A rule based electronic messaging system with a facility for automatically running a user's rules under system control without need for user intervention or attendance, having a feedback mechanism which reports status relating to users automatically processed. System status reporting or feedback can be used for workflow administration or routing. A controller utility accesses a user-list-file with the user name of every "user" whose messages are to be automatically, periodically processed. Upon accessing the user-list-file, a user name is selected and that user's copy of the mail messaging facility is started. The controller runs that user's rules against that user's messages and effects processing of the messages accordingly. Status information is reported and rules can be invoked as a function of the status reporting. A dedicated rule server can be implemented wherein the feedback information is used for work flow administration.