On 6/4/2009 2:54 PM, Keith Whaley wrote:
> Moz Champion (Dan) wrote:
>> David Wilkinson wrote:
>>> Moz Champion (Dan) wrote:
>>>> Why is HTML 'okay' in RSS but not in email or news? I view everything 
>>>> in HTML (always have) and have no problems.
>>> Because RSS feeds generally point to web pages, and mail or news 
>>> accounts point to messages.
>> So?   Still does not explain or give any reasoning why HTML is not 
>> 'okay' in email or news.
>> Many don't appreciate HTML in email or news, but that's simply personal 
>> taste, nothing more.
> I beg to differ with your 'nothing more' statement, sir.
> Staying with the html part of the discussion, html is disliked for email 
> and news groups because of the excessive room it takes up, and the 
> length of time it takes to download.
> This has been studied and discussed and picked apart and belabored over 
> for years and years.
> The truth remains, there are STILL many folks who use dialup and not any 
> of the much faster schemes such as dsl ~ and for these folks, they 
> already labor to download 'normal' text, composed of ascii characters. 
> It takes up a lot more room and elapsed time to receive html formatted 
> documents.
> Especially for primarily content-laden messages, which get 99.5% of 
> their point across using simple textual characters and NO formatting, 
> why would anyone insist on loading up each message by insisting on html 
> formatting, adding colors and fancy fonts, and symbols?
> No, it isn't quite as simple and innocuous as you would have us believe, 
> Dan.
> keith whaley

In a sample of 20 HTML-formatted E-mail messages, I found the average
bloat factor was 3.4.  That is, the text content of an HTML-formatted
message has 3.4 times as many bytes as the same content in an
ASCII-formatted message.  It thus takes 3.4 times longer for a
HTML-formatted message to pass through an anti-spam filter and 3.4 times
longer to pass through an anti-virus application.  For companies that
are required by law to archive their E-mail traffic, such a message
requires 3.4 times more archival media.  And for the 10%-20% of Internet
users still on dial-up, it takes 3.4 times longer to download.

Then there is the fact that spam filters used by some ISPs on their mail
servers (e.g., Mail Guardian by Roaring Penguin Software) give points to
messages that contain HTML markup.  The more points, the more likely the
message is spam.  Added to points for other characteristics,
HTML-formatted messages might have enough points to be rejected, never
reaching their intended recipients.

Finally, HTML-messages tend to have invalid HTML markup.  The same 20
messages that I analyzed for bloat contained an average of 9.1 HTML
errors per KB of message size.  A given mail client might be able to
display such a message from a different mail client despite the HTML
errors, but the message might become garbled when being quoted for
forwarding or replying.  The errors might even be sufficient that the
message cannot be displayed properly unless the recipient uses the same
brand of client that the sender used.

David E. Ross

Go to Mozdev at <http://www.mozdev.org/> for quick access to
extensions for Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and other
Mozilla-related applications.  You can access Mozdev much
more quickly than you can Mozilla Add-Ons.
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