What Happens When 40,000 Students Realise They Can Email All 40,000 People At Once

NYU recently sent out a seemingly innocuous email to all of its students asking them to opt for paperless forms. People in university get those kinds of emails all the time! But when one student decided to ask his mum if he should enable the paperless forms, he accidentally triggered a method that allowed him (and every other student) to reply all to all 39,979 students on the email list.

This meant that any student could send an email to every single student at NYU. And as things at universities often go, things quickly got out of hand.

Apparently, the student, Max Wiseltier, accidentally replied all to an archaic Listserve system that sent any reply to every single student. Typically, NYU would use a system called 'E-mail Direct' to handle mass emails. Those mass emails can't be replied all to and as such, are meant solely for one-way emailing. Some NYU departments, however, use the older ListManager program. NYU Local's tech editor, Ben Zweig, explains:

Several NYU departments still rely on the older, discussion-based ListManager program, however. ListManager also sends mass emails, but allows discussions (in the form of reply-alls), unless the settings are adjusted, disabling group discussions and only permitting emails from admins.

Here's a sample of some of the emails sent. It goes from happy Nic Cage pics to SHUT UP in no time. Thousands of emails were sent over the course of one night, so yeah, I can see how that would get annoying.

Read the whole report at NYU Local and see more hilarious emails at BuzzFeed. [NYU Local via BuzzFeed]



    Great now I have to watch Good Burger again.

      I watched it on YouTube the other day. The have the full movie, and it's epic.

    I remember doing this at Senior Secondary.
    Ended up with the poor kid who started mailing everyone getting a suspension.

    Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?

    Similar thing happened recently at the University of Melbourne - at some point the student support email (I presume from the website) was pointing to the student support *list* (i.e., everyone eligible for student support.. all students). So a couple of poor struggling people poured asked for support from the entire cohort.

    Back in the day, you could register that list serv email into another list serv, thereby setting off a chain reaction that caused a loop between the 2 list servs. Everyone got spammed hard.

    i remember when we found this at my high school, one girl sent a pic of herself to everyone on the mailing list, teachers and principle included, she got suspended for over a month

    Happened at my work one year. Major mining company. Went to every employee in Australia, Canada, UK, Sth Africa and some others. Was a guy requesting to be taken off the mailing list for a scheduled IT network outage which was global. idiot

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now