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Problem with formatting when replying to an HTML-formatted email in Groupwise

Posted on 2007-10-02
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Last Modified: 2013-11-12
We use Groupwise 6.5, with defaults set to read received emails in HTML format (so that if they are so formatted they'll display correctly) but to compose emails in text format (since that's our preference).

We had no problem with this until a month or so ago. If we replied to an email which had been sent to us as HTML it retained the basic formatting, e.g. paragraphs etc., although obviously without anything which can't be displayed in text format.

Recently, however, when we reply to such emails ALL the formatting of the original email is lost, and the message just shows as a long string of text. This makes it very difficult to read through the correspondence thread.

We've made no changes to our Groupwise settings here, so I'm baffled as to what could have caused this change. Any ideas?
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Question by:rodomahony
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by:PsiCop
ID: 20003310
Hmmmm.... coupla questions.

You don't say, so I'm assuming you're using the native GroupWise client. I'm also assuming, since you don't say, that you are using the default configuration that does not lock down the client settings.

Point being that just because YOU haven't changed the format of your replies doesn't mean the user having the problem hasn't done so.

Does this problem just happen with E-Mails from one source, or does it occur regardless of the source of the HTML E-Mail to which you reply?

If the former, then I would suggest that the sender's E-Mail system and/or client is broken and generating really crappy MIME parts for the HTML (predictably, lotsa M$ E-Mail products do this). If the latter, then I'd suggest that someone changed something in your GroupWise system, perhaps without your knowledge.
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by:rodomahony
ID: 20004988
Hi PsiCop,

Yes, we are using the native Groupwise client. The client settings aren't locked, but we're a small site and I've checked that the users (including me!) haven't changed their client settings. No-one but myself has access to the Groupwise server settings.

I'm not absolutely sure if this issue applies to all HTML emails we've been getting. Much of the HTML email traffic we get is advertising / spam to which we wouldn't be sending a reply anyway; most genuine correspondents of ours use text formatting. It may also be that if someone's email client is set to compose in HTML but they're not including anything apart from text, we might not realise on receipt that it was an HTML-formatted message. I'll look into this further.

The correspondent with whom we're noticing this problem the most uses Hotmail (which would fit your comment about Microsoft products!). I don't use Hotmail myself, but presumably it can be set to compose in simple text? If there's nothing we can do at our end to fix the problem,maybe that's the route we'll have to go.
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PsiCop earned 375 total points
ID: 20005496
Yes, Hotmail can be set to compose with simple text.

I'd suggest that you ask around the office and find people who variously use Yahell! and GMail, and get them to send in HTML-formatted E-Mails, as an experiment. Reply to them and see how well it works. The idea being, of course, to see if the problem is universal or source-dependent.

I've been kicking around (or mucking about, I suppose I should say) GroupWise since v4.1, and while it has a lot to commend it, I can't say I've ever been terribly impressed with the GWIA antiSPAM capabilities. When I design a GroupWise system, I typically front-end GWIA with a *NIX relay host running sendmail and MIMEDefang, and make those things the core of the antiSPAM defense (excuse me, defence). GWIA then gets the already-filtered E-Mail.

In your situation, such an arrangement would have the added advantage of leveraging the ability of MIMEDefang to re-build all in-bound E-Mail to conform to standards. GroupWise can be a little sensitive on that score - slightly blinkered, you might say. However, I don't know if that sort of thing is an option for you.
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by:rodomahony
ID: 20005729
Hi,

I've now checked some more, and most if not all of the emails where we've seen this problem are Hotmail ones - Yahoo, Gmail and other sources seem to be OK. I guess MS must have made changes recently to the way Hotmail builds HTML emails, so we'll ask senders using it to revert to simple text or use another web mail provider.

Thanks also for the advice re MIMEDefang - I'll look into that. We're just a small company/network, so whether it's a practical option will probably come down largely to cost!
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by:PsiCop
ID: 20010902
You can implement a sendmail/MIMEDefang/ClamAV/SpamAssassin relay on a Linux host for the (direct) cost of the hardware and the (indirect) cost of learning the tools. It all runs on SLES (or OES-Linux) quite nicely.

Do a Google search on terms like "sendmail mimedefang spamassassin spam" and you'll find a wide variety of how-tos and product reviews.

There's also my paper on the subject --> http://dave.trianglenug.org/AntiSPAM.pdf
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