This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list, particularly by Kathy Cole (until 2005) and Thor Kottelin (since 2007).

Avoiding HTML when posting news

HTML-formatted postings are not welcome in newsgroups. While your software may interpret HTML correctly, many news-reading clients have only minimal ability to display HTML correctly. In addition, 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 interpret your posting correctly, and the longer postings costing additional money to download (much of the world uses dial-up connections, but does not 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 are using Netscape Navigator/Communicator or Microsoft® Internet News/Outlook Express to read and post news articles, you are affected. What may seem to you like a plain text message could actually be posted in HTML without you realizing it. This is because of the way those software packages are designed.


If you are 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 long signature, which newsgroup readers commonly find annoying.

How to turn off HTML posting

Netscape 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, 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 next to By default, send HTML messages is empty
  3. To disable vCards, go to Mail & Groups → Identity and make sure the box next to Always attach Address Book Card to messages is empty.

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, go to Mail & Newsgroups → Identity, and make sure the box next to Attach my personal card to messages (as a vCard) is empty.

Microsoft products

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)

Public domainUnless otherwise indicated, this individual document may be copied and redistributed freely. Any trademarks or registered trademarks mentioned on this site belong to their respective owners. — Conventional hyperlinking to this site is welcome. However, none of the content on this site may be shown, even partly, in a context inferring or claiming it to be part of or sponsored by any other organisation or site. Such prohibited techniques include (but are not limited to) framesets, interstitial pages, kiosk mode pop-ups and reverse proxies.