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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Administrivia: html duplicates

From: Andrew Savory
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Administrivia: html duplicates
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 09:54:42 +0100


On 1/29/08, MJ Ray <address@hidden> wrote:
> > That was mine :) Do you really think we should alienate people who are
> > considering joining fsf-uk before they even have chance to speak to
> > us?
> I don't see a simple request as alienating, nor on-server-conversion.
> It's far better than a few people flaming them to hell.

A simple request along the lines of "please only send plain text emails here"?

Boom. I'm Mr Average User, I've no clue what this "plain text/html"
distinction is all about, I just use my hotmail account to send
enquiries about how I can switch to this "free/libre software" stuff
since it seems like a win-win for my company and society in general.
Now I'm not sure how I can send an email, so I move on to the other
important things on my todo list. Bye bye, new adopter.

> I think it's for MSN, Googlemail, Yahoo to fix their webmails.  Sorry for the
> confusion.  (I doubt they will, as html sells more expensive ads.
> Oh, and I see a Tron/MCP analogue for those webmail companies...)

That makes the rather arrogant assumption that their webmails are
somehow broken. The "average" user (and even the "average" developer,
I'll warrant) has chosen rich text emails over text emails, which is
why the webmails are configured thus. Users expect a "richer"
experience and don't understand nor care about "messy tags" or
"bloated messages".

> > everyone uses computers and 99% of those people use rich formatted
> > messages (email, social networking and IM),
> Social networking - at least facebook's Inbox system seems to be plain
> text (with a few small add-ons like link-sniffing, but not rich text).

You can bet your ass that's because the Facebook implementors did not
have time to add rich text features. It's well-known that spent all
their time dealing with scalability, which suggests bells and whistles
like usefulness and html mails will come later.

> > let's not rule those people out of our fsf-uk discussions.
> I don't want anyone to be ruled out, but I don't see why it's better
> to rule out plain-texters than htmlers.

That assumes that it's a zero-sum game. AFAICT, being more inclusive
is a net gain (and those that whine that html email will overload
their net connections and their processing power and their disk space
will either dump their ZX81s/286s and join us in the modern world, or
accept that to participate in a meaningful way to society whilst using
obsolete kit they will need to do some extra work to filter stuff

> > I don't mean to drag this debate on, but you seem to be responsible
> > for the list admin!
> Other than above, I don't think this is moving the debate on any.
> I explained my next steps at the top: wait for Friday, then count.
> Sending more repeats will not help get html here.  Convincing other
> subscribers might, but I doubt repeats will do that.

Just making sure all angles are explored, will now go back to sleep
until it's time to resurrect this thread in another 3 years. ("My
12-core Mac running GNU/Windows on a saturated T1 line can't possibly
cope with plain text emails! I demand morse code!")


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