[erlang-questions] Announcing Erlang.org Code of Conduct

Vincent de Phily <>
Thu Mar 26 15:14:29 CET 2015


On Thursday 26 March 2015 12:09:12 Loïc Hoguin wrote:
> You say this but you have the same problem as zxq9. In my client your
> "properly formatted email" has line breaks about every 80 characters,
> which results in every second line being exactly one word. It wouldn't
> be like this if you or your client didn't put those line breaks.
>
> It's interesting because you say the writer has to format his email
> keeping in mind how people will read it, in an email that is actually
> much harder to read for me than top posting.

I'm sorry to hear that. I was aware of clients that couldn't display more 
than 80 chars, but it seems yours has a lower limit.

The cut at 78 chars is indeed my MTU's doing. Having every second line 
consisting of just one word is your MTU's doing. See the archives :
http://erlang.org/pipermail/erlang-questions/2015-March/084025.html

I find such a receiver-side display limit anachronistic, but it seems that 
it can't be helped, so here's a mail reconfigured to cut at 74 chars for 
your viewing pleasure.

I'm on record saying that 74 chars is a silly limit, and I'd prefer if 
word-wraping was only done at display time, but plaintext being what it 
is, wraping must still be done at writing time in some cases (for example 
when indenting bullet points). Html emails may be a solution, but they're 
a horrible one.

So we still have to deal with write-time wraping at a lowest common 
denominator cutoff point. Thanks for reminding me that 78 chars was still 
too wide; are you sure you can't upgrade ? :p


> Considering the very large number of clients and possible
> configurations, I find it very odd to blame the one writing the email
> instead of the client being used to read said email.

There. I blamed your mail reader for pointlessly wraping my 
conservatively-sized lines. Sometimes it's the writer's MTU, sometimes the 
reader's, sometimes the MTA, sometimes the human... Let's deal with each 
separately.


> An email isn't a PDF, it *will* display differently everywhere.

Yes, I've mentioned that issue above.


> Should I, as an email writer, be careful about using the ')' character
> just because many clients will convert it to a smiley?

You should, on any medium, be aware of your reader's general limitations. 
That doesn't mean that you absolutely must deal with every silly case. 
Accidental smileys are frequent enough, especially with computer code, so 
I hope that the reader has a way to turn them on and off. Like it should 
have a way to temporally use monospaced fonts when someone sends an ascii 
diagram.


> Though I'm guessing your answer there is "no because my client doesn't
> do it and my client is right and all others are wrong".

I hope I don't sound that obnoxious ?


> It is trivial to detect the rest of an email is just a quote and the
> client should indicate that (it would also be useful for those who do
> quote inline but leave a large quote unanswered at the end),

All MTUs I know display quotes a bit differently, sometimes even 
collapsing them by default. That makes parsing them easy for the user 
(though there's still that gmail bug that puts the first line of the reply 
inside the quote...), but it's still be nice to avoid having to parse the 
quote if the quote wasn't necessary to begin with.


> just like it should be trivial for my client to change the flow of text
> to make it readable instead of the mess it makes right now.

My client (kmail) happens to help with that by re-adding the proper quote 
markers when I hit enter inside a quote, but I'd say that the general case 
is not trivial. The only MTU that I remember being good at that is gnus 
(an emacs mode), most other MTUs I've seen don't help at all.


> I find it fascinating that the code of conduct has only had the opposite
> of the intended effect so far.

The paragraphs about style have been removed from the CoC, so this thread 
is not really about CoC anymore. And as much as I dislike top posting, 
it's a trivial issue compared to verbal abuse.

-- 
Vincent de Phily



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