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Vacation Rule that Avoids List Servers

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By John Sievers

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Posted: 31 Aug 2001

Current Version: GroupWise 6

Here is a vacation rule that works well for us.

We got hit when a list server with poor filters sent 3000 messages to 12 users overnight and they all tried to delete the messages at once. The Post Office went to 100% utilization and other users could not log in until the delete requests had processed.

In this rule I didn't specify start and stop dates. I figure the user can enable and disable the rule as needed.

The first To box contains the user name and replies to internal GroupWise e-mail. Only e-mail addressed directly to the user is replied to. No CC, BC or Group(distribution lists) mail.

Users here work closely with outside agencies so the second To contains their user ID and replies to internet mail. Since list serv mail is BC, the rule should not reply.

Most of the looping mail that we have seen here has Re: in the subject, so key to this rule is to exclude that e-mail from replies. The last condition does that.

Please note, there are still some instances where this rule won't work. For example, Jcrew sent out a sales message directly to a user, the user's rule replied and Jcrew replied with a form e-mail that did not include Re:

I caught the rule by monitoring the GWIA log file but not until it had looped for several days. I don't think the out-of-office rule looping problem will be totally solved until there is an option to limit replies generated by rules to the same address within a time frame like one message in a 24 hour period.

If you have any questions you may contact John at

Other Suggestions

  • Rick Hellewell Posted August 31, 2001
  • Jay Russell Posted August 31, 2001
  • Rick Hellewell

    The tip about vacation rules and listservers was good, but I approached it differently. Since a vacation rule will send out an auto-reply for everyone, when the listserver gets it, it will usually respond with an "Access Denied" reply.

    So, for my vacation, I created a separate rule that looked for "Access denied" in the message text. The action is to delete the message. When my mailbox gets the automatic "access denied" reply from the listserver, that message is now automatically deleted. And it won't impact the GW server, since those types of replies will be spread out throughout the day (or night).

    Just make sure that this "access denied" rule is the first rule in your list, or your vacation rule will be processed instead of the "access denied" rule.

    Jay Russell

    John Sievers wrote a pretty nice vacation rule to avoid listservers, but here's how to crank it up a notch:

    Most listservers send e-mails using the "BC:" field, so you can cut down on a lot of needless vacation replies by setting your rule up to do the following:

    The rule will fire only when an e-mail is addressed specifically to you. The advantage offered by this includes:

    • No reply when you are a "CC:" or "BC:" recipient.
    • No reply when the e-mail is addressed to a distribution list that you are a member of.

    In the example shown, I respond to "Jay" to match my GroupWise display name, Jay Russell (this will cause the rule to respond to e-mail sent from within the GroupWise system).

    I also created a response to "jrussel2", as this is my e-mail address, and will cause the rule to respond to e-mails originating from outside our GroupWise system (i.e. mail from the Internet).

    The only modification you may need to make would be to respond to an e-mail alias or any distribution list you belong to that would need to know you're out of the office for 42 days trying to win the next million bucks on Survivor...

    The elegance of the rule is that you're replying only when the e-mail is addressed specifically to's a kinder, gentler sort of rule.

    If you have any questions you may contact Jay at

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