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Preventing incidents from a contact's auto-responder
Answer ID 153   |   Last Review Date 07/08/2019

A customer's auto-responder is causing an email loop, which is creating multiple incidents.

Environment:

All Versions / Mailbox Configuration

Resolution: 

Oracle Service Cloud includes several features that allow you to break email loops:


Automatically Discard Auto-Response Email: You can have a mailbox automatically filter out some auto-reply email messages. The Discard Automatic Responses field for the mailbox can be set to Off, Conservative, Moderate or Aggressive. The default setting is Conservative, so you may need to increase this setting to reduce the chance of email loops.

In order to set the Discard Automatic Responses field to a different value, go to Configuration > Site Configuration > Mailboxes, click the Incoming Email button in the ribbon, and use the Discard Automatic Responses drop-down menu (or Discard Filters tabs) to select the appropriate setting.

The filters used in each of the menu options (Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive) are defined in the EGW_AR_CONS_*_FLTR, EGW_AR_MODR_*_FLTR, and EGW_AR_AGGR_*_FLTR configuration settings. You can configure the header and body filters separately for each menu option by editing the corresponding configuration setting.

Path to setting(s): Select Configuration from the navigation area > Site Configuration > Configuration Settings > and search by Key.

For more information on accessing the Configuration Editor and editing settings, refer to Answer ID 1960: Editing Configuration Settings.

Note: These configuration settings are automatically overwritten during an update to a site, so if you wish to use custom filters you should use the Discard Filters found at the bottom of the Incoming Email section of the Mailboxes configuration page. 
 

Prevent Mailbox from Sending Email to Itself: The EGW_LOOP_PREVENT_ENABLED configuration setting allows you to prevent an Oracle Service Cloud mailbox from sending messages to itself. When EGW_LOOP_PREVENT_ENABLED is set to Yes, any email where the reply-to email address matches the reply-to email address of any mailbox in Oracle Service Cloud will be discarded and no incident will be created. In this way, the mailbox deletes any messages from itself, which can prevent continuous email loops. By default, this setting is enabled (set to Yes).

Note: The "reply-to" and "from" addresses can not match the "reply-to" and/or "from" address of any other existing mailbox.

Path to setting(s): Select Configuration from the navigation area > Site Configuration > Configuration Settings > and search by Key.

For more information on accessing the Configuration Editor and editing settings, refer to Answer ID 1960: Editing Configuration Settings.

Limit Amount of Email from an Address for a Specified Time Period: You can set configuration settings to allow a specified number of emails within a specific timeframe.

The EGW_MAX_PER_ADDRESS setting specifies the maximum number of emails that will be accepted from an individual email address within the time period specified in the EGW_MAX_MSG_DURATION setting. This is used to identify and stop auto-responder email loops. For example, if this setting is set to 23 and 24 emails are received from the same address within EGW_MAX_MSG_DURATION hours, the 24th email from that address will be discarded and no response email will be sent, thereby breaking the email loop. Setting the value to zero will disable this loop detection. This setting is set to 23 by default.

The EGW_MAX_MSG_DURATION setting specifies the number of hours to determine if an email loop is occurring. We recommend the duration not be less than 8 hours or more than 24 hours. The default value is 12 hours.

By default, the system will only accept 23 messages from a given email address in a 12 hour period. If you use the default settings, the 24th and subsequent emails from that address will be discarded and no response email will be sent from the system.

Important! If you use forms to submit information and create incidents within your Oracle Service Cloud application, incidents created from the form are all associated to the same contact record. As a result, if the form is used more than 23 times in a 12 hour period (if using the default settings), then the 24th and higher submittals will be discarded and no response sent. Therefore, if you are using forms within your answers, you should set the EGW_MAX_PER_ADDRESS value to be 0 to disable the loop protection.  

Note: These configuration settings are set at the per interface level.  However, they function as the maximum per mailbox associated to the interface the configurations are set.

To help illustrate the 'per mailbox' functionality:
- If a contact is sending 25 emails to the same mailbox (mailbox_id 1) within 12 hours, only 23 incidents will be created and the last 2 messages will be discarded;
- If a contact is sending 33 emails to 3 different mailboxes (10 emails to mailbox_id 1, 11 emails to mailbox_id 2 and 12 emails to mailbox_id 3) 33 incidents will be created and no email will be discarded.

See also Configurations EGW_MAX_PER_ADDRESS and EGW_MAX_MSG_DURATION explained for more information.

Add Email Address to Discard Addresses: To break the loop, you can temporarily add the offending email address to the discard addresses list for the mailbox. Leave the address in the discarded address list through at least one run of the techmail utility, which will break the loop. Then, you can determine whether the email address is for a valid contact and determine whether that address should be removed from the discard list so that that contact can submit email in the future. If not, you can go ahead and leave that email address in the discard addresses list.

Add Business Rule to Not Create Incident: You can create a business rule to block returned messages so that the incident is not created. An example of the workflow rule is provided below:
IF Incident Source is Email and
Incident.Subject matches regular expression Out of office|auto-reply|undeliverable

THEN Do not create incident
The matches regular expression operator, the "pipe" ( | ) used in the above example, allows you to process incoming assistance requests based on the content submitted. In this example, any email submitted that includes the text "out of office", "auto-reply" or "undeliverable" in the subject line of the email will not create the incident. Depending on the nature of the incoming email, some valid emails may not create incidents based on the text included in the subject line.

Note: If you want to be notified of undeliverables, remove "undeliverable" from the example above.

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