[ngw] Correct way to use vacation rule please?

Jeff Stratford Info at Nexic.com
Fri Jan 5 05:24:00 UTC 2001

Many of the features in Nexic Symphony can be disabled by the admin so they can decide what features to roll out.  We learned many moons ago that everyone does not want or uses every feature in a program, so we made it flexible enough for the admin to pick and choose.

The vacation rule in our Rule Wizard feature in Nexic Symphony is designed to walk the user through the basic steps in a wizard interface for creating a vacation rule (dates out of the office, reply subject and message, etc.).  It also has the ability to create an exception list that won't reply to certain addresses or domains (wild card exceptions are accepted).  Again giving all power to the admin, the admin has control of whether or not the end user can even create rules, create rules using only the Rule Wizard, or use the Rule Wizard and the default GroupWise rule interface.

The free 30-day evaluation of Nexic Symphony is available at:

Jeff Stratford
Nexic, Inc.
JStratford at Nexic.com 

>>> Mark Nielsen<manielse at advo.com> 01/04/01 09:51AM >>>
Actually there is one that exists. It's by Nexic in a product called Symphony (see http://www.nexic.com/html/nexic_symphony.html ). There is some good news and bad news about this product though. The product has about 12 different features, unfortunately you can not buy the features by compont which means it's an all or nothing deal. The feautre that holds me back is the Macro Facilty (too many nightmares in the GW4.1 days) but it has many cool things such as multiple signatures, multiple archives, templates and catagories just to name a few. The cost is around $11 per user if you are buying over 100 copies.

There is also been rumors of Novell putting some predefined rules into Bulletproff but I've yet to see it in the betas.....

Mark Nielsen
Sr. Messaging & Network Engineer
GroupWare Services, ADVO Inc.
(860) 285-6456

>>> RKING at brook.edu 1/4/2001 9:32:18 AM >>>

Thank you Jim.  I agree with you.  We are in an age where people expect fast turnaround and quick and easy communication.  Even when people are on vacation they are uncomfortable with no way for someone to get in touch.  Our clients know about the rules feature in GroupWise and want to use it.  (Although I admit sometimes this stems perhaps from an over-inflated sense of self-importance.)

Previously I had never used a rule because I knew of the headaches.  However, when I was leave over the holidays I checked my e-mail because I was looking for something specific (last minute holiday shopping confirmations).   I found that several clients had sent me urgent technical questions via e-mail.  Our users have gotten into the habit of contacting us via e-mail because it is easier than playing phone tag in some cases and because they know my name and that I normally respond quickly to e-mail.  Two of these messages required immediate answers.  Rather than allow these clients to wonder why I hadn't responded, I went ahead and responded to them but then decided to set up a vacation rule so people I was out and who they should contact for assistance while I was away.  I had asked myself "why let people become frustrated unnecessarily?"  The technology is there.  Why not use it?

Although in some situations I agree wholeheartedly that the best vacation rule is no vacation rule, I really believe the issue is more of education or service.  We have finally managed to educate our users to the risks of bad rules, but we also provide instructions for this specific purpose and very firm reminders to seek assistance if there is any doubt in how to do it.  Further, we have in place the "Stupid People" class of service created for our GWIA that allows us to stop the processing of rules for only those individuals who cause looping rules.

There is room for improvement in the vacation rule implementation.  If Novell can't/won't fix this, perhaps some savvy third party could write a C3PO to at least help users create one correctly.

Robin King
rking at brook.edu 
Information Technology Services
The Brookings Institution

>>> JCusson at compassbank.com 01/03/01 03:37PM >>>

I know I'm a bit late here but...
I've seen several responses discussing internet E-Mail, can't you (and shouldn't you) configure GWIA to NOT process rule generated messages?  Then you only need to worry about one rule and ensuring you "reply to sender" and not "reply to all".

As to the message below, the simple fact of the matter is our users *do* expect a response, if not immediately then within a very short time frame.  Aside from sending an e-mail to all users it would be very difficult to ensure that all who would expect a response in a short period of time were informed of a vacation.  In short, this is an issue regarding both customer service *and* customer expectations.  Yes, I consider my users to be my customers.

Jim Cusson
Technology Projects Manager
One Compass Place
New Bedford, MA 02740

>>> KPARRIS at SDE.State.SC.US 12/29/00 05:57PM >>>
The best vacation rule is NO vacation rule.  Email is a background batch-mode type of communication, and if someone is expecting immediate response to it then they're mixed up.  

If there are people who need to know that you are on vacation, tell them before you leave.

If there are work-related activities that need to be handled via email in your absence, give an associate access to your mailbox so they can take care of it.  Or setup a means for accessing your mailbox remotely while away from the office, and take care of it yourself.

Then you don't need any troublesome auto-reply rule.

>>> SRUSH at acas.org.uk 12/22/00 07:41AM >>>
Can someone advide me best way to use a vacation rule that only acts on incoming (internal) e-mail please? I usually do an  'if  "to" includes <my name' reply with <whatever>, but to exclude replies to external e-mails is it best to have a 'does not contain' an "@" symbol?
Seasons Greetings all & thanks in advance.

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