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Many journals use EditFlow to handle submissions, referee reports, etc. The standard acceptance email you get from EditFlow, upon acceptance of an article, is sent to you, and cc'd to the editor handling your paper, and sometimes cc'd to other people, like a managing editor. This standard EditFlow acceptance email includes the text:

Please do not reply to this message.

Until today I never noticed that text, but now I see that it has been present at the bottom of every EditFlow acceptance email I've ever gotten. I have always replied to these emails, writing only the editor handling the paper, to thank them for their time and attention.

Is the intention of "Please do not reply to this message" to keep authors from sending requests, questions, etc. to the wrong person? In that case I think it is probably fine that I continue to reply to the acceptance email, replying only to the editor handling the paper, to send them my thanks.

Or is the intention of "Please do not reply to this message" to avoid putting editors in the situation of getting thank-you emails from every author that gets their paper accepted? In that case, I think I better stop sending these thank-you emails.

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That phrase means that the message was sent by a software application and there is no person watching for replies.

Your direct response to the cc'd editor isn't necessary, but isn't wrong.

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    In other words, I'd interpret "Please do not reply to this message" not as an instruction, but as information: "The 'sender' of this email is an automated system, and replies to it won't be read by anyone." Jul 10, 2022 at 17:25
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    @GregMartin Yes, precisely. It's common in lots of autogenerated replies. In this case it's probably the message sent by the system and cc'd to the editor when the editor tells the system the article is accepted. Jul 10, 2022 at 18:53
  • Thank you. I suspected that it is most likely that the email indeed means only what you (Greg Martin and Ethan Bolker) suggest, and not that it is intended to cut down on unnecessary emails to editors. But I made this Stackexchange question to quickly check that others also interpret the email that way before I wrote another thank-you note to an editor, since after all, sending such a note is a case of doing precisely what the email says not to do. Thanks for your responses.
    – user158419
    Jul 10, 2022 at 22:25

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