Babette's errant email cripples German parliament

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German parliament’s email system was hampered for several hours for more than 4,000 staffers and deputies when hundreds of workers responded to an errant email sent by one staffer named “Babette” to all 4,032 co-workers.

The flood of emails began when “Babette” accidentally replied to “all” on the Bundestag email list with a short answer to a colleague: “Please bring me a copy of the new directory.”

Their exchange quickly multiplied when hundreds of colleagues responded with comments ranging from please “remove my name from your list” to “I’d like to take this opportunity to say hello to my mother.”

It was a rare moment of light-hearted confusion in a country with a reputation for doing things with precision.

Many Germans working in the parliament remained uncharacteristically relaxed. One member of parliament for the Greens party, Volker Beck, said: “One mistaken click and the parliament’s email system is turned into a new social network.”

One anonymous staffer in the usually anonymous parliament building wrote: “I think this is great. We should do this once a month. It’ll help us grow together.”

A spokeswomen of the Bundestag confirmed that there had been a flood of emails in response to the errant email and that it was possible, as German media reported, that emails in the parliament were delayed by up to a half an hour due to the high volume.

Reporting by Tom Wagner, editing by Paul Casciato