[Mailman-Users] Block "out off office" autoreply messages

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui at plaidworks.com
Mon Aug 23 18:31:41 CEST 2004

On Aug 23, 2004, at 8:57 AM, Jeff Barger wrote:

>> Is Mailman capable of blocking this kind of message?
> You can play around with the spam filtering to catch a lot of these 
> messages. IMHO, it's best to just stop munging the Reply-To. See this 
> page: <http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html>.

true. if you're coercing reply-to, you're funnelling all of that 
traffic onto the list. have fun.

As Jeff noted -- well-behaved vacation bots don't cause a problem, 
because they follow the rules and don't send those messages to lists. 
The ones that don't -- are broken. And trying to stop them up front 
will fail, because they don't follow the rules you could use to catch 
them (because if they do follow the rules, they don't send the 
messages!). since there are an infinite variation of "out of ..." or 
"on vacation" or "away from..." or "etc ..." ways people write those 
messages, attempting to string-trap them will simply waste endless 
amounts of your time and energy,a dn still fail (leaving you pissed and 

Here's how I suggest handling it. In your list policy docs, make it 
clear that it's a person's responsibility to use vacation bots 
appropriately. my policy is simple: if one shows up on a list, or 
sending vacation notices to a list admin or the listserver, that 
address is unsubscribed. Immediately. no warnings, no followups. Just 
an unsubscribe. it's then the person's responsibiltiy to figure it out 
and subscribe again if they want.

If the same address resubscribes, and then we get MORE vacation notices 
from it, they're unsubscribed and banned. Users are allowed to make one 
mistake and fix it. if they don't, they're not welcome. that gives them 
the responsibility ot fix it, and some motivation to do so. if you 
don't? they won't.

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