Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 04:53 pm est

Unexpected university email chain is lesson in etiquette

Posted on November 28, 2012 | by WSN Editorial Board

This week, a new complaint has eclipsed our problems with classes, the weather and our social lives. A new phrase overcomes our vocabulary, looms in our minds, and we suddenly hear it everywhere: “Don’t reply all.”

The email chain that has invaded our inboxes seems never-ending. At first, we all found it amusing that a student, presumably by accident, sent an email to what appears to be nearly the entire NYU community, instead of just one administrator. But amusement quickly turned to annoyance when many of the recipients took it upon themselves to enlighten the original sender — and many more hastened to inform those students that it was not necessary to reply to all in messages that were themselves sent to everyone. That’s not to mention the students who decided to capitalize on student Matt Wiseltier’s mistake to use the thread to troll the nearly 40,000 unintended recipients with apparently purposeless pictures of movie stars.

We have all experienced abuse of the reply all button before this; people frequently use this option in error when really only one or a few recipients of an original email needs to see the response. It is a small annoyance, and most of us just ignore unnecessary emails and move on. But when several of these messages arrive in our inboxes daily, and the use of reply all is so terribly ironic, it becomes a bigger problem.

The now-infamous email thread is many things: It’s funny, it’s frustrating; it’s  a conversation topic and a reason for our school to appear in a less-than-flattering light on Buzzfeed. But it is also a learning opportunity. We hope that the next time one hesitates with the cursor between reply and reply all, he or she will remember this incident and choose the option that will not frustrate nearly everyone receiving his or her missives.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 28 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at editboard@nyunews.com.


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.