[Mailman-Users] Carriage Return in Archives

John DeCarlo jdecarlo at mitre.org
Tue Nov 19 14:36:00 CET 2002

J C Lawrence wrote:

> On Fri, 15 Nov 2002 14:22:25 -0500
> John DeCarlo  wrote:
> >Hello, Just wanted to make the point that MUAs should *not* put in
> >line breaks except for new paragraphs.  Any decent MUA that is reading
> >the message will perform the line wraps for you based on the size of
> >your window.
> Wrong.
>   1) Not everybody uses a windowing interface.

Why would this be important?  I can turn on word wrap on a VT100.  Automatic word wrap has been available in every kind of interface for decades.

>   2) Not all text is prose


I guess I should have been more precise.  Any decent MUA over the past 10-20 years should not insert extra characters in the user's message.  If the user wants to put in a line break after every word, or only after every 1000 word paragraph, that is the 
user's decision.  If the user wants to have a fancy looking poem with words centered, that should be a user decision.

>   3) Not all text can be reflowed without losing data.

Exactly.  You want it reflowed when the MUA creates the email message.  I disagree.  Let the receiver decide how to view it.  Then the receiver can turn on word wrap at 30 characters or 72 or 185 or not every turn it on at all.

> >It is really a kludge to force the sender to put in line breaks every
> >72 characters.
> Nope.  This argument was fought and quite properly lost almost 20 years
> ago.

No.  The result back then was "it is more polite to word wrap at sending time because so many brain-damaged message viewers are out there.  But it is still a messy and hopefully short-lived kludge."

John DeCarlo, My Views Are My Own

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