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Loss of HTML formatting in email to or from Wikimedia-l
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User:Clovermoss has sent emails to Wikimedia-l such as this one which celebrated English Wikipedia's milestone of six million articles. However, the HTML formatting of the email was lost between the time that it was emailed by Clovermoss and by the time that I received it from the mailing list.

Clovermoss sent the same contents in an email to me off list, and this time the formatting was preserved.

There is a bug somewhere and I would appreciate having someone with relevant knowledge try to identify it.

I received permission from Clovermoss to start this Phabricator ticket.

Event Timeline

Pine created this task.Jan 28 2020, 4:11 AM
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Pine added a comment.Jan 28 2020, 4:19 AM

I'll clarify one point. I'm aware that the archives show the emails in plain text. The bug is not with the archives. The bug is with how the email was handled between the time that it was sent by Clovermoss and by the time that I received the copy that was processed by Mailman.

jijiki triaged this task as Medium priority.Jan 28 2020, 10:03 AM
Aklapper renamed this task from Loss of formatting in email to or from Wikimedia-l to Loss of HTML formatting in email to or from Wikimedia-l.Jan 28 2020, 12:44 PM
Aklapper added a comment.EditedJan 28 2020, 12:48 PM

I assume the default values for the "Content Filtering" section in the preferences at are set:

  • "Should Mailman filter the content of list traffic according to the settings below?" is set to "Yes",
  • "Remove message attachments that don't have a matching content type." does not include "text/html",
  • "Should Mailman collapse multipart/alternative to its first part content?" is set to "Yes",
  • "Should Mailman convert text/html parts to plain text?" is set to "Yes".

This is a per-list setting. The current behavior is intentional and increases everyone's security and privacy. I don't see a bug here. (See how to contact list admins of wikimedia-l@)

Yeah, at least it’s not a regression – this is the earliest WMYHTW email I have:

Though we do also have lists that permit HTML, such as Wikidata-l:

HTML (rich text) formatting is purposefully disabled on almost all our
mailing lists, just as are email attachments, partially for security
reasons. This is to prevent obfuscated links that might not lead where a
reader expects, and script injection vulnerabilities which some email
clients have.
It also reduces the accessibility problems that occur when an email sender
tries to force a specific font or a specific color typeface.

Aklapper closed this task as Invalid.Jan 28 2020, 10:31 PM

I'm closing this task as invalid as the current behavior is intentional. In general, admins of a specific mailing list can change settings of that mailing list, which is not done via Phab tasks. (I admit I'm not sure what could be a process or venue to have a general and structured discussion about settings applied to all and every mailing list.)

Pine added a comment.Jan 30 2020, 8:00 PM

Thanks for the information, everyone.