You got served: NYU creates massive email chain after enabling reply all on school-wide email

Courtney Gilbert | Contributing Illustrator

To some, Nov. 27, 2012 will forever be known as “The Day NYU Broke.”

On that day, the Bursar’s Office at New York University sent an email to the entire student body, but the Listserv had a serious flaw. Although more up-to-date listservs use a service called E-Mail Direct that prevents recipients from replying all, the office sends emails in an older format that allows them to, according to a Nov. 27 NYU Local article.

Max Wiseltier, a sophomore business administration and finance dual major, accidentally stumbled upon this fact. He was trying to forward the email to his mother, but the message was sent to 39,979 NYU students’ mailboxes instead, according to the article.

Once students realized the gravity of the situation, the floodgates swung open and more emails began piling up.

“I basically got a message from a couple of friends, and my roommate asked me about my email,” Wiseltier said, “I also got a lot of weird questions like, ‘Can I borrow a pencil?’ and  ‘Does anyone have a copy of Good Burger?’”

Others used the event as an excuse to send pictures of Nicholas Cage to their friends and thank the student body for treating them well throughout college, according to the article. Many got fed up with the prank and told the perpetrators to shut up.

Still, others used the forum to ask thought provoking questions.

“One of the funnier things I read was, ‘Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?’” Wiseltier said.

The university shut down the listserv a day later and apologized to the student body for the inconvenience. David Vogelsang, executive director of the Student Resource Center, said in the article that it was his fault for the email’s settings.

“I take full responsibility for this blunder and offer my sincere apologies for the frustrating situation that was created,” Vogelsang said in the article.

Vogelsang said in an email to The Daily Orange that he would like to “put this behind us” and move forward. There’s no need to perpetuate the situation, he said.

Many students said they enjoyed the experience, according to the article. Wiseltier said in the article he thought the experience caused a “rekindled sense of community at NYU (even if it’s based on being stupid).”

“I think most students feel like it’s funny,” Wiseltier said to The Daily Orange. “I’ve gotten more positive feedback than negative.”

But there was some negative backlash. Some, according to the article, came from students who got nonstop email notifications to their phones. Others were just not amused.

Wiseltier said after a while he just put all of the emails in a folder and deleted them. He said anyone else could have done the same if they got sick of #Replyallcolypse, the childish jokes or the Nicholas Cage pictures. For those who were not, the NYU Memes Facebook page is still filled with posts about the accident.

NYU’s Information and Technology Services is now working to improve the office’s email settings to E-Mail Direct, according to the article.


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