[imp] Problem sending mails when big attachments should be automatically linked

Michael M Slusarz slusarz at horde.org
Mon Jun 17 19:04:01 UTC 2013

Quoting Per olof Ljungmark <peo at intersonic.se>:

> On 2013-06-12 16:47, Anna Christina Naß wrote:
>> Zitat von Enrico Scholz <enrico.scholz at sigma-chemnitz.de>:
>> Hallo,
>>>>> Are there any plans to (re-)integrate this feature, e.g. add it to
>>>>> the drop-down menu of the attachment (which only says 'delete' at
>>>>> the moment)?
>>>> Absolutely not.
>>> why not?
>> Good question!
> +1
> Everyone here agrees that the old behavior was better.

This is a very incorrect statement.  The few people in this thread who  
have feelings on this disagree, but that doesn't mean the 99% of  
people using the software agree.

Allowing a user to select whether an attachment is "linked" horribly  
horribly fails what I call the "Mom test".  That test is essentially  
as follows: would my Mom be confused by the presence of this feature?   
In this case, the answer is "hell yes".

A regular user is going to have very little/no idea the difference  
between "linking" an attachment and attaching the actual data.  More  
importantly, why would a user care which method they send with?  The  
question of overhead in this instance is an ADMIN question, not a USER  
question.  An admin is the one in the position to determine whether  
they a) want to allow hosting of attachments locally, or b) whether  
they want the overhead of sending large messages (and potentially  
dealing with the consequences when remote mail servers reject the  
message due to size limitations).

A user simple cares that the remote user can access the data they are  
sending.  I remain unconvinced that a normal user makes any  
distinction between the two.  And I remain unconvinced that this is  
worth the overhead to support for the few advanced users that *MIGHT*  
take advantage of this.  (An advanced user might want the option to  
change the MIME type of an outgoing attachment, for example.  This  
doesn't mean that it makes sense to actually implement and maintain  
though.  Feature creep is very dangerous.)

Not to mention that this feature is not important enough to add to the  
mobile view.  Attachments there must be handled by some admin defined  

That being said, the "Mom test" is not an inflexible rule.  It can be  
worked around by hiding/moving advanced features to a location that  
doesn't confuse the normal user.  For example - we now allow some  
advanced attachment actions in dynamic view via a drop-down menu.   
This drop-down won't confuse the "normal" user since they will just  
ignore, and the trigger graphic is small enough to be unobtrusive.   
Compare this with the basic view method of putting giant form input  
boxes directly next to the attachment data.  (The basic compose view  
is a prime example of how NOT to design a useful UI for a normal user  
- it is tremendously confusing).

FYI: this confusion has been confirmed by at least one large service  
provider using IMP, where so many users were confused in the initial  
rollout with linked attachments that the feature had to be disabled.


Michael Slusarz [slusarz at horde.org]

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