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Controlling "Kittens for Sale" Messages

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 7 Jun 2001

Versions: GroupWise 5.5 EP, GroupWise 6

Darci wrote: We have users sending messages like "kittens for sale" to everyone. It seems to be hard to control with 5000 users. Any suggestions for a type of bulletin board or something? I thought of folder sharing but then they have to figure out how to get their messages in it and it might create more calls. Any ideas? I would like to keep the employees happy and able to share "recipes" "garage sales" or "kittens", as the case may be, but not target people that are not interested.

We figured a lot of you have had to deal with that problem, so we issued an Open Call for solutions, and we got some nice practical ideas from the community. We heartily endorse the notion that those who want to read non-work-related messages like these should have that opportunity without impinging on the inalienable right of cat-haters to be protected from them. We were gratified that we received no solutions that attempted to prevent this gentle sharing of feline largesse. Some days, it's the best email in your box.

Here are some of your Cool Solutions.

Michael Risch

For these and other such mails (like joke forwarding), we have a special subset group. The idea is that this is an opt-in group - you tell IT to add you to the "bulletin board" group.

You can control the inbox by making a rule that any mail sent to that group name goes to a special folder.

Another option is to create a central mailbox, and then give everyone view-only rights. Once it is sent, users can proxy to the mailbox and read through the stuff (and even have an events calendar). This may be better, as no rules are necessary, and you can learn about stuff without opting in.

If you have any questions you may contact Michael at

Jeff Beard

We created a group called Public Bulletin Board. People that want to send the "kittens for sale" e-mails send it to the Public Bulletin Board group. People that want to get those kind of messages request to be put in the Public Bulletin Board group. If people send the "kittens for sale" message to everyone in their address book then they get a phone call from I.T. and are told that they need to retract the message and send it to the Public Bulletin Board group. This is not an elegant solution, and takes the up-front time of adding people to the group, but it works for us.

If you have any questions you may contact Jeff at

Rick Sarkanen

You could create a GroupWise Distribution List and call it "Junk Mail". All users can be instructed to send non-business related messages to this group. That way, all users have a choice whether they wish to receive those emails, by membership to the group.

(Obviously, this isn't a foolproof way to stop users sending to the Everyone group.)

Mireille (Mimi) Guilbault

Our company just opened a user called "bulletin board" and gave access to all by proxy. People must write to the bulletin board to post their personal messages. Someone in charge of the bulletin board files the messages in particular categories (for sale, wanted, etc.). This way, the message is stored in only one location instead of having it sent to every user. Anyone continuing to send personal messages to everyone is called to inform them to use the bulletin board.

Kevin Jackson

You might want to set up a resource called "Bulletin Board" that users can send messages to. Give Read proxy access to all uses. They can simply send a message to "Bulletin Board" for general public messages. Users can then proxy the "Bulletin Board" resource to read all the general messages at a convenient time, instead of getting hit all day with messages. You can set up the Environment - Cleanup option to automatically delete the messages after a certain posting period to keep the resource manageable.

If you have any questions you may contact Kevin at

Thomas Ross

An easy way to set this up is to create a resource called Bulletin Board and give everyone proxy rights to it. The hard part is getting your users to post these types of messages to the proper resource. You can set it up to be "hands off" administered with a few rules on deleting and purging messages after X days.

Ajay Vohra

We've gotten around that by creating a "public" group. All those who didn't want to get "For sale message...", responded back to be taken out. We are a small company of 150 people, so it was easier for us - especially since only 3 people opted out.

Danny Stark

A tip of mine you have previously posted might help.

Brenda Hardman

We had the same issue with "junk mail" being sent out to the entire office. It may not be possible to have everyone follow this procedure, but we have asked users to add "junk mail" somewhere in the subject line when messages are not work related. Those individuals that do not want to receive these messages have a rule setup to automatically delete messages with "junk mail" in the subject line. Other than setting up a rule, there are no maintenance or administration hassles. Hope this works for you.

Paul Taylor

I had a similar problem with 'jokes' circulating endlessly. My solution, which I don't think was original, was to create a shared folder called 'silly things' to store these items in, and then a resource called 'joker'. Joker was set up with a single rule, which was to move any items received into the 'Silly Things' folder, where people had the choice of reading the items, or not.

There has been a problem with this, in that mail from an external source forwarded on to Joker got moved into the folder anonymously, ie without any indication of who decided to share the 'joke'. This became a problem when something fairly unpleasant went in, but otherwise has worked fine.

I did something similar with a resource called 'tipster', which is used to forward tips on using software packages into specific folders. The way this worked was to have the rule examine the subject line, and if, for instance, the subject contained the word 'excel' the item would go into the Excel tips folder.

Eric van der Pluijm

Let's face it. GW is not the medium for that.

Let's imagine. You have kittens for sale and send it to everyone. (Including the distribution lists? The average users don't exclude the DL's.) Let's say you have over 6000 users (in my case), 1% is on leave and have a reply rule so 600 mails will return. Say that 200 of them are not configured correctly (you know the standard average users) and have a reply to all. So 200 people send the message "I'm not at the office please contact..." To all the 6000 people. And so on, and so on, the perfect hell for the administrator.

The only PROPER solution is use the WEB server of Novell and make an Intranet Sales page. Call it something like{company} Make an entry in your DNS. And everybody who wants to buy or sell will visit the page.

This is easily done, and also a nice thing to do.

Some companies don't like that everybody gets sent that kind of mail. They keep people from their work, or wake them up with the sound "you've got mail ..." and you can get into trouble. So please consider the web page and everybody could be happy.

If you have any questions you may contact Eric at

Sabine Severing

I have to admit that I have fewer users than Darci. But here's what we do. We set up some news folders: one for GroupWise, one for tips&tricks, one blackboard, one for our sales-system. And users can place, edit and delete their entries themselves. Sometimes there is somebody who still sends mail to "all users", but the more often we explain, the better they use it. Perhaps you can try this with part of your staff and see how it works.

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