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Identifing mailing list conflicts while replying emails

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000193452D
Original Publication Date: 2010-Feb-25
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2010-Feb-25
Document File: 6 page(s) / 131K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Current Collaboration software's have rich features like personalized address books which allow users to maintain contacts and mailing lists. Collaboration software's also allow administrator's to create mailing lists on the email routing server, making the mailing list available to all the users. These server and local mailing lists do not have any correlation and work independent of each other. Due to this, potential problems could arise while replying to emails having mailing lists in the recipient's field. There could be scenario's like: Scenario I UserA has a local mailing list 'ClientTeam'. Server also has a mailing list with the same name i.e 'ClientTeam' but with different members. When UserA sends an email to 'ClientTeam', the UserA's local mailing list definition gets precedence and the email gets sent to the members of user's local mail list as intended. UserB who is a member of 'ClientTeam' mailing list defined on UserA's collaboration software will receive this email. When UserB tries to do a 'ReplyAll' to this email the 'ClientTeam' mailing list will be called out in the 'To' / 'CC' fields. There could be two situations here. Situation I: UserB has a local mailing list named 'ClientTeam' on his local Collaboration Software. In this situation, UserB's reply will unintentionally gets sent to the members of his local mailing list 'ClientTeam' rather than recipients of initial email. While sending the email there is no notification or prompt indicating this anomaly. Situation II: UserB does not have a local mailing list named 'ClientTeam' on his local Collaboration Software. In this situation, UserB's reply will unintentionally get sent to the members of the server mailing list 'ClientTeam' rather than recipients of initial email. Again in this situation, there is no notification or prompt indicating this anomaly. In such conflicting situations, all the email recipients do not come to know of any discrepancy or conflict as they do not have any information about sender's local mailing list. When any of the receivers try to do a reply all, the email gets sent to unintended recipients causing a lot of ambiguity. (Situation summary : UserA=YES Server=YES UserB=YES/NO) Scenario II When a local mailing list with same name is created by multiple people. UserA has a local mailing list with title 'MyTeam'. He sends an email to this local mailing list which includes UserB. UserB also has a similar mailing list with title 'MyTeam' with different members. UserB does a 'ReplyAll' to this email which unintentionally gets sent to the members of his local 'MyTeam' mailing list rather than UserA's 'MyTeam' mailing list. This reply will get sent to the members of UserB's local 'MyTeam' mailing list rather than the UserA's local 'MyTeam' mailing list as intended. This happens without any notification, no one (sender as well as receivers) gets to know about this discrepancy. (Situation summary : UserA=YES Server=NO UserB=YES) Scenario III UserA sends an email to a server mailing list 'ClientTeam'. UserB is a member of this server mailing list 'ClientTeam', receives this email. However UserB also has a local mailing list configured on his collaboration software with the same name. If UserB tries to send a 'ReplyAll' to this email, the email gets sent to the members of his local mailing list causing the email to get sent to a different audience than intended. While sending the email there is no notification or prompt and email gets sent to the local mailing list. All the receivers to this email also do not get to see any discrepancy or conflict as they do not know of any server mailing list. (Situation summary : UserA=NO Server=YES UserB=YES) The current collaboration products do not differentiate between the server and the local mailing lists. If there is a conflict with the mailing list names, user sending the email is not prompted for conflicting situations.In organizations with large number of employees and with enormous email transactions, this could lead to: Unintentional email circulation Breach of Confidentiality Information Security Business integrity Delays Adverse Business impact Confusion and chaos Due to these shortcoming, we need our proposed solution which can help us resolve this mailing list conflict issue and ensure the information is sent to the correct receipients all the time.

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Page 1 of 6

Identifing mailing list conflicts while replying emails

The local and server mailing lists create a lot of ambiguity as the name resolution logic for the mailing lists is not transparent to the end-users. If the scenarios as described in the Background section are not handled carefully, they create anomalies which could lead to information leaks.

To exemplify, we are considering two users: UserA & UserB, however things can become even more complex in multi-user scenario's involving multiple mailing lists. If implemented, the proposed disclosure will take care of these complex problematic situations.

Scenario I:

Situation summary :UserA=YES Server=YES UserB=YES/NO

Proposed Solution:

Our proposed solution will get exercised in case of a mailing list conflict (logic described in yellow box below). Step I: UserA sends an email to a local mailing list 'ClientTeam' which is also the name of a Server mailing list wit

different members. The local mailing list definition will get precedence and the email will get sent to the members of UserA's local mail list.

Step II: UserB, a member of UserA's local 'ClientTeam' mailing list will receive this email.

Step III: UserB does a 'ReplyAll' to this email, the 'ClientTeam' mailing list will be called out in the 'To' / 'CC' fields.

Here there could be two situations.

Situation I: UserB has a local mailing list named 'ClientTeam' on his local Collaboration Software.

In this situation, when UserB tries to do ReplayAll, as per the current behavior, it would get resolved to UserB's local mailing list. However with our proposed solution, UserB will get prompted of a conflict (yellow boxes below).

He will be informed that the mailing list used by UserA is different than the one he intends to use. UserB will get notified (as below) of the conflict so that he can take necessary corrective steps.

Mailing Group name conflict
You are using your local mailing group !

Do you want to continue with 1

  Using your local mailing group 2

  ) Using server mailing group 3

) Compare local and server mailing group members.

Situation II: UserB does not have a local mailing list named 'ClientTeam' on his local Collaboration Software.

In this situation, when UserB tries to do 'ReplyAll' to this email, the 'ClientTeam' mailing list would have resolved to the server mailing list. However with our proposed solution, UserB will get prompted of a conflict (yellow boxes below).

)

Aler

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!! Mail will be sent to server mailing group 'ClientTeam'

This notification will prompt the user of the conflict involved so that he can take necessary corrective actions.

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Page 2 of 6

Scenario II:
Situation summary
: UserA=YES Server=NO UserB=YES

Proposed Solution:

Our proposed solution will get exercised in case of this mailing list conflict (logic described in yellow box below).

Step I: UserA sends an email to a local mailing list 'MyTeam'. When UserA sends an email to 'MyTeam', the local mailing list definition will be used to resolve the names...