Odd Wording in the Inbox

Samsung Chromebook 3 / ChromeOS Version 101.0.4951.59 (Official Build) (64-bit)
K-9 Mail 6.000
One POP3 account

“We have tried to send you this email as HTML (pictures and words) but it wasn’t possible. In order for you to see what we had hoped to show you please click here to view online in your browser.”

When I open my inbox, but before I actually open any emails, I sometimes see wording like the above for an individual email. But when I actually open the email and click Show Pictures, everything appears to be normal, including formatting, links, and images. The above wording does not appear in the body of the email. Apparently the message is bogus somehow. This happens sporadically and unpredictably and certainly is not a show stopper, just something curious.

Are you sure it displayed before you open the email?

Normally any HTML-formatted email can contain a fallback plaintext. This will be displayed if your mail client is unable to handle the HTML mail.

This has nothing to do with the pictures, though. Downloading pictures can disclose information such as IP addresses or be used to make you pull malware onto your device, and thus should only be done when you are sure you want them. However, the left-blank picture placeholders are shown in HTML-formatted mails…

The text that you are seeing in the preview is from the text-part of a multi-part message. It sounds like your correspondent is only using that part to give the “view in browser” information/url, rather than actually putting the full text there. I.e., they are being lazy.

When you open the message in K-9 it renders the HTML part, giving the “download images” option.

When/whether you see the “view in browser” bit in the preview depends on how your correspondents create their messages. If they do it the “proper” way, the text part should be a replica of the html part - except without the font games that people put on the html side. They can link to or attach the graphics. If they only put stub-text in the text-part then you’ll see what you saw on in this case. You may also encounter cases where the correspondent puts bad html in the text-part. This will likely display poorly in the preview since it probably won’t render at all (even in a proper rendering environment).

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I know I marked this as Solved, but now I know what to look for. I have a way of examining incoming email outside of K-9, and in the last couple of days I have received two emails with the same sort of message in the preview. When I look at them by the alternate method, they are exactly as descirbed: the multi-part “text” form of the message has only the statement that the client does not accept HTML mail and browse with this link, even though K-9 itself renders the messge perfectly well. Sloppy technque from the senders, apparently.