The listserv that lives on

Remember that giant reply all email that wouldn’t go away? Well we had almost forgotten about the whole fiasco. But now it’s back, and after two days of straight-up inbox flooding, we just can’t take it anymore.

The accidental spam thread had been dormant for weeks till Tuesday, when a single student awoke the thread by asking to be removed from it. Since then, all hell has broken loose.

56 additional people have asked to be unsubscribed. Several other people have requested that their status switch to “resubscribe” or “funsubscribe.” We’ve received advertisements for personal Twitter accounts. The situation has been compared to great literary works about interminable, unexitable activities. A few emails have been sent in foreign languages. And we’ve received personal missives.  

just had the craziest experience with this e-mail chain, y’all.  i was sitting in this big important meeting and i stupidly forgot to turn off my phone sound, so when this thread started up again my phone started making these bird noises (my e-mail notification tone is “angry birds” sounds).  i did that coughing-to-cover-up-cell-noises thing so no one really heard, and i started rummaging through my purse to find my phone and silence it, but apparently it had fallen through the lining of my purse and i could not for the life of me locate it (especially trying to be all subtle and shit).  so more and more people start adding their “unsubscribe” messages to the chain (that doesn’t work, btw) and my phone keeps making more and more bird noises.  i’m like bright red because i think everyone knows it’s my phone and is too polite to say anything.  but suddenly the guy who’s running the meeting (the CEO of this company) is like, “…does anyone else hear bird noises?” and other people start agreeing, like, “are there birds in here?  is a window open?” – NO ONE KNOWS it’s a phone.

so the meeting breaks into, like, a four-minute discussion of possible explanations as to why we can hear BIRDS in this room, and about two minutes in i finally stick my hand in the right compartment of my purse, discover the tear that my phone fell into, and silence my phone.  but i’m afraid to say anything because, you know, it’s too late now.  someone says “shhh” and everyone hushes, listening for birds.  it’s so quiet that when i move a little bit, my chair squeaks – which sounds like more birds.  everyone is super confused and the meeting is basically chaos.  the CEO is like, “if this is a someone joking around, it’s not funny.”  my heart is beating so fast i can’t think.  the person sitting next to me looks at me knowingly, sighs, stands up, and says, “you’re moving with your auntie and uncle in bel air.”  i whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror.  if anything i could say that this cab was rare, but i thought, “nah forget it, yo, home to bel-air!”  i pulled up to the house about seven or eight and i yelled to the cabbie, “yo homes smell ya later!” looked at my kingdom i was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of bel-air.

The chain has been stretched into several email threads, as both the angry and the excited reach out and spam harder. One such thread began with the subject line, “Anyone who replies to the google naming thread with unsubscribe”:

…is an absolute moron. If you hit reply all to pointlessly command: unsubscribe me! Now! Great chain conversation master, oh, I beg of you! Extend your unsubscribing might upon us! No. Just fucking no. There is no bearded man in the CIT gleefully adding and removing people from this chain like, ah, bless this child who has seen the unsubscribing light, he shall be rewarded with silence.

I’m fully aware that if you are oblivious enough to email an entire list a single, sad request, you probably will not even open this, just gape in disbelief that your impassioned plea has been ignored. Maybe you’re crying bitter tears right now, or ripping out bits of hair or mustache. I’m just happy to spread the frustration one email further.

Almost instantly, someone responded. “Unsubscribe.”

It’s unclear how many people are getting these emails — included among them many people who are not enrolled students at all anymore — but the numbers are proving to be quite high. Total email count is now up to 172 since the original CIS message was sent on July 20.

I feel like this is a very allegorical situation…we are all asking someone for something, without really knowing who is supposed to be answering, ignoring the fact that our email chain fate has nothing to do with our responses or demands.

Unsubscribe.

1 Comment

  1. Rahul

    What about setting up a Google filter (by clicking on the ‘Settings’ icon on the top right of your inbox) to automatically delete messages sent to that mailing list? Does that work?

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