Microsoft rolls out feature that puts an end to reply all email storms

End of the reply all nightmare? Microsoft rolls out feature in Office 365 and Exchange that stops replies from being sent to every recipient

  • Microsoft adds reply-all protection to Office 365 and Exchange
  •  It detects 10 reply-all emails to over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes
  • The email service blocks all replies in the thread for the next four hours

Microsoft is putting an end to reply-all email storms.

The tech giant is rolling out ‘Reply-All Storm Protection’ to Office 365 and Exchange Online to prevent users from responding to all the recipients in a single thread.

The feature was designed for larger organizations and detects 10 reply-all emails to over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes.

Once flagged, the email service blocks all replies in the thread for the next four hours.

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The tech giant is rolling out ‘Reply-All Storm Protection’ to Office 365 and Exchange Online to prevent users from responding to all the recipients in a single thread. The feature was designed for larger organizations and detects 10 reply-all emails to over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes

Microsoft announced the feature Monday in a statement, noting ‘when a reply all mail storm happens in your organization, it can disrupt business continuity and in some cases even throttle the rest of your organization’s email for a period of time.’

The feature was designed with major corporations in mind that have a large distribution list.

‘We’re already seeing the first version of the feature successfully reduce the impact of reply all storms within Microsoft (humans still behave like humans no matter which company they work for 😉 and believe it will also benefit many other organizations as well,’ Microsoft shared in the announcement.

Reply All Storm Protection monitors emails going out and when it detects a storm is brewing, it will block subsequent attempts to reply all to the thread.

Reply All Storm Protection monitors emails going out and when it detects a storm is brewing, it will block subsequent attempts to reply all to the thread 

It kicks in when it spots 10 reply-all actions in emails including more than 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes.

And it will then block replies to the thread for four hours.

Reply-all can quickly turn into a nightmare and it happened when a simply holiday potluck message was sent to more than 25,000 people by mistake.

In 2018, the email from ‘Maria’ regarding a party was sent to 25,000 state government employees in Utah.

Several employees immediately asked to be taken off the reply-all thread, according to screenshots shared online.

‘So this is happening right now. It’s Replyall-gate 2018. Adventures in state government. #ReplyAll Actually don’t reply all,’ government spokesman, Joe Dougherty tweeted.

His tweet also included dozens of emails from employees responding to the email madness around 9.30am Friday morning.

In 2018, the email from ‘Maria’ regarding a party was sent to 25,000 state government employees in Utah. Several employees immediately asked to be taken off the reply-all thread, according to screenshots shared online 

STOP REPLYING TO ALL,’ one person said, while another added: ‘STOP THE MADNESS.’

One frustrated person asked: ‘Will you please reply to just the sender?

And though some employees were annoyed by the whole ordeal, others joked about the snafu.

‘Do contractors get to come?’ one person asked. Another said: ‘I have a can of SPAM left from last year.’ Others were grateful for the invite, saying: ‘Thank you! I love food!’

Even Utah’s Lt Gov Spencer Cox couldn’t escape the chaos.

‘This is real and it’s an emergency. Started out as a potluck and $5 white elephant gift exchange in one department and someone accidentally cc’d every state employee. I fear this will never end,’ he tweeted.

By 11:10am, the email chain seemed to have run its course.

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