I just attempted to join Rochester FreeCycle out of a sense of futility at all the stuff we had to throw away when we moved. But when I attempted to join, I got an email that consisted of a Word document. strings(1) indicates that it’s just a page of plain text, asking me some questions. So why the hell is it a Word document? Are they saying that people who don’t have $700 to waste on a software package or who aren’t willing to pirate software aren’t welcome? What about people who refuse to read email on Windows?
Sure, I could probably fire up OpenOffice.org and read it, but why the hell should I? If it can be expressed in plain text, then send it in plain text dammit! And if it can’t be expressed in plain text, I probably don’t want to read it. I read my email using a plain text mail reader (mutt) and it works ssh’ed in from work, or over a modem connection from Ottawa, or (in extremis) using a 2400bps modem on a tiny little PDA screen. I’m not going to change that to suit you, so don’t even try. And calling me a Luddite isn’t going to change anything.