Tags: nyu | student | email | reply-all

NYU Student Mistakenly Emails 40,000 Classmates, Triggering Mass Reply-All Marathon

By Michael Mullins   |   Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 03:40 PM

Everyone using email in a big organization dreads this.

With a mistaken mouse click, a college student sending an email to his mother instead sent it out to nearly 40,000 fellow classmates at New York University, launching a night full of cascading humor and irritation and ending with an apology from a red-faced school official.

Fortunately for sophomore Max Wiseltier, the advice he was seeking from his mom wasn’t too terribly personal.

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Wiseltier was attempting to forward her an email from the school’s bursar’s office on Monday night when he inadvertently hit “reply all.”

Realizing what he had done, Wiseltier quickly followed up with, “Sorry!!!!!! Gmail switched my reply to reply all!” The damage, however, was already done -- and helped along by a glitch in the NYU email software.

What followed were long hours of replies upon replies from many of the exactly 39,979 NYU undergrads who received the missives, ranging from playful to annoyed to vulgar.

“Does anyone have a pencil I could borrow?” asked one student.

“Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?” asked another.

Amusement eventually gave way to grumpiness.

“People. I am trying to study. This is annoying and distracting,” responded one student. “Kindly cut this s--t out.”

“People could you kindly stop pressing reply to all button? Thank you very much!!!” wrote another.

In addition to their overuse of the word “people,” the NYU undergrads illustrated their love for profanity and by the morning there were several remarks that can’t be repeated on a family website.

According to Ben Zweig, a tech editor for the university’s publication “NYU Local,” the school uses a particular system for most mass emails that does not allow for reply-alls.

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“Therefore, you cannot respond to most mass emails,” said Zweig.

However, in this case an employee at the school’s Student Resource Center mistakenly substituted the wrong software, allowing for the reply-all fiasco.

NYU’s David Vogelsang owned up to the error in “NYU Local.”
“This morning I deleted everyone on the list,” he said. “We are monitoring for any residual emails . . . I take full responsibility for this blunder and offer my sincere apologies for the frustrating situation that was created.”

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