[Mailman-Users] Filtering out " Out of the Office " replies

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Mon Dec 27 19:20:26 CET 2004

At 5:38 PM +0000 2004-12-27, demo wrote:

>  How can I filter out *any* " Out of the Office " automated replies to any
>  lists natively in Mailman?

	Mailman already catches a lot of these.  The problem comes from 
the ones it doesn't catch.  For those, you'd either need to add more 
Python code to Mailman to handle them, or add a pre-processor of some 
sort (presumably written in another language).

	The real danger comes from two people having bad out-of-office 
reply systems, both of which do a "reply-to-all" for every incoming 
message, and don't do rate limiting, etc....  Each sends their 
out-of-office reply back to the list, and when that gets to the other 
one it sends another back, etc....

	Nice little mail loop which can *bury* your mail server.

>  Strikes me a simple word filter would be fine, " Out of the Office " etc to
>  be listed with all the other profanities.

	Not really.  If you did a simple word filter like this, then you 
couldn't talk about it, as we are doing.  Otherwise, talking about 
the filter would get caught by the same filter you're talking about.

	Moreover, it would be difficult to handle all the permutations 
and combinations of all the various different ways you can say the 
same thing.

	I've been quite frustrated about this myself.  I've un-subbed 
several people to this list because of their auto-responder systems. 
I'll continue doing what I can to protect the list from this sort of 
abuse in the future.

	However, I'm not a programmer, so I don't have the ability to add 
code to the system to deal with this problem in a way that is better 
than what is already present in Mailman.

	If you can write code to do that, I'm sure we'd all appreciate 
seeing your contribution.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

   SAGE member since 1995.  See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.

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