger interface in emacs rather than a 'workaround'). I didn't tell
him not to do it or anything else. I also dispute that it wasn't
relevant to his question. I provided him with both a possible solution
and some reasons why I thought it was a bad idea to use HTML in e-mail -
I even said "in general it is a bad idea", allowing for the possibility
that there could be a good reason to need it. 

You on the other hand couldn't resist the temptation to charge in and
start sprouting your poorly aticulated and structured and totally
irrelevant and unsubstantiated arguements why all mail and emacs mail
clients in particular should support HTML. 

> So ok, maybe we have a heated argument. You say X, i say Y. How can we
> resolve this argument? 

Personally, I have no interest in resolving it. I disagree with your
opinion and until I see any independent research that supports your
arguement, I'm unlikely to change. in the end, its irrelevant. If all
you plan to do is moan about it in this gorup, nothing will change
anyway. If enough agree with you and either you or they are prepared to
step up and make the necessary changes, then great, issue done and we
can get back to real problems rather than unsubstantiated imaginary

>> > efficiency has to be considered on the whole. The time spend to talk
>> > to these people about the merits of plain text, is a use of resource.
>> > Is this resource, for you to teach, and for him to learn, less
>> > valuable than the seconds or bytes HTML email consumes?
>> Yes, because the time I spend explaining such things doesn't cost you
>> and everyone else money. The increased bandwidth, security problems,
>> spam and added cost of trying to prevent it cost us all because
>> providers need to cover these expenses somewhere and they do that by
>> charging us more.
> spending time to explain to others about tech details of html vs plain
> text is costy. It's a human labor, one of the most costy thing.

You still miss the point. My time talking to a few people about HTML
mail doesn't cost you and others anything. However, the additional
infrastructure necessary to handle the extra bandwidth, storage,
anti-spam processing, recovery costs from security exploints etc etc
cost /all of us/ money because the providers will pass this cost on to
the customer. If we wanted to educate everyone, then yes, that would
cost money, but that wasn't your arguement. Note also that an education
program would represent a cost until those considered 'leaders'
udnerstand. At this point, the information would become almost viral and
wold not need any further funding. Compare this to a growth in users and
HTML mail, itself bloated and you have a permanent on-going cost. You
could argue that the additional bandwidth and security issues are
nothing in the scheme of things, but if you also consider that the
majority of the worlds population still don't have e-mail, this
additional overhead is quite significant.

>> wonderlust and gnus do.
> Well, i used vm with xemacs during 1998-2000. I don't recall it
> support html but i might be wrong.
> We can stop this conversation, or we can start with a focus on a
> explicitly phrased topic. Then we can clarify which is opinion, which
> is preference, which are facts, and create more explicit sub topics.
> Then perhaps eventually we might agree, or agree to know, which points
> exactly we don't agree.
I don't believe it will achieve anything. So far, the only 'facts' you
have presented don't actually relate to the arguement and are of dubious
providence anyway. Your arguement is based on unsubstantiated opinion,
as is mine and therefore unless one of us has some real facts, things
will jsut go around in circles. 

While this has been a fun distraction, I also need to get back to some
real work. It was good to have something to distract me from the flu
I've been fighting over the last 4 days. 


tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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