[conspire] HTML-only e-mail

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu May 1 12:00:24 PDT 2008

Quoting Daniel Gimpelevich (daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us):

> Please refrain from sending HTML-only e-mail to the list. It's really
> ugly. It's bad enough that I have to sound out almost every single word
> Ruben writes just so that I can figure out what it is that he's
> misspelling.

As a point of clarification, it was _Adrien_ who was posting in all-HTML 
mail (apparently as a result of using Yahoo Mail).  Ruben does not.  His
posts have:

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable 

Now, quoted-printable is, IMO, a pretty awful thing to do to text, and
I wish it would go away, but any decent MUA's mailcap entries or
equivalent should be able to make it readable.

More to the immediate point, it's pretty easy to do likewise with
pure-HTML postings:  You just need a suitable /etc/mailcap or ~/.mailcap
entry.  (Some MUAs, including mutt, which I use, consult mailcap.
Others use internal rulesets, or whatever.)  

Here is what I have in /home/rick/.mailcap that handles pure-HTML mail:

text/html; /usr/bin/lynx -dump -force_html '%s'; copiousoutput; description=HTML Text; nametemplate=%s.html

I'm sure something better isn't difficult to make, but that's what I
came up with a number of years ago, and it's been good enough for me.
As a result, I was (barely) able to notice that Adrien was posting in
pure-HTML, because of some characteristing indenting from lynx's -dump
mode, but otherwise it wasn't annoying.

One slightly broader point that I'm attempting to drive towards, with
that example:  Our core competency as Linux users is supposed to be our
control of our software environments -- and it turns out that a very
large part of the careless badness on the Internet, including pure-HTML
e-mail, cruddy Javasscript and Flash advertising, etc., can with not
much effort get rearranged, rewritten, or filtered out on the fly at
_your_ receiving end, to make it standards-compliant and non-annoying.
I'd like to suggest that it's smarter to just autoconvert pure-HTML to
plaintext than it is to continually ask people not to post it, and also
a lot more likely to succeed.

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