Irked by students who hit “reply all” while responding to school-wide emails and augment the already excessive number of emails that the general population receives daily, a group of students has formed a new unconstituted org called Students Protecting Against Mass-emailing (S.P.A.M.) to punish the primary offenders.
Cindy Cybersweeper ’17, current SP.A.M. president, prides herself on never having mis-sent a mass email.
“I can tolerate organizations that send out emails to the school because they don’t know who their audience will be. But just barely,” Cybersweeper said. “Students who needlessly use ‘reply all’ to respond when only the organizer needs to know, or to send strings of emojis to friends are blatantly violating the purpose of school emails.”
SPAM’s punishments for students who commit what they consider to be “infractions” vary based on the number of offenses. On the first offense, an automatic “e-cone of shame” will be affixed to the sender’s email signature for a month. After the second offense, students will have their doors papered over with anti-reply all slogans such as “Replying to just one is a lot more fun!” and “Life isn’t a ball when you hit ‘reply all.’”
“We feel that after the second occasion, real life shaming is required for the message to be truly effective,” Cybersweeper said, when explaining the group’s reasoning.
The group is pushing for the third time offense punishment to be the suspension of the offender’s email account, but has faced backlash from college officials, who argue that a college email account is a basic right of those in the Wellesley Community and a necessity to keep up with pertinent information.
For students who accidentally commit “reply all” infractions the experience can be traumatizing.
First year Hannah Hotmail was reduced to a sobbing mess on the second week of school when she accidentally sent the entire school a response to an Office of Student Involvement (OSI) event email.
“I was still struggling to adjust to so many aspects of life at Wellesley, and suddenly this humiliating logo appears on my email signature. To this day I am terrified of sending emails and enact a standard procedure of checking the sender 10 times before sending.” Almost in tears, she added, “Those were the most-regretted six words of my life.”
Older students are also not immune to SPAM’s policies, as Susan Sleepy ’16 discovered after she mistakenly replied all.
“It’s pretty rough. You know, I was already up until 3 a.m. finishing my thesis work, which made me make the email mistake. The next day was already not fun and the SMAIL thing didn’t help,” said Sleepy, almost falling asleep during the interview and presumably misquoting the organization’s name due to her continued exhaustion.
Fairly Forgetful ’18 is an English major who has the dubious honor of being the only one in the club’s one month history to have reached two infractions. Still, she did not seem too concerned about the consequences. She noted the similarity of the group’s punishments to a famous literary work.
“That’s some serious almost Scarlet Letter level stuff going on there. Still it is interesting to consider the implications of a modern day, technologically fueled Scarlet-Letter response…” Forgetful mused, as if the person who was being subjected to such a response was not, in fact, herself.
For students who pride themselves on their cyber-reputations, S.P.A.M. is currently accepting applications for task-force members. Members of the org will be required to take a “Pledge to Never-Reply-All,” to report all unnecessary reply all emails as soon as they appear and to give death glares to the offenders.
For Forgetful, the death stares, at least did not seem effective.
“Oh, is that what they’re doing?” she asked, puzzled. “Some girl was giving me the stink-eye the other day at the salad bar. I thought I had gum on the bottom of my shoe or something.”
Cybersweeper says that SPAM intends to apply to be a constituted org, despite complaints from victims that the group’s measures may be too draconian.