Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reply All

Two words. "Reply all." Like those four words "no turn on red." Important words, and yet somehow invisible to dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of people. As an academic on multiple listservs, I've seen some remarkably embarrassing messages that can be caused by the "reply all" default.

In related news about "reply all" implosions, according to a recent story in The New York Times, "Security Bulletin Problem Creates Message Flood," government employees affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security and others who receive a daily terrorism security bulletin found their in boxes filled merely because of a single redirect request from a businessman in North Carolina. Samples of the exchanges are here. What I love is that it involves the disingenuously named Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report, which further muddles the current meaning of the word "open source," as if it weren't muddled enough already. Private firms also sell subscriptions to such reports, which you can even get on your mobile phone.

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