If you could say anything to 40,000 people, what would it be?
That golden opportunity arrived (accidentally, and wonderfully) in the inbox this week for every single student at New York University -- and they seized it.
Good for us, bad for the school's email servers.
A campus-wide email from the school's Bursar's office was erroneously sent via a Listserv that allows recipients to "Reply All", which, in this case, meant emailing all 39,979 NYU students on the list.
(Sidenote: The student is a computer science minor.)
Max Wiseltier -- the Patient Zero of our story -- then compounded his mistake after realizing what he'd done by replying all again to everybody at NYU, "SORRY!!!!!! Gmail switched my reply to reply all!"
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So, back to our original question: Suddenly given the chance to tell 40,000 people whatever they want, what did these NYU students write?
This: "Does anyone have a pencil i can borrow?"
That: "Does anyone have a copy of the movie good burger I can borrow?"
Also this: "If this list is going to keep going on, let's at least put it to good use and come up with a full and common list of grievances! I'll start: I wish we had dental insurance."
And this: "also, mazel tov on the iphone 5, bro."
And inevitably, this: "People. I am trying to study. This is annoying and distracting. Kindly cut this s*** out. Thank you."
Which of course led to this: "I'll stop if he stops."
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Tuesday, an employee at the school's Student Resource Center sent the only 'Reply All' that mattered: that this was all his fault. Max might've spammed the school, but it should never have been an option in the first place.
"Hi everyone -- I’m the culprit behind the Lyris blunder. I was assisting the Bursar with an email message and in populating one of the SRC Listserves did not realize the list I was using was one that allowed for responses and thus the “replyallcalypse”," wrote David Vogelsong. "And yes, you are absolutely correct that I should have used Email Direct instead of Lyris."
A noble mea culpa and the final message on this Mother of All Email Chains -- though it would've been a lot better if he ended it with, "Also, does anyone have a copy of Good Burger I can borrow??"
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN