WKOX, WRCA, WUNR at full power
Wed Mar 18 23:22:26 EDT 2009
<<On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 22:28:28 -0500, "A. Joseph Ross" <email@example.com> said:
> On 18 Mar 2009 at 9:39, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>> Somehow extra question marks got added to my last message. AOL did
>> something screwy lately. Sorry about that.
> Aol regularly adds spurrious question marks to the ASCII text
> versions of outgoing e-mail messages. This has been going on for at
> least a year, maybe longer.
It's actually fairly easy to explain, and it's not entirely AOL's
fault. Certain (broken) email clients turn sequences of multiple
spaces into sequences of spaces and non-breaking-space characters for
no readily explainable reason. When transforming this mangled text
back into ASCII, the conversion software has to make a choice about
how to represent the non-breaking-space characters, which aren't in
ASCII. The sensible way would be to convert them into spaces, but
apparently AOL is treating them as unconvertible characters, which it
represents as question marks. It probably does that for some other
non-ASCII punctuation marks, too.
The solution is two-fold: don't use AOL (or demand that AOL fix its
broken conversion), and don't use the space-mangling email client
[This technical interlude brought to you by the letters "Q" and "P",
and by the number 64.]
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