The Lookout

NYU student replies-all to 40,000 classmates, sparking ‘Replyallcalypse’

Nicolas Cage (Getty Images)

We've all been there.

Max Wiseltier, a sophomore at New York University, was simply trying to forward an email from the Bursar's Office to his mother on Monday. Instead, Wiseltier accidentally hit "reply to all," cc'ing 39,979 of his fellow NYU students in the process.

Wiseltier, realizing what he had done, fired off a quick apology. But his email "triggered a rare, University-wide revelation," Kelly Weill wrote in NYU Local, the student newspaper. "We simultaneously realized that any message, complaint, whim, link, video, or GIF could be sent to nearly 40,000 people in an instant."

And thousands of students did.

"So, how is everyone today?" wrote one.

"Does anyone have a pencil I could borrow?" wrote another.

"Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?" another asked.

A visually inclined student simply attached a photo of Nicolas Cage, which 40,000 students now share and can enjoy whenever they want.

Weill writes:

We had been given a great and terrible power. For a moment we contemplated responsibility, then gleefully tossed it aside in favor of posting pictures of cats. The ensuing hours were referred to as "The Reply-Allpocalypse," "The Day NYU Broke," and "Will Everyone Please Just Shut Up."

How exactly did they obtain such power? It turns out that David Vogelsang, who works at the NYU Student Resource Center, accidentally used the wrong listserv software to send out the innocuous email that sparked the inundation.

"Hi everyone," Vogelsang wrote. "I'm the culprit behind the Lyris blunder. I was assisting the Bursar with an email message and in populating one of the SRC Listserves did not realize the list I was using was one that allowed for responses and thus the 'replyallcalypse.'"

He added: "I take full responsibility for this blunder and offer my sincere apologies for the frustrating situation that was created."