Unwanted e-mail Attachments

Where do they come from?

Some e-mail clients try to retain the editor's format of the original message and send this information to the list server. Since the list server can't deal with the formatting instructions in a way that all e-mail clients can recognize, they appear to many of us as an unreadable attachment to the e-mail message that we receive. This occurs when the recipient of the message does not use the same kind of e-mail client that generated the message. We can't tell when an attachment is valid without wasting a little time opening it. These attachments also waste disk space and require the user to delete them manually.

What can I do to prevent them?

Well, if you are using Microsoft's Outlook, these steps provided by Bjorn Vang Jensen worked well for him. They are provided with his permission. The bottom line is that you want to send TEXT-ONLY messages to SCUBA-L - not MIME encoded messages. Some mail clients allow you to select this option on a recipient basis - meaning all posts to a particular address will be text-only as a default. The following steps worked for Bjorn:

  1. Set Outlook to deliver plain text, but this is NOT ENOUGH. You have to take the following additional steps:
  2. When you click "reply" to a message from SCUBA-L, you need to look at the address that Outlook puts in the "To"-field. Usually, this will be "Scuba Diving Discussion List".
  3. Double-click on the address, and the properties for this address will be shown in a dialogue-box.
  4. Un-check the box titled "Always send to this recipient in Microsoft Exchange rich-text format"
  5. Click OK
  6. Problem solved, send your post. BUT NOT ENTIRELY!
  7. You may have to do this a couple of times, before some sort of intelligence built into MS Outlook picks up on the fact that you never want to send to the list in RTF. Once you've done it a couple of times, you won't have to do it again.

If you use another e-mail program, and hear that you are sending unintentional attachments, you may need to ask for help. Someone usually knows the answer and will be glad to share it.

Copyright © 1997 Randall C. Allen - All rights reserved
Comments to: rallen@searover.com
visitor # 2016 since 12/8/97