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    How A One-Word Email To 29,000 UCL Students Led To The Funniest Reply-All Thread Ever

    Last night it looked like the president of UCL had sent a one-word email in error to the university's entire student population. It wasn't from him, but that didn't stop students hitting reply-all some 3,000 times.

    So last night it appeared that Michael Arthur, provost and president of University College London, had committed something of a gaffe.

    An email was sent from @provost@ucl.ac.uk addressed to ALL STUDENTS – that's nearly 29,000 people – and all it said was "bello!"

    pimediaonline.co.uk

    The university said in a statement that the email address it's from isn't Arthur's current address – although it does appear to be from someone pretending to be him (it's quite easy to make an email look like it's from someone else).

    The university told us it was looking into the incident and trying to find out who sent the original email.

    And did the 29,000 recipients act responsibly and refrain from hitting "reply all" with their funny responses? You may be shocked: They did not.

    Shoutout to whoever's responsible for #bellogate! Nothing like waking up to 3000 emails

    ?mili@Emili_StevensonFollow

    Shoutout to whoever's responsible for #bellogate! Nothing like waking up to 3000 emails

    9:42 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Overnight, #Bellogate was the UK's No. 1 trend on Twitter.

    "Trending UK:01:31 AM BST" 1. #bellogate 2. #GBBOfinal 3. #AskJamesArthurAnything 4. #TOWII 5. #ThePointlessBookUS 6. Nancy

    TrendieUK - Trends@TrendieUKFollow

    "Trending UK:01:31 AM BST"

    1. #bellogate

    2. #GBBOfinal

    3. #AskJamesArthurAnything

    4. #TOWII

    5. #ThePointlessBookUS

    6. Nancy

    1:33 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Daniel was the first to make this gag.

    It didn't take long for someone to sign up to a porn talent site using the all-students email address.

    Someone @uclnews is going to have a fun morning cleaning up this mess #bellogate #bello

    Bo Franklin@punderachieverFollow

    Someone @uclnews is going to have a fun morning cleaning up this mess #bellogate #bello

    11:38 PM - 08 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    By 1am this morning, "bellogate" had its own OkCupid account.

    It's okay - we are all on Okay Cupid now so no more bellonliness. #bellogate

    The Cheese Grater@UCLCheeseGraterFollow

    It's okay - we are all on Okay Cupid now so no more bellonliness. #bellogate

    8:22 PM - 08 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    And membership of Sarah Palin's website.

    And an account on Pornhub.

    And perhaps most controversially, had signed up to the official Coldplay mailing list.

    Gay porn and UKIP are one thing but THIS is too far #bellogate

    Alice Buller@AliceBuller1Follow

    Gay porn and UKIP are one thing but THIS is too far #bellogate

    12:20 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Maybe because the band's most famous song sounds a bit like "bello".

    The end result: This is what the students' inboxes looked like this morning.

    The university helpdesk warned people not to abuse the all-hands email address. But even that warning got mocked:

    The person who sent the original email popped up again this morning.

    One wag suggested the university IT staff look here for someone to help.

    Hey @uclisd, need to find someone to come and fix #bellogate?

    Bo Franklin@punderachieverFollow

    Hey @uclisd, need to find someone to come and fix #bellogate?

    12:41 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    You could only sympathise with the people asking for the emails to stop.

    A psychoanalysis mailing list had this effect a few years back - good test of thinking skills #BELLOGATE

    Andy Fugard@inductivestepFollow

    A psychoanalysis mailing list had this effect a few years back - good test of thinking skills #BELLOGATE

    12:21 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    This is the most ridiculous thing #bellogate

    Dom Oliver@domcantweetFollow

    This is the most ridiculous thing #bellogate

    8:51 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Someone used it as opportunity to look for love.

    This is fantastic. Wife searching through spam email chain. #UCL #bellogate

    Emma Graham@themmagrahamFollow

    This is fantastic. Wife searching through spam email chain. #UCL #bellogate

    11:52 PM - 08 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    And buried amongst the madness was this confession.

    okcupid matches, pornhub, and this. #bellogate

    Lucy Rose@yculesorFollow

    okcupid matches, pornhub, and this. #bellogate

    9:19 AM - 09 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

    This is exactly what happened at New York University in 2012 when people realised they could email 40,000 students at once, thanks to one student's error.

    buzzfeed.com

    That became known as "replyallcalyspe" and it annoyed a huge amount of people, while also providing a good deal of fun for others.

    It took NYU a while to realise what was going on and delete everyone from an old email listserv. No word yet on when #Bellogate will be over.

    Update — 12.05pm: The university has posted this series of updates, in which it said the email list has been closed and that students have received an apology.

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