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Hilarious reply-all loop

Fun stuff.

Step 1: Receiving a spam email with lots of random strangers in the cc list.

Step 2: A long series of replies-to-all saying Unsubscribe, Please remove my e-mail address, Unsubscribe me please, UNSUBSCRIBE, etc.

Step 3: Replies-to-all to those responses, saying Unsubscribe me too, etc.

Then, the inevitable . . .

Step 4: Someone replies to all:

You science people really need to stop replying to everyone! ITS SPAM!!! JUST PUT IT INTO THE JUNK MAIL! IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR COMPANY MAIL TO BE THROWN INTO IT AS WELL, PLEASE THINK FOR ONCE.

And then, I knew it was going to happen:

Step 5: Some wiseass replies to all:

You just replied to all…

And then, of course:

Step 6: Someone replies to that with: STOP!! REPLYING! TO ! ALL!

We’re reliving the 1990’s here. . . .

12 Comments

  1. Samir Bhatt says:

    This is amazing

  2. People get into snits so often over the most trivial of exchanges relative to what they can get grateful about.

  3. Should you reply all to stop the annoying reply-to-all cycles? I think this is a case on an interesting moral dilemma!

    You want to protest against something, but the only way to express your protest is to participate in the thing you want to protest against! The other examples:

    * Should you fly to the conference on preventing the climate change?

    * There is too many meeting in the company. Should you call a meeting to discuss this situation?

    * Should you protest violently against violence?

    * You believe the elections, organised in your county, are illegitimate. Should you still participate in the elections?

    * You suspect you have COVID. Should you take a public transport across the city to get tested?

  4. About 10 years ago (not sure of the exact year), someone sent out a mail to alumni of a musical group at my college. Unfortunately, due to a temporary glitch, the mailing list allowed for reply-all. A few of the older alumni (a few decades older than me, I think) started replying to all and reminiscing. This went on, and on, and on, until a few people got fed up and started sending irate, all-caps emails telling the reminiscers to stop, or asking to unsubscribe. Finally the original sender apologized and explained what had happened. I remember wanting to intervene just to let people know what was going on. It seemed clear that the reminiscers had no idea that their messages were going to such a wide audience, and the anger-wielders had no idea that the messages that annoyed them so much had been sent with good intent. A classic case of online misunderstanding.

  5. Ian Fellows says:

    That wiseass is my new spirit animal.

  6. Zach Hafen says:

    The “reply allpocalypse”/”email storm” wikipedia page has some great examples of this. In 2016 one such event was bad enough to wipe out the UK national health service mail system for a while after generating half a billion emails.

  7. Zhou Fang says:

    My solution to this kind of situation is to set a filter that deletes all emails that are To or From the original offending address.

  8. paul alper says:

    Is this following scenario conceivable? Person A creates an “out of office” setup. Person B, unaware of what Person A has done, sends a message to Person A just after he, Person B, creates an “out of office” situation. Will that create infinite bouncing back and forth? If so, is that the way the world comes to an end?

  9. JOHN says:

    I’d seen this happen on mail-lists where the Out of Office email went to the list and generted an endless loop of replies. Now nearly every email program has a one-and-sone feature that generates one and only one email to the sender no matter how many more emails are sent

  10. Tom says:

    National Park Service had a reply all email train triggered by a post about a new Railroad Junior Ranger Badge that ran over 190 reply alls. People started adding images of Thomas the Tank Engine, reply all Jr Ranger Badges, & such to their reply alls. Some replies also edited the subject line, so even those of us who used the “send all future messages in a conversation to trash” kept having it come back from the dead. It was memorialized on the NPS Lego site: https://www.facebook.com/NPSCentennialLEGO/photos/a.1429382107367857/2251067398532653/?type=3&eid=ARABanyYgSFQqEPDCfOLN5SUAXRoJIo9biuxsbeHV2uCwe8_fxIF5Gdx3GUb0jZsRO-q-73XDuf3P5hY
    In fairness, we had just been moved from gmail to outlook, so this was software-assisted stupidity, plus blowing off steam.

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