should we use plaintext for message?

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should we use plaintext for message?

Wesley Peng-11
Hello

Following this guide:
https://useplaintext.email/

Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?

Thanks
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Olivier Nicole-2
Wesley Peng <[hidden email]> writes:

> Hello
>
> Following this guide:
> https://useplaintext.email/
>
> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?

Yes, why not?

Messages are smaller and more often than not, people are so bad at text
presentation that their mails are plain ugly and hard to read.

Plaintext offer very limited options when it comes to style, so less
options to do a bad job.

Olivier

> Thanks
>

--
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Anton Rieger
In reply to this post by Wesley Peng-11
On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 02:51:45AM +0100, Wesley Peng wrote:
> Hello
Hello

>
> Following this guide:
> https://useplaintext.email/
I don't like it's tone but it's mostly ok

>
> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?
I use it regulary, except if I give tutorials in support mails with more than two images.
It's way easier to refer to inline images than say:

Do xyz like you see in image1.png.
Lorem Ipsum.... look at image2.png.

Or like[1] to look something[2] up.

>
>Thanks

Regards
Anton Rieger
--------------------
[1] image1.png
[2] image2.png
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Jaroslaw Rafa
In reply to this post by Wesley Peng-11
Dnia 18.03.2020 o godz. 02:51:45 Wesley Peng pisze:
>
> Following this guide:
> https://useplaintext.email/
>
> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?

Absolutely. Email basically is, was and should remain plaintext.

Use HTML only when it's absolutely necessary. By "necessary" I *don't* mean
"I just want to include fancy formatting in my email". One example of good
use for HTML was already given here - to include inline images in the
message (images that are there to actually explain something, not just to
look nice).
--
Regards,
   Jaroslaw Rafa
   [hidden email]
--
"In a million years, when kids go to school, they're gonna know: once there
was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub."
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Billy Lin
In reply to this post by Wesley Peng-11
Agree!

On 18/3/20 9:51 am, Wesley Peng wrote:
> Hello
>
> Following this guide:
> https://useplaintext.email/
>
> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?
>
> Thanks
>
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Darac Marjal
In reply to this post by Anton Rieger
On 18/03/2020 02:40, Anton Rieger wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 02:51:45AM +0100, Wesley Peng wrote:
>> Hello
> Hello
>
>>
>> Following this guide:
>> https://useplaintext.email/
> I don't like it's tone but it's mostly ok
>
>>
>> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?
> I use it regulary, except if I give tutorials in support mails with
> more than two images.
> It's way easier to refer to inline images than say:
>
> Do xyz like you see in image1.png.
> Lorem Ipsum.... look at image2.png.
>
> Or like[1] to look something[2] up.
The problem there is that you've just re-invented markup.
Cross-referencing some text to an image? Isn't that just <a
href="#link">txt</a> or whatever?

There is clearly a desire among users for something more than plain
text. You often want *emphasis* in flame wars. You want a table in
reporting your financial results or when listing various things.
However, I think everyone can agree that "Responsive emails", trackers,
frameworks and so on and so on is just TOO MUCH.

I'd argue then, that a middle ground is the way forward. Emails should
be written in a markup language which is both relatively simple (yet
flexible enough to handle the basic formatting commands) and human
readable before (and after) rendering. Markdown is a very good step
towards this, IMO.

>
>>
>> Thanks
>
> Regards
> Anton Rieger
> --------------------
> [1] image1.png
> [2] image2.png


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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Phil Stracchino
On 2020-03-18 11:27, Darac Marjal wrote:

> There is clearly a desire among users for something more than plain
> text. You often want *emphasis* in flame wars. You want a table in
> reporting your financial results or when listing various things.
> However, I think everyone can agree that "Responsive emails", trackers,
> frameworks and so on and so on is just TOO MUCH.
>
> I'd argue then, that a middle ground is the way forward. Emails should
> be written in a markup language which is both relatively simple (yet
> flexible enough to handle the basic formatting commands) and human
> readable before (and after) rendering. Markdown is a very good step
> towards this, IMO.

I'd agree.  Rich text with embedded images and hyperlinks, sure, but no
active elements of any kind.


--
  Phil Stracchino
  Babylon Communications
  [hidden email]
  [hidden email]
  Landline: +1.603.293.8485
  Mobile:   +1.603.998.6958


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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Jaroslaw Rafa
In reply to this post by Darac Marjal
Dnia 18.03.2020 o godz. 15:27:24 Darac Marjal pisze:
>
> I'd argue then, that a middle ground is the way forward. Emails should
> be written in a markup language which is both relatively simple (yet
> flexible enough to handle the basic formatting commands) and human
> readable before (and after) rendering. Markdown is a very good step
> towards this, IMO.

Well, but we need mail clients that support it :)
--
Regards,
   Jaroslaw Rafa
   [hidden email]
--
"In a million years, when kids go to school, they're gonna know: once there
was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub."
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Benny Pedersen-2
In reply to this post by Wesley Peng-11
On 2020-03-18 02:51, Wesley Peng wrote:

> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?

to make the postfix digest maillist look better yes :=)
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Benny Pedersen-2
In reply to this post by Anton Rieger
On 2020-03-18 03:40, Anton Rieger wrote:

> Do xyz like you see in image1.png.
> Lorem Ipsum.... look at image2.png.

images is not html

and OP asked to do plain text, not remove inline images attachments

/me hiddes before the fire starts burning now
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Jaroslaw Rafa
Dnia 18.03.2020 o godz. 16:52:10 [hidden email] pisze:
> On 2020-03-18 03:40, Anton Rieger wrote:
>
> >Do xyz like you see in image1.png.
> >Lorem Ipsum.... look at image2.png.
>
> images is not html
>
> and OP asked to do plain text, not remove inline images attachments

inline images != image attachments

Plaintext email cannot have inline images, but can have image attachments.
HTML email can have both.
--
Regards,
   Jaroslaw Rafa
   [hidden email]
--
"In a million years, when kids go to school, they're gonna know: once there
was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub."
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Wietse Venema
I think this train has left the station almost 30 years ago. The
only people who care about plaintext are people who were born before
circa 1980, or who are part of some extremist minority.

        Wietse.
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Harald Koch-2
In reply to this post by Darac Marjal
On Wed, Mar 18, 2020, at 11:27, Darac Marjal wrote:

> Markdown is a very good step
> towards this, IMO.

Oh the irony...

From the initial announcement of Markdown by John Gruber (https://web.archive.org/web/20040402182332/http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/):

" the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email."

--
Harald
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Anton Rieger
In reply to this post by Darac Marjal
On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 03:27:24PM +0000, Darac Marjal wrote:

>On 18/03/2020 02:40, Anton Rieger wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 02:51:45AM +0100, Wesley Peng wrote:
>>> Hello
>> Hello
>>
>>>
>>> Following this guide:
>>> https://useplaintext.email/
>> I don't like it's tone but it's mostly ok
>>
>>>
>>> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?
>> I use it regulary, except if I give tutorials in support mails with
>> more than two images.
>> It's way easier to refer to inline images than say:
>>
>> Do xyz like you see in image1.png.
>> Lorem Ipsum.... look at image2.png.
>>
>> Or like[1] to look something[2] up.
>
>The problem there is that you've just re-invented markup.
>Cross-referencing some text to an image? Isn't that just <a
>href="#link">txt</a> or whatever?
I think you mistook me. It was an example to show, that HTML inline images are far easier
to follow than given examples.
Especially for new users.
I'm not against HTML. Just hate image only emails. Kinda reminds me of old flash only
websites...
But for typical short emails plain is often enough.

>
>There is clearly a desire among users for something more than plain
>text. You often want *emphasis* in flame wars.
I'm using neomutt as MUA, so I can highlight *emphasis*. (Ncurses is capable of italics e.g.)
It supports ANSI and/or rich text color codes, but is disabled by default as it might have
security implications. So you can define own rules to replace stuff.
I recreated some Markdown elements, as those are used most often and many know them from IM applications.
HTML-only mails get piped through w3m to make them readable on a terminal.

>You want a table in reporting your financial results or when listing various things.
As said above, some situations are suited for HTML mails, but I'd prefer some less complex
markup language. BTW. ASCII tables exist (just joking around)

>However, I think everyone can agree that "Responsive emails", trackers,
>frameworks and so on and so on is just TOO MUCH.
agreed

>
>I'd argue then, that a middle ground is the way forward. Emails should
>be written in a markup language which is both relatively simple (yet
>flexible enough to handle the basic formatting commands) and human
>readable before (and after) rendering. Markdown is a very good step
>towards this, IMO.
agreed.
Some use only stylistic html elements and not full blown html+css :)

>
>>
>>>
>>> Thanks
>>
>> Regards
>> Anton Rieger
>> --------------------
>> [1] image1.png
>> [2] image2.png
>



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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

johnea
In reply to this post by Wietse Venema
On 2020-03-18 09:08, Wietse Venema wrote:
> I think this train has left the station almost 30 years ago. The
> only people who care about plaintext are people who were born before
> circa 1980,


> or who are part of some extremist minority.

Which includes anyone who even _knows_ what comprises the body of their email.

The modern internet business model is surveillance based.

Plain text interferes with surveillance and will be marginalized.

Users desiring certain features is not a significant component in these technical decisions. Outside of possibly being used as a carrot to get them to adopt a more efficient surveillance system.

Obviously Great God Google is the king of this, but many many minions also participate (Constant Contact, etc).

Users outside of the above mentioned extremist minority have no idea, or care, that they increase their vulnerability surface.

johnea
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

James B. Byrne
In reply to this post by Darac Marjal
Has anyone considered the absolute want of utility that image data presents for
the blind?

The advantage of plain text is that there are any number of automated assists
that can process it into audio.

--
***          e-Mail is NOT a SECURE channel          ***
        Do NOT transmit sensitive data via e-Mail
 Do NOT open attachments nor follow links sent by e-Mail

James B. Byrne                mailto:[hidden email]
Harte & Lyne Limited          http://www.harte-lyne.ca
9 Brockley Drive              vox: +1 905 561 1241
Hamilton, Ontario             fax: +1 905 561 0757
Canada  L8E 3C3

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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Philip Paeps
In reply to this post by Wesley Peng-11
On 2020-03-18 09:51:45 (+0800), Wesley Peng wrote:
> Following this guide:
> https://useplaintext.email/
>
> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?

You should use what the content of the message needs modulo your
recipients' wishes.

I personally prefer to receive plain text but I don't mind receiving
conservatively marked up HTML email (e.g. emphasis, hyperlinks, tables,
... even embedded images if the message requires them).  Others may
(will) have other preferences.

In my experience, plain text suffices for the vast majority of mailing
list discussions.

Trying to force people to limit themselves to plain text is not a
productive use of anyone's time.

Philip

--
Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Alternative Enterprises
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Bob Proulx
In reply to this post by Wietse Venema
Wietse Venema wrote:
> I think this train has left the station almost 30 years ago. The
> only people who care about plaintext are people who were born before
> circa 1980, or who are part of some extremist minority.

That isn't required to be a logical OR condition.  It is possible for
me to be born before 1980 AND also be part of an extremist plain text
viewpoint at the same time. :-)

Bob
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

Wietse Venema
Bob Proulx:
> Wietse Venema wrote:
> > I think this train has left the station almost 30 years ago. The
> > only people who care about plaintext are people who were born before
> > circa 1980, or who are part of some extremist minority.
>
> That isn't required to be a logical OR condition.  It is possible for
> me to be born before 1980 AND also be part of an extremist plain text
> viewpoint at the same time. :-)

Geek reply: it is logical OR, nor exclusive OR :-)

        Wietse
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Re: should we use plaintext for message?

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Philip Paeps
On 19 Mar 2020, at 00:16, Philip Paeps <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 2020-03-18 09:51:45 (+0800), Wesley Peng wrote:
>> Following this guide:
>> https://useplaintext.email/
>>
>> Shall we use plaintext message in regular email communication?
>
> You should use what the content of the message needs modulo your recipients' wishes.
>
> I personally prefer to receive plain text but I don't mind receiving conservatively marked up HTML email (e.g. emphasis, hyperlinks, tables, ... even embedded images if the message requires them).  Others may (will) have other preferences.

The problem with the position is that many people feel their messages RECQUIRE their colorful signature, large corporate logo, and 14 line of meaningless “This message is private communication… blah blah”

(I use to post those emails to sites like pastern and send the person the link, but now I just delete them unread)

> In my experience, plain text suffices for the vast majority of mailing list discussions.

And in the very few cases where an image is required it is better to link to the image.

Once you allow any image or HTML it becomes impossible to limit it to only the necessary formatting.

> Trying to force people to limit themselves to plain text is not a productive use of anyone's time.

That’s why the best solution is for the mailing list to simply strip all attachments and also reject messages that do not have text/plain parts. This takes no time and no one needs to waste time or be bothered about it and there’s also no one to complain to since it’s all automated.

The people who really can’t deal without having their pink text handwriting font on a lime green background with an animated gif attached will either adapt or go away.

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