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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Administrivia: html duplicates

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Administrivia: html duplicates
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 21:18:13 +0000

On Sun, 2008-01-27 at 13:09 +0000, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > In technical terms, there shouldn't be vast difference between loading
> > plain text mails and loading HTML mails - for the most part, that
> > information comes from an index, so the actual size/content of a mail is
> > inconsequential.
> I don't know what keeps an index, mutt certainly doesn't because it uses
> straight .mbx format with all emails in a file

I bet you dollars to donuts it's not processing that entire .mbx file
though - it's going to dance around at the end where the interesting
mail is and build an in-memory index as it goes.

I grant you the thing about disk storage though; certainly that doesn't
apply to mbox files.

> > I don't think the pure technical argument is persuasive. The practical
> > argument is much more relevant - in terms of the HTML actually emitted -
> > but on technical grounds, I actually think HTML wins the theory.
> Well, how about a social argument -- it gets people annoyed and they
> don't bother reading the messages?

Sure, but you can also not bother reading the message based on:

      * who wrote it,
      * whether they started their reply at the top or bottom of the
      * whether they used a reasonable subject line,
      * how long the lines in the e-mail are,
      * whether they USED ALL CAPITALS IN THE MESSAGE or used txt wrds 2
        mk it kwik

... and all sorts of other reasons. It's almost like saying you're not
going to talk to a Scouser until they learn a bit of Estuary English or
something, it's not as simple as saying "people have to write correctly
if they want me to read it". 

Honestly, if plain text were sufficient, that would be all I would use.
And for the most part on this lists and others, I only use it. But
there's no way I could use that with most non-technical people. I would
worry that by enforcing too-strict formatting compliance rules, you end
up effectively preventing people who don't/can't comply with those rules
from participating. And in general, that probably means non-technical
people, and as free software becomes more accessible to non-techies I
would think it would be more important for this list to be accessible to

So, I would say there are social reasons either way. I've no particular
wish to read messages in green text, but then I've no wish to read them
in ALL CAPS either. It's not really a technical thing, it is a social



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