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merlyn (47)

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Journal of merlyn (47)

Tuesday December 23, 2003
09:17 AM

bad autoresponders

[ #16474 ]
Of course, the holidays brings out one of the recurring problems I see on the net, and raises my blood pressure level accordingly.

I'm talking about bad autoresponders. People leave for the holidays, and set up an "I'm away until Jan XX" message.

In the ancient days of the net, the protocol for autoresponders was well-established, to prevent "autoreponding storms". Namely:

  • All autoresponding mail must set a precedence of junk in the header.
  • All mailing list mail is marked precedence bulk.
  • No autoresponder is allowed to respond to any mail marked with either precedence junk or bulk.

The rules worked. No reply-storms (where an autoreply agent replies to an autoreply, causing another round until all disk is consumed), and no spurious autoreplies to list mail.

But I must get about one message a week from an autoreply agent for a mailing list message I've posted. Mind you, I don't mind if it was a reply from email I directly sent them because of a CC in the header. But if I address email only to the list, I should never get a reply mail.

And yet I do.

The clueless are leading the blind here. Either these people are hand-constructing their own reply agents without regard for the standards (dangerous) or there's some common software out there that end-users can use that isn't following the standard (unethical).

Darn. I long for a real net again.

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