plain text emails for me, please

I'd made a “new year’s resolution” in 2001. And that was to never ever make resolutions again. And I’ve been pretty good about it. So when my colleague was trying to tell me a few days ago, that I should make a resolution to start composing emails in HTML as opposed to sending them in plain text, it got me thinking (yes, very dangerous indeed). I was told I could create bulleted lists, underline stuff, use marquee text to annoy people etc. I thought about it for a good, hard 2 seconds, before I decided there was no way I was going to switch and start using HTML to compose my emails.


  1. Replying to emails

    I have the tendency of ‘replying inline’ to messages. Which means, if someone sends me an email that looks like so :

        Hello Ai,

        What is it that the world needs now? Is it love, sweet love?



    I tend to reply like so :

        Hello Me,

        Please look inline for <ai>…



        > Hello Ai,
        > What is it that the world needs now? Is it love, sweet love?

        <ai> Cars that can parallel park themselves (and not the hard way). </ai>

        > Thanks,
        > Me

    I find this to be a an extremely difficult thing to do using HTML. Not saying its impossible, its just makes the whole email look, you know, ugly. And, I like it when multiple replies embedded inline all get prefixed with a ‘>’. Which means, if I replied to a reply, the email would look like so :

        Hello Me,

        Please look inline for <ai>…



        Sent on 1/5/2006, from Me <>
        > Umm, you were saying?
        > Sent on 1/4/2006, from You <>
        >> Trojans are gonna win this one man.

        <ai> Rightttttttt…. </ai>

        >> No doubt, hands down, they’re gonna win.

  2. E-mail bandwidth

    If all an email said was “hello world!”, no fonts used or anything, but was composed in HTML, it would be atleast 25 characters long (with all the “html” fluff). Which means it would be 25B long (not including the SMTP headers et al). The same email composed in plain text would be, thats right, just about 12 characters long.

    I tend to keep all my emails, all the ones that I’ve sent, and most that I’ve ever received. So, yes, e-mail size becomes a huge issue for me.

  3. I have everything I need!

    All that I want to do with HTML, I can accomplish with simple, plain text. Par example :

    Underlying stuff :

        This is an important header

    Writing stuff in bold :

        *This is important stuff - read this*

    Coloring stuff :  
        Ok, this is not feasible with plain text emails, but I’m willing to take my chances that recipients of my emails are color-blind.

    Bulleting stuff :

         * Bulleted list item 1
         * Bulleted list item 2

  4. Last, but not least….

    Most spammers use HTML!

So, plain text emails for moi, pweese.

Song roll : “ Semi-charmed life” by “Third Eye Blind