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st: Attachments: A Big No


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsph.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Attachments: A Big No
Date   Fri, 5 Aug 2005 19:40:38 +0100

In two cases today, people sent attachments with their postings. 

The Statalist FAQ is totally explicit, and I would have hoped 
totally clear, on this matter:

'We ask you not to post formatted messages or attachments. 
In fact, Statalist software may trap these formatted messages 
or attachments without sending an error message to you. Please 
make sure that your mailer is set to "Plain Text" for outgoing 
messages (or the equivalent for your mailer); that is, do not 
send HTML, Rich Text, VCards, winmail.dat files, other 
attachments, or anything other than Plain Text.' 

Let's assume optimistically that the people concerned 
(a) have read the Statalist FAQ and (b) forgot about this 
request (nay, instruction). (On the other hand, if anyone 
is not aware of this rule, they should please read the
FAQ before posting anything, as they are probably unaware of many 
other things too.)  

In any case, let me emphasise why attachments are deprecated: 

1. Attachments cannot, in general, be properly handled by our 
digesting or archiving software. The result is an unreadable 
mess that benefits no-one, either poster or readers. 

2. Attachments bloat people's mail folders. 

3. Attachments can carry viruses. 

4. Attachments are often sent on the assumptions that readers
(a) use the same software as posters and (b) have the time and 
inclination to sit there opening lots of attachments to 
decode your problems. These assumptions are frequently incorrect. 
In some cases these assumptions are even regarded as insensitive 
or offensive.

There are probably more reasons that I have forgotten, but 
should be enough to explain why attachments are _not_ 
acceptable. Please take note. 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 

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