Explorations in math and programming
David Lowry-Duda

Some email clients and email marketing groups have popularized email usage patters which are considered poor form for developer emails, technical emails, or on mailing lists.

Plaintext Email

Many email clients compose emails with HTML, enabling rich text formatting. Rich text formatting hinders development-oriented email conversations as it can break simple tasks like copy-pasting code snippets.

HTML emails are mainly used for marketing (or to include tracking pixels, i.e. special images hosted on a server that tracks information about the receiver upon loading them). HTML emails are one of the most common vectors for phishing, they're less accessible, and they're viewed inconsistently among receivers.

If you're sending an email, consider preferring plaintext. If you're sending a technical email or an email concerning programming, you should very strongly prefer plaintext.

For more on plaintext email, see useplaintext.email.

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Comments (2)
  1. 2024-01-23 gmailer

    What email do you use? gmail doesn't use plaintext?

  2. 2024-01-24 DLD

    I use K-9 on mobile, and a variety of clients on various machines.

    The mobile app for gmail cannot send plaintext. By default, the web interface doesn't — but it can.

    Plaintext is worse for marketing. You can't hide links or track image loading for additional analytics, so it is maybe no surprise that ad-based companies default to HTML email.