RFC - e-mail in tough environments

Peter Lewis prlewis at fsfe.org
Thu Dec 10 16:11:02 UTC 2009

Apologies for so many emails on this point... ;-)

On Thursday 10 Dec 2009 13:49:43 Andreas Tolf Tolfsen wrote:
> As e-mails ought to be sent in plain text format only, you should also
> wrap your lines at between 70 and 80 characters.  In the RFC 2822, 78
> characters per line is specified as the standard.

Whilst I agree completely with the plain text point, things really do move on, and cultural conventions should adapt also.

To illustrate my point, see here:


On my laptop, I get lots of annoying wasted space, which makes me have to scroll to read the email, because some other people don't want their clients to wrap.

On my mobile phone, 72 characters is far too many. Static line lengths really shouldn't be the norm when email clients have such different capabilities.
> If you're using a sensible editor, it will already be programmed to
> conventiently perform this task for you.  In GNU Emacs, you can use the
> ”M-q” shortcut to wrap and indent the line correctly. There is an
> equvialent in vim by pressing ”gqap”, although this is not as
> sophisticated as Emacs', it will do the trick. [1]

<snip - further useful details about wrapping text statically in mail clients before sending>

Of course we can all conform on this item... but for me that's just not the point.



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