Since the problem is a relative handful of large attachments, could a
solution just be to provide a repository for
mailing list members to store such files, yielding a URL they could
use in an email ? Then, the usual list feedback
would keep the attachment sizes manageable.
(*mumble*) Folks, let's please not try to engineer around user
silliness. User silliness will occur no matter what tools we provide.
Anybody can get a place on Dropbox or elsewhere and put a URL to their
stuff into an email message. The problem is not that the tool isn't
there. The problem is that people don't use it. They attach dumb things
instead of pointing to them. Or worse they paste them inline, making it
even harder for people who use tools that can avoid attachments from
having to deal with them. What we need is better decisions and a bit
more considerateness by senders of email, not more things to let them
continue being dumb.
And there is no "one size fits all" solution here: Setting up a separate
list that strips out attachments and makes them links helps me some of
the time (when I'm on a low bandwidth device that can't receive mail
other than in lump-and-dump mode), but it's lousy for me at other times
(when my device is now zero bandwith and I would have liked everything
downloaded while I was online so now I can read it offline). Maybe some
folks are never offline (or are willing to ignore some of the data that
was sent while they are), or simply don't have access to tools that
allow them to only download attachments on demand. Maybe a second list
with this feature would help. But overall, this seems like a social
engineering problem more than a computer engineering problem to me.
All of this is independent of an IMAP archive. That let's people
manipulate message in the archive with their favorite email program,
downloading attachments (or not), replying (and getting all of the
References: header fields right), etc. That's a good thing for the
recipient, independent of this issue.
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