An email to a listserv that says, "Please take me off the listerv. Thank you!"

Hell hath no fury like reply-all emails

The Activities Fair is a magical time. The sound of taiko drums and the rush of enthusiastic students combine in the air to form some kind of drug that possess students to sign up for both Bible study and Torah study. Whether or not you wanted to, you may have been swindled into signing up for the Ultimate Acrostic Club. But how do you get away from the dozen club email lists you signed up for? Here’s a short guide that should help you through your current miasma of an inbox.

Columbia email lists: Many club email lists run through the university, and a circa 2009 platform called “Mailman.” You can check out most of the mailing lists on campus by visiting the mailing list homepage. In order to unsubscribe from a listserv, select the mailing list in question. Enter your email address at the “unsubscribe or edit options” text box at the bottom of the page. Then, press the “unsubscribe” button in the middle of the page. You can also reach the listserv’s page by clicking the URL in the footer of the club email.

Check the bottom: Thanks in part to the CAN-SPAM Act, most third party listserv managers are required to provide some sort of visible unsubscribe option within their emails. For example, most MailChimp emails include unsubscribe text in their footers. Other key terms to look for are “update your preferences” and “subscription settings.” Some emails may have their full text (which includes the unsubscribe text at the bottom) clipped, so make sure to view the full email if you have trouble unsubscribing.

Check the top: While this mostly applies to corporate lists, it may help out at Columbia, too. Gmail and Outlook have added “unsubscribe” buttons right next to the sender’s name at the top of an email page. These will generally mark future emails from the source as spam, which keeps them out of your inbox. You can also more manually mark emails as spam to prevent them from bothering you.

Use some tools: You don’t have to go into this fight alone. Several tools can help you fight the oncoming flow of spam. is an iOS app that lets you swipe left and right on your mailing lists, and Unsubscriber is a cross-platform tool that can also help keep you sane.

Reply, but never to all: There may come a time when no unsubscribe or spam option will save you. In these situations only, it is permissible to reach out to the person who sent you the list email and ask them politely to remove you. You must never reply-all. You must never reply-all. You will start an avalanche of unsubscription far worse than any weekly meeting announcement.

Image via Bwog Staff