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Spam IT

E-Mail Snafu Sparks Spam Attack On Journalists 153

Posted by Zonk
from the we-need-to-come dept.
TFGeditor writes "According to an article at Editor & Publisher an e-mail mistake by the Casey Journalism Center at the University of Maryland wrongly invited hundreds of journalists nationwide to the university's prestigious 'Casey Medals' awards. The goof also launched a perpetual e-mail whirlwind as those who responded to the incorrect note unwittingly sent their feedback to everyone else on the recipient list. The e-mail was an electronic invitation to attend the organization's annual board meeting and awards lunch in Washington, D.C. on Aug, 8, according to Carrie Rowell, conference coordinator. She said it was meant only to reach the center's 11 board members, who are invited to the event where 18 journalists will be honored with the press-related awards. Rowell said she did not know how many people were affected, but did not dispute that it was likely hundreds."
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E-Mail Snafu Sparks Spam Attack On Journalists

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  • by AEton (654737) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:26PM (#13151681)
    Somebody accidentally chose the wrong group in their address book. Also, a bunch of technically illiterate people hit 'reply to all' instead of 'reply to'.

    The illiterates in question were journalists, and the content of the email was bland but interesting to journalists. So the Editor and Publisher publication picked up on it...

    I'm not sure how this qualifies as 'news for nerds'.
    • No kidding. Like this doesn't happen in every corporation every day? It happens to a bunch of journalists who are full of themselves and suddenly it's newsworthy?

      How long until Slashdot starts linking to Page 6 celebrity gossip articles?
      • Well it seems the logical deduction here, then, is that at least one of the submitors and editors agree with the media in the opinion that software writers like yourselfs have malproduced the functions and GUI's to the point where a spam event occured accidentally. Yes, trhough ignorance, but we don't give out lighters with every bottle of 151, now do we? Perhaps it is just a piece that talks to the opinion of those now in control of the culture machine.. they are bored and dissatisfied with the current v
        • by Seumas (6865) *
          Let's see.

          And exactly what brilliant software solution would you develop that would prevent someone from sending a message to the wrong people? An email client's job is to send email to the people you tell it to. If you send it to all@mycompany.com - that's not the email client's fault. That's your own stupidity.

          There's a REPLY button. There's a REPLY ALL button. That solves the 300 pointless replies that resulted.

          There are very simple mail filters in almost every client. That solves the "I kept getting
          • I did not say I agree, if you will refer to the previous statement.

            But since you have such interest, why not offer even a silly idea or fix instead of reducing every problem to stupidity on the users part. Circumstances are usually quite different in bugs like this. I personally think the situation was funny, and I merely thought it interesting to play the devil advocate. You, however, seem to be a bit hostile and quick with your reply. Hope you lose some of that some day.

            • Sending email to the wrong person is a "software bug"?

              What you're suggesting is like stating "How can we fix sharp objects so that people won't stab themselves with them?".
              • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Sunday July 24, 2005 @07:26PM (#13152347) Homepage
                "It looks like you want to send this email to somebody! Are you really, really, 100% absolutely certain that you're sending it to the right people?"

                "Are you really sure?"

                "Have you double checked?"

                "Are you still sure?"

                "Just a final check, you do want to send this don't you?"

                And so on.
              • well, we fixed solder guns so that they may not burn our flesh without light of metal.

                why not, then, some simple energy into safe-guarding against comfusion by employing better design such as spatial distancing of similair options and possibly the use of shapes, colors, and shades to prevent accidental misrecognition? After all, humans in excited states make similiar mistakes. Do you want things to be a bit more immediately obvious or as hard as was originally designed to be when you're in a state of eme
                • I used to own a Japanese-made car. In order to lock the doors, you had to lock it, then hold the handle up while you closed the door. If you didn't hold the handle up, the door would become unlocked.

                  The idea behind this was to make it harder for people to lock their keys in their car. My girlfriend locked the keys in the car four times.

                  Of course, all the manufacturers did was train people to hold the handle up when they closed the door, whether the keys were inside the car or not.

                  Anything you add to m
          • "There's a REPLY button. There's a REPLY ALL button. "

            just my opinion, but i think the REPLY ALL button should be buried somewhere.

            putting REPLY next to REPLY ALL is like putting DELETE next to FORMAT HARD DRIVE. Not the smartest decision IMHO.

            I've noticed this in other programs and windows itself but I'm told it's not a flaw, it's a feature :D

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Dunno, but us nerds could use some links to Page 3!

    • Also, a bunch of technically illiterate people hit 'reply to all' instead of 'reply to'.

      Yep, this is the crux of the matter. One might think that the denizens of /. *looks at submitter* would know and be inclined to point out the difference. We certainly nitpick about everything else. :-)
      • That's what I thought, but given the way the senders screwed it up, it's possible that the Reply-To address was set to the same alias (or a different one) that included all the journalists' email addresses.

        i.e. hitting a normal reply button would actually reply to everyone (a bit like a mailing list, really...)
      • "One might think that the denizens of /. *looks at submitter* would know and be inclined to point out the difference."

        Yeah, well, I thought it was funny that a bunch of intelligent (to hear them tell it) journalists engaged in an email cluster-f**k without realizing what was up.

        Maybe I should have submitted as "Laugh, It's Funny."

        • Yeah, well, I thought it was funny that a bunch of intelligent (to hear them tell it) journalists engaged in an email cluster-f**k without realizing what was up.

          True - that is pretty amusing. Perhaps my funny detector was on the fritz.

          Silly anecdote: ~6 years ago I was the sole Sun server admin at a large scientific research facility. I got a call one day from a Ph.D (Physics) who was having trouble with his SPARC20 desktop machine. I had some free time and went along to help him. When I got ther
          • Heh, "back in the day," an IT support tech at one of my client companies told me about this executive secretary who kept having problems with floppies going corrupt (this was a LONG time ago, and floppies were "it"). One day, he went to her office yet again and asked for the corrupted floppy itself, since all diagnostics indicated the drive was fine (he'd even gone so far as to install a 24-hour chart recorder on the AC power in her office to check for spikes/brownouts). She reached up on the side of a fili
    • by BlueTooth (102363) * on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:41PM (#13151784) Homepage
      yeah and this one time, in college, the RA sent an email to all the people on my floor, and then some guy replied to everyone and so some other guy replied to him saying "hey, don't send it to the list," but he was a total idiot because he replied to everyone too...
    • Man, I feel sorry for their mail admin. That has *got* to hurt.
    • I agree. It has to be around 30 years now since this sort of thing started happening. Since email and mailing lists have existed.

      Maybe it's news about how dumb journalists are, but if you go into any newsagents and have a look at what they're writing you can see that for yourself anyway. For gods sake don't buy anything, it only encourages them.

    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      I've seen this happen many times with tech illiterates. It's only of interest to journalists, and of no interest to us. Incidently, doesn't it get frustrating to see journalists misreport things over and over because they have journalism training but no science training, computer training, medical training, [fill in the blank]?
    • This reminds me of another snafu where "reply all" wasn't the culprit. A few years ago, I (and a lot of other people) received an email about some legislative point of interest from Congressman Joe Baca. (I have no idea how I got on this list).

      As expected, everyone started replying to the sending email to say "remove me." The interesting part is that it turns out for convenience in sending, the mail admins had created the sending email address in such a way that any emails sent to the address automatica
  • by Whafro (193881) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:26PM (#13151683) Homepage
    Doesn't anyone else get a bit nervous before sending an e-mail to a list and make sure that everything is set up correctly? I mean, I'd at least have glanced at my mailing list's address list seven or eight times (consecutively) before hitting send.

    It's one thing if you read like an idiot in a personal message. It's far more damning when you do it en masse. Then again, maybe it's just far more accurate when you do it en masse.
  • Article text (Score:2, Informative)

    E-Mail Snafu By Awards Group Sparks Spam Attack On Journalists

    By Joe Strupp

    Published: July 20, 2005 7:00 AM ET

    NEW YORK -- An e-mail mistake by the Casey Journalism Center at the University of Maryland wrongly invited hundreds of journalists nationwide to the university's prestigious "Casey Medals" awards. The goof also launched a perpetual e-mail whirlwind as those who responded to the incorrect note unwittingly sent their feedback to everyone else on the recipient list.

    The back-and-forth sparked a cir
    • From the symptoms, it sounds more like people were replying to the mailing list address, which was set to forward the mail to everyone else.

      Rowell said she could not explain why so many responses, which were meant for her alone, would be sent to each person on the original message list.

      That's not a "Reply All" problem, that's a system setup problem. I wouldn't blame this on the users.
  • by Whafro (193881) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:32PM (#13151726) Homepage
    I didn't expect to RTFA and find that people actually thought it was funny/beneficial.

    I mean, it might have been news (or at least interesting) if people were pissed. Then they "rekindled friendships" and all sung campfire songs, and I ceased to care.

    In other news, I left my vacuum cleaner in the hallway and my brother stubbed his toe. He was going to be pissed, but decided not to be, so it was all good. He actually thought it was funny eventually. Just so you all know.
  • by gunpowda (825571) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:33PM (#13151736)
    ...When you use one that places 'Reply to All' right next to 'Reply'.

    Of course the best solution would be to stop and think about what you're about to do - nowadays shifting that mouse cursor slightly and clicking the wrong button can be hazardous. You'd think they could come up with some confirmation dialogue.

    • You'd think they could come up with some confirmation dialogue.

      Yea, yea. So you work at Microsoft. We don't want to hear about it anymore!

    • There is an open bug in Bugzilla to have configurable toolbars, including options to remove items like "Reply to All". Unfortunately, it seems the coders don't understand the relevance and it remains open for several years now.
      • A bug for what program?

        I can rearrange and remove toolbar buttons in Thunderbird just fine. You just right click on the toolbar, choose "Customize..." and you get a palatte. You can drag a button down to the palatte to remove it from the bar.
        • The bug is for the Mozilla suite, which allows removing some buttons but not all. It does not allow removal of Reply All.
          • The Suite has been dropped by Mozilla. So I guess it wont ever get fixed now.

            Just Kidding.

            Seriously, though. Expect this bug to be around till the Seamonkey team gets going full steam now.
            • Unfortunately the Mozilla team prefers discussion about the names and version numbers of their products over the fixing of bugs.

              I was disappointed when the Mozilla suite was split up in a browser and a mailer, dropping the editor part on the floor.
              I was more disappointed when they left the suite out in the cold and started fiddling with the name again.

              But I did not believe my own eyes when they started to fiddle with version numbers, "skipping from 1.0 to 1.5 instead of 1.1 because it is a major upgrade".
      • remove items like "Reply to All"

        That's one of the more foolish ideas I've heard. I personally have the opposite problem where I work... people have a bad habit of using "reply one" instead of "reply all" and stripping everyone but the replyee out of the thread. And they wonder why there are communications issues in the company.

        One of the reasons (aside from CYA protection) that I prefer to have anything related to tasks go through our Cerberus Helpdesk [cerberusweb.com] installation: it munges the Reply-To header (n

        • The reason I would like to see it configurable is that I would like to be able to keep the "Reply to All" button for most people, but to disable it for known illiterates that have shown carelessness before.

          What we have seen many times in the company is people sending to large groups or even everyone in the company, asking for reply (e.g. "who is going to join at this week's drink"). Then, a certain group of users, and often the same every time, is going to hit "reply all" to send their confirmation. This
    • I'm thinking it was probably a function of the group that received the email. You know, the classic mailinglist Reply-to-group default. Drove people batshit at my last job, too. Plenty of personal information leakage due to that function, including such gems as the fact that one lady needed something appropriate for an upcoming event in a size 14.
    • Apparently this is a big problem with Lotus Notes -- this kind of thing happens often at my office.

      Note will go out to some notes group/list with at least a couple dolts who really shouldn't be on the list, but reply-to-all asking to be removed. Pretty soon, the other dolts come out of the woodwork and also reply to the entire list asking to be removed. Then people on the list start complaining that they don't want to get all these messages, please take me off too.

      This will go on for quite a while, with
    • ...When you use one that places 'Reply to All' right next to 'Reply'.

      Or you could just move the button to a different location...
    • Or you could use Thunderbird! You could move or remove the 'Reply To All' button so that you can't accidentally click it when just replying. Any yahoo or "Illiterate Journalist" should be able to figure out that trick, or they should be shot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:43PM (#13151798)
    Okay, I'm growing tired of the misuse of the word "Spam". I know that a lot of people consider all unwanted or wrongly sent email "spam" - but this certainly isn't.

    An email was sent to more people than intended. That is not SPAM.

    The reply-address was an email list. That is not SPAM.

    A lot of unwitting journalist morons continued to reply the list, generating more emails. It's not spam - it's stupidity on the part of the journalists.

    It's not spam! Of course it was an error to send out the email to a lot of people - but it's the same fucking receipients that generated the flurry of unwanted emails... and for each fucking 'get me of this list' - everyone got more crap into their inboxes.

    I'll say most of the blame is on the journalists that coulnd't keep their fingers of the 'reply' buttons.
    • by raehl (609729)
      We here at Hormel would like to remind everyone that Spam comes in a can. And is pink. And oh-so-delicious.
  • This is news? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slashname3 (739398)
    This is what passes for news on slashdot now? A group of people don't follow basic email practices and cause a minor flurry of emails in their own group and you think this is news?

    Can't wait for the dupes to show up in a few days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:46PM (#13151820)
    This just in: somebody made an email snafu! Can you believe it!?

    Coming up after the break: pornography breaches the Internet, a heated debate breaks out in comp.os.vms, and somebody's grandmother installs "the America Inline" from a floppy disk.
  • Spam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krray (605395) * on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:50PM (#13151845)
    I have to agree with you -- a bunch of [most likely Outlook] users click on Reply-To-All and 1) this is worthy /. news? 2) how in the heck is this SPAM?

    Of course -- with their address now added to a couple of hundred recipients computers ... with any number of them about to be re-infected again ... they will soon learn what SPAM really is all about.

    In the context it happened though -- that certainly wasn't spam. Not even close.
    • Er. Go back to the origin of spam before it became a synonym for commercial mass-mailing. Try "Any large, annoying, quantity of output". Yeah, it's spam.

      Spam [catb.org] from the Jargon File.

      • I thought it was some kind of food...
      • Well, in the tradition of referring to unsolicited commercial email as SPAM, the definition the journalists are trying to whip up FUD with is the one that counts, Mr PickyPants.

        And theyre basically wrong.

        So really, its:
        - a non-story
        - not SPAM in the FUD sense hat journalists refer to it as
        - a fantastic thing sor nerds like us to feel smug about
        - a more fantastic thing for nerds like us to get all semantic about
        - another NOT front page worthy /. article.
        - a total waste of time, but hey - its Su
  • by pe1chl (90186) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:54PM (#13151866)
    There is an interesting feature in the Microsoft POP3 connector included with SBS 2003 that can also cause such a flurry of mails.

    When the original sender is stupid enough to include all addresses a mail is sent to in the To: header, and two or more readers of mail have their mailbox at an ISP and copy it to their Exchange server using the abovementioned Microsoft POP3 connector, mail can really start bouncing around.

    Why? Because of a bug in the Microsoft POP3 connector, mail that it retrieves from a POP3 box is sent to all addresses in the To: line. So the mailserver of every user of this crap will re-send a copy of the mail to all recepients, even those outside his or her own domain.
    When two or more users receive the message, they start sending more and more copies around.

    A while ago we received the same message from someone several thousand times. It took me a while to figure out what was really happening (we are not using those MS products ourselves), and the only way to kill it off was to reject all mail from the original sender.

    It seems that KB835734 offers a fix for this fatal bug, but MS does not consider it critical so I presume most admins have not applied it. Those SBS systems are a ticking bomb in the e-mail system.
    • Thank you for the explanation and KB article number. I've seen this happen several times with various organistaions using some Microsoft mail product, but had never managed to identify exactly which Microsoft product was causing it. (Typically those involved in creating such forwarding loops have little clue about email and don't know what products they're using, so the only clue is the Microsoft SMTPSVC listed repeatedly in the Received: headers.)

      Given fast enough connections, and if not caught quickly e
      • It took me a week or two to find the reason this happened, of course not very actively looking for it because we were not the cause, only a victim.

        It is not as bad as you think at first time, because in the loop there is a "look in POP box" action which occurs at an (apparently configurable) interval. When it would be direct SMTP looping it would melt down pretty quickly.
        However, there were about 4 of those broken SBS 2003 servers on the list that received the messages, so the behaviour was still pretty b
        • It is not as bad as you think at first time, because in the loop there is a "look in POP box" action which occurs at an (apparently configurable) interval. When it would be direct SMTP looping it would melt down pretty quickly.

          Last time I ran into this (a couple of weeks back), by the time someone mentioned the problem with our mailserver (which was hosting the vanity domain in one of the addresses in the To: line that forwarded to an offsite pop box, from which the Microsoft product downloaded it) -- o

          • Last time I ran into this (a couple of weeks back), by the time someone mentioned the problem with our mailserver (which was hosting the vanity domain in one of the addresses in the To: line that forwarded to an offsite pop box, from which the Microsoft product downloaded it) -- only 2-3 hours after it had started looping -- there were literally 60,000 messages waiting to be delivered to this one (remote) POP box.

            At first I thought it was an unlikely coincidence that hit us. Googling for thinks like "mai
    • It's not the fault of the original sender, so why call them stupid?
      • Because, in my case, there were hundreds of addresses listed in the To: header. I don't consider that particularly clever. Not only did it triple the size of each message, it also disclosed the address of everyone in the mailinglist to all members.
        This, in general, is not very wise.
    • Ha! Ha! I have seen this bug in action too.

      A hosting customer sent a press release to major dutch media, of course with everybody, role accounts, some personal addresses, in the To. Then the mailserver of some publishing company started looping on the message, resending it thousands of times to all recipients. It took the administrator of the borked server DAYS to resolve this!

      Meanwhile, recipients' mailboxes were overflowing, bounces clogged our virus scanner, and press people were constantly calling
      • I understand the massive mail bomb did quite some damage to the message author's credibility.

        Wouldn't that be grounds for a suit against the operator of that broken Exchange gateway? (forgery, damage to reputation)

        Hmm, but look at the bright side: this appears to be a great pranking tool: just locate two or three of such SBS 2003 servers, forge a message to users on each of the three, plus your list of marks, send it on its merry way, sit back, and watch the phun!

  • by ketilf (114215)
    Also in the news today, Michael Jackson is not vegetarian.

    I have a suggestion for the moderators of slashdot. There's something called the "so what?" factor, and if you can't answer that question about an article, then don't post it.
  • Canadian Articling (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    One of the not least prestigious Canadian law firms (*ahem*Lang Michener*ahem*) recently sent a blank email to 342 law students who were applying for articling jobs.

    Not only did this reveal the names and email addresses of all the applicants, it was followed up by two "Recall" emails, similarly addressed.

    Retards abound. The power to really do stupid things has become all too easy and accessible. That or the average intelligence has kicked the bucket, so to speak.

  • I think this is an amazingly funny story. It's a standing joke in the newspaper business that all journalists tend to be a little inept when it comes to anything technical, like adding two numbers together for example, so I'm not at all surprised to see that this happened. However, I am pleased to note that many of my colleagues turned an adverse situation into an opportunity to reconnect with long lost friends and coworkers. That's journalism for you -- it's all about the gab.
  • This girls [overheardintheuk.com] cousin informed the entire family of her love affair. WTG reply-all!
  • Didn't I see a Microsoft Office magazine ad that said the "Reply Everyone" era is over? I guess you need to upgrade for that feature.
  • I don't think it means what you think it means.
  • I've been trying to finish my ZPE (Zero Point Energy) perpetual motion machine for months now, and every time I really start to make some headway, a fascinating, must-read story such as this sidetracks me.

    I mean, on the one hand I could usher the world into the Star Trek era, where energy and material goods are abundant and world peace miraculously ensues, but on the other, these absolutely imperative diversions present themselves. I mean - wow! - someone accidentally sent email to too many people and other

  • Yup, I got the email too. Does this mean I am not invited?
  • I'm sorry. I'm gonna have to... I hung in there as long as I could, but you long since passed the point when I stopped caring. If you're curious, it was right around raisin muffin.

    -
  • Yeah, I go to the University of Maryland, and this is kind of embarrassing for us, but ... why exactly is this news? It's not as if this kind of thing doesn't happen hundreds of times a day. Is it a VERY slow news day?
    • It's only news because it was a bunch of journalists who saw it, and so, a few of them who had nothing interesting, but had a deadline for an article, decided to write an article which should have been called 'the stupid thing that happened to me that no one else cares about'. (actually -- Romensko [poynter.org] might care, as he posts news about journalists, but he doesn't post stuff over the weekend typically)

      In other news, someone clicked 'approve article' when they should've hit 'reject'.
  • stupidity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cahiha (873942) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @07:25PM (#13152342)
    This sort of thing is stupidity, not an attack. Unfortunately, it's stupidity that happens again and again.

    As a rule of thumb, never set the return address for a mailing list or a group mailing to the group.

    As a rule of thumb, never put more than a handful of people in the To/Cc lines of an Email.

    Stick to those two rules, and you'll be doing OK. Break them only if you have a really, really good reason.
  • *Hundreds* of people. GASP! It was an accident. Send out an apology and forget it.
  • by kurzweilfreak (829276) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {kaerfliewzruk}> on Sunday July 24, 2005 @07:48PM (#13152478) Journal
    This wasn't really news for nerds, but TFGeditor accidently hit reply-to-all instead of reply when including this article in an email to a coworker, and Zonk's email addy happened to be oin there, and it was mistaken as an article submission.
  • Hey, virus writers, do you finally understand that you're wasting your time? I mean this must be the ultimate virus writer humiliation. Creating an email-flood virus is so easy that even totally clueless people do it by accident.

    -- The price of eternal vigilance is a dollar a day and half an hour of your time.
    Carefully choose a responsible newspaper. Support it, read it, write to it.
    Do your part.

  • This is a fairly common and unremarkable occurrence, really; I guess the fact journalists were involved might make it silghtly more newsworthy. Maybe.

    What is far more interesting is the history of the word Snafu [wikipedia.org] and it's related kin.
  • Nobody has ever sent an e-mail to the wrong address before, especially an address that was actually an alias for a large mailing list. And nobody has ever put that address in the To: field, allowing other people to inadvertently reply to it.

    Simply fascinating!

    At least, it would have been fascinating 30 years ago.

  • Repeatedly regurgitated news is something he's an expert in.
  • Sure I also figured this was non-news picked up by an illiterate news agency (nice oxymoron!) but then RTFA and found the cocktail party reference. (People started sideband conversations with new/old acquaintances).

    When you are in an airport, elevator or dentist's office and stuck in some frustrating situation with a stranger, often you will strike up a conversation with them commenting about the idiocy, commisserating, and so on. The above mail loop sounds like it was novel enough and big enough for the participants that they felt like they were in such a situation and "made the most of it".

    Two days ago I was stuck by a train station due to an earthquake in Tokyo that caused all trains to be delayed by two hours. For some reason that comaraderie did not come to pass, possibly because people could easily leave the station (in my case small groups hung out at a nearby cafe and talked among themselves).

    When you get email being sent to a lot of people from someone, and you can see the other people's names, still you don't generally start side conversations with them. Part is that you probably don't know them well enough; the journalists in this case did in some cases at least. But also, in group emails I think people tend to jump right down to the body of the message and while perhaps some people read the To: and CC: lines with interest, it is not a feeling that there are a lot of people with you reading the message concurrently. The journalists were all reading it within an hour or two on a given morning.

    This makes me wonder if more of a chat-like element could be introduced into email. If you could see a photo or video of the other recipients, and maybe open a chat with some if you could see they were online at the same time, would that not increase the potential for communication among members of a group mailing? Certainly you can easily email people directly whom you have see on an ordinary mailing list, but I think a decision is made that you are "on a mailing list" and then if you have something you don't want the whole list to get, "whether you should send a private message" to someone you don't know. So I only reply privately to the list owner and people who reply to me, usually, and conversely don't put thank yous on the main list.

    It may sound unintuitive to computer geeks but if you consider the convivial atmosphere of these convivial journalists mostly happily distracted one morning by an explosion of mail from tons of somewhat related people, I think it suggests the possibility of a different mode of network communication that even if only text based, could mix positive elements of video conferencing, IRC and threaded discussion sites, possibly as an add-on to a mail client.
  • by the phrase "slow news day."
  • "as those who responded to the incorrect note unwittingly sent their feedback to everyone else on the recipient list."

    That should be:
    "as those who responded to the incorrect note witlessly sent their feedback to everyone else on the recipient list."

    Etymologically they're the same thing. Somehow "unwittingly" has somehow come to mean "unintentionally" rather than "done without wit" where "wit" means "intellectual ability". The more literal meaning of the word, which is retained in "witlessly", is far m

  • A few months ago I received the worst flood of email that I have ever received due to the unfortunate interaction of two computers. The sysadmin on the machine on which I actually read my mail made an error in updating the mail system (failed to install some PERL module, I think it was) that resulted in the mailer sending out bounce messages although in fact the mail was delivered. A number of these messages were in response to mail forwarded from my account at another institution. Unfortunately, that mach

  • There was an incident at my school recently where SOMEONE mailed a ton of students with an excel spreadsheet that contained people's names and social security numbers. It wasn't sent to a mailing list either.. Each of the hundreds of individuals that got it were individually added to the "To:" field (it was a lot - enough to make Thunderbird sit there rendering the list of names for good 10 seconds.) Of course, some recipients had to respond with meaningless comments mailing back hundreds of people in the p
  • Does anyone have the link to the time Mark Cuban did something similar a few years ago?

    He sent out a mass email to 7,000 of his closest friends saying "please vote my player as an NBA All-Star". He put all of the names in the "TO" rather than the "BCC" box.

    Instantly, all 7000 people had each others' email addresses. Many of them did a "reply-to-all" to chat about what a mistake that was, while others used the list to buy/sell tickets and basketball merchandise to each other.

    Eventually, Mark sent out

  • Me Too! (Score:2, Funny)

    by theguywhosaid (751709)
    Student services at my school set up a list for all employees, and I got to laugh for about a week while people sent messages to the list telling people to stop sending messages to the list. Over 90% of the messages read something like "Come on people, stop sending stuff to the list, you are just adding to the problem". Some people just cannot comprehend the irony and hypocrisy of doing that. It was the Best Week Ever.

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen

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