[Mailman-Users] Re: HTML mail

Tom Neff tneff at grassyhill.org
Thu Nov 9 05:59:55 CET 2000

--On Wednesday, November 08, 2000 8:43 PM -0800 Chuq Von Rospach 
<chuqui at plaidworks.com> wrote:

> At 8:56 PM -0500 11/8/00, Tom Neff wrote:
>> If you want to make a convincing argument with numbers, clear out
>> your database, make plain text the default INSTEAD of having HTML
>> the default,
> Tom, God could come down with stone tablets proving it, and you wouldn't
> believe it.

Proof doesn't come from God, but from itself.  God could appear with stone 
tablets containing claims that I was supposed to accept without proof, and 
I wouldn't automatically believe them, that's true.  Or a scruffy pizza 
delivery guy could appear with a self-evident proposition scrawled on the 
back of a grease stained pie bag and I'd be all over it.  We'd have to take 
the pizza out and eat it first though. :)

> I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm putting the numbers out there.
> you're welcome to believe what yo want.

You are putting SOME numbers (not "the" numbers, since there are others) 
out there, and your particular numbers arrive with significant 
preconditions.   I will quite cheerfully stand by my prior conjecture 
(leaving "belief" to the sages and medicine men): Most users simply accept 
the default format offered to them.  If you make HTML the default format, 
you will ring up an impressive majority for HTML.  If you make plain text 
the default format, a similar majority will go that way.  If you offered no 
options at all, you would probably go for months without complaint.

HTML is not a compelling user issue for most mailing lists.  It is a 
compelling admin issue because of the extra bandwidth and the difficulties 
with Digests.  Demime helps but it is not a panacaea.  If it did not impose 
bandwidth and formatting burdens, most admins would no more care about HTML 
than they do about double versus single dashes in the message body.  But 
the burdens do exist, and cooked user "preference" numbers do not alleviate 

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