A suggestion for people with 'Out of Office' autoreplies

July 10, 2006

Speaking from personal experience: never, ever set up an out of office autoreply that sends email to the From: address of incoming email. Never. Or if you must do this, unsubscribe from all of the mailing lists you're on first.

If you fail to do this, the users of the mailing lists you are on will kill you. And shortly afterward, the managers of the mailing lists you are on will drop you with extreme prejudice, because the last thing we want is for the active users to get slapped with garbage mail as a result of posting to our mailing lists.

Bonus points are awarded for autoreplies that happen every time, not just once for each address.

Unfortunately, it seems that it's popular to get this wrong. Possibly there's too much software out there that doesn't make the envelope headers available to autoreply agents.

(Out of office autoreplies to mailing list messages are annoying even when they just go to the administrative addresses, but that's tolerable; mailing list managers are to some extent signing up for dealing with crud, and your autoreply is at least only bugging one person. I'll tolerate stuff that merely annoys me, but I draw the line with extreme prejudice when you're annoying my users.)

Written on 10 July 2006.
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Last modified: Mon Jul 10 03:11:34 2006
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