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further random questions from the newly-unemployed

Hi Mark - I think you've damaged your own argument:
On Sun, Nov 17, 2002 at 12:42:50PM -0500, Mark J. Dulcey wrote:
> > Robert L Krawitz wrote:
> > and I don't want an HTML-enabled mail reader that makes me susceptible 
> > to every webbug a spammer chooses to embed).
> That, at least, is a solvable problem now. Mozilla can be configured to
> disable Javascript and plugins in mail and newsgroups, to disable cookies in
> mail and newsgroups, ......
(  etc... info on how SOME" specific browsers "CAN" be configured to 
eliminate security and formatting problems )

Sadly in the current environment of the internet we cannot specify
which browser or the configuration of the browser which people might
read email in.  The fact that you had to mention "HOW" people "CAN" make
"SOME" browsers safe indicate that in the current state of the internet
reading HTML mail is distinctly dangerous.  The general population
of the internet has amply demonstrated that it can't or won't do what
is minimally neccesary to protect itself from these types of dangers.
While you or I as individuals may be able to make it safe for ourselves to
read html email, for us to presume that it is safe for anyone else to read
is not a reasonable decision.  Much the opposite in fact.  HTML mail is
dangerous and due to the fact that there is no way to force the internet
to get rid of "old things" it will always be dangerous.  This unfortunate,
but irreducable.

> I don't send HTML mail because too many people send too much flame
> mail if I do. But I think they're wrong. Now that we have a suitable
> open standard, it's time for the world to move past plain text. HTML mail
> WITHOUT EXTERNAL CONTENT is where email should be going, and I'm glad that
> at least one piece of software can be configured to give me exactly that.

The HTML open standard is specifically designed to allow EXTERNAL CONTENT and
always will.  This means HTML formatted content will never be an internet-wide
safe email format. 

One interesting statistic.  A recent analysis of email content to the
RedHat Install email list revealed that HTML email content increased
the volume to 450% of the original volume.  Even an autoresponder
responding to, and thereby repeating every message on an email list
would only increase the volume to 200%.   HTML mail increases the cost
and the danger/risk of email while reducing throughput and in general
does not increase the amount or quality of the information therein.

Specialty documents such as resumes may be a minor exception to the 
information quality generality but these can be posted and linked to
from an email.

Jeff Kinz, Emergent Research,  Hudson, MA.  "jkinz at" 
"jkinz at" copyright 2002.  Use is restricted. Any use is an 
acceptance of the offer at

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