Thousands of Utah state employees entangled in reply-all email nightmare

An apparently simple email about a holiday potluck at a state office went off the rails Friday when it was accidentally sent to approximately 25,000 state employees. (Photo: KUTV)

An apparently simple email about a holiday potluck at a state office in Utah went off the rails Friday when it was accidentally sent to approximately 25,000 state employees.

One early respondent seemed to anticipate the coming storm of emails by replying to all, “braces self for receiving thousands of emails from people hitting ‘reply all’ to say they got added by mistake.”

Then the ‘reply-all’ responses began.

“STOP REPLYING TO ALL”, one ‘reply-all’ respondent wrote.

“Please remove me from this email,” another employee replied to all.

“EVERYONE STOP RESPONDING!!” responded one angry email.

A photo posted by state spokesperson Joe Dougherty showed dozens of emails sent over the course of just a few minutes around 9:30 a.m.

Dougherty posted around 11:15 a.m. to say the email chain seemed to have run its course.

Neither the offending sender, nor the department they work for were identified.

“I fear this will never end,” Lt. Governor Spencer Cox posted to twitter around 3:30 p.m.

Reply-all catastrophes pop up occasionally. A few years ago Reuters was caught up in a reply-all chain that went between the company’s 33,000 employees. That ordeal prompted at least 600 response emails.


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