Vexen Crabtree 2015


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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Don't send HTML emails

"Don't Send HTML Emails" by Vexen Crabtree (2003)

HTML emails are harder to read, larger, take longer to download, facilitate all kinds of viruses and security risks, are impolite, are mostly spam and can't be read by all email clients. Be nice: Send plain text emails.

A user who is trying to communicate with me is refusing to turn off HTML emails... they are a Christian, I don't know how old or where, but they're annoying enough already (they have a tendancy towards UPPER CASE text too), ... so they inspired me to finally to a page that I can now quote at them, at length.

Disclaimer: Aspen Fox, you've given me just and sensible reasons why you prefer to send emails in HTML format, which is fine, it's not good netiquette but it works nontheless.

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I'd be interested in hearing the "just and sensible" reasons. The only one I've heard that I can't argue with so far is "I use AOL/Hotmail and I don't have any choice".
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Makali wrote:
> I'd be interested in hearing the "just and
> sensible" reasons

I think she's not used to, or doesn't like, the standard netiquette method of "> QUOTE", so she uses HTML emails and writes responses right over the top of previous text, but in a different color. I've been having big email conversations with her (and she'll probably read this too!!) so she'll probably get used to the proper way of doing it, and switch over at some point.

Advantage of her way: Don't have to bother indenting the text. (Although it takes next to no time, if you're not used to it, it takes longer)

Disadvantage: Aside from the disadvantages listed on my page, the thread quickly becomes an unholy mess of HTML, colors and stuff, with all the quote attributations mixed up.

I didn't address this page at her, though, because it would be unfair to do so without actually explaining what the indented text and attributed text (ie, the first line of this response) is all about! Do you know any good URLs? (I'm planning on doing a whole site on Netiquette at some point, but not yet!)

> The only one I've heard that I can't
> argue with so far is "I use AOL/Hotmail
> and I don't have any choice".

I use Hotmail, and have it set to send only text emails. I done a test just now to make sure. I'm not sure where the setting is. Actually, it might be in the "Signature" options page. There is a sneaky check box for "Show the rich-text toolbar", and I suspect turning this on makes all emails HTML. If I turn it on, then off, it displays a warning that turning it off "will also remove rich text settings from your signature and/or emails"
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HUH???! I've only been sending plain-text emails to you (since you previously mentioned not liking HTML)! My email program is Microsoft Outlook. You have to purposely select HTML; the default is plain text. I don't know what the "> QUOTE" thing is. I don't know very much HTML, other than the little that I've learned here in LJ. (No, I don't have a webpage either!) I've never heard anyone else complain ;) and have never heard any descriptions of 'netiquette' in terms of email, except the obvious ones of not spamming people. I don't send or receive a ton of email each week, either. I think before I was using bold for my responses to differentiate from previous email text. I really don't know why it's such a problem with some people's servers/computers/programs.

If you have a description or demonstration of just what you want emails to look like, maybe you'd better show me. I know you said you didn't address this to me specifically, but my name IS mentioned in your post.
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Yeah, I think we've reached a good and practical compromise with the way we send emails. You do occasionally send HTML ones, but it doesn't take me long to reformat them. Although we don't format emails in the same way, we get along fine I think, and there's no real need to be concerned about needing to change.

There is a lot of netiquette concerned with email, usenet, forums, etc, but I haven't said anything to you because it wouldn't be useful (as you mention) without me actually showing you what that netiquette is... it's been ages since I learned it all and read up on it, so I don't know any URLs off hand. One day, I'll do a search or come across some useful stuff... I am planning on creating an entire netiquette website. It'll contain my HTML Emails.html page, my CAPSLOCK.html page and my "SMS Speak" page, which are all presently in my notes/rants site, plus other guides to standard netiquette.

HTML Emails/Rich text emails don't require you to know HTML, it marks it up automatically. MS standard programs for marking up HTML (such as Word, OE... etc) is ungainly, messy and bloated, and is itself one of the problems with nonplain emails (not the users' fault, they often don't know what it's like to have to look through a HTML email to find the obscured and convuluted content! Anyone who uses Pine (one of the non-HTML email clients) hates HTML emails! And hates spam even more!)

I mentioned your name in particular ... only in my LJ post not the page itself, 'cos I knew you'd identify with the text, pointing out that the page isn't relevent to you in particular.

The page exists so I can quote it, rather than retype a request, and save myself time when communicating with newbies or new debaters. HTML emails fare worse in long threads because they make quoting difficult (HTML emails invariably lend themselves to /top posting/ (for many people - not you) which is bad netiquette), but HTML emails are generally good for single responses, such as you might get in the business world. (Hence, HTML emails are "Sales team" driven because they are more commercial-friendly, etc).

OK... I knew I had to be careful how I worded this page, 'cos I knew "anti-HTML emails" would be something you'd associate me with, I tried to make sure you knew it wasn't directed at you but didn't do too well!... I'm sorry... I love your emails ok, and as such don't really care *how* they're formatted!

* a n d * ... disclaimer... you're quite free of course to simply completely disagree with me, promote and send HTML emails all you wish, and I'll still think you're great, such issues are abstract, not personal...
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Yes, I hate CAPSLOCK, too. My pet peeves are usually more aesthetic and grammar-oriented. Run-on sentences, bad punctuation (or no punctuation), misspellings all over the place, bad syntax, speaking in the third person tense when first person suffices, and the ever-popular incomplete sentence.

What in the world is SMS? And maybe you (or someone) could a search on Google for this Netiquette? :)

OK... I knew I had to be careful how I worded this page, 'cos I knew "anti-HTML emails" would be something you'd associate me with, I tried to make sure you knew it wasn't directed at you but didn't do too well!... I'm sorry... I love your emails ok, and as such don't really care *how* they're formatted!
* a n d * ... disclaimer... you're quite free of course to simply completely disagree with me, promote and send HTML emails all you wish, and I'll still think you're great, such issues are abstract, not personal...

::blush:: Aw, tank yew! Nah, that's okay. I changed the default setting to Plain Text. :)
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Get over it, it's progress

I don't really see what your making all this fuss about, it does seem your making a big gripe about such a small and insignificant issue. It's progress, so come into the 21st Century and get an email client that supports HTML. Throw away that abacus, the chisel and stone, then you'll be one of us!!!

ooooooo scary, you've logged my IP address!
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Regarding Hotmail, I think you're right - it's easy to set it on to "rich text" which sounds nicer, and then you have no choice, but the default is plain. All well and good.

As for different-coloured-text-as-reply, it's not better, it's different. I guess I could argue that depending on the colour-blindness of the reader (10% of men suffer some form of colourblindness.. it's much rarer in women), but I can't be bothered. It's not better, just different. In an argument, it'd come off worse because most people don't expect it, but that's about it. As you say, it's pretty easy to figure out, and it's fairly distinctive. Still, seems like a pain in the arse when you can do it the normal way more easily. Oh well.
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Okay, I read your essay. I didn't know it was such a big deal that someone could be prompted to write a full webpage RANT about it! I hope these sections are the *rant* parts, because otherwise they come across as just too judgmental and of a personally irritated nature:

"Sending HTML emails is impolite and presumptious. ... People other than spammers send HTML emails for various reasons. Those who are new to the Internet, the ignorant, the impolite and the young are all frequent HTML email senders because they in general don't realize the pitfalls. ...
HTML email is equated with SPAM, making it immediately irritating, annoying and impolite."

It's hard to believe that getting HTML from only two people could elicit such a heated response, but perhaps this has been going on for longer and actually involves much 'bigger fish to fry.'

I don't see my particular email client listed, but I could go into my program and look around to see if there's a hidden option somewhere to choose between HTML and plain-text, but I thought that it was already defaulted to plain text. (And please note: I'm not new to the internet, I'm not deliberately impolite, and I'm certainly not young. I suppose the only option left is ignorant.) Hopefully I've learned something, and now I'll go fiddle with my MS Outlook options to try to rectify this highly annoying HTML problem everybody else has. ;)
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Hey *hugs* don't worry too much... the paragraph you quoted me on is too, HTML email senders are frequently those types of people, but there are also many who have software that forces HTML emails, and many who actually *choose* to send HTML emails, for all kinds of reasons. I don't address (in my rant...) those who choose to send HTML, because that's there choice and is a difference of opinion where I can't claim to simply be "right", but nonetheless this page exists so I can quote it at people who do not know some of the issues involved with HTML emails.

This is an ongoing battle, you're right, it's not new, several companies (such as Microsoft) are very much promoting HTML emails, almost making them required, but they are bad for the industry so there is a large portion of Internet geeks and long-time users trying to halt the sales-team driven uptake of HTML emails. The problem is, mostly, new users coming on to the Internet end up accepting Microsoft/AOL default settings and send HTML emails, without having any idea about the issues. Not their fault, but that's the kind of person my page is most aimed towards.
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I think I found something in my email program: I went into Tools, then Options, then selected Mail Format, and there are choices for HTML, Plain text, and Microsoft Outlook Rich Text! I set it to plain text (it WAS set on HTML!). I really thought that unless I specifically went in to choose HTML with every message, it wouldn't be formatted that way. ::roll eyes:: Jeez. Also, I get all my LJ messages in HTML. You think I should change it to plain text? I don't think I've ever had a problem with it, but who knows.

I don't care about sending messages in any particular format 'cause I think it's "right." I just want to do what works best for people. It must really be different with business and company computers, though, and maybe it's different overseas. Doesn't seem to be a problem between personal computers at individual residences, as far as I've seen. Hmmm. Well, I'm not exactly the biggest 'puter geek so I can't claim to know much about it. Anyway... now I really do feel like an idiot! (except that I know a little more about it now ;))

Sorry, thanks, nevermind, aaccck, I'm a bitch, justignoreme. :o}
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread) they also use SMS-speak?
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My present pet fundamentalist? No, but they do speak in pseudo-Biblical English... here's a snippet, it's kind of entertaining:

Did you come to this high place of spirits and be so bold as to render to all your value judgement concerning my brother Paul?, and The Lord Jesus?
And you did based on many errors, not all on them thy own fault.
So then if i come to this same place with the full TRUTH should i not also be so bold as thee?"
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Just parsing those 3 lines leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I admire your fortitude in holding a lengthy email conversation with this person - you must account for half the city's sales of breathmints. ;p
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

I don't like to make fun of that particular aspect too much, because a quantity of my own social group also like speaking in Latin... it's probably parses just as bad!

Ave Satannas!

Gawd... or even Enochian...

"Coraxo cahisa coremepe, od belanusa Lucala azodiazodore paebe Soba iisononu cahisa uirequo ope copehanu od racalire maasi bajile caosagi; das yalaponu dosiji od basajime; od ox ex dazodisa siatarisa od salaberoxa cynuxire faboanu"

This particular line of Enochian sounds like something the Iraqi information minister would say. It's English translation is...

Our initial assesment is: "The thunders of wrath doth slumber in the North, in the likeness of an oak whose branches are dung-filled nests of lamentation and weeping laid up for the Earth, which burn night and day and vomit out the heads of scorpions and live sulphur mingled with poison." And there are no American infidels in Baghdad.

So although I might eat (not chew!) a lot of breathmints, they're superpowerful breathmints of doom from hell, to protect me from my own tastes!
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

coco amara

nochent cara de ramas se des cone fro frocus caca cresa
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Re: coco amara

stupid corama cocores moka laca voe des reed ma co cora
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)


dont be mad coz if no one like buzz off i dont like you either
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

...and not to mention there are a significant number of people out there who have conditins which, for a variety of reasons, make it uncomfortable or even painful for them to read HTML emails.

Oh, and a suggestion: Maybe you could put up a sample of what an HTML email looks like to someone who has a plaintext-only mail client. I don't think most people who send HTML emails due to ignorance will know what a mess looks like to those with plaintext clients - hopefully the sight of it will prod them to change.

(says the cub, who just skips over HTML emails 'cause it takes too much effort to sift through all the tags to read the actual text)
(Frozen) (Thread)

yeah, i dont think so

anyone who actually knows what they are doing when sending html messages will include text version of message in the same email as a separate header ALL email clients can read these types of emails and will automatically choose if the client is able to read HTML or TEXT and display the correct formatting.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Illegible Web pages are no better

Hey, don't get me wrong, I agree with your sentiments about HTML emails. But the gray-on-gray color scheme undermines your cred as a savvy Web dude. Old fogeys like me don't have the ocular horsepower to read low-contrast text like that. Ever seen a book printed like that? I know paper's not hip, but it works. And after several thousand years of testing by hundreds of millions of users, the most popular color scheme by far is still black on white. Sometimes being in the majority isn't so bad...

Adios amigo
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I completely agree

I've made a post about the same subject on my blog. I just hope more people would start going back to plain text messages.

Link to article

Cheers, Tommi

(Frozen) (Thread)

Re: I completely agree

Actually, books aren't printed black on white because that's what's easiest to read - they're printed that way because that's what's easiest to manufacture. And you can't really equate books with computer monitors, as monitors have a resolution of 72dpi, while books are virtually resolution independent (though I think the human eye sees at something like 250 or 300 dpi).

I've actually read that a higher contrast color scheme - like white on black, for example - is easier to read on a monitor than black on white. And let's not even get in to the differences between serif and sans serif fonts as they apply to print and/or the web.

Point being, black on white doesn't automatically make something easy to read.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

HTML emails

Personally I have my email account set to receive and send out html emails because I create my own creative emails to my friends and family with clip art and animations and captions. those emails that I dont want to receive from other sources I block them. So I dont know what all the fuss is about either. To each their own.
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Settle down.
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HTML Email

I just reached this page by accident.All I can say is that clearly you have a big issue. You have not really justified anything even though some of your points are valid. I have no personal agenda and I have no preference for html or text emails but clearly you need to evaluate your options again

1) Not all email programs read HTML emails
Then they should. Why not?
2)ML emails are security risk
Being on the internet is a security risk. Any computer savvy person knows that
3)HTML e-mail wastes bandwidth
Correction, HTML uses more bandwidth, it does not waste it. What does wasting mean. To you it may be wasting to others it may be something else
4)They connect to the internet by itself
I don't see the point of this.
5)HTML emails are unfriendly and unsightly
Wrong, they are more user friendly and give a pleasant look, hence the popularity
You are right about this. Most spam is in HTML format because of its popularity. However I have received spam in plain text as well

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Re: HTML Email

so as a satanist i suppose you sacrifice babys which is evil and that you drink blood the church called millmead baptist centre millmead guildford surrey claims that you are a cult and are demonic and that it preaches against you casting you to the depths, the minister their says that anyone who comes into their church needs deliverance from all you do, they claim that they are going to break down your stronghold and overall you, i think that its upto you if you want to be evil but i do find satanic sex facinating and a challenge but i would want to end up possesed by the devil or have a spirit of jezebel. so why would jesus cast you out and what and why does the bible hate you so much cant christians and satans live together and except each other, i heard about a meeting in london where they have a satanist meeting and that a new comer has to to have sex with satan on stage in front of every one and it is awsome a fellow of yours mentioned this in a talk at the church i went to and that when he left you hexed him and he became ill he has given loads of addresses to go to in london and surrey and the minister of millmead said that he is sending out his people to these places in next few months leading upto easter to pray against your churches and some may attend your church in disguise i felt i had to tell you that
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

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HTML e-mails

You boys obviously do have some problems with html e-mails. My advice is: - let others to decide. I personally think that html or plane text does not create the problems on the Net. It is the person behind the keyboard typing and abusing the system. What would you suggest about the national constitutions in every country, maybe we should not have them just because we have criminals???

Take it easy and regards to all of you!
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What do you think of this sentence,m y dear Lizzy?

Hi all!

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Webdesigners help


Nice site design. Okay, I need your help.
So, I wanna make my secondary school site, and I am looking for site template.
Can you advice some online catalog or other resource where I can find many site templates?

It would be better if it will be free:)
I think many of us have personal sites, do you design it yourself?

Regards, Bill.
(Frozen) (Thread)

Re: Webdesigners help

There are some free web design packages (where you won't need to know HTML), and, some websites that simply offer templates to use for free (where you will probably need to customize & expand the templates using your own HTML).

All mine I make myself from scratch; the only program I use is Notepad, so, I don't know of any resources to use!
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

No email

use the phone or write a letter and put it in the post...
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I am going to Singapore in just one week. All I know is that people have referred to it
as "Disneyland run by a Dictator". This is supposed to be a VACATION! Has anyone on here acually gone there for vacation?
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Ever work in email marketing? No, I thought not.
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I never would.

But... I didn't catch your point... did you have one?
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

The point

I think that the point was, if you are working in marketing, using effective design to help convey your message is preferred. There are many instances when customers opt in to receive promotions and sales information from companies. Those companies send them what equates to an ad or newsletter. The idea of those companies sending out a plain text email is rather ridiculous and defeats the purpose. Html emails, done well, can be far more appeasing to the eye than line after line of boring text. All in all, I'd say your advice should come with the warning that it is for annoying Christians (don't know what that has to do with it) of undetermined age that send you personal emails.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

No - the main point is security and compatibility. HTML emails allow servers to track user activity, by linking IMG tags (or any other HTML tags that pull content from servers, like IFRAMEs) to individual email addresses: this is non-consensual, and most standard email clients do not have an option to disallow IMGs from HTML emails.

Compatibility issues include the all-important issue of usability; the user cannot format HTML emails in the way they want (colors, font size, etc), which in such an unnatural medium as on-the-screen font, can seriously impede some peoples' ability to read it.

Emails simply shouldn't be HTML (especially, as you say, when people volunteer to receive information (not spam full of images and gnarish colours); and if commercial propaganda is the only defence of HTML, then it's even less useless than even some critics think!
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Who can help me with .httpaccess ?

Who can help me with .httpaccess ?
where i can fined full information about .httpaccess file syntaxis?
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(Frozen) (Thread)


I've always found HTML emails easier to read. Plain Text, if quite long in length, can be a real pain to read, and can be quite dull and boring.

You mention at the top of this page that HTML emails are harder to read. Can I point out that your Red Text on a Charcoal background, is very much a strain on the eyes. I don't have a problem with most HTML emails, but one thing that gets my blood hot, is poor web design.
(Frozen) (Thread)

"People other than spammers send HTML emails for various reasons. Those who are new to the Internet, the ignorant, the impolite and the young are all frequent HTML email senders because they in general don't realize the pitfalls. "
"When I've requested that people do not send HTML emails to me, most the time people have not known how to just send normal emails, and some have not seen the point. Hopefully this page (and link in the quote above) rectifies both of those."

I like the way it doesn't even occur to you that other people aren't bothered by the same things you are, or like doing things differently to you. They just haven't realised they're objectively wrong yet!
(Frozen) (Thread)

Well, that is of course why I have a webpage explaining the issues.

Although; as modern versions of Outlook automatically disable images and scripts unless you specifically tell it to load them, which solves most problems with receiving HTML emails.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Looking Forward To Getting Involved

Thanks...this looks really interesting. I am looking forward to having my says!
(Frozen) (Thread)

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