📆 September 28, 2022 | ⏱️ 2 minute read | 🏷️ computing

[Website] Use Plaintext Email

In October of 2020, I wrote “Using Email”, an entry about how to get the most out of email. If I rewrote it today, I’d mention the email guide at the website useplaintext.email, which teaches good email etiquette.

A lot of what is considered good etiquette just boils down to pointless and often oppressive cultural expectations. For instance, not putting your elbows on the dinner table, excusing others for sneezing, asking a woman’s parents for permission to marry her, and store clerks being forced to stand rather than sit.

useplaintext.email promotes the good kind of etiquette though, the etiquette for which there’s good reason to follow. I won’t reiterate the information that’s already on the website. I encourage everyone to just go directly to the website.

My email client intentionally doesn’t render HTML since I don’t believe there’s an HTML renderer out there that’s safe to use in an email client. So HTML emails sometimes cause me problems.

I don’t mind getting emails from people who don’t follow email etiquette as long as the emails are in plaintext and written in English or Spanish. What bugs me is getting HTML-only emails with so much HTML I can’t even find the relevant information. These kinds of emails usually come from businesses/online services. Usually I can grep the right keywords to find what I need, but sometimes not.

I hope email etiquette becomes more standard so these inconveniences go away. Since most users stick to program defaults, I think the burden is mostly on developers of email clients and email server administrators to make this change.