On the Reply-allpocalypse

Last week’s “reply-allpocalypse”– in which an email accidentally replied to the entire NYU student body led to a multi-day virtual conflagration that nearly brought the school’s email system to its knees-  reminds me of another, similar incident from my college days.

When I was at Brandeis in the late ’90s, a female student a year behind me sent out a mass email about the Taliban and the many atrocities they were conducting against women at the time. A just and worthy cause, to be sure, but the problem was more in the execution than the thought.

The bottom of the email asked not for sanctions, or U.S. or NATO military intervention, but rather something else: For those reading it to add their names to a petition against the Taliban’s actions, to continue to forward it, and for every 50th person to send the email to a certain email address at Brandeis University.

Aside from the mechanics of the email forwarding- which led to that particular email address being shut down- I’m having a hard time seeing how they were expecting the Taliban to respond to an email petition. Much less one from Americans, much less from Brandeis University. I mean, they think we’re the infidel!

What I found especially hilarious was that I kept getting versions of that email forwarded to me years later- even after the U.S. had invaded Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban.

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