In short: don't do it. You'll be flamed. You'll be called a troll. You'll be a troll on fire. HTML in usenet posts is bad, bad bad bad bad. Don't get caught doing it. Check your newsreader's options to see if it wants to do this. If you're using Outlook Express, DEFINITELY check. HTML in usenet posts is bad for a lot of reasons, namely:

  • HTML is a lot of extra padding: a five line post (around 200 bytes) is a lot fricking smaller than a comparable five line post in HTML (about 8000 bytes).
  • HTML isn't supported in all newsreaders. It isn't supported in MOST newsreaders. In a lot of the ones it is, you can disable HTML rendering. That leaves a lot of gobbledy-gook and little text. Very, very few people will bother to find a post inside of HTML, so if you're asking for help, and using HTML, don't expect much of it.
  • HTML posts, being that much larger, take a LOT longer to download, especially in parts of the world where Internet access is still very slow, and very expensive. Usually in these places people pay by the minute, and if they have to wait to download your pretty 900 KB background image and and 350 KB animated GIF of your dog snuggles for your signature, they're going to be mighty pissed and mighty broke.
  • Some vision impaired persons use software which reads text to them or software which will enlarge the text for them. If you're posting in HTML and their reader doesn't render HTML, their text-to-voice software won't work, and if you're typing in H6 instead of plaintext while they use something to enlarge the text, on their screen your post will appear one letter to a line, the size of a Dodge RAM.
Thanks, and remember, usenet was around before your newsreader was a twinkle in Bill Gate's non-borg eye. Show some respect.

Although the 40x increase in size claimed by hramyaegr is just a little overexaggerated, you still should not post news articles in HTML format. If you do, you will be shunned by your peers and family. No one will answer your question, reply to your post, or invite you to their parties.

In addition to hramyaegr's points above, the HTML poster should be made aware that when he posts HTML to a newsgroup, the message is posted as an attachment, although his imperfect newsreader may hide the fact from him. Attachments are generally frowned upon outside of binaries groups, and posting them in normal groups is considered bad Netiquette. Many news servers may even drop HTML messages posted to non-binaries groups because of this reason.

Let's compare the following two messages. Their content is identical, but the second one was posted using HTML.

Path: cs.man.ac.uk!not-for-mail
From: "Sam Morris" 
Newsgroups: man.cs.test
Subject: HTML bloat test
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 21:34:04 +0100
Organization: Dept of Computer Science, University of Manchester, U.K.
Lines: 25
Distribution: man
Message-ID: 
NNTP-Posting-Host: eng001.cs.man.ac.uk
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="utf-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Xref: cs.man.ac.uk man.cs.test:125

This is a test to see how much this post is bloated out by HTML.

A couple of paragraphs of text please!

Be very glad that your PC is insecure--it means that after you buy it, you
can break into it and install whatever software you want. What YOU want, not
what Sony or Warner or AOL wants.
  --John Gilmore (quoted in Ross Anderson, Security Engineering p. 413)

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion
that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a
number of years, the government and courts are charged with the duty of
guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing
circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not
supported by statute nor common law.
  --Robert Heinlein, "Life Line", Expanded Universe, 1939

And, since this is HTML, some bold, italic, underline, coloured text and
some variation in size.

fin

--
Sam Morris

That post was 1.6KB in length.

Path: cs.man.ac.uk!not-for-mail
From: "Sam Morris" 
Newsgroups: man.cs.test
Subject: HTML bloat test
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 21:36:18 +0100
Organization: Dept of Computer Science, University of Manchester, U.K.
Lines: 107
Distribution: man
Message-ID: 
NNTP-Posting-Host: eng001.cs.man.ac.uk
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
	boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0016_01C23290.FAABFCD0"
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Xref: cs.man.ac.uk man.cs.test:126

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

------=_NextPart_000_0016_01C23290.FAABFCD0
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="utf-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

This is a test to see how much this post is bloated out by HTML.

A couple of paragraphs of text please!

  Be very glad that your PC is insecure--it means that after you buy it, =
you
  can break into it and install whatever software you want. What YOU =
want, not
  what Sony or Warner or AOL wants.
    --John Gilmore (quoted in Ross Anderson, Security Engineering p. =
413)

  There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the =
notion
  that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public =
for aa
  number of years, the government and courts are charged with the duty =
of
  guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing
  circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine =
is not
  supported by statute nor common law.
    --Robert Heinlein, "Life Line", Expanded Universe, 1939

And, since this is HTML, some bold, italic, underline, coloured text, a =
link and
some variation in size.

fin

--
Sam Morris

------=_NextPart_000_0016_01C23290.FAABFCD0
Content-Type: text/html;
	charset="utf-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

=EF=BB=BF<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=3DContent-Type content=3D"text/html; charset=3Dutf-8">
<META content=3D"MSHTML 6.00.2716.2200" name=3DGENERATOR>
<STYLE></STYLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco size=3D1>This is a test to =
see how much=20
this post is <EM>bloated out</EM> by HTML.</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco =
size=3D1></FONT></SPAN> </DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco size=3D1>A couple of =
paragraphs of text=20
please!</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco =
size=3D1></FONT></SPAN> </DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco size=3D1>Be very glad =
that your PC is=20
  insecure--it means that after you buy it, you<BR>can break into it and =
install=20
  whatever software you want. What YOU want, not<BR>what Sony or Warner =
or AOL=20
  wants.<BR>  --John Gilmore (quoted in Ross Anderson, Security =
Engineering=20
  p. 413)</FONT></SPAN></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco =
size=3D1></FONT></SPAN> </DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=3Dltr style=3D"MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco size=3D1>There has grown =
up in the=20
  minds of certain groups in this country the notion<BR>that because a =
man or=20
  corporation has made a profit out of the public for a<BR>number of =
years, the=20
  government and courts are charged with the duty of<BR>guaranteeing =
such profit=20
  in the future, even in the face of changing<BR>circumstances and =
contrary to=20
  public interest. This strange doctrine is not<BR>supported by statute =
nor=20
  common law.<BR>  --Robert Heinlein, "Life Line", Expanded =
Universe,=20
  1939</FONT></SPAN></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco =
size=3D1></FONT></SPAN> </DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DOE-QF><FONT face=3DMonaco><FONT size=3D1>And, since =
this is HTML,=20
some <STRONG>bold</STRONG>, <EM>italic</EM>, <U>underline</U>, <FONT=20
color=3D#000080>coloured text</FONT>, a </FONT><A=20
href=3D"http://www.choosehosting.com/"><FONT =
size=3D1>link</FONT></A><FONT size=3D1>=20
and<BR>some <FONT size=3D4>variation</FONT> <FONT size=3D5>in</FONT> =
<FONT=20
size=3D7>size</FONT>.<BR><BR>fin<BR><BR></FONT></FONT></SPAN><SPAN =
class=3Dsig><FONT=20
face=3DMonaco size=3D1>--<BR>Sam =
Morris</FONT></SPAN></DIV></BODY></HTML>

------=_NextPart_000_0016_01C23290.FAABFCD0--

The HTML-encoded version (well, I call it "HTML-encoded". I'd be interested to see what standard Microsoft was looking at when they wrote the code that generated the post) was 4.5KB. A threefold increase, and for what purpose? To make matters worse, Outlook Express encoded this message using quoted-printable; many newsreaders use UUEncode method, which adds a lot more bulk, as well as making the message imposible to decypher without support for it in your newsreader.

You could reduce the bulk of the message by removing the plaintext versionl however then many people would be unable/unwilling to read what you posted.

Perhaps if newsreaders generated valid, structural markup, instead of an HTMLish mess littered with useless stylistic tags, then we'd be able to use it to eliminate nested-quotes-plaintext-formatting-nightmare and top-posting lameness. Until that joyous day, however, don't post HTML messages to newsgroups.

Oh and, while you're reading this, make sure you don't send HTML email either. You can automatically ignore/filter out HTML news posts without worrying too much about losing worthwile content, but the only HTML email I see is addressed to me, so the chances are that it contains something important... On second thoughts, most of the HTML email I receive is spam, so go figure.

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