[Mailman-Users] Postings From AOL - Problems

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Thu Jul 29 03:12:17 CEST 2004

Hunter Hillegas wrote:
>We have a announce-only list. The announcer is sending from AOL client v8.
>This client CAN ONLY send HTML mail. There is no way (according to AOL) to
>get it to send plain text.
>The list is setup to filter the content and convert to plain text. We don't
>want any HTML going out, just plain text.
>He always sends from the same machine. Sometimes the messages are unreadable
>by a large group of the list members. When they are unreadable, the content
>type is:
>Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="===============1909480117=="
>Normally, the content type is:
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

A couple of other posters have made good suggestions. I add the

If possible have the announcer Bcc: or at least Cc: every post to you
or someone else outside of AOL who can see the raw message. Bcc: is
better because then the recipient will receive the post from the list
for sure, but the recipient can also set his/her "avoid duplicates"
setting to "no". By seeing both the post as sent from Mailman and as
sent to Mailman, you get much better info about what happens where.

The Mailman HTML to text/plain conversion is done by default by
invoking lynx to read the HTML and produce plain text. There are
issues with this process if the HTML is encoded - i.e
Content-Transfer-Encoding: other than 7bit or 8bit. In particular,
quoted-printable and base64 encodings are not decoded before passing
to lynx, causing unexpected results. There may be issues with UTF-8
charset as well.

If it turns out that charset=UTF-8 or one of the above encodings is the
problem, it might be avoided by not using any extended characters in
the post. This is harder than it seems as many "word processor like"
programs and I sure AOL is included in this do things like converting
pairs of apostrophes into left single quote/right single quote pairs
and similarly with pairs of ascii quotation marks, converting three
periods into  horizontal ellipsis and so forth.

Finally, the Content-Type: multipart/mixed; may be created by Mailman
if there are list headers and or footers. See the FAQ at

Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net>       The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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