Microsoft is set to solve an ‘annoying’ email problem
NEW DELHI: The Reply All functionality in email can be a problem for both the sender and the receiver. Often a sender hits the reply all button when it’s not needed and ends up ‘spamming’ other people’s inboxes. Microsoft has found a solution to this problem. According to an official blog post by the company, it is rolling out the Reply All Storm Protection feature in Office 365 worldwide starting today.
What is Reply All Storm Protection?
The Reply All Storm Protection feature will block replies “if there are 10 “reply all” messages sent to over 5,000 people within an hour. If that happens, the system will block subsequent replies for four hours and tell users to calm down,” states the blog post. Initially, the feature is intended for large organisations but Microsoft said that it will tweak the feature for smaller organisations and other Office 365 users.
The feature was announced by Microsoft in 2019 but its origins trace back to 22 years ago in 1997. While announcing the feature Microsoft had cited an internal mailing distribution list called Bedlam DL3 and how a single email ended up generating 15 million messages. Microsoft had explained, “In 1997 an employee at Microsoft noticed that he was on a distribution list (DL) called BedlamDL3. He couldn’t see any members in the list nor the owner, so assuming it was just a random empty DL he sent an email to the DL asking why he was on it and could he be removed from it.”
What the employee didn’t know that the distribution list he had sent had about 13,000 members and all of them got that maul. “Other ‘heroes’ chimed in (using Reply All) to say how bad it was to Reply All to the thread and to please stop, and so on, ad nauseum. Within an hour 15 million messages were generated, 195 GB of data, and it brought Microsoft’s Exchange servers to a slow crawl. It took two days to clean it all up.”
A bit late in the day — relatively speaking in context with ‘Bedlam DL3’ — but Microsoft certainly has a solution to an annoying email problem.