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Re: the alternative to stupid email wars (was Re: hpn_buffer_size)

On Mon, 7 May 2012 18:34:52 -0500
David Young <> wrote:

> It seems to me that the time spent having these arguments would be
> better spent designing or writing filters that do helpful things such as
> * re-wrap lengthy emails at whichever width one prefers,
> * convert a discussion thread consisting of top- and bottom-posted
>   replies into one style or the other
> * processes an mbox-format file containing a lengthy discussion thread
>   containing quotes, and quotes of quotes, and re-prints the entire
>   discussion as one document without any duplicate text

Using client-side tools, we can indeed preprocess mail as we want/need,
but someone should also be able to simply use mutt or the client of
their choice to read the mail...

Unfortunately, tempering with mail content can also be problematic,
although I commonly see it on archive http frontends... Among the
problems (especially problematic if done server or transit-side):

- It should be able to distinguish between lines that should be wrapped
  and those that shouldn't, both of which commonly occur in the same
  message on tech lists (format-flowed apparently allows that but few
  clients support it correctly or allow to tag lines to be flowed and
  those which shouldn't; moreover some clients supporting it will
  output unreadable quoted-printable source).  Hence we'd need something
  like a text markup convention (I'll avoid mentioning HTML! :))

- It could inadvertently temper with inline diffs/patches, or ones
  attached in text/plain 7-bit format

- It would make signatures unusable, unless they're verified prior to
  processing, and if that occurs server-side one has to trust that
  server and verify the server's signature

But all the above problems are simply solved by using explicitely
<80 columns wrapped paragraphs among other unwrapped lines (which is
also tradition on tech mailing lists anyway)? I think most clients can
do this, except one notable one... :)

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