Unpopular opinion: I'm a top-poster. Important stuff comes at the top. No scrolling required. Everything else is optional. If you want, there's the history of that thread right below the important part. More recent stuff – the more important stuff – is near your current position, which happens to be near the top. Sure, if clients displayed the bottom of a mail right a way, we could have things in order. But: scroll down to read the rest of the mail, scroll up for its history? That'd be weird.


OK, now I found the document it is referring to. Nice domain name!

I laughed at this one:

「"But if plaintext is so good, why is this page written in HTML?"
This is a reference document, not an email, you twit.」

I don't agree with the suggestion that *strong* and /emphasis/ is just as good as using a different font weight and slant, unless the email client does that for you. It sounds a bit like cheating? Or like a very reduced HTML subset?
Well, that would work for me…

@kensanata I feel like A LOT of problems in communications software would be solved if there had been a popular, simple, open standard for formatted ‘rich’ text.

@ashwinvis @kensanata I’m imagining something that wouldn’t require learning a syntax and would be a little more reliably machine-readable, like Microsoft’s Rich Text Format.

I have never seen how its syntax actually looks like.


It doesn't seem any better, and perhaps worse than html. It looks a bit like latex. And btw, email clients in theory can easily make frontends / plugins for markdown, so one doesnt have to learn markdown.


@ashwinvis @kensanata RTF uses human-readable control codes, like a terminal emulator does. It’s not meant to be written by hand.

Besides, Markdown is a lightweight markup language for writing HTML, whereas I thought it’d be better if there was something for bold, italic, underline… and perhaps hyperlinks, but not much more. Just slightly formatted text.


...heading levels, footnotes, code snippets, tables and images.

Nothing more should be there in an email.


@ashwinvis @kensanata I think we’re approaching document format territory now! 😀

@ashwinvis @amdt This is the kind of high quality nerdery I'm on Mastodon for 👍🏻

@ashwinvis Which came along about 20 years too late.

(Though other LWMLs have existed longer, e.g. bbCode and AsciiDoc.)

@amdt @kensanata

@kensanata I don't understand why there isn't a standardized "safe" subset of HTML already. Preferably one without any styling.

@freakazoid @kensanata I think we pretty much have that, if we leave out anything deprecated in addition to CSS and JavaScript.

@alcinnz you need to exclude on* attributes to get rid of JavaScript, and some people consider font size=66666px to be unsafe and disruptive
@kensanata @freakazoid

@riking @freakazoid @kensanata <font> is deprecated, so I covered that one.

But yes, it might be simpler to write your own parser around something around the text layout engine you'd be using anyways for plaintext. Even the terminal supports basic text formatting! As does GNOME's Pango.

@alcinnz My recent gopher Text to HTML translating went surprisingly well. The mess of wiki markup has made me very flexible and I think Gopher is a good example of people freely using intuitive, messy plain text markup – and translating it to HTML still works well enough.
@riking @freakazoid

@kensanata Thunderbird has an option for simplified HTML when viewing emails. Bold formatting and tables work as in full HTML, but it spares you images and custom fonts. All in all it looks pretty similar to plain-text when using a monospace font, but with useful formatting.

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