Hitting “reply all” on a mass email is generally a bad idea, but a meltdown at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is the worst reply allpocalypse we’ve ever seen. According to The Guardian, more than 186 million useless emails were sent out, after a technician sent a “test” message to all 1.2 million employees of the NHS.
Because email users tend to be stupid arseholes in these kinds of situations, plenty of people replied-all to the thread, creating 1.2 million new messages that needed to be delivered. And then people replied to that thread, often asking to be removed from a distribution list, which just created even more mail.
— Richard Burgess (@captain_planet8) November 14, 2016
— Matt (@skaterXDMattt) November 14, 2016
If nothing else it exposed an alarming number of people using comic sans. . #nhsmail
— Forest 24-7 (@Forest247blog) November 14, 2016
Should I press yes to the idiot who not only replied to all, but also included a read receipt option. Hell yes I should. #NHSMail
— Warren Baldock (@Wo22a) November 14, 2016
— Tanja (@grappleshark) November 14, 2016
— Adnan Raja (@ladnan86) November 14, 2016
The deluge of useless mail was so bad that it ended up taking down the entire email system. Surely, it is not good when an entire country’s healthcare system can’t communicate. This is what the NHS told The Guardian (emphasis ours):
In a statement dictated over the phone due to the problems with the email system, an NHS Digital spokeswoman said: “Some users have experienced short delays in the NHSmail system this morning. Action has been taken to resolve this issue.
“A number of email accounts have been operating slower than normal due to an NHSmail user setting up an email distribution list which inadvertently included everyone on the NHSmail system. As soon as we became aware of the issue, we deleted the distribution list so that no one else could respond to it. We anticipate that the issue will be rectified very soon.”
This is just another reminder that if you get stuck in a reply allpocalypse, DO NOT RESPOND. Simply create a rule to delete that crap out of your inbox. But seriously, for the love of God, do not respond!