State Department To Punish Diplomats For Using Reply-All

from the welcome-to-1999 dept

Remember back in the late 90s when people freaked out on various email lists when people would go nuts with the "reply-all" function, leading to annoying conversation threads no one wanted to be in on? Then, the rest of the world discovered how to properly configure email list management software, such that you could have discussion lists and announcement lists, and all was good in the world. Apparently, the US State Department never got that far, and it's just now coming to terms with the fact that incorrect reply-alls can be annoying. So, annoying, in fact, that the State Department has now sent a note to all foreign outposts, saying that it will punish those who abuse the reply-all function (thanks to everyone who sent this in) and complaining that reply-all "floods" were taking down the mail system in a form of a denial of service attack. Honestly, though, this just makes me wonder what the State Department is doing that its mail servers can't handle a bunch of diplomats hitting reply-all around the same time. That's quite different than a true denial-of-service attack. If that's really all that it takes to take out State's email server, I would imagine foreign hackers are gearing up a decent-sized real DoS attack on those servers by now.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    saw this on the news, i figured must be a particularly slow news say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    That's America for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    fat Tony, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 6:47pm

    Maybe there's something to it

    The state dept. employs/contacts a lot of people.
    As I saw with DoD lists all can mean a whole lot more than some people could guess.
    I have seen a reply to all encompass 60,000 people.
    The response along the lines of "please stop sending me these" in regards to tornado warnings...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Dr.A, Jan 12th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    New Year Greetings and Late Christmas Cards

    It's after new year so .. too many New Year Greetings and Late Christmas Cards maybe ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    I like that some techie at a low level compared it to a DOS attack, and it sounded so good it went all the way to the top.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Brad Cooper, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 4:20am

    Ive heard of things like this bringing down smaller orgs

    I've seen evidence of this and heard stories about what can happen with even "smaller" orgs of "only" 20,000 people.

    Even if there aren't technical outages, the work force is essentially "taken down" for between a day and several days discussing the reply all events at the water cooler and via email.

    Shameless plug: by the way, this is exactly the situation my company's service, SmartMessage Center, was designed to solve, but mostly for smaller, more informal groups (just got a "reply all" to all the parents on my son's soccer league, for example, which turns into a waste of everyone's time)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    NPGMBR, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 6:46am

    How Stupid is The Author of this Article

    Does he/she even realize how many people the Department employs? They don't just work in Washington, DC. They work in individual states, many many embassies, consulates and other foreign posts around the globe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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