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st: Re: Out of Office Notifications

From   Neil Shephard <>
Subject   st: Re: Out of Office Notifications
Date   Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:30:35 +0100

Nick Cox wrote :
> What Neil is doing here, however, is complaining that posters to
> Statalist get _private_ notifications that recipients are out of office.
> That is a different though related matter. In my view it is a lesser
> nuisance. I even get very minor amusement from noting the various forms
> of message, including those who promise that they will reply to me
> instantly on their return. (They all lie.)
> Presumably what is happening is that the member's mailer is smart enough
> to see through a posting from Statalist and read off the original
> poster. (There will be others on the list who know much more about this
> than I do.)

Software writers are getting smart!  Marcello Pagano (list maintainer)
contacted me to indicate that the messages were coming direct to me
and not through the server which generally catches them and repeat
offenders are dropped from the list.

> While I can agree that such messages received are again typically
> neither interesting nor useful, I'm not clear that it's possible even in
> principle to stop such messages. For a start, some people may be under
> obligation under some institutional policy to set up such an automated
> reply. Not sending such replies would seem to imply that the member
> might have to specify in advance who will post to Statalist in their
> absence, which is going to be tricky, short of a few usual suspects.

Even with institutional obligations a set of rules that prevent
replies to posters on Statalist should be possible without the need to
anticipate who is posting to Statalist.

Instead of filtering on the email address being
'' a rule that excludes sending Out of
Office replies to any messages that contain 'st:' in the subject line
should do the trick (its a pretty unique feature of Statalist traffic,
although there are the odd one or two messages every now and again
that have no subject line whatsoever, and I can't think of many other
subject lines that will contain 'st:').  I use such this approach to
filter Statalist postings under my gmail account quite successfully
but have no experience or use for "Out of Office" notifications since
its my personal email address that I'm subscribed with.

If anyone tries this and appears to have succeeded details of the rule
would be useful to share with others on the list

"The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does
not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body
of data." ~ John Tukey (1986), "Sunset salvo". The American
Statistician 40(1).

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