My responses to your email are in white

Oh the inevitable headaches with email and how people use email to communicate.

Every once in a while, we get one of those emails where the reply starts off with something like My responses are below in red. Now that is just super-fantastic, if:

  • the receiver is not colour blind
  • the receiver's email client supports text/html
  • the receiver's device supports colours

Thinking about replying back with a clever response to this absurdity?

   Hi Jane,
    My responses are in white:
    Please avoid using HTML in your emails!

Okay, so, you can highlight the text area and manage to figure out the text, but, you get the idea and hopefully the point is made :)

Happy un-emailing.



6 interactions

Ara Pehlivanian’s photoAra Pehlivanian replied on

As funny and clever as that is, I can't say that I'm 100% against HTML email. Mainly because of the formatting that it allows me to do.

Let the flames begin.

Oh, BTW, I used text-only email for a good few months to come to the conclusion that it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

1 interaction

Sarven Capadisli’s photoSarven Capadisli replied on

@Ara Pehlivanian: I understand what you mean and agree with in cases where the user doesn't have the know-how to resort to alternatives to email.

Any remaining information (where another tool is less appropriate) can be sufficiently written in text/plain.

Rhonnie’s photoRhonnie replied on

Instead of changing color, I usually make my response in bold, or the other way around, so that the original text is bold, and my response is normal.

But that white response example cracks me up.. LOL

problemSolved3DecadesAgo’s photoproblemSolved3DecadesAgo replied on

> How should we handle replying to email?

Like this. see how the "> " sequence on the first line shows that its coming from a previous author?

This convention was established in the 1970's when Internet email first got started. People started having troubleseeing what part of an email was reply and what was the original.

Back in those early days the only people on the Internet were primarily researchers and scientists. They determined that this was the best way to format email because it saved everyone the most time.

> but what about colors in emails?

A totally stupid idea as the article showed. Email has to be readable on any device. Many devices have no color at all. So color in email? Just ignore it.

That "> " is so easy we started doing it 3 decades and it just works in all email mediums. Virtually every email program in the world supports it.

In fact its so useful its even described in Internet RFC's Engineering documents on how to use email! (Wow!)

For its entire effective existence, the Internet and that part of the Internet people call "the Web" has been defined and engineered by the "The Internet Engineering Task Force" (IETF).

As a group the IETF has defined the standards and conventions that allow programs (and people) to use the WEB so easily.

Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about what goes on under the covers of the Web is defined in the engineering documents found here:

and here; (mirror)

These documents include this one written in 1994 to summarize and document the existing email standards:

Happy Reading!

Katy D’s photoKaty D replied on

I've run across this problem more than once, and it can be super annoying! What I normally do is add my initials to my responses (and theirs) so if we do lose the colours, it still makes sense.

[EX] Like this?

[KD] Exactly!

[EX] :)