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The ASCII Ribbon Campaign

Against all HTML e-mail and proprietary attachments

Welcome to the official homepage of the ASCII ribbon campaign. Started as a semi-serious effort, it has become clear that more people should be made aware of some basic facts and guidelines about sending e-mail, in regards to HTML e-mail and proprietary e-mail formats. Since only a few scattered pages can be found, on different servers with no clear official homepage, this was a sign that something needed to be done. So was born!

Everyone is encouraged to spread the word on this campaign, and to direct people to this site for more information.

What is this campaign about?

Well, simply put: it opposes any and all HTML e-mail, and e-mail with proprietary attachments. Why? Actually, a number of reasons:

Proprietary mails are even worse. They impose on the recipient the use of a certain operating system, certain program, or certain office suite even to open and read e-mail. Think of getting an e-mail in the form of a Microsoft Word document. The idea behind it is that one can send a word document and have text formatting and layout preserved regardless of the recipient's e-mail client. However, e-mail clients will never be able to open this kind of document internally, are often limited to launching an external program, or a program that may not even be available for their operating system at all. Not to mention the fact that the document headers usually contain personal information, installation information, and more, about the sender that unknowingly gets sent along.


A number of people have raised counter-arguments, defending the use of HTML e-mail because plaintext would be too limiting. However, those arguments are often based on a lack of knowledge of what exactly is possible in plaintext e-mail and what can not be done (properly) in HTML:

What can I do to help?

I'm glad you asked!
You can actually do a few things to help:


This page wouldn't have been possible without the people that started this effort. Please find below links to some (but surely not all) pages related to this campaign with more information, more signatures, and more help! If you feel there is something absolutely essential missing here let me know.

the semi-official, semi-serious ascii ribbon campaign against gratuitous graphics on the web! (English)
ascii ribbon campaign (English)
7 reasons why html e-mail is evil (English)
ascii ribbon campaign (German)
ascii ribbon campaign (English)
Please, no MS Office documents (multi-lingual)
Rant against HTML mail (English, defunct) [translated in German/auf Deutsch]
Put an end to Word attachments (multi-lingual)
GNU Philosophy: no word attachments (Spanish)


If you have additions, comments, complaints, you can drop me a line by using this contact form.

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