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Eggsasperating - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Just got a completely blank email from ec@egg.com, subject line "Getting your Egg Card. You're almost there". My inbox claims it's an 11K message but I can't see *anything* in it.

I post the headers in the hope that somebody can offer enlightenment...

(NB: I have SAUCE set to the most lax settings possible.)

From ec@egg.com Wed May 19 13:17:09 2004
Return-path: <ec@egg.com>
Envelope-to: janetmck@chiark.greenend.org.uk
Received: from pnnwmp06.egg.com ([] helo=PNNWMP06.egg.com.)
        by chiark.greenend.org.uk (Debian Exim 3.35 #1) with esmtp
        for janetmck@chiark.greenend.org.uk
        id 1BQQ0S-0001Bk-00; Wed, 19 May 2004 13:17:08 +0100
X-SAUCE-Warning: (chiark.greenend.org.uk) Syntax error in HELO domain
Received: from pnnwmp06.egg.com ([])
          by chiark.greenend.org.uk (SAUCE v0.8.1)
          with esmtp id sauce-8358-1084969-1; 19 May 2004 
          12:17:08 +0000 (GMT)
Received: from mail2.pn.egg.com (unverified) by PNNWMP06.egg.com.
    (Content Technologies SMTPRS 4.3.12) with ESMTP id
    <t69a9d4d822d991e3a7328@pnnwmp06.egg.com.> for
    <janetmck@chiark.greenend.org.uk>; Wed, 19 May 2004 13:21:04 +0100
Message-ID: <t69a9d4d822d991e3a7328@pnnwmp06.egg.com.>
Received: from pnnrsp05 (pnnrsp05.pn.egg.com []) by 
     mail2.pn.egg.com with SMTP (Microsoft Exchange Internet Mail 
     Service Version 5.5.2653.13) id KZY1ZVC6; Wed, 19 May 2004 
     13:15:36 +0100
X-Mailer: EMailSend TE Service
Importance: HIGH
Sensitivity: PERS
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
Content-Length: 11461
Lines: 190

Update: Problem solved. I'm dozy, and the text of the mail is in attachments, though I'm not sure why they weren't flagged in the body of the message as they usually are. Thanks simont and ewx.

Current Mood: irritated

Read 7 | Write
simont From: simont Date: May 19th, 2004 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
The most likely suspect is the Content-Type "multipart/alternative". This usually means there's a plain text version and an HTML version. I wouldn't have too much trouble imagining that your MUA might believe itself capable of displaying the HTML version, but be wrong.

What MUA is it?
j4 From: j4 Date: May 19th, 2004 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It's mutt, and it usually displays HTML mail okay -- it usually says something to the effect of "Attachment here", and when you go to view it it launches elinks.

Which is, of course, exactly what it's doing here, and I am a dozy moo. I didn't think to look for attachments (because I'm so used to seeing their presence flagged in the body of the email), but if I look, lo and behold there are text/plain and text/html attachments which contain the text of the message. Sigh. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. :)
imc From: imc Date: May 19th, 2004 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
This usually means that mutt chose the plain-text alternative, and it was blank (or maybe it starts with so many blank lines that you need to scroll to see it). Mutt won't usually flag the presence of an HTML alternative in the body of the email when it's actually an alternative rather than an attachment.
imc From: imc Date: May 19th, 2004 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and having dug my own copy of this email up out of the spam folder, I see what the problem is. Headers say:
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
and the individual parts say:
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
But the headers shouldn't say that the whole thing is encoded as quoted-printable when in fact only the individual parts are. This confuses mutt greatly and, in my case, it ends up showing me a mangled extract from the HTML part when it thinks it is showing me the text part. Curiously, pressing `v' to view the parts separately still works.

It could be considered a bug in mutt, but even so it's only because it's dealing with a badly-formed email.

ewx From: ewx Date: May 19th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Content-Type: multipart/alternative means that the message contains several copies of the content in different formats (plain text and HTML are typical, but it could be almost anything in principle). So it could be that your mailer doesn't know how to display any of the alternatives (though I'd expect it to display an error message in that case), or that the alternative it's chosen is empty (which would be a bug in the sending software).

I don't know what mailer you use but looking for options that change how it displays the message ('raw' or 'source' or anything referring to MIME encoding might be relevant) then that might help. Alternatively reading the file containing the mailbox directly (e.g. with less) should be revealing.

ewx From: ewx Date: May 19th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and SAUCE shouldn't be an issue - it accepts or rejects whole messages, it doesn't fiddle with the contents (beyond adding the occasional header).
bigtonyd From: bigtonyd Date: May 19th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm pleased I read the comments before repling.#
As a poor #doze geek I worked it out.

However it would of fallen foul of my milter as in

Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
Content-Length: 11461
Lines: 190


Read 7 | Write