blocking out-of-office

Scott Silva ssilva at
Thu Aug 3 23:19:45 IST 2006

Jethro R Binks spake the following on 8/3/2006 12:34 PM:
> On Thu, 3 Aug 2006, Koopmann, Jan-Peter wrote:
>> On Thursday, August 03, 2006 9:07 PM Rick Chadderdon wrote:
>>> I'm curious as to some of the situations you believe need OoO.  I
>>> can't think of any that wouldn't be better handled by a different
>>> solution. Of course, "better" is subjective, so I might have
>>> considered the situations you're referring to and felt differently. 
>>> Still, can you give me an idea of what you're thinking?
>> I tend to get private and business mail in one mailbox. Therefore I 
>> cannot simply forward all my mail to a collegue or give him/her access 
>> to it. Maybe there is not even a collegue so things simply have to wait 
>> a week but I want to let the client/customer/friend know. Etc.
> This is quite common.
> We have legal reasons for requiring OoO; for example, the Freedom of 
> Information Act in England and Wales considers a request sent by email to 
> be 'received' by a public authority unless the sender hears otherwise (by 
> way of a bounce or OoO).  If you're away for two or three weeks and hence 
> don't respond to the request within the prescribed time, and the sender 
> has no reason to believe the request has not been received (no OoO), then 
> the public authority has failed in the obligations the Act places upon it.
> But likewise I don't like the lack of controllability that Exchange (which 
> is used internally) offers for OoO.  I have implemented autoresponse 
> systems in Exim with extreme measures so that it won't respond to, 
> generically, 'stuff that it shouldn't respond to', so far as that is 
> possible.  I can't do a fraction of that stuff with Exchange, so it will 
> willy-nilly send mail out in response to practically any old tat it 
> receives.
> You can mitigate things by having delegated access to mailboxes, of 
> course, but that all gets rather sticky where personal mail may be present 
> (or there is no-one appropriate to delegate to, or whether mailbox 
> contents really confidential to their owner, or there is no-one available 
> to authorise delegation, or whatever).  Saying "personal mail is not 
> permitted" isn't good enough unfortunately; regardless of whether it 
> should be there or not, if it is there, it needs to be treated with 
> respect.
Personal mail is a loaded subject. What if a business contact hears about some
event in your life and sends a congratulation/condolence?
That now is a personal e-mail, even though it is a business contact. And
having a system that responds to business contacts from a list would fail
here. So I agree with your thoughts on the respect issue.
> (Because of all this, I have been writing guidelines for our users in this 
> area; how they should use OoOs, recommendations how they should handle 
> personal mail, and so on).
> Jethro.
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Jethro R Binks
> Computing Officer, IT Services
> University Of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK


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