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Berkeley Spampocalypse

Have you ever been caught in an email storm? Someone sends an email to a list instead of one recipient, then some on the list hit “reply all” to complain about it, and the emails escalate from there. It’s a mistake that has happened before, but this time it had a happy ending for some folks.

It all started late last Tuesday when Nigel Guest, president of a Berkeley community group called the Council of Neighborhood Associations, attempted to send an email to himself that mistakenly hit the inboxes of thousands of registered voters.

The brief email, with the subject line “test,” included a single character: “x.” Instead of ignoring the message, some of the recipients responded to ask why they gotten it. And, rather than replying only to Guest, they made the fateful, likely unintentional, decision to reply all.

What resulted was a string of thousands of emails going to thousands of people in Berkeley -and elsewhere. Some people ignored it, some were upset, and some had fun with it. You can see an imgur gallery with selected emails from the storm, including memes and t-shirts to commemorate the event.

One person in the chain asked when the potluck would be ...and the suggestion that they get together drew the immediate interest of list members who kept their sense of humor, so they started a Facebook group called CNA Survivors and an event page to plan the picnic. The picnic was held Sunday, and about 70 Berkeley voters came together in the spirit of community and shared tribulation.

A good time was had by all …who attended. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Drew Wheeler)


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This happened once when I was working for a large city in the American South. Someone accidentally emailed every employee in the entire city. This was followed by many complaints, of course sent after clicking on Reply All. It lasted at least two days.
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