e-mail, character sets, encodings (was Re: George Keremedjiev)

Grant Taylor cctalk at gtaylor.tnetconsulting.net
Sun Nov 25 17:47:41 CST 2018

On 11/25/18 4:32 PM, Bill Degnan via cctalk wrote:
> Most mail servers sending inbound messages to the list include the 
> encoding scheme in the header.  The mailer program should process 
> and translate the email message body accordingly...in theory anyway. 

Most email handling programs don't need to bother with what the data is, 
as they just move the data.  This largely includes email list managers. 
This really only becomes a concern if something is modifying part of the 
message (data) as it moves through the system.

> The set up and testing of a sampling of encoding variations would reveal 
> which interpreters were missing in our particular list's relay process. 

cctalk is using Mailman, and I'm fairly sure that Mailman does handle 
this properly.  Or if there is a bug it has likely been found & 
resolved.  In the event that a bug is found, I think that it would be 
best to report it upstream to Mailman so they can fix it, and then 
install the updates when they are released.

> Someone could create tests with the most common 20 or so encoding schemes 
> and a character set dump and document the results etc.  Anyone have the 
> time for that?

I doubt that this is necessary.

Based on what I've seen, Mailman is handling the message (data) just 
fine.  It's passing the Ed's messages with the UTF-8 =C2=A0 
(quoted-printable) encoded parts just fine.

> I dont really think asking persons to fix their email program is 
> the solution

I agree that it's asking an end user to fix their email client is the 
most viable solution.

> it's a mailing list fix/enhancement.

I disagree.

I'm not convinced that this is a problem in email.

I question how many people are seeing the symptoms -and- what email 
client they are using.

If someone knowingly chooses to use an email client that doesn't support 
UTF-8, then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  That's their choice.  I just hope that they are 
informed in their choice.

> I bet there is documentation on such a procedure I can't imagine we are 
> the first to encounter this problem.  It's fixable

If you really do think that this is a problem with the mailing list, I'd 
suggest bringing the problem up on the Mailman mailing list.  Mark S. is 
very responsive and can help people fix problems / configurations in 
short order.

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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