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st: mailman plus filter (was wretched winmail)


From   Phil Schumm <pschumm@uchicago.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: mailman plus filter (was wretched winmail)
Date   Fri, 1 Nov 2002 08:51:18 -0600

--On Friday, November 1, 2002 2:33 -0500 Rodrigo wrote:
I really appreciate if the upset
people with this can find me a solution because I will not want to be
filtered from the list. I always try to do the things according to the
rules established in this list but this one I canīt controlle with my
Outlook knowledge and the procedures already recommenden by the members
of the list. Thanks.
At 10:13 AM +0700 11/1/02, Philippe Glaziou wrote:
I am afraid that you are rather stuck with flawed technology. One
could possibly imagine that given a large enough number of
dissatisfied users, your sysadmin might open up his eyes. And if not,
then why not use a private account and a decent mail user agent?
At 8:13 AM -0500 11/1/02, baum wrote:
How about using a different mail client? Anything not produced by Microsoft will avoid this problem--Eudora, Pine, various free Web-based mailers... Obviously a pain to use multiple mail clients, but if the one you're stuck with is so inflexible that it cannot be configured to your preferences, it may be the only answer. I read the digest (thankfully in a client that does not get upset by the winjunk), so I see these things.

These three remarks are representative of many both here and on other mailing lists. Although I sympathize with the second two, I understand that for many users such as Rodrigo, being told that he needs different software, a different OS, and perhaps even different support personnel is simply not very helpful. Such remarks are easy for those of us who are programmers (or otherwise computer-literate) to make, but I suspect that rather than their intended effect (i.e., to make everyone want to be like us), their real effect is to polarize the discussion, or even worse, to drive some away from the list.

I run several mailing lists, and my approach has been evolving toward enforcing those guidelines that all users have control over (e.g., always use a brief and informative subject line, retain only relevant material in replies to the list, etc.) while deemphasizing those that some users -- due to either endogenous or exogenous contraints -- have less control over (e.g., ancillary attachements, HTML formatting, etc.). To handle the latter, I simply run all incoming mail through a filter (I use a Perl script called Stripmime, but there are others) which strips all HTML formatting and attachments, leaving only the text portion of the message. The result is that everyone is happy.

I don't know if there are contraints in the way this list is hosted that would prevent using such a solution. If there are, and if this possibility has been addressed already, I apologize for revisiting it. If not however, I would suggest that we consider it.


-- Phil
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