Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1995)
 

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Subject: Re: How do you handle bouncing messages
From: Keith Moore <moore @ cs . utk . edu>
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 1995 13:53:06 -0500
To: Adam Horwitz <adam @ tripcom . com>
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com, moore @ cs . utk . edu
In-reply-to: Your message of "Wed, 01 Nov 1995 12:07:42 CST." <199511011807 . MAA20352 @ vger . tripcom . com>

How I handle bounced mail:

1. our local mail system can deal with mail to user+folder @
 cs .
 utk .
 edu,
   and the mail gets delivered to that particular folder.  All of my
   bounced mail goes to a special folder rather than to my personal
   inbox, so I don't have to deal with it at the same time as my regular
   mail.

2. "temporary" bounces of the form "mail delivery didn't succeed within
   X amount of time but we're still trying" get recognized by filters
   and deleted before I ever see them.

3. other bounces: from time to time I clean out my "bounces" folder
   as follows:

   a. if the mail bounced because of "user unknown", "host unknown",
   or some other reason that looks like the user is really gone, I:
   delete the user from the list, and send a message to the bounced 
   address saying "you've been deleted because your mail bounced", 
   including a copy of the bounced message.  In a surprising number 
   of cases the message gets through and the person asks to be re-added 
   to the list, but this way they find out that there's a problem with 
   their mail system.

   b. if the mail bounced because of "local configuration error",
   a forwarding loop, or something that looks like the user might
   still exist but their mail system is messed up, I send a warning
   message to that address and the user's postmaster and sometimes
   also to the DNS administrator for the recipient's domain or the
   technical contact person for that domain.

   I have scripts to do both of these, so it's just typing in
   a one-line command.

4. after processing a bounce for a recipient, I then delete every
   other bounced message in the folder for that recipient, so I
   don't have to deal with duplicates.  (this is another one-line
   command...usually "rmm `pick -search !$`" does the job)  

Keith


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