poor taste

Heavy email users that I know (myself included) tend to have personal rules about the email they will read and respond to. These rules are variously known and enforced as “netiquette”, “not being stupid”, and “still being allowed to send mail through my servers”. No matter what the rules are called, one invariable tennent is never ever send HTML formatted mail. For instance, if you were to send me an HTML email, not only would I not reply, I would likely never see it. HTML email is just plain rude to people using sane mail readers.

I bring up this point since it escaped the good folks over at ALA in a recent article. Now, I understand that the purpose of the article is to promote good HTML hygene, but the point remains that sending HTML email is inappropriate. In an unusual blunder, ALA missed the plot.

Good web developers poke at the quirks of HTML because they want to make their message and their medium as attractive, useful, and clear as possible. Email, as a medium, has its own set of do’s and dont’s, and in the same way that using tables to markup your rounded-corner layout is abhorent to the good web developer, sending HTML content in an email message is abhorent to the heavy email users. HTML email obscures a message, clutters communication, and demonstrates that the sender is an amature. HMTL email gets the all the respect of using FrontPage to build an enterprise website. It is simply the wrong way to do things in the choosen medium. ALA should have known better.