Sieve Email Filtering: Use of Presence Information with Auto-Responder Functionality
RFC 6133

Document Type RFC - Informational (July 2011; No errata)
Last updated 2015-10-14
Replaces draft-george-sieve-autoreply
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IESG IESG state RFC 6133 (Informational)
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Responsible AD Peter Saint-Andre
IESG note The Document Shepherd is Cyrus Daboo.
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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                         R. George
Request for Comments: 6133                                      B. Leiba
Category: Informational                              Huawei Technologies
ISSN: 2070-1721                                              A. Melnikov
                                                           Isode Limited
                                                               July 2011

                         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

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

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

1.  Introduction

   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

   Implementors, therefore, need to consider this with respect to the
   features they expose to users, and the potential for inappropriate
   use those features represent.  The ability to create auto responders
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