Text only document standards

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Hi there

Along with our company's HTML emailings, we also send out a text only

I have seen the T(ext) E(mail) N(ewsletter) Standard at
www.headstar.com/ten/ and am not very impressed. As has been mentionned
before, it seems to go against some of the more obvious rules.

Does anyone have any other resource for creating text only documents
(not necessarily newsletters), or any tips you can give me here?


Re: Text only document standards

stick wrote:
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I'm supposed to take seriously a set of text formatting guidelines
whose publisher doesn't even *follow* their own guidelines?  Looking at
their "standard":


I see that it says "Try to avoid very unusual characters such as
symbols. In emails, only the ASCII characters 32 - 127 will be
transmitted without problems; the use of other characters may cause
errors."  Unfortunately, this advice is ignored in the same document,
which includes 8-bit characters intended as opening and closing quotes,
even though their server sends the document with the iso-8859-1 charset
header, indicating a character encoding in which those particular code
points are actually control characters.


Re: Text only document standards

stick wrote:
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First, ensure that recipients who want only ASCII-formatted messages do
not receive HTML-formatted messages.  I cancelled my account with one
company that refused my request to send only ASCII-formatted messages;
they informed me that I (the customer) was wrong for making that
request.  The money paid by your customers is what pays your salary.

URLs should be bracketed.  RFC 3986 (Appendix C) strongly suggests using
< and >, with quote marks (", not angled "smart quotes").  Even in an
ASCII-formatted message, most E-mail clients will recognize URLs that
are all on one line.  Bracketing is necessary when a long URL is broken
between two lines.

To avoid the character coding problem described in Dan's reply, compose
(or at least review) ASCII-formatted messages in Notepad.  Non-ASCII
characters will either not disply or will be black rectangles.

Rethink the whole idea of HTML-formatted messages.  What content
requiring HTML-formatting are you sending that will be meaningful to the
recipient?  Or are you using HTML-formatting merely for appearance?  If
your audience consists mostly of individuals at home, note that a large
number of home users still access the Internet via dial-up connections.
  HTML-formatted messages are about 3-4 times larger than
ASCII-formatted messages with the same content.  This means
HTML-formatted messages require 3-4 times longer to download and occupy
3-4 times as much disc space.


David E. Ross

Concerned about someone (e.g., Pres. Bush) snooping
into your E-mail?  Use PGP.
See my <http://www.rossde.com/PGP/

Re: Text only document standards

stick wrote:

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Neither am I, though it seems to make some good points. The topic is,
however, quite distinct from the topic of this group, which is HTML
authoring for the World Wide Web. Plain text authoring for E-mail is
rather different.

Re: Text only document standards

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you are quite right. i couldn't see another group i could possibly post
to - do you have any suggestions?

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