Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Microsoft Outlook should be sued for putting the Reply to All button next to the Reply button, in an easy to find, accessible place. Assholes set us up! If you click on Reply to All, a loud buzzer should sound and a neon orange pop-up should appear on your screen asking if you are a totally reckless lunatic who wants to make enemies, or if you really think the All recipients are interested in your reply. If you answer yes to either of these questions, another pop-up should appear and ask you if you’re on any medications, suffering from delusions of grandeur, or just stupid. Answers of “no” should then require a special series of math questions (like Gmail labs instituted) that you have to answer correctly to prove you are smart enough to decide and cogent enough to include pertinent information for your All group, and only then can you actually Reply to All. If Microsoft really cared about their customers, this is what Outlook would do.

Additionally, people who misuse the Reply to All button should be flogged and whipped in public for their indiscretion. By their boss. And then docked a day’s pay. And this should be a global law. Screw off, Amnesty International! There are some instances of torture that are worthy!

Yesterday, a very sad email went out to thousands and thousands of employees who are part of our library system, self-defined in the following paragraph: a consortium of over 650 academic, public, school, and special libraries in [4 counties of Illinois]. It is one of nine multi-type Illinois library systems funded by yearly grants from the Illinois General Assembly and the office of Jesse White, the Secretary of State and State Librarian.

The email explained how little funding the State has doled out, how desperate things are in the system, and how they are all but shutting down at the end of June, running barely a skeleton crew for minimal services, which are also in jeopardy.

We all saw this letter and sighed heavily. They do so many things for the libraries in my neck of the woods that losing them would be devastating. Not only do they run the van service for our Interlibrary Loan, but our health insurance is administered through them, so we’re terrified what kind of implications this will have on our functionality as a reciprocating library, and how it’s going to impact our health care. This doesn’t even touch on many of the other services it offers, including the entertaining continuing education seminars/classes we often attend, where we laugh and shudder at the weirdos in our field.

So, none of us is sure where the mailing list came from. Perhaps anyone who has ever taken a course through the system and registered their email address was a recipient. Regardless, once the email went out, many others assumed they were special, had received this email from the director of the library system personally, and then forwarded it on as well. Many of us received the initial letter, somberly read it, and then continued receiving it from others through forwards for the remainder of the evening.


Okay, that’s bad enough, but today started the replies to all (meaning all the staff members in all the libraries in four counties, I should remind you) from various recipients that went on and on about how sad they were about the losses.

Lovely. Thanks. We’re all sad. Glad you felt the need to share it with every-fucking-one, but whatever. That’s part of why we laugh at you in the classes, you nitwits. Reply to sender only, please!

After a few hours of monotonous, repetitive letters of sorrow being emailed out to every-fucking-one on the list by Repliers to All, the hostile remove-me-from-your-listers started hitting Reply to All as well. So now, I’m in the middle of a shitstorm of idiots who were pissed to be receiving the heartfelt letters of sorrow, and are now Replying to All to be removed from the list because of the abusers of the Reply to All.

Seriously?! You do NOT need to hit Reply to All when you are asking to be removed from future Reply to All notifications.

Now, I’m not going to reveal my font snobbery and complain that the director of the consortium sent out this email in Comic Sans, because that would be petty. I am also not going to comment on the long-winded explanations about why some of these people are baffled as to how they got on this list because I quit reading them. What I’m amazed with is the fact that 27 have arrived in my Inbox thus far, a few in my spam, some surely pre-filtered before they even reach me, and then there was someone who used the opportunity to forward their own professional agenda to this list. WTF, people? If you’re the director of a huge consortium and you’re sending out a massive email to thousands and thousands of people, filter the list so that it’s not reusable by every moron who receives it! Maybe everyone who knows how to do this was already laid off. I don’t know. But goddammit, this is getting ridiculous. And it wouldn’t be ridiculous if people weren’t booger-eating morons! Or as Arms likes to say, “window-lickers on the short bus”.

So, while I’m at work and I’m dealing with the neanderthals who can’t enter their computer reservation number because they don’t know about the Num Lock key, or the folks who can’t figure out how to scan their barcode using a scanner (holding anything but the barcode up to the scanner), I’m going to say they’re less infuriating today than the people who work in my field.

And as if to top it all off with an even bigger irritation, someone just Replied to All to stop sending out Replies to All about wanting to be removed from the list because this is a serious situation we’re talking about here. As if this serious situation warranted thousands of respondents to clutter my inbox with identical emails of woe. Shut the fuck up, people!

Aaaaaaand, now people are Replying to All in support of the whiner who wants people to stop whining in their Replies to All.

Sigh... these are not my people.

The bottom line here is, it’s not going to change. Why does our library system deserve money the state doesn’t have more so than the schools? More so than any other organization they owe? My local school system is owed $1.5 million. There are school systems doing mass layoffs in anticipation of not receiving any state funding next year and trying to stay afloat. Fundraising has become essential for organizations like ours. We have to learn to adapt and survive any way we can, and writing our politicians, buying T-shirts, and singing Kumbaya around a bonfire (funded by donations and not the state) is not going to save anything. Despite what the idiots who are Replying to All think, this is not exclusive to Illinois. Get over yourself, folks. And quit using my Inbox as your soapbox! Frankly, if the Powers That Be came to me and asked if $2 million should be paid to our public schools or our library consortium, I’m going to be hard-pressed not to say the schools. While I think this is all quite sad, mainly the loss of jobs in this terrible market, I really don’t understand why so many people would rather whine about it en masse than pick ourselves back up and figure out a way to subsidize.

If we could sue Microsoft for putting together Outlook without all of the pitfalls attached to the Reply to All button as there should have been, we could solve many of these problems.


BeckEye said...

It drives me nuts when people Reply All to absolutely EVERYTHING. That's why if I send out an email to more than 4 people, I'll usually Bcc them.

I remember at one of my old jobs, some guy was trying to send a bunch of dirty pictures to his friends in his department and he mistakenly sent them to our entire floor. He was fired, obvs.

Natalie said...

OMG I bitched about these same "Remove Me" people yesterday on facebook. Seriously, what is wrong with them?? They want to be removed because there's too many messages. And yet, the ONLY messages that are a nuisance are theirs!!!

I set up an outlook rule to block them all!

Bobby said...

One of my old jobs, a constant form of amusement was people pointing out that hitting reply to all to remove them from the original post, was indeed sent to the reply to all list. They were calling others a moron while including themself. Awesome.

Reply to FAIL.

Cat. said...

Geez, and I was annoyed that I got it TWICE--both forwards from coworkers!

For what it's worth, I am VERY glad to see that someone else has recognized that the problem here is a little bit bigger than whining about grants for buying 18 copies of a book for a book group or paying system directors six figures. I'd rather the money went to the schools, too.