Future of cctalk/cctech

Peter Corlett abuse at cabal.org.uk
Fri Jun 19 10:36:41 CDT 2020

On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 10:28:05PM -0400, Tony Aiuto via cctalk wrote:
> And sometimes, a picture really is worth 1000 words.

But pictures also consume magnitudes-of-order more resources than a thousand
words, and should be used rather more judiciously than they are.

> A tiny SVG diagram in the middle of a description can do wonders. Did your
> physics textbook pull all the diagrams out to an appendix, just leaving a
> reference in the text? No it didn't. That would have been inconvenient and
> unnecessary. Except for those who choose otherwise, we all have the
> capability to view mail that presents like any other printed matter.

My physics textbooks had editors who ensured that the text made sense and the
images were useful to the reader. I'm sorry if you went to a bad school where
your physics textbooks were similar to the vast majority of email.

> It's time to adopt a platform that can handle modern mail. Some may still
> choose a degraded experience, but everyone is entitled to their own fetish.

Any old mail client can read "modern mail": MIME is designed to be
backwards-compatible and the text parts readable on non-MIME clients. One
quickly learns the ASCII renderings of important non-ASCII characters after
using such a client for a while. (How do I know this? I still use trn, which
doesn't understand character sets at all. There are *no* "modern" newsreaders,
apart from the occasional kitchen-sink monstrosity which does nothing well.)

The "no attachments" rule on many mailing lists is not a Luddite thing, but a
quality filter. There is a strong inverse correlation between those who feel
that they can't communicate without images and fancy text formatting, and those
who have something useful or interesting to say. Less is more, and all that.

Images and HTML formatting also present an accessibility problem. At least one
of the posters to this list gives a few "tells" in the way they write which
suggest they are blind. Good luck doing text-to-speech on a JPEG.

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