Today I spent several minutes removing tons of e-mails from people who sent reply all mails on a large internal distribution list I am on. Most of them were trying to get off the thread by unsubscribing, and sent 'unsubscribe' emails to the whole DL. Even though countless more people wrote in to tell them to stop replying all (and replying all themselves!!) and told them to use our internal system to unsubscribe, people just kept on sending Reply All mails. Some asked to be unsubscribed, some were mad at the people asking to unsubscribe, some offered helpful hints or pictures -- I laughed my head off for a while, and then it wasn’t funny anymore.
They may not have been aware of our system of how to unsubscribe. But they should have known not to reply all – thereby spamming thousands and thousands of people at the company, since it was a large DL. There were many suggestions about what to do. Someone sent a picture of a cat sleeping on a ball of yarn, and the caption was ‘I love this thread.’ Another person took advantage of the thread to advertise his garage sale. One sent a link to an Outlook add-in that killed threads (it didn’t work, I tried).
Then someone finally sent some practical advice. Thank goodness.
He reminded everyone that the DL wasn’t one you would want to unsubscribe from, since it alerts those on the DL to any scheduled maintenance on internal tools. Then he told everyone how to stop the mails from that thread using what already exists in Outlook. No need to write a fancy tool.
I’m passing this on to you – cut it out and keep it somewhere – you may need it someday to save your sanity.
Save yourself from Reply All spam:
1. Go to Tools
2. Select Rules and Alerts
3. Select New Rule
4. Select Delete a Conversation
5. In Step 2, under Edit the Rule Description, click on specific words and type in the words of the subject line of the annoying message (see screenshot below)
6. Click on Finish
I tested mine by resending myself one of the messages. It did not show up in my inbox – it was whisked away to the cornfield (Twilight Zone reference). I no longer had to endure the excess mails.
Here’s a screenshot of what the rule wizard looks like in Outlook 2007: