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Email 'snowball' creates Bundestag chaos

The Local · 26 Jan 2012, 11:43

Published: 26 Jan 2012 11:43 GMT+01:00

The employee working for Green party parliamentarian Sylvia Kotting-Uhl accidentally CC’d all 620 Bundestag MPs, their staff members and administrative workers on her email, according to a report in the Financial Times Deutschland.

It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but hundreds of those people responded, and in their responses CC’d the people Kottin-Uhl’s employee originally had.

Each time someone made a comment on the situation, they emailed it to the entire Bundestag list, creating a snowball effect that overwhelmed the system, the newspaper reported.

And the responses grew increasingly bemused and nonsensical. A sampling: “Greetings to my mommy,” or “In Hannover-Linden it is three degrees, dry and partly cloudy” and “You’re all a little nuts.”

As the day wore on, the Bundestag’s administrative office warned parliamentarians to stop playing with their email.

“The current misuse of the email system may cause delivery delays of up to 30 minutes,” the administration wrote, as quoted by the FTD.

By the end of the day, the chaos had died down. But it left the employee in question bemused.

“It just happened,” she explained her faux pas to the FTD.

Story continues below…

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:20 January 26, 2012 by dcgi
And this is why most sensible email server setups limit the number of recipients for a single email.
12:58 January 26, 2012 by freechoice
are you telling me Europe's most powerful economy cannot handle more than 600 emails at any one time?
13:18 January 26, 2012 by pepsionice
I sat and watched an email several years ago fan out across our organization of 120 people. A person responded....to "all". Then another responded to all. After that....about every three minutes, you'd see another respond to "all", and the network after thirty minutes was slowly dragging along (the original email had a couple of pictures attached of a party function). They eventually made a rule that limited "all" to strictly the director and his secretary.
13:40 January 26, 2012 by dcgi
freechoice: not 600, let's say 200 (hundreds as the article suggests) of those 620 did a reply all to the initial email, that's approx. 124,000 emails being sent over their network.
14:32 January 26, 2012 by heathen
And people say the Germans don't have a sense of humor...
15:37 January 26, 2012 by jg.
Many years ago, I worked for a very large bank when they first introduced email. Some people with over inflated opinions of their own importance had sent various missives addressed to "All" - until the head honchos back in the USA issued a warning that the unauthorised use of "All" would earn anyone instantaneous dismissal. Think of 150+ countries and few hundred thousand employees worldwide.
05:16 January 27, 2012 by vonSchwerin
Ach. DON'T hit "Reply to all"!!!!!
17:34 June 12, 2012 by LIMA
and these people are paid with OUR money to represent and govern us -
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