I recently was part of an email discussion that involved Kevin Sites of Hot Zone fame. My first message to him triggered his autoresponder, which cracked me up:

I am out of the office for most of the next year, on assignment to cover conflicts around the world...

It continued to give a few phone numbers and names for alternative contacts that I obviously won't reproduce here.

But I couldn't help but to laugh and wonder what it must feel like to write the phrase "out of the office for most of the next year" into an autoresponder setup.

I mean, that's gotta feel pretty cool at some level, right? ;-)

What's the best email autoresponse you've seen?

Posted by jzawodn at December 01, 2005 10:47 PM

Reader Comments
# Paul Querna said:

There is no good autoresponder. They all suck.

I guess I am slightly tainted. I just sent out an email to announce@apache.org for the release of Apache HTTPD 2.2.0, and I get back hundreds of stupid autoresponders telling me people are out of the office. If people at least fixed their autoresponders to not trigger on mailing lists, it wouldn't be so bad.

on December 1, 2005 11:03 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yeah, the *dumb* autoresponders is incredibly lame. It's not like this problem hasn't been solve for, what, 15 years now?

on December 1, 2005 11:07 PM
# Sudar said:

Jeremy, How about this one… ;-)

John (to whom you have sent a mail) is under medical treatment and is expected to return back after two weeks. Your email will be saved and you will get a response after two weeks

One kind request, the author wants to be called as Marry after two treatment.

on December 2, 2005 01:06 AM
# reese said:

GTT, posted by a Rutgers History prof on vacation.

on December 2, 2005 06:12 AM
# dan isaacs said:

One of the guys at work set one up to respond to messages containing certain phrases (think: questions that are answered twice daily on the same email list and easily discovered by anyone that looked) with a 1500 word essay on the virtue of curiosity.

on December 2, 2005 06:13 AM
# Nick Arnett said:

Kevin is a good guy, I discovered. I contacted him last year, really not expecting a reply, and he got back to me quickly (no autoresponder). I had asked him if, by chance, he was around my nephew's platoon in Fallujah. At the time, we still had no idea of the circumstances of his death. Not only did Kevin reply, but he asked around and got back to me a few days later to ask for more info so that he could try to find out. He never was able to, but I was really impressed that he made the effort.

Now I'm having trouble thinking of anything funny, however.

on December 2, 2005 07:05 AM
# Nick Arnett said:

Now I remember... At Verity, a newly hired senior engineering managers left on vacation in early June. His responder said he would be out of the office until "7-6-95" or something like that. The office buzzed about the new guy taking a month-long vacation... Until somebody realized that since he was Dutch, the date was European style and he was coming back June 7th.


on December 2, 2005 07:15 AM
# /pd said:

ok one for the record..

"The message you entered is larger than the maximum size for a message as specified by the board administrator. Message size is limited to 0 kilobytes. Your message was 0.3 kilobytes. You can try splitting this message into two or more separate posts."

on December 2, 2005 09:36 AM
# Joe Hunkins said:

Nick - very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. I can't imagine how hard that must be on a family.

Nice to hear you praise Kevin Sites. I think he's one of the finest reporters in the world despite huge criticism when he filmed the infamous "Falluja Shooting" incident. His blogging about that episode and the subsequent controversies shows he's a good man.
... and Kudos to Yahoo for support of his reporting.

on December 2, 2005 10:37 AM
# nuevojefe said:

Sorry this is OT, but didn't see a normal contact form.

You should have a header link to the homepage. It's terribly annoying when sites don't and in fact I couldn't easily spot a link to the homepage anywhere (although I now know it's off to the right).

Of course, have to throw in the obligatory compliments, because your blog is a great read.

on December 2, 2005 10:46 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

What, like on a daily basis?

on December 2, 2005 11:34 AM
# Jeffrey McManus said:

My outgoing voice mail message tells people not to leave me voice mail, yet some do anyway, does that count? It's sort of like an IQ test. Interestingly, only sales people seem to ever leave me voice mail...

on December 2, 2005 12:20 PM
# WebtrafficJunkie said:

I hate autoresponders!!

on December 2, 2005 02:38 PM
# Jeff Boulter said:

Heh, my voicemail tells people not to leave voicemail either. Somehow lawyers and recruiters are the only ones to fail the test.

on December 2, 2005 02:58 PM
# Eric Bergen said:

I would rather be in the office than out in the field being shot at :)

on December 2, 2005 04:42 PM
# Thaths said:

I like what Yahoo is doing with Hotzone. However, the comments section seems to be full of gung-ho military "We are bringing democracy to Eye-raq" types or snivelling tree hugging anti-war types.

I wonder if it would be possible for Kevin to snag an interview with some of the insurgents. It seems unlikely because most of his Iraq reporting seems to be highly mediated by his handlers.

on December 2, 2005 05:51 PM
# john said:

One not particularly tech savvy lady in our office actually put something to the effect of "if you would like to speak to someone immediately please press 0" in here out of the office message. Phones, email, they're all electronic right?

on December 3, 2005 10:08 PM
# Ozh said:

My online gaming clan has a mailing list. Once, a clanmate went off for vacation and set his autoresponder to reply to emails. All emails. So it replied to a mail from the list, to the list, which sent it back to every member, including him, so again its autoresponder replied and weeeeeeeeeee in 20 minutes we had like 250 mails and pouring in. Had to unsubscribe him from the list to make it stop :)

on December 5, 2005 01:16 AM
# fncuis said:

"My computer is currently away from me, check back later."

on December 9, 2005 12:34 PM
# Shruti said:

Auto responders are good If used in a proper way and wherever required to tell people about.

on January 19, 2010 10:15 PM
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