Web4Lib and attachments

Thomas Dowling tdowling at ohiolink.edu
Mon Mar 20 16:50:45 EST 2000

Speaking only for myself, I'm a little bothered by the growing readiness
of list subscribers to post file attachments to Web4Lib.  MIME attachments
have at least three problems on a public list like this:

  Not all members of the W4L community have MIME-aware
  mail clients.  Sending them attachments, especially non-text
  attachments only gives them gibberish.  (They'll also have to
  wade through a lot of garbage just to read a post in HTML--
  plaintext is the lingua franca).

  The size of any posting coming in to W4L has to be
  multiplied by over 3000 to get the size of the outgoing
  mail from sunsite.berkeley.edu.  Any large post puts
  a stress on that machine that is more than our
  gracious hosts signed on for.

  Some MIME types are capable of carrying viruses, Trojan
  horses, or other undesirable code inside them.  This
  is obviously true of executable files, but we shouldn't
  forget Melissa and her ilk that hide inside Word and
  other Office file types.  There is a very small number
  of correspondents from whom I will open Word files
  attached to e-mail.  From anyone else, they get
  deleted unopened, which is just a waste of time
  and bandwidth for everyone involved.

On other lists and newsgroups I participate in, the etiquette is not to
post attachments (especially binaries, and doubly especially executables).
We're all web professionals here; if you need people to see a file, I
recommend putting it on a web server and posting the URL.

Thomas Dowling
OhioLINK - Ohio Library and Information Network
tdowling at ohiolink.edu

More information about the Web4lib mailing list