[linux-elitists] Best way to do machine-human mail conversation?

Joakim Ziegler joakim@avmaria.com
Mon Feb 9 22:55:30 PST 2004

So, I have this ticket tracking system where you can input tickets using
an HTML form, or through mail. It generally assigns to a random person
in the group corresponding to the category the ticket has (the category
is chosen either on the web form, or as a result of the To: address in
the mail).

When someone uses the web interface to send an answer and close the
ticket, a mail is sent to the email address provided, and the From: is
set to the email address corresponding to the category, so if the client
responds to the mail, it enters as a new ticket with the same category.

However, people aren't happy with this, they want the new ticket to be
assigned not just to the same category/group as the old one, but also to
the same user in the system.

To accomplish this, I'm considering a few different approaches:

1) Use a ticket number in the subject, and parse the subject coming
back. This seems pretty common, but it makes the subject a bit ugly, in
my opinion.

2) Use exim-style (or whatever you call them) aliases to the category
email address as the from, so I can append the ticket number, like
sales-3245@, which will enter into the sales category, as a followup to
ticket 3245.

3) Use some sort of header that will be preserved in the response in
common mailers. This is arguably the most elegant, but does such a beast
exist? Could I use a Message-ID header and assume that most common
mailers would give me that Message-ID back in the In-Reply-To header?

Opinions on the options? Pitfalls and whatnot I should be aware of when
doing this sort of thing?

   The Private Joakim Ziegler - Not Speaking For Anyone But Myself
    joakim@avmaria.com - http://www.avmaria.com - rdgzt@Undernet
            http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.fix.no/

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