Please Remove Me From This Alias

Every so often, an email storm brews within Sun (and no doubt thousands of other companies which use email heavily), with the senders "REPLYING TO ALL" with "Please remove me from this alias".   The most recent storm is currently underway and no doubt will take a few days to die down.   (Thank goodness it's a USA only alias!)

I remember my first REALLY big "PRMFTA" storm.   I was an Operating Systems Support Engineer in our United Kingdom Solution Centre at Watchmoor Park in Camberley, Surrey.   An awesome place to work along side fabulous engineers.   It was about 12 or 13 years ago....

Someone had sent an email to a global Services alias, an alias which included several THOUSAND employees.   A few "Reply All's" later, someone lost interest in the topic, and sent out those six simple words:

          Please Remove Me From This Alias

Someone else "Replied All", making the same request.   Then others.   But then the storm got...   well, comical, if you had a sense of humour, and down right frustrating, if you didn't.   Others "Replied All" advising that people should not....   you guessed it...   should not Reply All!

Well this went on for some time.   And every Service employee in the UK went slightly mad.

Now, you have to remember, this was a GLOBAL alias.

The USA service folks came online a few hours later.   And reading email sequentially, as many do, some of them ALSO "Replied All".   Some said, "Please remove me from this alias, too!".   Some yelled "STOP REPLYING TO ALL!".   Some helpful souls "Replied All" with advice on how to remove themselves from an alias.   (Itself a comical thing to advise since it was a global organisational alias owned by the top executive of SunServices and used for global announcements & communications.)

As more and more timezones came online, the volume of emails grew.   The USA and South America joined in.   Asia followed.   And, of course, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa eventually were back in the zone.

And would you believe it!   The storm continued for a few more days, circling the global organisation over and over!

Well, soon after, my "Please Remove Me From This Alias" tee-shirt was born.   A tee-shirt which many engineers in the UK Solution Center wore with pride and a smirk.   The front is shown here.   The back has tips on how to use our alias tools to "get removed".

I only have one or two of these tee-shirts left, and although they are getting old, they are still good fun to wear.   They generate a lot of giggles when people see the message.   Every so often, like today, I think it's time to print off another batch!

Another email just arrived: "Please stop cc'ing me with your removal requests!"   Sigh.   I can already tell the old email folder is gonna be on the hefty side Monday morning!


Yep, the one with the alias for all US employees... My (not very kind) thought when I see the replies of "please remove me from this alias" is along the lines of... 'the only way you can be removed from this alias is by no longer being an employee... you should know better... maybe your request should be granted...' Then I take a breath and hit delete. - eduard/o

Posted by eduardo pelegri-llopart on October 27, 2006 at 11:33 AM EDT #

What slipped by a lot of people in today's incident was that many of the "remove me too" responders were from our two fine recent acquistions: STK and SeeBeyond. Rather than insulting them, questioning their IQs, threatening them with RIFs, etc, we should all instead be more tolerant and understanding. Also, if we still had an IT department, the alias could have been quickly temporarily disabled until the storm passed over.

Posted by Roger on October 27, 2006 at 02:51 PM EDT #

Is there still new employee orientation (including acquistions)? If there is, then I think this topic should be covered once every hour. It really does say a lot for "mob mentality". If it wasn't for the first one or two people to "reply all", the rest of the repliers might just have hit "delete". I have my own "PRMFTA" mail filter that I have to activate on occasions like this. But then I can't resist checking my trash later to see the replies.

Posted by Alan Steinberg on November 02, 2006 at 03:51 AM EST #

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