the more i think about it, the more i conclude that @sir is right and git forges aren’t the right answer.

which is really a shame because i hate email
but sourcehut has a very compelling workflow
what i like about sourcehut is that it just connects tools together. i think this is an example of @sir at his most brilliant.

you can have an email workflow, or not.

you can have web-based reviews, or not.

what is most compelling is that, with functional ActivityPub groups, we could have a workflow where we discuss the changes right here, in the fediverse, and reach consensus on it, and then it makes it into the repo. all of this is possible because of the sourcehut plumbing.


I really want to like sourcehut, and these are excellent points in its favour.


One of my biggest concerns is that policy is hardcoded in to the software. e.g. the flat refusal to accept multipart emails merely because one part is HTML makes it impossible to discuss HTML attachments, and it actively impedes simple support inquiries via email (e.g. a users ML) which may result in a potential user looking at another project.

(Speaking as someone who’s been using the internet and writing emails almost as soon as they were able to read… the anti-HTML email crusade was lost decades ago.)

@Aerdan i'm sure those issues will be resolved in due course, now that alpine is breathing down his neck.


Had an argument on fedi a few weeks ago about it, he wouldn’t even accept any mechanisms for downgrading the HTML. There was also a patch offered to just quietly drop the HTML attachment, which was also rejected.

So, it’ll have to be some pressure indeed to make him change it.


seems the problem with removing the HTML attachments is that it breaks the DKIM signature, which does have consequences.


I don’t know that there’s a solution to ‘no HTML email’ if “does not break DKIM signatures” is more important, then.

I do know that there should be an option to permit HTML email on a per-list basis, however.


that seems like a reasonable compromise. @sir what do you think?

@kaniini @Aerdan I really, really, really, really do not want HTML email on HTML is a pox on email and my goal is its elimintation from the internet. 99 out of 100 MUA vulnerabilities are email-related, for obvious reasons. It has no place in an MUA and I'm not going to let you burden subscribers of my lists with this awful mail format.

@kaniini @Aerdan a stated goal of is to improve the ecosystem, and getting bad clients which only support HTML emails to play ball is part of that

@sir @Aerdan

i understand that, but it seems to me like that position isn't going to hold water with the alpine crowd forever. all those docker dweebs love using Microsoft(R) Outlook to talk about their docking docker dockery, after all.

@kaniini @Aerdan I intend to hold strong, if it continues being pressed I'll post a full argument against HTML email to the list and put it to a formal debate

@sir @Aerdan but being able to coordinate docker docking dockery with Microsoft(R) Outlook will be the most important thing, especially since docker is paying for everything :D

@sir @kaniini @Aerdan For *users* (not developers) who want to use a mailing list for help (e.g. alpine-users), it's unacceptable to bounce HTML email unconditionally. Not all clients support plaintext-only, and I really doubt that your project is going to change that. What leverage do you have over Apple, Microsoft, and Google? And, before you counter with "just use a different client", that is not an acceptable response either, *especially* in the case of lists designed for helping end users

@sroracle @kaniini @sir

It is especially not acceptable when accessibility is involved. HTML email may be a pain to deal with, but if someone with a disability is using an email client that meets their needs, it is not your place to demand they use something else.

@sroracle @kaniini @sir

(Anecdote time: I communicate regularly with the blind, since I am the secretary of an advocacy group by, for, and with the blind. Many of my fellow Federationists use GMail. GMail does not provide an option to use plaintext email in their current clients. I therefore could not use mailing list software which rejects HTML email if I were to provision a mailing list for the chapter.)

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini woah, don't you make the a11y argument with me. Plaintext is 1000x more accessible than HTML email. I know from personal experience. I take a11y very seriously.

@sir @kaniini @sroracle

…Not seriously enough that you can’t spell ‘accessibility’ out every time, apparently. That contraction is not accessible, ironically.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini oh come on if you're going to use an argument like that then we're done talking

@sir @sroracle @Aerdan

the problem is that lots of people (especially blind people) use phones as their primary device.

the "techs" that train blind people to use their phones train them to use GMail or the iOS default mail client, because it's easy and they can standardize on it.

having met some of these people and some of the techs through working with Aerdan, I can confirm that telling these people to use different software is unrealistic. switching the software up means months of developing and testing new training materials, as well as evaluating how well the apps function under things like Talkback.

yes, plaintext email is better for accessibility, but this doesn't mean anything if the client the disabled users are trained to use refuses to allow composition of plaintext email.

@kaniini @sir @sroracle

And users don’t have to be walked through installing software on their phones when they upgrade if they can just use the preinstalled software already.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini I don't think that blind users have any special exception to the rule that they learn to use good software to use sourcehut. The manual is easily read by a screenreader. I have spent a lot of time working specifically for a11y needs, both on sourcehut and in my other projects, with the same philosophy that the right design decisions are the right choices.

@sir @kaniini @sroracle

Okay, so when are you providing a well-designed email client for iOS/Android/Windows/macOS/Linux?

@sir @sroracle @Aerdan

i guess what we're saying is that sourcehut due to the HTML restriction may not be appropriate for hosting support lists.

but maybe instead of support lists, other things like forums should be used instead.

very bad, do not take seriously 

@kaniini @sroracle @Aerdan I disagree with that assertion. I think sourcehut is perfectly suitable for support lists given the constraint that we're pushing for a better ecosystem for everyone. Do not bend to harmful software; fight it.

@sir @Aerdan @sroracle

i guess maybe that position is fine as long as alternatives exist, like a forum or whatever.

@kaniini @sroracle @Aerdan no, I still disagree. Users of bad software should not be accomdated for, even with alternative forums which accomodate for them, but instead should be taught how to be a better consumer of the software ecosystem

@sir @sroracle @kaniini

Are you volunteering to personally overhaul 50 states’ visual services departments’ accessible technology teams?

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand other than being tangentally related to a11y^waccessibility

@sir @kaniini @sroracle

No, it has a lot to do with the discussion at hand. Because those people are responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation and independent living skills for the blind. That includes training users on how to use email, whether it be Outlook on a desktop or laptop or GMail or Apple Mail on mobile devices.

You don’t get to dictate to people what email clients they’re comfortable using, especially since you’re not volunteering your time to help them switch to a client you feel is more suitable.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini you bet your ass I am volunteering my time to help people move to more suitable clients.

The idea that innovative technology cannot be made because it would be hard for blind people to learn is such a bullshit, condescending idea that I simply will not stand for it.

@sir @kaniini @sroracle

No, you’re not. You’re rejecting HTML email with a short & pithy message. You’re not offering a personalised email to each and every user which states your position, offers a list of alternatives and to assist with any migration issues they may have, etc.

And that would also be condescending because, unfortunately, the rest of the world just wants to get shit done and they don’t care. If you want to change things, you need to make it so that the way you want things to happen is the easiest and most convenient way to do it.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini aside from the fact that the bounce email could be better, you and I will not see eye to eye on this matter. I have no interest in discussing it with you further.

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@sir Maybe you could do some page similar to for enabling plain text email in gmail, outlook, etc. That'd solve the problem of people arguing that gmail/outlook app doesn't let them do it. Maybe, in fact, it doesn't. Maybe they are already on the extinguish phase...

Maybe the page should be about switching to another email app similar to that one and accessible. I know it's not your work, but I just want them to have no arguments.

I never want HTML email. I'd like it to be extinguished, too. When I receive an HTML email that cannot be read in plaintext mode, I simply delete it.

Please, don't let HTML email come to upstream sourcehut ever.

@kaniini @sir @sroracle

Forums are even worse than email, though.

90% of the communications I have with my fellow Federationists are via my phone (text or call). The other 10% is email.

@sroracle @kaniini @Aerdan I expect those clients to change. Most clients *do* support plaintext email, those which do not are in the minority and will be corrected.

@sroracle @kaniini @Aerdan frankly if that's a dealbreaker for you then sourcehut is not the platform for your needs.

@sir @kaniini @Aerdan okay, then perhaps the alpine-users email list should be moved to a more reasonable platform.

@sroracle @kaniini @Aerdan I'm talking about the policy of upstream. For the alpine lists I'm going to fight hard against plaintext but at the end of the day it's not my call alone

@sir @kaniini @sroracle

It doesn’t matter. I would have to personally provide tech support for every single member of my fellow Federationists if I were to get them to use a different email client just to satisfy your personal crusade.

But okay, fine. You win. I will tell everybody not to use your software because it’s not user-friendly and the developer has no interest in making it user-friendly.

Have fun.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini sourcehut has a long-stated goal of not making the wrong design choices to accomdate for users who are used to bad tools. We teach users how to use good tools, rather than breaking the interface/experience to bow to shitty tools.

@Aerdan @sroracle @kaniini it's the same reason we push for git-send-email instead of adding yet-another-github-pull-requests clone

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