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Re: ATTN SELF-STYLED LIST POLICE (was RE: Mr. Day)



On Tue, 2004-12-07 at 10:28 +0000, Paul Howarth wrote:
> Thomas Cameron wrote:
> > It's the reality of the composition of e-mail today.  Close to 100% of
> > e-mails transmitted are in either HTML or that God-awful Base64 MS-
> > TNEF/rich text format.
> 
> Yours might be but the majority of emails I receive are plain text.

Do you think you are an average e-mail user?  I can assure you that you
are not.  Having worked for many years in ISP and ISP-like environments,
I can assure you that the VAST majority of e-mail traffic (I mean all
traffic, not on this list or power users like you) is HTML.

> >  But even if all e-mail were forced to be plain
> > text, it would make almost no difference in bandwidth usage.
> > 
> > I love that people scream on the Fedora Core list about the bandwidth
> > "wasted" by e-mail (15 megs/month) but no one seems to remember that the
> > errata for FC3 is up to 2.6 GIGABYTES for i386 alone.
> > 
> > The first time someone fires up 'yum update,' they will find that their
> > e-mail traffic is just a drop in the bandwidth bucket.  The argument
> > about HTML mail taking up too much space/bandwidth just don't hold up
> > any more.  Relative to web browsing and software updates, e-mail is
> > inconsequential.
> 
> When I used to be on the wrong end of a slow, expensive link, I wouldn't have 
> dreamed of firing up "yum update". I'd be very selective about the updates I 
> downloaded and would download and install them manually. For a "full set", I'd 
> try to get a friend to burn a CD for me. Or I could download them at my 
> leisure during off peak hours at the weekend.

My point is, there is still significant bandwidth burn there.  Either
yours on the weekend or your friend's.  Even if all you updated was the
kernel you'd have exceeded the total bandwidth of this list for a month!
E-mail traffic is really not that much of total Internet traffic.  The
argument that HTML e-mail is this huge resource waster is simply not
true.  It does take more bandwidth and disk space, but the amounts are
trivial.

> Now if HTML mail was the norm, the size of my mailbox would roughly double. 
> Not a big difference really, you'd think, but that means twice as long to 
> download my mail whenever I retrieve it, and that's not going to wait until 
> the weekend. On the other hand, if people were to observe time-honoured 
> netiquette and post in plain text with properly-trimmed posts, everyone would 
> be happy and the volume of mail would go down, not only because of elimination 
> of HTML markup but because there would be no flamewars about it either.

You are preaching to the choir - I've said many times I prefer plain
text and bottom posting.  I'll cheerfully agree with you about trimming,
too.

What I can not stomach is the people to take great delight in blasting
unsuspecting newcomers because they make innocent mistakes out of
ignorance not malice.

> I'm not advocating being rude to people (that IMHO is worse than lack of 
> netiquette), but gently pushing them in a direction that achieves the best 
> result *for everyone* in addition to (not instead of) answering their 
> questions (as you yourself did only 2.5 hours ago) is I think the best way to go.

Exactly - you and I agree on most of the major points, I think.  

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Like I've said so
many times:  Is it really that hard to just be nice to the beginners?
This is a community, not some sort of club with membership prerequisites
and bylaws and dues.  Just be nice to the new guy, that's all I'm asking
list members to do.  Don't sweat the small stuff - be helpful.

Thomas


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