Last revision: 22 May 1998
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (usenet-format) Subject: Re: Content-Type: message/external-body From: email@example.com (John Moreno) Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 11:04:08 -0400 HTML in news is nearly useless, it's not a forum where a great deal of formatting is desirable. It's much more likely for something completely different will be accepted than html being adopted - unless it is done in such a way that it doesn't cause problems for the people who don't use it. Brad's OOB (or a alternative using the same idea, i.e. put the extra info in the headers) has a much better chance of being accepted simply because it's invisible, it either just works or it's not seen. It can quietly be adopted and there won't be any messages saying "That's ugly and rude and if you do it again I'm going to burn your house down". -- John Moreno
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 15:30:57 -0700 From: <Name withheld at request of sender> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: New email format I just saw a report in IWORLD that you are working on adding new HTML features to email. We do not need or want these features. Email is simple and compact. Adding the "web experience" would merely clog the web with useless formatting commands, font sizes, graphics, and issues that have little to do with communicating information and ideas. SPAM would increase this traffic, and is already a severe burden on many ISP's. If people want me to have a "web experience", they can email me a url to a regular web site. I can then chose to ignore it as I wish. Your proposals would force me to wait until the entire email message was downloaded before I could erase it. Email should be kept as simple as possible. If you want to enhance email, please work on more constructive issues, such as steps against forgery, and email receipts guaranteeing that email was delivered.
From: Jacob Palme <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 10:06:01 +0200 Subject:Re: New email format Cc: IETF working group on HTML in e-mail <mhtml@SEGATE.SUNET.SE> You remind me of the famous film director, who said, soon before the introduction of sound-film: "The film-making technology is now perfect. No future improvements are possible.".
Or of the lawmakers who proscribed that a man with a red flag
should walk in front of each motorcar, although I do have some sympathy for those lawmakers. On a more serious issue: Why would pictures not be useful in e-mail, when it is useful in most other media? Why are newspapers using a mixture of different fonts, graphics and other layout tools if this does not make the newspapers more readable? Do you not think that collecting information through e-mail forms would be very useful in many areas? Do you not think that we need a standard for archiving complete web documents? Good use of fonts, images and layout makes text more readable. Assume that the time to write a message or article is W seconds, and that the time to read it on average for all readers is R seconds for N readers of the message or article. Assume that the time to write a message or article is W seconds, and that the time to read it on average for all readers is R seconds for N readers of the message or article. The total time spent on writing and reading will then be T = W + N*R HTML makes W longer, but R shorter, because the text is more readable. Thus, the larger N is, the more probable that T will be lower with HTML-formatted messages. Examples, using reasonable values, partly from studies I have made: W = 240 seconds for plain text, 480 seconds for HTML R = 30 seconds for plain text, 27 seconds for HTML With these values, T will be lower for HTML than for plain text if N is larger than 80. Thus, it is probable that using HTML will save time if a message or article has more than 80 readers. Thus large mailing lists and all but very small newsgroups will be more efficient with HTML in messages. Of course, the figures varies with the content. If a good graphic can explain something better than text, then the difference between R for plain text and HTML will be larger than I assumed. Also, in a heated argument, the sender of a message may want maximum understandability of his ideas, even if this will cost the sender some more effort. --- --- I do agree with your wishes to get better protection against forgery and spamming and e-mail-receipts. But there are better ways to achieve this than to stop use of HTML in e-mail.
If you think MHTML will increase the download time for messages, you can use the FETCH command of IMAP to download messages. With this command, you can ask IMAP to only download the plain text part of your message. IMAP can be used to download from Usenet News, too, if you want this feature.