On Friday, one of my colleagues sent an email to a new co-worker titled "Useful links" and in it she gave the email list address that we use for a weekly internal eNewsletter. She accidentally included the email list address in the cc field of the email, so it WENT to all of the people on the list. We ONLY use this particular email list address for this one particular eNewsletter, which is actually an aggregation of blog articles that are submitted during the week and then automatically gathered by the system and sent together as one mail each Friday.
There are MANY employees at my company, all around the world, who are on this mail list because they want to receive this eNewsletter. But they don't necessarily understand which list it gets sent to, or why, when they get another email to it that is NOT the eNewsletter, they are getting it. Some of them are members of various group email lists, which are ALSO on the list that this eNewsletter gets sent to. So, they can't be unsubscribed from the list itself, because I would have to unsubscribe them from their group email list, which for (hopefully) obvious reasons, I wouldn't do.
Anyway, right after she sent the email, we starting getting a FLOOD of emails from people sending REPLY-ALL to the list, asking to be added to it. And THEN we got a FLOOD of emails from people saying they wanted to be removed from the list, because WHY were they getting all these emails?? Because people kept sending REPLY-ALL every time, the entire list kept getting all the mails. And NONE of the people asking to be added to the list seemed to understand that 1) they were ALREADY ON THE LIST, OBVIOUSLY, because they got the original email that was accidentally sent out to it, and 2) every time they sent their reply to reply-all, i.e., THE LIST AGAIN, everyone on the list was going to get their reply, too.
Also, Jesus Christ people, WTF.
Because I am both one of the list-owners, AND on the list, I got every one of the emails. After the first flood, I sent out an explanatory email about why this was happening, and telling people what the list was used for, gave them specific instructions on what to do if they wanted to be added to or removed from it, and asking them FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stop reply-alling to the list address. The flood continued (plus funny emails from my teammates and various other colleagues thanking me for sending that one and commiserating about the fact that people apparently either don't read or are stupid, or both). Two OTHER people sent angry emails to the list shortly thereafter telling people to STOP REPLYING, ALREADY. Still, the emails continued.
And then I started getting emails (along with the other list owners) suggesting that we set the list to only allow list-owners to send to it. Except we can't. Because then the eNewsletter system won't work, because the email address the system uses to send the eNewsetter from is not an employee. It's an automated no-reply address.
The flood of emails kept up all the way until Tuesday afternoon. That is THREE days of people both not reading and not understanding how email lists and reply functions work, at a company that develops technology solutions. I went over to IT on Monday to talk to the CIO about what to do, and he told me HE had been getting flak from the management team about the whole thing, too. He sent me upstairs to talk to IT Operations about our options, which I did. They assured me they could figure out a solution and would get in touch with me once they had.
A couple more reply-alls trickled in this morning, but I think the madness has finally abated. There is still no word from IT on what solution they are working on or if one is even possible. But honestly, I am sometimes more than boggled by people.
The whole thing sucked the joy out of my life for a couple of days, because I was so frustrated by people's refusal to stop and think about what they were doing and continuing to do it, even after a cease-and-desist had been sent. I actually made a comment about not understanding why people were unable to understand how lists work, and might have used the word "stupid", in a reply to someone who just happened to be the last in a long line of people trying to be helpful with the suggestion that we already knew wouldn't work, and when she took me to task in HER reply that even though I was obviously frustrated, I shouldn't call people stupid, I gave up and just started deleting things without replying.
I was in a super-overcast mood yesterday, to match the weather which has abruptly shot from high summer down to hello autumn in the space of one day. Rain on the forecast for the entire week and the temps are 10 degrees lower than they were on Saturday. Even my boss noticed, and later, the more upset I got, the more I realized that it wasn't just the email list debacle that was getting me down, but the fact that I was in danger of reaching burnout.
I checked and I still have 22 days of vacation left. I'd love to fly home and visit my mom and see Martin, but realistically, it's not good timing right now. So, I'm going to take a pile of Fridays off and give myself several mental-health long weekends. I'm taking all the Fridays off in October, plus a couple of extra ones for good measure, and after that I'll STILL have 16 vacation days left. Maybe I'll put in for Christmas time off now, too.
Should I let the list know?