[Mailman-Users] Email formatting

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Fri Oct 10 17:06:18 CEST 2014

On 10/10/2014 07:25 AM, Shannon Doane wrote:
> I've noticed that when I send an email through the mailing list that a lot of formatting is stripped away. Particularly bothersome is lost line or paragraph breaks. As an example, in an original email there may be a space between paragraphs, but when the email gets delivered through mailman those line breaks may be removed and there is no space between paragraphs at all. Even worse line/paragraph breaks may be removed altogether and everything runs on a continuous line with only word wrap occurring. 
> Any thoughts on why this happens? 

There are two things involved here: Mailman's content filtering and your
mail client.

In the case of your post to the mailman-users list to which I'm
replying, you will note that your original was just two lines, but my
reply is better formatted.

When you send a message, you compose it in Yahoo's "rich text" editor.
When you send it, Yahoo sends it as a multipart/alternative message with
text/plain and text/html alternative parts. The text/html part is HTML
which renders (at least approximately depending on the recipient's mail
client) like what you composed with all the formatting, fonts, etc
intact. The text/plain part is Yahoo's translation of what you composed
into plain text. Yahoo's web mail is particularly bad at this.

Then, this list is configured to not send out HTML, so it selects the
text/plain alternative to send to the members, and the result is Yahoo's
bad plain text rendering of your composition.

The answer is to compose your mail in plain text rather than rich text
to begin with when posting to lists. Then you control what the plain
text looks like. To do this, click the '<<' icon at the bottom rigjht of
the composition window to 'Switch to Plain Text'. Then, you can type
what you want to see; it will be sent as plain text, and Mailman will
send it as received.

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

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