E-mail support with humor

I am maintaining a BMC AR-System environment with ITSM applications supporting ITIL applications including Incident, Problem and Change. This system is sending out a lot of e-mail notifications to all the users. Quite often the end user reporting an incident answers the receipt e-mail asking questions or sending additional feedback. Very often the system just receives autoreplies about the users being on vacation or on paternity leave.

The autoreplies we don't care about but the questions and feedback can be interesting to pay attention to. I want to build some workflow to filter out the interesting stuff and attach to the relevant ticket in the system or automatically deal with them in some other way in the cases where it is not possible to find the corresponding ticket. So far I didn't get the permission to do this development.

Instead I was asked to set up an autoreply in the exchange account for every incoming e-mail that comes from within the company. In this autoreply we are just going to inform the end user that they've sent an e-mail to a system and no person will read the e-mail and that they should send the e-mail to some support address.

So I did, but I was a little bit concerned that Exchange was not smart enough to deal with the auto-replies from end users on vacation. If our system sends an e-mail to a user on vacation and and the users e-mail account sends an auto-reply to our system that send an auto-reply back to the user that sends an auto-reply again and so on... You get the picture. It will become like a ping pong match.

I sent an e-mail to our e-mail support group asking about the risk of an ping pong match. I really liked their answer.

"Usually Exchange is smart enough to not start a ping pong match that it can not win. But occasionally it can happen that they get excited and someone smashes in a backhand volley."

OK it didn't wipe away all of my concerns, but still I really like to see some humor at work. :)

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