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Cornell University

Don't Use Out of Office Auto-Reply with the Entire World

All the Office 365 email clients include an out-of-office assistant that responds to incoming messages with a note from you. When you use this feature, you have the option of enabling it at various levels.

You can choose to have automatic replies:

  • Respond only to messages from people with accounts that are part of Cornell's Office 365 service.
  • Same as above, plus people in your address book.
  • Respond to everyone.

We recommend that you NOT choose the third option. Think about the amount of mail you get from lists, from advertisers, from spammers, etc. Auto-reply isn't useful for any of these. Further, an auto-reply sent to a marketer or spammer will serve to tell them that the address they sent to (yours!) is valid, in which case, you can expect even more mail. Probably not a good thing.


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