moderated Formatting differences between emailed messages and web interface: Numbered lists #bug


Andy I
 

This is one of many issues about message formatting, differences between messages delivered by email and the same messages viewed in the Groups.io web interface.  I have not gotten around to other formatting problems yet because it takes time to document them and I'm lazy.

The bug today involves numbered lists.  You know, like this:
  1. First item
  2. Second item
  3. Third item

A message from a group arrived in my email today with 3 items, numbered 1, 2, and 3.  It looks like the author put spaces between the lines, so it actually looks like this:

1. First line

2. Second line

3. Third line

Now in the web view of the same message, it looks like this:

1. First line

1. Second line

1. Third line

so it is different than the emailed message (as seen in Gmail).  But wait.  If you reply to that message in the web interface (click the Reply link), and click the Quote Post button to copy the message into your edit box, now it looks like this:

1. First line

2. Second line

3. Third line

So it makes one wonder what the heck is going on?

This is probably not a truly important problem, but it's a problem nonetheless.  I like consistency, knowing that everyone sees same message the same.

Andy


 

Wow that is crazy. I know there are some formatting inconsistencies and figured it was just something to tolerate because of inconsistencies between email clients, etc. But changing the actual content by changing the numbers? That is weird.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


Andy Wedge
 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 10:31 PM, Andy I wrote:
A message from a group arrived in my email today with 3 items, numbered 1, 2, and 3.  It looks like the author put spaces between the lines, so it actually looks like this:

1. First line

2. Second line

3. Third line

Now in the web view of the same message, it looks like this:

1. First line

1. Second line

1. Third line
That's because they manually typed in the numbers for each line after inserting a blank. In effect they created three numbered lists, the first starting at 1, the second starting at 2 and the third starting at 3.  Groups.io is seeing these three numbered lists and starts each one at 1.   If they had just typed the list and then altered the spacing using a text formatting option such as this from Outlook, it would be fine:




Regards
Andy


Andy I
 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 06:08 PM, Andy Wedge wrote:
That's because they manually typed in the numbers for each line after inserting a blank. ...

Actually, no, I don't think they did that.

As can be seen in the email copy I received, as well as the two Replies I composed to that message, the listed items ARE a real list, without manually-entered list numbers.  If they had "manually typed in the numbers for each line", then those numbers would have been preserved.  Wouldn't they?

It appears that Gmail correctly interprets them as belonging to one list.  It also appears that Groups.io's message editor correctly interprets the lines as belonging to a single numbered list.  But Groups.io's regular message display function (not the editor) incorrectly interprets the lines.

So I guess there is something there that causes this numbered list to be interpreted differently, depending on where you look at it.


...  Groups.io is seeing these three numbered lists and starts each one at 1.   ...

That's difficult to say.  In one place, Groups.io sees them as three separate numbered lists and starts each one at 1.  In another place, Groups.io sees them as elements of a single list, and preserves the intended numbering.  THAT difference is the inconsistency I'm trying to talk about.

Andy


Andy I
 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 06:08 PM, Andy Wedge wrote:
...   If they had just typed the list and then altered the spacing using a text formatting option such as this from Outlook, it would be fine:


I can't do that from the Groups.io message editor, can I?

I can change the text size (Paragraph and 6 Header sizes), but I don't see a tool to change the line spacing.  Is there one?

I have not used Outlook in decades, and don't care to start again.

Andy



 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 2:31 PM Andy I <AI.egrps+io@...> wrote:
This is one of many issues about message formatting, differences between messages delivered by email and the same messages viewed in the Groups.io web interface.  I have not gotten around to other formatting problems yet because it takes time to document them and I'm lazy.

The bug today involves numbered lists.  You know, like this:

Please send me a link to the message in the archives. I'm guessing it's weird CSS that we're defanging too aggressively.

Thanks,
Mark 


Andy Wedge
 

On Wed, Oct 19, 2022 at 12:50 AM, Andy I wrote:
Actually, no, I don't think they did that.
Well this is very easy to reproduce doing what I said.  If they had just typed the relevant lines, selected the text and then applied a numbered list format, it would be fine. I've tested this by sending messages to my test subgroup from Outlook, Thunderbird and the GMail web UI. Properly formatted numbered lists are preserved on the Groups.io site whether you are viewing, editing or replying to a message. They also appear correctly when received as an email message in each client.

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 10:31 PM, Andy I wrote:
But wait.  If you reply to that message in the web interface (click the Reply link), and click the Quote Post button to copy the message into your edit box, now it looks like this:

1. First line

2. Second line

3. Third line
I agree that the list is numbered differently but the root cause of that is the incorrectly formatted numbered list to start with. This seems to be asking Groups.io for a technical fix for what is ultimately a user error.  I think the error is that the Groups.io site is not showing show the same format in the quoted text as the original message view.

Regards
Andy


Andy I
 

On Wed, Oct 19, 2022 at 03:12 AM, Andy Wedge wrote:
Well this is very easy to reproduce doing what I said.  If they had just typed the relevant lines, selected the text and then applied a numbered list format, it would be fine. I've tested this by sending messages to my test subgroup from Outlook, Thunderbird and the GMail web UI. Properly formatted numbered lists are preserved on the Groups.io site whether you are viewing, editing or replying to a message. They also appear correctly when received as an email message in each client.

Obviously they did not write the line numbers manually.  If they did, then the numbers would have been the same no matter how the message was viewed.  But they weren't.  In email, the numbers were 1-2-3.  In Groups.io's web interface when viewing the message normally, the numbers were 1-1-1.  In Groups.io's web interface when editing a reply and quoting the message, the numbers were 1-2-3.  I can't explain that.  Something seems to not be working right.  The lines were in a numbered list, but that numbered list was interpreted differently by those three entities (Gmail, Groups.io message-display, and Groups.io edit-display).

I don't think it is fair to say that all numbered lists must be done YOUR way.  Not everyone uses Outlook.

Because I don't use Outlook, it is not very easy for me to reproduce doing what you said.  Sorry.  There are so many ways of sending messages.

Mark suggested that the problem might have something to do with "weird CSS" that they (Groups.io) defang, perhaps too aggressively.

Andy


 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2022 at 5:09 PM Mark Fletcher via groups.io <markf=corp.groups.io@groups.io> wrote:

Please send me a link to the message in the archives. I'm guessing it's weird CSS that we're defanging too aggressively.

Andy sent me the link off-list and I looked at the message. It was composed in Outlook. Many (all?) versions of Outlook use the Microsoft Word engine to compose HTML emails, and the HTML they produce is truly dreadful. For this case, we were a bit too aggressive in sanitizing the HTML before displaying it. I've fixed that.

Thanks,
Mark


Andy Wedge
 

On Wed, Oct 19, 2022 at 05:17 PM, Andy I wrote:
Obviously they did not write the line numbers manually.  If they did, then the numbers would have been the same no matter how the message was viewed. 
Not necessarily, as I demonstrated.

But they weren't.  In email, the numbers were 1-2-3.  In Groups.io's web interface when viewing the message normally, the numbers were 1-1-1. 
Again, I explained and demonstrated how this can happen.  Just because you have three lines that are numbered 1, 2, 3. It doesn't necessarily make it a single numbered list. 

I don't think it is fair to say that all numbered lists must be done YOUR way.  Not everyone uses Outlook.
I never said it was MY way. I explained how the situation you were seeing could easily be achieved.  I happened to do that using Outlook as that's what I use.

Regards
Andy


 

On Thu, Oct 20, 2022 at 12:39 AM Andy Wedge <andy_wedge@...> wrote:
On Wed, Oct 19, 2022 at 05:17 PM, Andy I wrote:
Obviously they did not write the line numbers manually.  If they did, then the numbers would have been the same no matter how the message was viewed. 
Not necessarily, as I demonstrated.

But they weren't.  In email, the numbers were 1-2-3.  In Groups.io's web interface when viewing the message normally, the numbers were 1-1-1. 
Again, I explained and demonstrated how this can happen.  Just because you have three lines that are numbered 1, 2, 3. It doesn't necessarily make it a single numbered list. 

I don't think it is fair to say that all numbered lists must be done YOUR way.  Not everyone uses Outlook.
I never said it was MY way. I explained how the situation you were seeing could easily be achieved.  I happened to do that using Outlook as that's what I use.

In this message, each item in the list was actually a separate list (<ol>), with a `start` attribute that incremented. We were stripping out the start attribute, which caused the numbering to start at 1 for each of the items. I don't think the message was composed by the author that way, Outlook just does that. So, you're both right, and we can consider this topic closed. :-)

Thanks,
Mark