'Reply-All' Emails Overwhelm German Parliament

At the end of last week, an employee sent an email with a simple request: Please bring me a copy of the new directory. She accidentally copied every member of the legislature and all of their staff. The email went to some 4,000 people. Recipients then started to reply-all with many messages, and the system couldn't handle it.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's stay on the network for our last word in business, which is reply all. Things are back to normal at Germany's parliament, the Bundestag. But people are probably still talking about Babette. She's the employee who sent an email at the end of last week with a simple request: Please bring me a copy of the new directory. She accidentally copied every member of the legislature with that note. Every member of the legislature and all their staff. The email went to some 4,000 people, which would have been fine, except that recipients started to reply all with many messages.

Some sent 4,000 people a request to please take me off this list. One reported to 4,000 people, quote: "In Hannover-Linden it is three degrees, dry and partly cloudy." The system was overwhelmed. Emails were delayed. One lawmaker notes that Babette's one wrong click created a social network. And as on so many networks, they didn't have much to say.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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