RSI-UK Digest for 11 Jun 1996

I am out of the office until 25 June and will respond on my return. Thanks. NEVER COME BACK”

This is not the fault of the person who left an auto-answering mail service, it is the fault of the loud-n-clear list server, which is not properly processing the headers of the messages it receives. I also leave auto-replies when I’m not about, and I’m sure many others do. We need to persuade loud-n-clear to fix their list server.

Comment 1: I really don’t know what to say to this. I read the message above and was seized by an urge to reply immediately and tersely, so I made myself a cup of coffee and thought about it first.

The first point I’d like to make is that the loud-n-clear list server is *free* to RSI-UK. There is a school of thought that maintains that you get what you pay for. However, it is most certainly not free to loud-n-clear, there is a real cost to us of administration which I estimate at about 25 pounds an hour. If anyone really considers that we would happily chuck away 150 quid and six hours of our time (and waste everybody else’s time) if it could be prevented by automatic detection of cock-ups then I suggest they make an appointment with a medical practitioner specialising in dementia.

The second point that I’d like to make is that loud-n-clear do not have any sort of access to the list server software other than as users. The software is bought-in and we do not have the source code to it. We consider it to be the best software available for the job on our chosen platform, Windows NT. While I was discussing the debacle of the looping messages with the author, he told me that he had made quite a collection of email messages from such scenarios, analyzed them, and that as far as he could see, there was *no* single common denominator that could be used to automatically detect such loops. The suggestion (now actually incorporated in the next release of software) that messages not be returned to originators came from loud-n-clear. Why had nobody thought of this before? Because nobody had thought of it before. From my point of view, loud-n-clear’s list server *is* now fixed (as soon as I install the next s/w release). I also seem to recall posting a fairly long message about this a couple of days ago?

My third point is that this list is not the place to discuss email and list server software. I seem to recall posting my email address here and inviting private discussion – it’s for anyone wishing to take this further. Or I could set up a list for it?

The fourth point is this – if anyone sets up an auto responder and fails to unsubscribe from any lists run on this server, then I will do it for them.

Comment 2: My intention was definitely not to flame, so I certainly apologise if you took it that way. You do us an enormous favour, and I was simply after some input which might help you configure your software to ensure it didn’t happen again. I did set up an auto reply when I was away for a couple of days last week, and luckily my postmaster immediately noticed that there was a potential email loop. He contacted loud-n-clear to clarify the problem. I cancelled my auto-reply. I will reply further to this, directly to Pete and to Ellen, since Ellen’s comment that this is an RSI list and not an email list, is entirely appropriate.

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