Cryptography Lessons
Tracy r reed   |  

Change and HTML emails

Someone posted about why some IT pros seem to be against change. And then wondered aloud why the mailing list software we use doesn't accept HTML email. I had to to reply...

I write a lot of lengthy emails, reports, and other documents and all too often forget to post them here for others to enjoy (or ignore or despise, whatever). I know IT people who are staunchly against change, usually old guys. Maybe they are jaded and burned too many times by change or maybe they just don't want to learn something new and are troubled by watching their skillset slowly become obsolete. And I also know guys who are always chasing the latest and greatest but not really getting much productivity out of it. I am always looking for that optimal middle-ground...

On Tue, Jun 09, 2009 at 01:29:56AM -0700, Raleigh spake thusly:
> In fact, I've always been curious why so many IT pros that I meet
> are anti-change when it comes to software. Aren't we supposed to be
> the technology evangelists within our respective organizations? It
> is the job of our users to be cryin' about change. Not us.

I run into this often. Some people accuse me of always chasing the shiny and some people accuse me of being an old fart who won't change. I'm against change simply for the sake of change. Have there really been any major breakthroughs in UI research in the last 10 years? Not really. So why are the UIs in certain products changing so much? For the same reason car bodies change every year: Marketing and change for the sake of change. I'm not into that. It creates difficulties in training, introduces new bugs, and doesn't really benefit us, the end users.

Virtualization, on the other hand, is a huge breakthrough on the x86 platform (IBM big-iron has had it for decades) and that is change that I can definitely get behind and advocate constantly.

P.S. - speaking of change, when will the list software (whatever
> that is) that this list runs on be upgraded to allow rich text or
> HTML email. I'm subscribed to various lists (IT and non-IT related),
> and this one is the only one that is plain text only. It's 2009, for
> crying out loud. Time to get with the 21st century. Just a
> thought...

This is more change for the sake of change. Plaintext works great for what this mailing list is intended for. There are many exploits and browser compatibility issues (in all of HTML, CSS, and Javascript) and I don't want random strangers mailing active content into my mailbox. Phishing would be largely impossible if it weren't for HTML email. I read email on an OS that is definitely not prone to these problems and I *still* avoid non-plaintext emails. I also don't want your emails with the kitty backgrounds and yellow on black text and animated corporate logo gifs in signatures etc. You got something to say? You can say it just fine in plaintext. Impress me with your beautiful prose not your idea of beautiful (which I will probably consider gaudy) artwork.