Sieve Email Filtering: Use of Presence Information with Auto-Responder Functionality
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) R. George
Request for Comments: 6133 B. Leiba
Category: Informational Huawei Technologies
ISSN: 2070-1721 A. Melnikov
Sieve Email Filtering:
Use of Presence Information with Auto-Responder Functionality
This document describes how the Sieve email filtering language, along
with some extensions, can be used to create automatic replies to
incoming electronic mail messages based on the address book and
presence information of the recipient.
Status of This Memo
This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
published for informational purposes.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has
received public review and has been approved for publication by the
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Not all documents
approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.
Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
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George, et al. Informational [Page 1]
RFC 6133 Auto Response July 2011
Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2. How To Create Auto-Replies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3. Example Use Cases for Auto-Replies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
4. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
5. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
This document describes how the Sieve email filtering language
[RFC5228], along with some extensions [RFC5230] [RFC5435] [RFC6134]
[RFC6132] [RFC6131], can be used to generate automatic replies to
incoming electronic mail messages based on the presence information
of the recipient. This can be used, for example, to inform the
sender that messages will not be answered immediately because the
recipient is busy or away.
The auto-reply message can additionally be based on information about
the sender from the recipient's address book, sub-lists therefrom, or
other lists available to the recipient, so that different senders
might get different responses. The recipient can create separate
rules for friends, family members, colleagues, and so on.
This can be used in mail filtering software, email-based information
services, and other automatic responder situations. There are many
programs currently in use that automatically respond to email. Some
of them send many useless or unwanted responses, or send responses to
inappropriate addresses. The mechanism described herein will help
avoid those problems (but see the discussion in Section 4).
Implementations need to take care of tracking previous messages
received from the same sender, and they will start or stop sending
responses as the presence status of the recipient changes.
An important note, though: users of any auto-reply mechanism should
really think about whether automatic replies are necessary, and at
what interval they make sense when they are. Email is not Instant
Messaging, and senders generally expect that replies might take a
while. Consider whether it's truly important to tell people that
you'll read their mail in an hour or so, or whether that can just be
taken as how email works. There are times when this makes sense, but
let's not use it to exacerbate information overload. Judicious use
of appropriate presence information might serve to mitigate these
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