[vcf-midatlantic] OT: On the merits of plain text email

Douglas Crawford touchetek at gmail.com
Thu Jul 1 16:50:02 UTC 2021

Here you go, have at it.

 > I guess that's the problem with HTML for ya'll? It encourages too
 > much formatting?  Or is it bulky?  I don't need it, certainly we
 > don't need it functionally, but I don't understand what the huge
 > prob is with it, educate me.
   There are philosophical issues with sending frequently tens or
hundreds of kilobytes when a few hundred bytes will do.  That doesn't
matter as much as it used to, but it still matters to some people for
real (i.e. financial) reasons.  There ARE still metered network
connections.  I myself am not on one, but I know a great many people who
are, and smartphones nearly always are.
   Next, HTML is for web pages.  Email is not web pages, it is a textual
communications medium.  The fact that uneducated developers who don't
know any better added HTML capability in some email clients does not
automatically mean it's a good idea.  At least in Thunderbird (which I
use) that drivel can be turned off.  All of this crap started when the
floodgates of nontechnical people opened up onto the Internet, and they
seemed to think that anything is really just fine as long as they found
it in a drop-down menu.  Otherwise, why would it be there, right?  That
fallacious logic assumes that the developers of the email program knew
what they were doing.
   But most importantly for me, *I* choose the text size, text color,
background color, etc that works best FOR ME to read email on all of the
devices on which I do that.  People are not welcome to attempt to
override that.  What they send is really their business...and whether or
not I bit-bucket their flowery purple fonts is mine.  That crap is
distracting and it's a waste of time, and I'm not a person with a lot of
time to waste.
   Next, honestly, who has so much free time as to think playing around
with "stylizing" their textual communications is a reasonable use of
their time?

On 7/1/21 11:33 AM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
 > Dave McGuire makes quite a case for not supporting HTML and not
 > providing various attachments. Others have also. To me they appears to
 > be a "traditional" view of email, one I happen to agree with. But others
 > may not be interested in traditional views of email, and so not 

   Speaking of "a traditional view of email" suggests that there are
other views, and it further suggests that this is a matter of "views" in
the first place.

   The RFCs have not changed.  The protocols have not changed.  The
reasoning behind the design decisions made during the creation of both
have not changed.  The drawbacks to abusing the protocols and the
problems that this causes have not changed.

   And (for me) above all, my desire to not allow J. Random Mouthbreather
who wants to use complex tools without learning anything about them
first to override how MY computer systems display textual content
intended for me to read has most definitely not changed.

 > But as I noted earlier in this email: others may not be persuaded by
 > what amount to "traditionalist" views in modern use of the Internet. To
 > old people it should not be a surprise that young people may not be
 > interested in prior practices.

   It's not a perfect analogy, but it's close: If I'm standing before a
judge in a courtroom, I probably would not have a very good day if I
were to explain to the judge that I, as a person with my own "view", was
not interested in prior practices regarding speed limits and was not
"persuaded" by others who were trying to keep me out of jail.

   A person can use a crescent wrench to pound in a nail.  It will
probably eventually get the nail in, but the person is still an idiot.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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