Posting News Using HTML

Please don't.

HTML-formatted postings are not welcomed in newsgroups. While your software may interpret HTML correctly, there are many newsreading clients in use, most of which have only minimal ability to correctly display HTML. Also, HTML postings often include your message twice: a plain text version is followed immediately by a version including HTML tags. This extra version of your message more than doubles the total length of the posting, and adds unnecessary download time for other newsgroup readers. Between other users' software's inability to correctly interpret your posting, and the longer postings costing additional money to download (much of the world outside the United States doesn't have free local calling), you're likely to receive complaints if you post in HTML. These complaints can range from polite to thermonuclear.

If you're using Netscape Navigator/Communicator or Microsoft Internet News/Outlook Express to read and post news articles, you're affected. What may seem to you like a plain text message could actually be posted in HTML without you realizing it, because of the way those software packages are designed.

If you're using Netscape Collabra 4.x or Microsoft Outlook Express and you post with vcards, you will likely also get requests to stop doing so. For those using other newsreaders, vcards just look like a really long signature, which newsgroup readers commonly find annoying.

Here is how to turn off HTML posting in Netscape and Microsoft products:

Netscape 3.x or earlier:

  1. From the top menu bar, select Options | Mail and News Preferences | Composition
  2. Make sure that Allow 8-bit is selected ( not MIME compliant )
  3. If there is a Use HTML Composition Window selection available, please be sure it is not selected
Netscape Communicator 4.0x (Collabra discussion groups):
  1. From the top menu bar, select Edit | Preferences | Mail & Groups | Messages
  2. Make sure the box is empty next to By default, send HTML messages
  3. To disable vcards, please also go to Mail & Groups | Identity, and make sure the box is empty next to Always attach Address Book Card to messages.
Netscape Communicator 4.5 (Newsgroups):
  1. From the top menu bar, select Edit | Preferences | Mail & Newsgroups | Formatting
  2. In the Message formatting box, select Use the plain text editor to compose messages
  3. To disable vcards, please also go to Mail & Newsgroups | Identity, and make sure the box is empty next to Attach my personal card to messages (as a vCard).
Microsoft Internet News:
  1. Select menu News
  2. Select Options | Send
  3. Check the Plain Text box
Microsoft Outlook Express:
  1. From the main menu, select Tools | Options | Send | Mail or News
  2. Check the Plain Text box, preferably for both mail and news (many mail clients can't handle HTML either, so it's best not to send it unless you're sure your recipient can read it)

Return to nnqlinks

This site and its mirrors are collectively maintained by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list. For more information, please email nnq-adm at

This individual document is maintained by: Kathy Cole (kathy at

This individual document may be copied and redistributed freely. It is to be considered material of the Public Domain and we accept no liabilities for use of its contents. If you feel that any of the contents of this page are in violation of your own copyright, please email the maintainer. Please contact the maintainer of the document if you have suggestions for improvements or additions to this document.

Last Updated: Monday, January 3, 2005

The person responsible for maintaining this individual mirror site is available here.