SUMMARY: how to prevent users from "group replying" to "allusers" alias

From: Simon Yeo (
Date: Fri Oct 13 1995 - 08:23:38 CDT


! Hello SunManagers:
! We have an alias here called "allusers" which contains everybody's email
! address. So "allusers" alias is being used for site-wide distribution of
! email.
! Let's say I send to "allusers" a notice about a server going down. Some users
! tend to do a "group" reply to my email, and ends up sending the reply to the
! entire site, since "allusers" gets inserted into the "Cc:" list. I want to
! force them to reply to the originator(me) only. Is there a simple way I can
! do that by tweaking around with my sendmail configuration, or by any other
! means?
! Thanks a lot.
! -Simon,

There were four basic ideas:

1) Setup a mailing list using majordomo.
        - Takes too long. I needed a quick solution.
2) Use Bcc:.
        - Since the "allusers" alias has to be available to everybody, I can't
          force people to use "Bcc:" all the time.
3) Use Reply-To.
        - Doesn't work. Some mail agents still pick up all reciepients listed.
4) Write a shell script. - takes too long and potentially dangerous.

I ended up using a combination of ideas that I received: "allusers" is aliased
to myself, so when a user wants to send to the entire site, I become the
moderator. If I feel the message should go out to the entire site, then I
use Bcc: to send to the entire lab.

Here is a couple of interesting responses:

From: Chris Zanelli <>
I'm going to tell you something you won't like.

It all lies in user education. I imagine some of your users have no real
idea about networks/the Internet/netiquette or are in management or both!
What they say in a mail reflects on them. If they send a mail around to
"all" and it was only meant for the originator then phoey on them. A
computer/network is not a hinderance and learning about such a
punishment. On the contray almost all business now have them installed to
some degree and the responsability lies with each person to learn a
little about what they are using and doing on it. Due to your position (a
sysadmin like myself) pointing them in the right direction, hints and
recommending reading material and courses becomes an investment in your
own time. Basically you aim for less reliance on you by the users with
every little niggly problem. Their job (the user) now includes some
knowledge, understanding and respect for what ever system is in place
instead of thanking God when its down and blaming the computer dept. for
their own late work.

need to grow and learn enough to get by themselves. If they are
"mothered" through things then NO MORE. Don't put off the inevitable -
they have to face it and get over it. (Their fears of whatever that is.)

The technical issue. Don't stuff with sendmail configs when they are ok.
Its a user problem. Reconfigure some/all of their mailers. You
haven't said which but I know you can do it in mailtool and pine and I
think elm.

Don't surrender to their crys for help. Send out a mail explaining the
problem and the possible solutions.

O.K. sorry for the sermon dude, I've been through this before and learnt
the hard way. (Wish I could have written this mail to myself back then ;-)

Cheers & Good Luck

From: Jim Jarocki <>

you could just ridicule them, sending snide comments to the spammers :-)

        From: Janet Ulrich <>
        From: (Steve Ozoa)
        From: (James H. McG. Sibley)
        From: "Brian T. Wightman" <>
        From: (Peter Abeln)
        From: "Heas H. Heas" <>
        From: (Greg Andrews)
        From: (Robert Nichols)
        From: (Sean O'Kelly)
        From: Jeff Besaw (SG) <>
        From: (Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services)
        From: Nick Kralevich <nickkral@parker.EECS.Berkeley.EDU>
        From: Casper Dik <casper@Holland.Sun.COM>
        From: Chuck Campbell <campbell@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM>

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