I used format and write just recently for email reports. I also wondered why there is no mention about format in newsgroups these days.
The reports were distributed through MS Exchange. I like flat text simplicity, it was formatted into tables with equals and hyphen-minus signs. But after some time I replaced it with html. Sometimes the mentioned signs were narrower than other characters which destroyed the layout and the MS client had to be restarted to refresh the formatting.
And of course colored text for most people is more attractive.
I encountered one problem with the format. When centering the text one is supposed to use a verical bar in place of text. But at the same time I wanted to use the bar for column separation. So I had to insert a space at the end of text just before the separator to discern 'text bar' and 'column bar'. The solution is annoying for columns with small width.