DreamHost Announce lists & special characters

This isn’t a big deal, just a bit of a head-scratcher.

I was doing some testing using the Announce List feature in DreamHost’s control panel, mainly to see if certain special characters (bullet character, pipe character, various dashes & brackets, etc.) would correctly survive e-mail transmission (I’ve had cases in the past where some characters like these would look fine when sending but would show up as the wrong character, or unrelated pairs of characters, on receipt). I assume there are just some kinds of encoding inconsistencies that can affect the text content of e-mails when en route to their recipients.

Anyway, was surprised to find a really odd circumstance regarding the bullet character ("•" / & bull; / & #8226; ). When used in the subject line of an e-mail sent via the announce list, it shows up fine at all destinations, except for Apple’s Mail.app, where it doesn’t show up at all. No substitute / replacement / incorrect character – just a dropped character in the subject line, nothing there. Bullets contained in the message body are displayed just fine, but they get dropped from the subject line. The problem doesn’t seem to be with the announcement list, because the very same messages’ subject lines will display as-intended (with the bullet) when viewed using different e-mail clients & webmail interfaces), but at the same time, the problem doesn’t seem to be Mail.app itself either, because I’ve directly e-mailed myself test messages with bullets in the subject line, and Mail.app has no problem displaying those. Really weird. I’m sure this is a long-shot but I thought I’d throw it out there. Anyone else experience this unusual case of character-dropping, seemingly unique to Mail?


edit: edited for clarity

Just bumping for kicks. I’d love to be able to use the bullet as a separator in subject lines of an announce list I maintain. Any insights appreciated.


Non-ASCII characters in message headers need to be specially encoded in accordance with the standards.

See this page, specifically the section on “Non-ASCII Characters in Headers”.

– Dan

I just determined that some plain ASCII characters (comma, pipe) cause errors when I try to submit them in the Subject line field of the Announcement Lists page https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=mail.list&current_step=Index&next_step=ShowSend&address=testing&domain=spiritsoftworks.com. These did not cause errors 2 weeks ago, so it appears to be either a conscious decision or a regression.