[MUD-Dev] ADMIN: HTML email, the reasons against
J C Lawrence
claw at kanga.nu
Mon Apr 2 18:49:25 New Zealand Standard Time 2001
Writing as list owner:
Recently there's been a spate to HTML email submitted to MUD-Dev,
which, dutifully, I've been rejecting. However I realised at the
MUD-Dev dinner that many were not aware of the reasons I won't
allow HTML email on MUD-Dev (and no, it has nothing to do with my
mail client, exmh -- it handles HTML just fine).
As a point of policy and a promise to list members, (I've
stated this at various points), I will not reveal whether any
partciular individual is or is not a member of any list unless
they specifically make that fact public on their own accord.
Even then, the only admission I can make is that they were a
member at that time -- I can make no comment on any later or
If I allowed HTML onto the list I would be unable to maintain
that promise (think web bugs - images and files linked off
any ability to ensure that Kanga.Nu is not the vector for
the HTML, or scripts linked off a remote site (which could
change after I approve/release a message) by HTML.
This may seem precious until you consider some of the
implications and realise that with a trivial piece of HTML
tomfoolery you could track every single time one of your
messages was read, where from, and likely by who.
Arguably I could use various scripts to help remove such risks
by sanitising the relevant HTML. I'm not confident however
that such scripts couldn't be broken or worked around without
my noting the attempt.
There's also another reason: Given an HTML message which
references remote content (say images), faithfully archiving the
message is much more difficult as it involves copying the remote
data to the archives here and then rewriting the links and
fraught and fragile process. I consider the compleatness and
accuracy of the archives to be one of MUD-Dev's more significant
values. With HTML email I can't guarantee the state of the
archives to even a rather minor extent.
Thus, no HTML.
There is one exception: If you send a message which has a
text/plain part and a text/html part (several sevices such as
AOL make it difficult to send anything else than this),
then I'll strip the HTML part and moderate on the remaining
text/plain version. If your resulting message is mangled. Well,
I'm sorry. I need to defend the other list members and the list
J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--
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