I sent email to a large private email list recently. I have gotten 20 “out of office” replies. This is dumb. The out of office robot ought not reply if the sender isn’t one of your correspondents for some reasonably definition of corresponent. How hard is that? For example if your have never sent X email and never replied to X’s email, and never even participated in an email thread with X, and X isn’t in my address book – what does this robot think it’s doing send X details of your personal life? There must be some really amusing stories of email robots revealing personal info.
I have been joe-jobbed (that is, I have had my address used in the From line of spam) and gotten out-of-office replies from random people at random companies as a result.
These things generally come from broken Windows mail systems that can’t distinguish envelope sender and the From: header in the body, and then hack around this fact in their SMTP gateways in various fashions which are too clever for their own good. At least it didn’t send the notification to the entire mailing list.
I don’t think that out-of-office replies are that great of an idea, regardless of whether they work or not… usually my thought is “I knew you were out of the office, that’s why I sent you email instead of walking down the hall to talk to you!”
What I’m waiting for is the first ‘out of office’ functionality for an aggregator that blogspams, letting all you bloggers know that I’m not reading your postings today.
Lotus Notes (yes, personal detail: I happen to like Notes) does at least have the ‘do not OOO spam internet addresses’ which cuts down on a lot of this problem. Unfortunately, it didn’t used to be on by default.
Hey, any bulbs coming up out front?
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