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Results of Poll by Email No. 8

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Saturday, April 27, 2002, 19:46
        This was the most popular poll thus far, with 38 responses (up 10 from our
usual average). The results of the first question, "What encoding can your
mail reader handle?" garnered the following responses:

        A. Straight ASCII only. (2 responses, 5%)
        B. ASCII and Latin-1. (16 responses, 42%)
        C. ASCII and Unicode. (0 responses, 0%)
        D. ASCII, Latin-1, and Unicode. (8 responses, 21%)
        E. I can read just about anything you throw at me! (10 responses, 26%)
        F. Other. (2 responses, 5%)

        Raymond Brown, defender of the unadorned email, answered thus (combining his
answer for both questions): "Straight ASCII only. ASCII is for email and
Usenet. Html is for webpages and Internet.
        If you want your email read in a text only environment; make it readable.
Same goes for diacritics. If you want to use them, and expect everybody to
read them, make sure you send a plain text / diacritic free version. I should
say that I am _not_ disapproving of diacritics: Kerno uses them, but I can't
show them on Conlang because I can't use them via this terminal.
        More to the point, if I see html or what appear to be screwy texts (with
some conlangs it's _very_ hard to tell!) I delete without even bothering to
read. This is a shame, because I'd like to read more about folk's languages
than I do. Unhappily, too many people are inconsiderate enough to post in
increasingly narrowly readable text types."

        As a side note, Yitzik Penzev mentioned: "Though some of
us are able to receive Unicode encoded messages, I am not sure that e.g. the
server at can handle them. So we may keep it for correspondence
out-of-list." Several others said much the same thing.
        Furthermore, several mentioned that with the thorn and eth (and a couple of
other characters), Macs are notorious for not displaying them properly. Moral
of the poll: use straight ASCII whenever possible, and if you need to accent
characters, use Latin-1 encoding and be sure to include a table that defines
them. For instance:
        "This post contains ð (eth) and ñ (tilde-n)."

        The second question asked, "HTMLized mail: love it or hate it?"
        A. My itchy delete finger pounces on any HTML mail with extreme prejudice!
        (11 responses, 29%)
        B. I wish that people would send plain text only. (17 responses, 45%)
        C. It doesn't bother me to get HTML messages. (6 responses, 16%)
        D. I love HTML email! I can't stand plain text! (1 responses, 3%)
        E. Other. (3 responses, 8%)

        Marcus Miekkoya gave a more reasoned response for (A) than the usual "DIE
DIE DIE!": "There are several reasons, one is the technical: sometimes I haveo
resort to older technology (486 with no HTML tools installed, just a
freeware mail reader), whenever this machine gets a serious failure, which
happens quite frequently.
        "Then, plain text generally feels nicer. HTML text doesn't really add
anything except a few quite unnecessary stylistic advantages. They also take
more time to download. Most of you won't of course notice that, but there
are people with slow connexhions that'd appreciate text-only mail.
(especially if several posters on high traffic lists such like this were
posting HTML there'd be a significant increase in download time, as for me,
this only applies with above mentioned 486 but there may be others who are
worse off than me.)."
        Taliesin shared a pet peeve shared by many: "And what's the point in sending
mail with an ASCII and then a html-version of the same text in the same mail?
DOOOOOOH! Especially when the content in question is good old 'AOL', which it
in fact usually is!
        I have, at times, deleted all mail with html in 'em unread as it's usually
spam of the privacy-intruding, habit-tracking, cookie-hell variety..."
        Irina Rempt was more succinct: "Hate it. Hate hate hate it."

        Yitzik Penzev answered (C) with some qualifications: "I'd rather bend to
plain text because they are smaller, and formatting some people use is not
very pleasant to eye or helpful."

        Jan van Steenbergen answered (D) thus: "Something between C and D, I guess.
If you insist, then I'll make a choice: D! I have nothing against plain text
as long as it does not concern languages like Polish, Czech etc. I just
cannot stand X-SAMPA and the like."

        David (DigitalScream@aol) gets bonus points for being funny with his (E)
answer: "What the hell is an HTML?  I understand it to be a voiceless
pharyngeal fricative, followed by a voiceless interdental fricative, followed
by a high, back, unrounded, tense vowel, followed by a velar lateral of some
kind.  In fact, that could be a word in Arabic, almost...  In that case, yes,
I do like Arabic.  It was the first language I studied here at the
university.  Nothing but fond memories..." Been reading too much linguistic
books lately?
        That's it for this poll; thanks to all who participated and stay tune for
Poll by Email No. 9!


Danny Wier <dawier@...>