Imagine sending a private email to your friend and it is accidentally seen by thousands of strangers. Well, that was exactly what happened at NYU this week, according to press reports.
Tuesday evening, 39,979 students received an email message from NYU Bursar's Office suggesting switching to paperless tax forms. The entire email list, soon realized that they could hit the reply to all and send an email to the entire student body.
At the end of the day, thousands of emails were sent, ranging from the humorous to the mundane to the very, very upsetting ones. It all was started by one student.
"I feel like I have exposed a serious flaw in the way they handle their listservs," Max Wiseltier said. While he sent his tax message to his mother for help, he accidentally pressed the reply all button, the NYU student said.
"I was trying to send the message to my mother, to obtain her view on the paperless tax returns," the sophomore said, "but all off NYU accidentally got the message."
Suddenly students realized they have been granted the widest audience imaginable. Students started shooting everything that came to mind: funny comments, aid applications, fragments of songs and photos of Nicholas Cage.
"I want everyone to be happy forever," wrote one student.
"Would you rather fight 100 horse sized ducks, or one horse-sized duck?" Someone replied.
David Vogelsang with NYU Student Resource Center NYU Local said he was responsible for what happened.
The university uses a system called Direct E-Mail for most communication messages. However, several departments at NYU use an old system, based on the discussion program called ListManager. And this program allows a reply all feature.