Ammoman’s open list gets spammed, subscribers lose their minds

Ammoman?uses a Yahoo Groups mailing list to announce the availability of various products, specials, etc.
Evidently the list manager failed to configure the list to be “announce only” for authorized senders. Instead, it was setup to be an unmoderated discussion list. This misconfiguration wasn’t noticed up until today when a spammer randomly decided to send a spam message to the list.
Evidently this caused the entire list to lose its mind, with hundreds of people replying to the list, first to inquire about the spam, then to wonder why they were getting copies of messages from others inquiring about the spam, followed immediately by people trolling the list, followed by hundreds more sending “UNSUBSCRIBE” or “REMOVE ME” messages to the list (even though that merely sends that message to everyone and doesn’t unsubscribe one from the list — the list itself has very clear unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of every message but people can’t be assed to read it). All of this helps contribute to the chaos and amplifies the list traffic dramatically. (Fortunately, a simple filter redirects all the crazy list messages into the trash folder — in a day or two I’ll remove the filter so I can get the regular notifications from Ammoman.)
Also, some people evidently blame the government and, specifically, Obama for this incident.
It disturbs me that people too stupid to figure out how to unsubscribe from a mailing list or setup a filter and who blame the government for a relatively minor technical cock-up walk among us every day. (Again, The Onion is prophetic.)

2 thoughts on “Ammoman’s open list gets spammed, subscribers lose their minds”

  1. It was quite comical. I’ve seen this happen at two large organizations that brought the entire mail system to its knees. Nothing like copying a few thousand people on a chain letter and reply all’s going on for a week.

    1. Indeed.
      In general, I think that reply-to-all should be removed from mail clients (or at least require accessing a menu rather than putting it right next to reply). It’s basically a ticking time bomb in the hands of most people.
      In this case, the combination of replies going back to the list (normally a good thing on discussion lists, which this wasn’t) and the list being misconfiguration resulted in chaos..
      It looks like Ammoman got things sorted out at some point after I posted — the messages stopped coming in from users, though there hasn’t been any sort of announcement from Ammoman.

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