AUP/autoresponders, rehashed

Deepak Jain deepak at
Tue Jun 26 21:09:42 UTC 2007

Jo Rhett wrote:

> On Jun 12, 2007, at 6:02 PM, Martin Hannigan wrote:
>> You act on an issue that affects about 5
>> people once every 2 years and you ignore the massive overload on the
>> list of off topic posting?
> While I mostly agree with what you are saying, it doesn't hurt to be 
> honest about reality here.  I get between 6 and 12 "vacation" responses 
> for every post I write on this list.  I'm sure everyone else does too.  
> That's not 5 people every 2 years.
> Second: off-topic while dear to my heart to stop, is harder to gain 
> consensus on.  Even harder to get consensus on what the right answer 
> would be.
> Everyone agrees that autoresponders are bad, and the solution is very 
> simple.   Since the situation is simpler, sometimes its easier to focus 
> on something like that and get it done.

Is ignoring 6-12 messages really that hard? I can't imagine that anyone 
on this list really ignores less than 60 emails daily. Yes, if a machine 
could know what is a waste of your time, it would save a fraction of 
human time that it takes to press the next button. But if a machine 
could know that, I can think of a lot better ways I'd task it.

However, a tremendous amount of time is wasted just by discussing these 
sorts of "small" problems. Plenty of people contribute to nanog daily 
and don't feel the need to complain about it. It seems to me, the ones 
who contribute in spurts sometimes separated by months seem to have to 
less to complain about.

That said, a very simple way to handle it is to separate your mail 
(whether its procmail, a separate mailbox, a + rule in your name, or 
what have you) to automatically catch these "horrible" autoresponders 
into a box that doesn't clutter your critical mail. I think that's how 
most of us do it.

I think someone suggests the above everytime a discussion comes up. In 
the spirit of "a very simple solution", everyone can be their own 
dictator of their own mailbox -- they don't need to protect the rest of 
the list, or develop a consensus for change. Just fix it for yourself. 
This is a time-honored NANOG tradition, at least when it comes to email.

Deepak Jain

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