Mailing list

Posted in: Work stories

So a funny little something happened to me at work just a while ago: somebody sent an e-mail to a mailing list that I shouldn't belong to. Thinking nothing of it, I decided not to do anything.

Somebody else however, decided to do something and asked to be removed from the mailing list. But they didn't reply to the original sender, instead they replied to the mailing list, giving a whole bunch of people the idea that it is a Good Idea to do the exact same thing. And by exact same thing, that means repeating the mistake of the first responder of replying to the mailing list (must be some automatic reflex to click 'reply-to-all') instead of putting their request to the original sender.

This continued for the rest of the afternoon. My 'new e-mail' alert pop-up was going spastic, eventually stopping to give me the details of the incoming messages and instead just telling me that I had "...new items in your inbox." At first I was hoping that people notice the incoming flood and correct their responses, then I kept facepalming at every new message alert, and then I LOL'd.

And then I lol'd

Did I mention I work for a large corporation with offices all around the world? I was getting e-mails from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, the US, Mexico, Brazil... Here's a timeline of events:

  • 1:22pm - initial e-mail sent to a mailing list
  • 2:12pm - first reply to be removed from the mailing list
  • 2:15pm - more replies to be removed from the mailing list start coming
  • 2:20pm - first replies to say 'please don't e-mail everybody', and first angry reply to ask people to stop, saying they 'have enough e-mail to read'
  • 2:23pm - first 'stop e-mailing!' message to be sent in capital letters
  • 2:26pm - somebody changes the e-mail subject to try get peoples' attention
  • 2:52pm - original sender tries to recall initial e-mail
  • 2:54pm - first sarcastic reply, saying they love getting to know all these new people
  • 2:57pm - comment comparing this incident to 'please forward to X people' chain e-mails
  • 3:02pm - I reply to everybody and the chain e-mail guy, saying we've reached 73 messages, mine is the 74th, and that 6 more have come in during me writing my response
  • 3:05pm - the network goes down

(At this point I start worrying that the Mailing List Saga has brought down the network, particularly my message since it was the last thing to be sent before it all hit the fan. I'm probably being a bit egotistical there, thinking that I would have such influence on our company's network infrastructure, but it's not the first time I've been jokingly blamed by my workmates for network failures before.)

  • 3:34pm - network restored for a moment, I receive 35 more messages (1 of which is an ACTUAL e-mail from a friend), someone decided to add exclamation marks to the e-mail subject, network goes down again
  • 3:54pm - network restored, receive the last of the e-mails, including the one where somebody has talked to somebody with mailing list power to get the list fixed
  • 4:10pm - straggler requests to be removed from the list

At this point in the Mailing List Saga (which is the moment before I shut this computer off to go home), I counted 121 e-mails - more e-mails than I receive in a normal week. This includes all the replies, several out-of-office messages, one 'inbox too full' message, and the one I sent myself.

Full mailbox

I must say, it made my day :D Here are some of my favourite responses:

I have no idea what is it about.
Please do me a favor and take me out of the list i have enough email to read.

OK, enough with the reply all responses.

STOP THE REPLY TO ALL PLEASE......

Lovely teams, I'm glad to know everyone's name but can we stop this?

Its becoming like those "Send this to everyone you know and XXX will donate 1cent to ..."

Please include me in all future emails. My inbox feels loved

jejeje Hope I get all the 1cent soon :0)

And now we've got all these new in-box friends. :)

Update: Just came in to work this morning, and the hours between yesterday afternoon and now have given THE ENTIRE CONTINENT OF EUROPE a chance to respond. We're now up to 201 e-mails, and I got some new favourite replies:

aLL,
PLEASE STOP REPLYING TO DE GROUP MAILBOX.
i AM NOW OVERLOADED WITH "UNSUBSCRIBES".
stop, stop, stop

Does anybody know how's the best way to cook a turkey for next Christmas?

Aaa... it's simply. You need to take a turkey, cut the head, add some salt and pepper... and cook it until everybody send the reply with "remove me too"...

Hopefully this Turkey is almost cooked

Hope that this is the last email sending out . Pray hard.

Then next one pressing "send to all" qualifies him/herself for the next round of [Workforce Reductions].
Reason: having no understanding of IT technology..

Interesting, but It's difficult to find some of this spices here... Sounds tasty, though.

STOP REPLY AND EVERYTHING WILL BE STOP!! PLEASE