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Reply All: The Button Everyone Loves to Hate (WSJ)

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1:54 pm

[bonds0307]Have you ever clicked on “Reply All” and then realize you have sent your reply to all 500 people (or 5,000) on an email distribution list?  Arrrrrgggggh! 

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting story today about this all-to-frequent mishap in the email world.  I hadn’t realized how extensive the “email storms” can be as people reply again and again to such events.

Some email storms have lasted so long—overloading servers with hundreds of thousands of emails—that at least one company, TV-ratings provider Nielsen Co., has disconnected the "Reply to All" button from its system.

In 1997, Microsoft weathered a storm involving an estimated 15 million emails. A 2007 email storm at the U.S Department of Homeland Security clogged the system with millions of emails.

Here is an interesting diagram illustrating how one “reply to all” can cascade into a large storm:


So, next time you are temped to click on “Reply All”, please think twice, or thrice.

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