NYU Student Accidentally Emails 40,000 Classmates & Sets Off a 'Replyallcalypse'

emailIt's happened to all of us at some point. Someone sends an email out to a list, and people don't just reply to the sender, they hit "reply all" and we get inundated with mundane messages and tiny e-tantrums as some people try to get the madness to stop. But for one unlucky NYU student, that reply-all mistake wound up sending messages to thousands of his fellow students, sparking what became known as the "replyallcalypse."

It began so innocently, with sophomore Max Wiseltier attempting to forward an email from the Bursar to his mother. But instead, Max hit "reply all," sending his message to 39,979 students. Oh geez.


He quickly sent an apology to everyone, but the seed had been planted. "We simultaneously realized that any message, complaint, whim, link, video, or GIF could be sent to nearly 40,000 people in an instant," Kelly Weill wrote in NYU Local, the student newspaper.

And email they did. One said hello. One asked if anyone had a spare pencil. One asked this: "Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?" (Clearly the answer is duck-sized horses ...) And one sent everyone a photo of Nicolas Cage. All because someone at the Bursar's office accidentally sent a message to the wrong list -- one that allowed for replies. Doh. Your bad.

The students called it "The Day NYU Broke," and I imagine after the first few messages, which were probably kind of fun to get, the onslaught became incredibly annoying. Imagine opening your email to 1,000 random messages. Would you get frustrated and just automatically delete everything, even if you lost something you'd needed in the process? I would certainly not have the patience to slog through that.

But maybe it created a sense of community? City schools don't have that leafy-green campus feeling my school did, so maybe having a shared e-experience helped bridge some gaps? Shrug. Or maybe it was just really lame.

Have you ever been inundated with reply-all emails that seemed like they would never end?


Image via Jonathon Narvey/Flickr

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