Work + Reality = Entertainment

So, we’re approaching tax season here in the USA. The company’s HR team sends out an update to the company via email.

Somebody replies to the sender with an innocent-enough request of, “Hey, my form is incorrect. How can I get it changed?”

The originator replied… and… I readied some popcorn to enjoy the show.

Then all hell broke loose.

People hit Reply-All — hundreds of them — and insisted on being removed from the distro, making snarky remarks and comments about the originator, or about the entirely mundane tax issue. Still more people even hit Reply All and warned everyone to not hit Reply All.

How could it be prevented?

It can’t.

Well, not unless you were to ensure that people sending out company-wide emails obscured all recipient names from each other[1] or we eliminated email[2] or learned how to not fan the flames[3] that would feed trolls[4], or…

Obviously, somebody made a harmless mistake. No blood. No foul. It’s a good lesson, I think: “Ah, right. As we learned 40-ish years ago about email, be careful not to do that.” But for an education company, there are a surprising number of employees who seem rather intent on ignoring the educational opportunity that this has presented.

…like not hitting Reply All then demonstrating to the entire company what an inconsiderate asshole you’ve turned in to.

[1] – We work together. We already know your email address.

[2] – and email isn’t going to “go away”.

[3] – there was that one time that a parent yelled at her kids to tell them to stop yelling.

[4] – because the trolls were going to eat their free cookies.

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