I have broached this subject before, but people still continue to
send HTML formatted mail, probably without knowing they are doing it
as some programs such as Microsoft Outlook Express do it by default.
Here is an excerpt from the online newspaper "TidBITS" (17-May-99
issue) regarding this subject.
------------------begin quoted excerpt-------
**Don't Send HTML Mail** -- I commented in the previous article
that you should avoid using text styles or colors in messages for
mailing lists because there's no telling what people will see.
This point deserves some expansion, because it can be more
problematic than I implied.
Many email programs, including such popular ones as Emailer, can't
render HTML-formatted messages, and even as HTML support improves,
there will be plenty of people who won't upgrade or who prefer to
use programs that will never support HTML formatting. As with
attachments, then, there will be numerous people on almost any
mailing list who won't be able to read your message as you
intended. (Eudora Pro offers the option of sending both styled and
plain text to avoid this problem.) Worse, depending on how you've
sent the message and on the email programs of the recipients, they
may see the straight HTML markup. And if someone replies to the
HTML formatted message, the quoting can render the message even
Some mailing lists explicitly forbid the use of HTML formatted
messages for this reason, and even if that's not specifically true
of the lists you frequent, it's best to avoid sending messages
with text styles to mailing lists.
Some email programs generate HTML formatting by default, so you
may have to change settings to prevent it. For the programs listed
below, I've identified the location of the formatting controls.
Note that I'm using the arrow (->) as a shorthand notation
indicating navigation, so the first item below would expand to:
"From the Special menu, choose Settings, then scroll down to the
Styled Text settings panel."
* Eudora Pro (Mac): Special -> Settings -> Styled Text
* Eudora Pro (Windows): Tools -> Options -> Styled Text
* Netscape Communicator (Mac/Windows): Edit -> Preferences -> Mail
& Newsgroups -> Formatting
* Outlook Express (Mac): Edit -> Preferences -> Message
* Outlook Express (Windows): Tools -> Options -> Send
Larry Orr Larry.Orr at ASU.edu
Photosynthesis Center tel: (480) 965-1963
Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry fax: (480) 965-2747
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-1604 USA <http://photoscience.la.asu.edu/photosyn>