Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kafkaesque Bureaucracy

I work for a governmental agency and today someone accidentally sent out an email and put the entire organization in the CC line, rather than put them in the 'To' part. Some people didn't think they should be getting the email, so they responded and asked to be taken off the list, but the way the initial email was formatted caused their replies to go to the entire organization as well, EVEN IF they didn't hit 'Reply to all'. Everyone in the organization began to get emails at a dizzying pace, at this point.

Then people began replying to the replies saying things like "Please stop hitting reply to all!" or "Ok. Stop it. Send it to the sender only. Hit reply. Not reply to all.", or "DON'T REPLY TO ALL! YOU'RE CLOGGING MY EMAIL!", which everyone also recieved. Yet, at this point, the mass of email replies everyone was getting ALL said this same basic message. Now, either these people intentionally hit "Reply to all" themselves (while telling others NOT to hit "reply to all"), in order to get their vastly important message out, so that everyone could be enlightened, or they didn't hit "reply to all" (so as to follow their own advice), in which case the only person who would theoretically see their reply was the original sender. In which case their email would serve no purpose as no one would see it. Not to mention the mind boggling irony in sending out messages saying "stop replying to all, you're clogging my email!", whilst recieving 100s of emails that all say "stop replying to all, you're clogging my email!"

That this many people, literally hundreds of people, could all be so dense not to realize that them attempting to tell others not to reply in order to stop a problem, had become the entirety of the problem itself, is unbelievable. If they followed their own advice, and everyone else did as well, the problem would cease.

I realize this is a bit dizzying and convolved, but I just found it fascinating and comically surreal.

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