Re: HTML for email

tom petch <daedulus@btconnect.com> Tue, 02 March 2021 09:43 UTC

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Subject: Re: HTML for email
To: Benjamin Kaduk <kaduk@mit.edu>, Nico Williams <nico@cryptonector.com>
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From: tom petch <daedulus@btconnect.com>
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Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2021 09:42:58 +0000
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On 01/03/2021 23:32, Benjamin Kaduk wrote:
> 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

I think that a security-conscious mail-list system would suppress the 
html alternative.  E-mail used to have lots of executables attached with 
the potential to spread virus and the like and, nowadays, most mail 
exploders will remove anything like that that could do damage without 
being asked - it is taken as read.  In recent times, a lot of attention 
has been paid to privacy, in the work of the IETF, but sending out the 
html to all subscribers I see as a vector for bad actors to breach privacy.

Yes, the archive is text/plain but it is very rare that I will go to the 
archive for an e-mail.

Tom Petch

>
> -Ben
> .
>