Filtering out out-of-office-replies in the reply-by-mail feature


(Sander Datema) #1

My forum got a bit polluted with out-of-office replies this summer. A way to handle this could be to ignore replies that were sent within a few seconds after Discourse sent the notification.

My guess is this should work, as hardly anyone answers a mail within, say, 5 seconds or so.

Of course this relies on clocks ticking the same way on both ends, but I’m curious about your thoughts on this.


Filtering out delivery status failed
(Sam Saffron) #2

Are there any special headers in the out-of-office replies that can cue us in that this is happening, can you include a couple of raw emails generated ?


(Sander Datema) #3

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in the headers that makes OOO-reply recognizable.

Edit: Well, there seems to be a keyword, but not all mail clients respect and use it:

That post points to this keyword.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

I am surprised we haven’t heard more about this, or seen it happen on any of the Discourse forums I’ve looked at.


(Sander Datema) #5

Well, til now there is only one specific person whose OOO-mails get through. So it’s workable.


(Wes Osborn) #6

It appears that the best way to suppress this is to make sure that in the messages that Discourse generates include certain aspects in the headers. It appears that Precedence or List-ID are the most common headers that will cause the client to not send an Out Of Office reply for those messages.

It is possible that the List-Unsubscribe in the Discourse header might be helping to prevent certain clients from generating spurious out of office replies.

I also wonder if Mandrill somehow “grabs” these out-of-office replies and prevents them from getting sent back to the POP3 mailbox that Discourse is checking?


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #7

We’ve had a rash of this after I did an update to our server on July 5th, 2014.

We hadn’t had a problem before then.

I’m currently creating server side rules to redirect messages as they come in, before discourse can see them.

So far I’m filtering subjects based on:

  • Automatic reply
  • out of office
  • out of the office
  • Abwesenheitsnotiz

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #8

I believe the issue can be largely avoided by allowing us to set a reply-to address for the digests which is different than the forum itself.

Desire: reply-to email address on individual posts would add to the topic.

reply-to email address for digests would go to a separate administrative (postmaster, etc) address.


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #9

An update - I had not remembered that filters don’t effect POP access on google accounts - the filters described above don’t work.

We’re working on a PR to have digest email reply-to some other address, as it’s not really OK for replies to digests to start a new topic in any case

https://github.com/discourse/discourse/pull/2626


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #10

This post is most certaily related to the behaviour we were seeing.

https://meta.discourse.org/t/google-smtp-may-override-discourse-settings/18599?source_topic_id=8615

(Régis Hanol) #11

I believe this was implemented when I reworked our incoming emails support and was recently improved :wink: