Re: HTML for email

Benjamin Kaduk <kaduk@mit.edu> Mon, 01 March 2021 23:33 UTC

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Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2021 15:32:55 -0800
From: Benjamin Kaduk <kaduk@mit.edu>
To: Nico Williams <nico@cryptonector.com>
Cc: tom petch <daedulus@btconnect.com>, IETF Discussion Mailing List <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: HTML for email
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On Mon, Mar 01, 2021 at 05:22:38PM -0600, Nico Williams wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 01, 2021 at 10:34:01AM -0800, Benjamin Kaduk wrote:
> > On Mon, Mar 01, 2021 at 05:24:48PM +0000, tom petch wrote:
> > > On 01/03/2021 14:22, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
> > > > Yes HTML is a disaster for email. But so is plaintext wrapped at 66
> > > > characters by the server because people didn't know better.
> > > >
> > > > The reasons HTML is a disaster are
> > > >
> > > > 1) There is no standard for HTML in email.
> > > > 2) HTML has been turned into a presentation format.
> > > > 3) Email messages used annotations for a decade before HTML which doesn't
> > > > support them
> > > > 4) The SMTP email infrastructure does not provide a viable means of knowing
> > > > what formats are accepted by a recipient so there is no way to fix this.
> > > 
> > > And breaks privacy.  I find it ironic that the IETF seems to devote 
> > > forests to combating a slight possibility of privacy being impaired, 
> > > something that I see bordering on an obsession, but actively supports 
> > > HTML e-mail which drives a coach and horses through privacy.
> > 
> > I don't think I understand what you refer to by "actively supports HTML
> > e-mail".  Could you please clarify?
> 
> To me it was clear that Tom meant "some IETF participants", not
> something more formal like that the IAB has said HTML email is awesome
> or whatever.

That would make a lot of sense, though even with your prompt I'm having a
hard time getting from Tom's text to yours.

(FWIW, I myself perennially find myself reminding people that the official
IETF mail archive (web) service only displays the text/plain component, so
things like color and <div>s for quoting/indentation are lost.)

-Ben