drop it like it's hot
April 1, 2016 1:50 AM   Subscribe

If you're just waking up, you might not have noticed that Gmail rolled out Google Mic Drop overnight. This service adds a button to Gmail which allows you to "mic drop" out of a thread, complete with an appropriate Minion gif. Unfortunately it looks like Google didn't exactly think this through and may have lost some people their jobs. Google have since apologised and pulled the joke, a few hours after going live.
posted by fight or flight (269 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can this be the regrettable incident that ends "dumb internet prank day" for ever.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:56 AM on April 1, 2016 [88 favorites]


Google has reversed one of its April Fools’ Day pranks

Oh lordy, so there are more?!
posted by chavenet at 1:56 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


end this garbage
posted by edeezy at 1:57 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh lordy, so there are more?!

Well, Google Maps will let you navigate to Funkytown. But that's something you do to yourself. Similarly -though I’m not sure if it’s related to April Fools- if you hover over the “I’m feeling lucky” button, it’ll spin like a slot machine and take you to something thematically related to the new random mood.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:02 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Someone did think this one through and it took some implementation, testing and deployment. The only problem is that they did it through the optics of an overgrown child who has no concept of empathy towards others.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:02 AM on April 1, 2016 [70 favorites]


As massively stupid as the Gmail prank was, I do kind of like the little disco man in Google Maps.
posted by teponaztli at 2:03 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


But it's not been removed. I'm sitting here, 10am GMT, and the button is still there, and it's still working. Why are people reporting that it's gone? Is it just gone in the US?
posted by AFII at 2:08 AM on April 1, 2016


It's there until you refresh your page.
posted by ardgedee at 2:10 AM on April 1, 2016


AFII, have you refreshed the page for Gmail? I didn't see it until I refreshed, and I just refreshed again to (happily) see it disappear.
posted by teponaztli at 2:10 AM on April 1, 2016


@AFII - I'm in the UK and it's not there for me. I saw someone on Twitter say you might have to reload Gmail/clear your browser cache to get rid of it.
posted by fight or flight at 2:10 AM on April 1, 2016


Really, what could possibly go wrong?
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 2:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I refreshed an hour ago and it was still there; it's possible it's gone since then - it was definitely there and usableafter the announcement)
posted by AFII at 2:13 AM on April 1, 2016


The only problem is that they did it through the optics of an overgrown child who has no concept of empathy towards others.

Some sort of "Google Glasses", if you will?
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 2:15 AM on April 1, 2016 [44 favorites]


I'm pleased that I got to send one fun little mic drop email before the feature was killed. Yay! Too bad other people have suffered some serious consequences.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:17 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


A fucking Minion?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:34 AM on April 1, 2016 [37 favorites]


The entire mistaken conception and execution of an idea is now being called a "bug"?

I think the fact that the Gmail team seems to think of email as something for fun and recreation only and not for business or other serious purposes is what is most worrying.
posted by vacapinta at 2:36 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


Poor show on google's part but I hope the writer who received an angry voicemail gets an apology from their boss once they realise it was a slip of the hand and an unforeseen feature.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 2:42 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


The UX is just awful and stupid. I know for me, when I saw that pop-up add and a weird looking button next to my send button, I immediately ignored it, thinking it was an annoying pop-over box or an ad, and second, I was in a rush to send an email, like most people are when we are focused on doing our work. If I wanted to send silly gifs in an email, I'll just use Snapchat or FB Messenger or my GIF keyboard extension? I can't think of who I'd want to send a mic drop email to?

If UX is designed around empathy, then this was designed by people with a distinct lack of oversight. How awful, I hope that guy gets his job back.
posted by yueliang at 2:43 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


A fucking Minion?

No, just a regular Minion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 AM on April 1, 2016 [103 favorites]


Plus, I thought mic drops had a connotation that wouldn't usually be favored in professional settings, usually with airing grievances or burning bridges? I'm puzzled.
posted by yueliang at 2:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Probably a stretch to call a lot of big tech workplaces professional
posted by edeezy at 2:49 AM on April 1, 2016 [14 favorites]


The entire mistaken conception and execution of an idea is now being called a "bug"?

I think the bug was that when you clicked on the normal 'Send' button, occasionally it would do the Mic Drop + Gif send. Which doesn't exactly detract from how this was an infantile and poorly thought out idea.
posted by fight or flight at 2:51 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think this tweet more or less sums up how misguided this was.
posted by fight or flight at 2:56 AM on April 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


Officer Burroughs: Jill, Jill. We traced the advertisement! It's coming from inside the email client! Do you hear me? It's coming from inside the email client! You need to get out! Jill?
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:58 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you're concerned about how Google views gmail just consider what happens when someone at Google decides it's just not profitable enough to continue a'la Google Reader.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:58 AM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


I've trusted Gmail for years, but stupid stunts like this remind me that Google is mostly just an ad company with some other projects on the side.

I am also reminded every time I have to use Google Spreadsheet for research and it crashes because it can't handle my 75,000 cell census transcription. So, so much swearing at Google these days.
posted by teponaztli at 3:02 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


The whole Mail platform hasn't even been out of beta for that long anyway.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:15 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


There's so many damned layers of abstraction in internet humor anymore that I can't tell if the joke is the mic drop gif or the (alleged) outrage over the mic drop gif.
posted by Mooski at 3:20 AM on April 1, 2016 [33 favorites]


Inept, though if I've understood correctly I can't help thinking that people who routinely hit random buttons when sending email probably have problems already.
posted by Segundus at 3:41 AM on April 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


random buttons

They replaced an existing button (Send & Archive), they didn't add a new one. It took me ages to stop hitting the Twitter Moments link after they put it where the Notifications link was, so I can sympathise with the perils of muscle-memory.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:44 AM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


> Can this be the regrettable incident that ends "dumb internet prank day" for ever.

There are thousands of tech bros waking up to this news right now and taking notes on the press this is getting, wondering how they can get a piece of it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:02 AM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


I don't use Send & Archive, but I almost hit the mic drop anyways. Did a quick reply to a friend. Was kinda tired when I wrote it. Used the mouse to hit "Send" without thinking much about it because there's usually only one send button. Almost hit the "Send (mic drop)" button and averted in time for the real button. All the while wondering what the hell "Send (mic drop)" meant in this case because it just appeared without warning.

No, I'm not a random button pusher. I doubt many of the people caught up in the 'prank' were. I have no idea what possessed the Gmail team to make this a live feature. In past years, they just do mockups of their bad jokes on the Gmail blog and that's the end of it.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:06 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, Google has artists. Would it have killed them to make a gif that wasn't minions?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:13 AM on April 1, 2016 [21 favorites]


No, I'm pretty sure Universal Pictures paid them to use it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:17 AM on April 1, 2016 [26 favorites]


I'd counter that using Minions was the most appropriate possible GIF they could use, since there are no mic drop Hampster Dance gifs.
posted by ardgedee at 4:17 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've been prevaricating over moving away from Gmail for a while now (I have an old, free Google Apps account on my own domain), because of concerns over privacy, over having my mail hosted by a company in the USA, and so on. I've not done it yet because I have mails going back to 2008 in my account and haven't had the energy to think about how to migrate.

This is the sort of crap that's going to push me to switch. I use Gmail for professional email, and if they can't resist treating the user interface of their email service as a platform for jokes then I don't really want to continue to use it. I'm not even sure what a "mic drop" is - it's evidently either an in-joke or something that is attached to the particular culture where they are based.

April Fool's used to be a bit of fun - there'd be a couple of silly stories in the newspapers and on the radio breakfast shows that morning and then it would die down by lunchtime. Since the advent of the internet, it feels like it starts about two days before and goes on for days afterwards and I don't know if it's just me getting old and curmudgeonly but it just seems less and less funny as each year goes by.

My domain provider (Gandi.net) has a half-decent mail service which I've used in the past, but I'm not sure I want to use mail provided free with a domain as my primary MX server. Does anyone have any recommendations for good EU-based mail services, preferably paid for with my own cash rather than advertising and magic Silicon Valley pixie-dust money?
posted by winterhill at 4:24 AM on April 1, 2016 [14 favorites]


"Mic drop" comes from comedy and hip-hop: it's used by the speaker to indicate "I'm done, I've laid down some truths, there's no possible way you can refute this". A show of mastery in argument.
posted by divabat at 4:32 AM on April 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


Just 3 days ago I moved email from Google to a paid provider. The cost is a pittance, the web UI is kinda crappy, but it's REAL IMAP (tm) and I know I won't be subject to any upsell, poor attempts to reel me into some social circle, etc etc. It's an email account, that's all.

Today's action confirms that I'll be happier dealing with a grown up company.

Copying the emails over was a cinch.
posted by parki at 4:34 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?
posted by indubitable at 4:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


> "I don't know if it's just me getting old and curmudgeonly but it just seems less and less funny as each year goes by."

It's not just you. I seriously contemplated not getting out of bed today.
posted by kyrademon at 4:40 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


If I may be permitted to repeat a snark I snarked elsewhere:

April Fool's Day. Where clickbait meets dickhead.
posted by prismatic7 at 4:43 AM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?

yeah like what kind of dummy could possibly be caught out by this
posted by edeezy at 4:43 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nonprofits can use Google for Business for free. This is just stupid.
posted by postel's law at 4:47 AM on April 1, 2016 [14 favorites]


Did this hit Google for Work customers as well?

Can we please just skip this day.
posted by odinsdream at 4:50 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, I hear that if this happened to anyone it's because they're dumb and it's totally their fault. They probably just click wildly around the screen anytime they user a computer, because they're so dumb, you see. So, thankfully, there's no possibility that this kind of prank is irresponsible for any kind of service provider to engage in, nor do we need to concern ourselves with the possibility that human beings other than ourselves aren't the perfectly aware and perfectly acting beacons of awesomeness we know that we ourselves are.
posted by tocts at 4:51 AM on April 1, 2016 [97 favorites]


tocts, have you MET the people who use the Internet?
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:53 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?

welp, they're payin for it now
posted by Greg Nog at 4:53 AM on April 1, 2016 [47 favorites]


I truly don't understand who Google expected you to use this with. Most jokes of this kind are fun when shared with friends, and I've certainly tried out Google's past jokes on my friends. But I don't want to permanently mute my friends, and this what would be the point of sending this to my enemies when I can't even see the gif or their reaction?
posted by peacheater at 4:55 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I know MeFi has done DIPD in the past, but didn't see one this year.
Did I miss it or is MeFi taking the internet high road from now?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:57 AM on April 1, 2016


I have dreamed for years of a serious backlash against April Fool's Day.......snake people, can you get on this for us?
posted by thelonius at 4:58 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I chuckled when my spouse read me the description of the "feature" and we both said "boy, I almost want that to be a real thing." I'm kind of boggled that they not only made it a real thing but then actually put the button into the e-mail composer replacing one of the buttons everyone uses. That goes beyond the "ha ha what a silly useless feature you sure are funny Google" into actual semi-malicious prank territory, of the "unscrew the salt shaker lid and put super-glue on the toilet" variety.
posted by Scattercat at 4:59 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


It was an inept and unhelpful stunt.

But I'm still not accompanying you folks into any room which has a big red button marked 'Do Not Press'.
posted by Segundus at 4:59 AM on April 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?

Setting aside that a number of the people claiming to be hurt by this were applying for jobs, which is a thing you would do from a personal e-mail account, that's still an assumption totally not borne out by five seconds of observing how actual people use e-mail in the actual world.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:03 AM on April 1, 2016 [44 favorites]


But I'm still not accompanying you folks into any room which has a big red button marked 'Do Not Press'.

I'm cool with this as long as you don't go into a room I use dozens or hundreds of times a day and replace a button I use similarly frequently with a big red button marked 'Do Not Press'.
posted by edeezy at 5:04 AM on April 1, 2016 [46 favorites]


I really hate April 1.
posted by octothorpe at 5:04 AM on April 1, 2016 [21 favorites]


why to never mic drop (from divabat's link):
I know for a fact few things piss off house managers more than damaging equipment in a joke. A comedian might think it’s cool to drop the mic after a successful set, but in reality it is damaging a wireless Shure Vox mic that costs a few hundred bucks.
posted by jb at 5:04 AM on April 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


Wait, I'm still confused about whether the April Fool's prank was an actual Gmail "feature" or just manufactured kerfuffle about how it went wrong. There are a few reports of seeing the button in this thread, but did anyone here actually receive or perform a successful Google/Pixar/United Pictures Mic Drop, or even direcly witness one in the wild?
posted by pullayup at 5:15 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gosh, when I was reading those articles I thought they were all made up, including the part about people getting angry and losing their jobs, and that the whole idea was the joke. But now some of you are saying you have seen the button in action and I just don't know what believe anymore.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 5:15 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Doesn't it seem like people should understand that this could be done accidentally? Just write a follow-up email saying "so sorry, ran afoul of this goofy joke thing Google did for April fools day. Anyway, about xyz..." It's silly but it doesn't seem like it should be taken too seriously. Maybe if people are literally losing jobs over such a trivial thing there's, like, something wrong with the companies and not the silly, harmless joke?
posted by clockzero at 5:16 AM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


so Gmail mic drop truthers are a thing?
posted by thelonius at 5:17 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


so Gmail mic drop truthers are a thing

Dude it is April Fools' day
posted by pullayup at 5:22 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you're concerned about how Google views gmail just consider what happens when someone at Google decides it's just not profitable enough to continue a'la Google Reader.

Gmail was announced on April Fool's Day. When they pull the plug they'll say it was all a gag from the beginning, and we're all dumb for ever thinking it was a real thing.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:25 AM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


clockzero: If you click the button you don't have any idea what just happened. You never see the person's replies back to your dumbass joke email.
posted by odinsdream at 5:29 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?

Why? I've had myfirstname.mylastname@gmail.com for a decade now. It works just fine for all kinds of SPB, and I don't know why I should spend money for the same service I'm getting for free now.

But: even if a white-collar person like me ought to be paying for email, the world is made up of all kinds of people. I live in a poor area. Many of the families around us don't have home computers or internet access. But you need email for all kinds of things including, even in our area, public school registration, which is all online. So most people have a free email account and drop by the public library when they need to use a computer. I don't go to the public library often (I teach at a college and use our library), but when I have gone there, I often see every single computer being used, with a waiting list for the next available one. I think it's a safe bet that a lot of my poor neighbors chose gmail for the email account, and when they send an email, it is not a joking communication between friends. It's interaction with the school system, and it's sending important documents like resumes. You might think that the difference between a SEND button and "SEND + mic drop" button is obvious, but if you use a computer a couple of hours a month (and if English is your second language, which it is for most people where I live), that's a pretty easy mistake to make. The people who are most likely to be caught up in this are the very people who can least afford to make that kind of error.

Google, if you want to hire me to be your on-staff person who understands what it is like on the other side of the digital divide, I can keep you from making a mistake this bone-headed again.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:29 AM on April 1, 2016 [75 favorites]


Lest we forget, Gmail started as an April Fools joke.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:30 AM on April 1, 2016


Gmail was announced on April Fool's Day.

And that was really winning April Fool's Day. Really there's been nothing in that league ever again.
posted by thelonius at 5:31 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


"It was a bug" is the Google version of "That tweet was sent by an intern"
posted by rmd1023 at 5:32 AM on April 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


Unless the administrator enables it, this feature doesn't exist on paid google work accounts.
posted by synthetik at 5:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


From fight or flight's link: "I thought it was super apparent, but just in case—I made this GIF as a cautionary tale/worst-case example. Not real."

I read one person was upset because they sent an unfinished email with this feature in a professional setting - if you're the kind of person who can accidentally send an unfinished email, then maybe this feature isn't the worst of your problems.

The person claiming they lost their job - if you read the story they were sending a resume to an employer, so technically they would have lost out on the opportunity to get a job. But they were sending their resume to someone who wanted to interview them for a job. How the hell do you get a request for a job interview from someone who hasn't seen your resume?

Just not buying it. There's a hell of a lot of faux outrage going on, conveniently directed at Google, the world's nicest company, (sarcasm) and not a lot of complaints or comments from anyone actually receiving one of these things being upset.

Yeah, yeah... you don't like April Fools jokes. I get it, you have no sense of humour. That's OK, just go back to your dry, dreary existence and leave the rest of us alone.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:39 AM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have dreamed for years of a serious backlash against April Fool's Day.......snake people, can you get on this for us?

We're trying, but apparently Google didn't check the PSAs we shared on Tumblr.
posted by pie ninja at 5:45 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The self-driving bike and Japanese text input jokes from Google Netherlands and Japan were pretty amusing.
posted by Gev at 5:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, yeah... you don't like April Fools jokes. I get it, you have no sense of humour. That's OK, just go back to your dry, dreary existence and leave the rest of us alone.

Oh phooey. This isn't people getting upset about an April Fools joke. This is people getting upset by their email content being edited without their knowledge and their email client effectively blocking any replies. Because of clicking exactly where their send button has always been.

I'm all for April Fools jokes - but this isn't just a funny fake-feature rollout. Even if it's just causing minor social faux pas or inconveniences on the side of users, that's still a betrayal of your users trust.

And lets be honest; it's not even funny or creative.
posted by mayonnaises at 5:48 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Well, I guess it's time to cruise over to thinkgeek and see what those guys came up with for today.
posted by valkane at 5:51 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess it's time to cruise over to thinkgeek and see what those guys came up with for today.

Star Trek White Noise Maker FTW!
posted by Mezentian at 5:52 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


> But they were sending their resume to someone who wanted to interview them for a job. How the hell do you get a request for a job interview from someone who hasn't seen your resume?

Ive had it happen a couple of times. Application tracking software will apparently just use a persons resume to fill in its own internal fields and then discards the document itself.
posted by Gev at 5:53 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how implementation, usage, and backlash all happened in less than 24 hours. It's not even 9 am in my world and people have lost jobs over this? My suspension of disbelief doesn't know which end is up.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:53 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Star Trek White Noise Maker FTW!

Has anybody made a "shut up and take my latinum" joke yet?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:54 AM on April 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is people getting upset by their email content being edited without their knowledge and their email client effectively blocking any replies.

The first part is obviously bad, but are people saying the second part was actually true? Why would Google follow through and actually code in the "never get any replies" part? That's bananas. Surely this only just sent the dumb gif, right?
posted by gerryblog at 5:58 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It does sound bananas, yes. However, Andy Baio (who I wouldn't think would be in on something like this) reported that yes, that is what happened.
posted by tocts at 6:05 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


A writer sends articles (plural) to a client on a deadline (accidentally using the mic drop button, which replaced the SEND AND ARCHIVE button), doesn't hear back from client before the deadline, goes to sleep, and wakes up to an angry voicemail from the client... all in less than 12 hours? There's so much wrong there.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


oh no i accidentally enabled snoopavision and i got fired
posted by blue t-shirt at 6:11 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I actually tested this out last night! I was sending an email that was more professional than social, noticed the orange Mic Drop button with a little microphone on it, and wrote a new email to another address of mine to test it out. I was able to reply to that email and get the reply back. Gmail didn't archive the incoming messages.

I get that it wasn't a great thing for Gmail to do, but I got a kick out of it in the moment. But I also noticed it before clicking and sending to someone I didn't intend to.
posted by stripesandplaid at 6:11 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


"How the hell do you get a request for a job interview from someone who hasn't seen your resume?"

I've got an email open on my other screen right now from someone asking to interview me based (I can only assume) on my LinkedIn profile.
So it totally happens.

But more to the point April Fools sucks.
It's tedious by the numbers sanctioned wackiness.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:14 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why? I've had myfirstname.mylastname@gmail.com for a decade now. It works just fine for all kinds of SPB, and I don't know why I should spend money for the same service I'm getting for free now.

Because it's a private, for-profit product rather than the public service you seem to be taking it for? I mean I'd be pissed, too, if I were a GMail user and this happened to me, but I think this is also a teachable moment about why we shouldn't cede the provision of critical public services to the private sector.
posted by indubitable at 6:19 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


But more to the point April Fools sucks.
It's tedious by the numbers sanctioned wackiness.


So is this the year that we stopped observing April Fool's on Metafilter?

So we dropped April Fool's Day before it was cool?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:20 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


You will never dissuade me from believing April Fools Day, not Halloween, is the truly satanic holiday. If you're the prince of darkness, which better serves your interests: drunken revelry and cosplay, or passing off lies and cruelty as humor?

I've been contemplating getting off the Google train, and this business might actually push me to do it.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:21 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why is the flavor-of-the-day calendar from the ThinkGeek link not a real thing? Or a-smell-a-day calendar? I would actually buy a calendar for that sort of sensory adventure!
posted by Bibliogeek at 6:22 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It probably will be soon.
ThinkGeek quite often turn their April Fool products into real things.
One of the few redeeming qualities of the day.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:23 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you lose a job with an accidental click of a button it probably wasn't really your job in the first place.
posted by srboisvert at 6:25 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why would you send your resume to someone who found you on LinkedIn, which contains your full resume already?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:26 AM on April 1, 2016


My sister and I took my nephew on a university tour the other day. The engineering part of the tour was about 10% "and here's a prank pulled by the class of '86, and here's my favourite prank from '97, and we did a great prank in my first year..."

The tour guide explained that the engineers used to prank back and forth with the doctors, back in the day, but the doctors aren't really into it anymore.

My sister and I came up with a handful of possible sociological explanations for the engineering-pranking connection:
  • In order to pack all that knowledge into them, where they continue to absorb and believe whatever they're told, engineers have to be kept in a suspended childhood.
  • Engineers got picked on in high school, and pranks are their way of getting back at the cool kids. Revenge of the Nerds.
  • Engineers are going to end up as powerful people, and pranks demonstrate their unconscious knowledge that they'll be able to continue fucking with people their whole lives.
  • As soon as they graduate, engineers have to become super-serious, since any mistake they make can kill people. They need to get all the silliness out of their system before they graduate.
I have no idea if any of these is anywhere close to any sort of truth. It's fun to think about, though.
posted by clawsoon at 6:26 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


So we dropped April Fool's Day before it was cool?

I dunno, a thread full of axegrinders is pretty funny, so maybe this is the joke?

(That, or whoever was supposed to turn it on hasn't gotten up yet.)
posted by effbot at 6:31 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


clawsoon, did you mean to post that comment in this thread?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:33 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


What about the fact that mic drop is not nearly a universally familiar meme, in my opinion? I'm an older alpha geek. I've seen references to mic drop for some time. I didn't know what it meant and it wasn't important enough for me to look it up.
posted by tippiedog at 6:33 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


My sister and I came up with a handful of possible sociological explanations for the engineering-pranking connection

Didn't we do an "engineers are like this" mefisplaining thread just the other day?
posted by effbot at 6:34 AM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


Engineers are into both April Fools pranks and being terrorists. THINK ABOUT IT.

On preview: LOL, paper chromatographologist, good timing.
posted by clawsoon at 6:35 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wow, there was a really hard to miss popup tool tip telling me exactly what this button did the first time I signed into gmail yesterday. It was last night at about 8pm pst so it didn't even register as a April Fools joke because it wasn't April 1st yet.

Me being a cynical IT guy I would love to implement this secretly at work without the tool tip and see how many users accidentally click this as an awareness test. We spend so much time and money fixing stuff because people click things without looking. Suffice it to say I have little sympathy for quick clickers. The internet is dangerous people, don't click shit that doesn't look right.
posted by M Edward at 6:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Look, I'll admit it: I'm one of the dumbasses who sent out a Mic Drop resume. It was like 8:00pm on the 31st and any button that started with "Send" was going to draw me in.
posted by tabbyMage at 6:44 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I wonder if journalists and filmmakers were more likely to play April Fools prank back when they were also more likely to be terrorists. Didn't the BBC have a proud tradition of April Fools pranks? Hmmmmmmm.
posted by clawsoon at 6:45 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, I work at a place where they once debated the merits of Hotel Transylvania 2, so, Minions are actually a step-up.
posted by M Edward at 6:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


> If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?

Freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed.

:mic drop:
posted by desuetude at 6:56 AM on April 1, 2016 [31 favorites]


Shit like this is why I keep telling my colleagues to use an actual mail client and not the webmail interface. I still see webmail as a backup, not the primary. Mail client isn't ever going to have a stupid joke button show up for 1 day. Perhaps it means I'm old, but whatever: my U account is hosted by Gmail, I have no choice in that, if I keep my academic appointment I have Gmail. My personal email is Gmail because inertia since 2004. I'm not using the web interface unless I'm not on my own computer. Thunderbird for life, yo.

Also, a terrorist-related story. Got a phone call earlier this week from a former employee of my agency who wanted to ask whether it was OK for him to talk to the media because he had "accidentally" formulated the explosive agent used in Belgium some 40 years ago. It wasn't an April Fool's joke. I had no clue how to react so I just handed the phone to my boss.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:04 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think that story really fits in this thread without a stretch but geez it's been burning a hole in my consciousness for days now and I had to tell SOMEONE...
posted by caution live frogs at 7:05 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


There's a hell of a lot of faux outrage going on, conveniently directed at Google, the world's nicest company, (sarcasm) and not a lot of complaints or comments from anyone actually receiving one of these things being upset.
So something is only a real problem if there is a demonstrable critical mass of hurt people? Isn't the fact that this has the potential to cause real pain enough to give pause? UX designers have to think about whether their systems might cause pain before they roll out features. They must. Waiting to get "enough" evidence of pain is not acceptable.
posted by sockermom at 7:07 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]




People are already uncomfortable with Gmail. They've been uncomfortable with the way your mail is scanned so ads can be placed next to it. They're uncomfortable at how much market power Google has. They're uncomfortable with how much information Google collects on you.

Now we also are uncomfortable that Google may be altering the content of our mail. Haw haw haw, it's hilarious!
posted by Nelson at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


"At the 36th St. subway station in Brooklyn, one of the subway stairs is a little bit higher than the others."

Also, paid email services based in the EU: I'd like to hear about that too! Fastmail is based in Australia and Panix is New York City.
posted by brainwane at 7:12 AM on April 1, 2016


If you were using your email for Serious Professional Business, wouldn't you be paying for it?


How about us people trapped in email provided by employers with 20mb mailbox quotas? Yes. Exists.

And, not my employer, but NPO I volunteer for just registered for Google Apps for NPOs without really committing yet. I think we'll be taking a longer, harder look.

Moreover, April 1 = April Fool's or time to be all jokey is not a global holiday. Harder to explain away in some places.
posted by Gotanda at 7:13 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wondered when it would happen: MiFi has finally turned into my fathers my stuffy great aunt's MiFi.
posted by sammyo at 7:13 AM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


I would swear my dad had a screensaver back in the day that made Enterprise engine white noise. I assumed that was their yearly "send us emails demanding it so we can get the company to approve it" product.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:15 AM on April 1, 2016


My desire to have a button on A Book Apart that launches copies of Design for Real Life at people continues.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:29 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Let's not be too hasty here, let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater because of one April Fools prank gone awry. I know many people are calling for a complete end to April Fools pranks here. However, I'll be engaging in an April Fools joke all day that I think will turn your minds around:

It's called "me being insufferably smug about not using Gmail." A really good one. It gives me much more satisfaction than any April Fools joke I've ever engaged in before.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:33 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]




this doesn't seem so terrible to me, but then i'm an unempathetic male in the computing industry, so i'm scum anyway.

upthread someone is asking for euro email provides. there's protonmail which is secure, and runbox, which has been around for a while and seems pretty decent.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:36 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Now we also are uncomfortable that Google may be altering the content of our mail. Haw haw haw, it's hilarious!

So here's a suggestion, then. Don't use gmail. Solves all your problems.

So something is only a real problem if there is a demonstrable critical mass of hurt people?

I'll keep the pitchforks stored until that "critical mass of hurt people" equals at least one.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:41 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I had a good time pranking my husband this morning, who notoriously forgets to write down the dates we have theatre tickets for. We don't have tickets tonight, but sending him an email saying I might have to meet him at the theatre after work got him good.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:42 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Judging by a few of these responses, this truly is Internet Asshole Day. If you disagree, you're a moron.
posted by defenestration at 7:44 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, how many times has cruelty been protected by calls of "Why are you being a killjoy and ruining all the fun?" What is the point of April Fool's Day, honestly? Sure, I'm a very sensitive person, but I've also never been fond of the masculine performance of "bonding" through ball-busting, either. I don't get the fun in it.

And if that means I'm not fun at parties, maybe we just aren't interested in the same parties.

/derail
posted by defenestration at 7:55 AM on April 1, 2016 [29 favorites]


Unless you're a complete fucking idiot, it's not that hard to not use.

Muscle memory is a thing. The entire UX discipline exists in large part to reduce the cognitive load on users, which means after a while you know where the button is for the thing you want to do without reading it or perhaps even glancing t it. It's therefore naive to believe that only a "complete fucking idiot" would casually click a button that was in the same spot as one they used for another purpose, and even among those who noticed the changed color / label, they had no reason to expect it would do something different, certainly not change the contents of their communication with someone else.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:56 AM on April 1, 2016 [28 favorites]


Yeah, yeah... you don't like April Fools jokes. I get it, you have no sense of humour. That's OK, just go back to your dry, dreary existence and leave the rest of us alone.

April Fools is to humor what Saint Paddy's is to drinking: an excuse for a bunch of horrifically inept squares to make the worst fucking choices imaginable
posted by Greg Nog at 7:57 AM on April 1, 2016 [103 favorites]




it's somehow really, really unsurprising that Metafilter is so against April Fool's Day.
posted by Hoopo at 8:08 AM on April 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


Here at Microsoft, we got a memo that insisted "no public April Fool's jokes this year". The pride I felt was only slightly diminished by the use of the phrase "stand down" in conjunction with the request.
posted by Slothrup at 8:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Why would you send your resume to someone who found you on LinkedIn, which contains your full resume already?
because for some recruiting teams, a resume file is still a useful object to share with other interviewers to give them context on the candidate before the interview.

One could certainly just link to the candidate's LinkedIn profile, but that means having one's colleagues log into LinkedIn, which is just unnecessary and painful.
posted by bl1nk at 8:11 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why would you send your resume to someone who found you on LinkedIn, which contains your full resume already?

Have you ever had to figure out how LinkedIn's permissions work?
posted by Slothrup at 8:12 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


okay so I don't use the web client of gmail so I haven't seen this, I run gmail from within my apple mail client.

but those professing to be all astonished at people getting cold called for interviews off their linkedin profile note that this exact thing has happened to me now twice within the past month. I am actually starting a contract next week with a big tech firm based off of a series of interviews gained by a recruiter who contacted me out of the blue two weeks ago. I only had to send my resume / do the onboarding paperwork after the 2nd interview, because as it happens THE JOB MARKET IS CHANGING in case you haven't noticed and a lot of things that can be bullshit about on a resume (past experience, communication styles) aren't so easy to hack in a face-to-face.

so that happened. and yea Google is a huge pile of clueless asshats for doing this if it isn't a huge meta-in-joke which I'm still not entirely sure about either.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:14 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I don't think that story fits in this thread without a stretch but jeez it's been burning a hole in my consciousness for days now and I had to tell SOMEONE...
posted by dannyboybell at 8:14 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm tired of April fools jokes as the next person, but I'm amused that The Wirecutter posted a seemingly legit review of wire cutters today
posted by noneuclidean at 8:16 AM on April 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


How the hell do you get a request for a job interview from someone who hasn't seen your resume?

We have a web form front end that applicants paste their data into. As this was designed for a huge range of positions (you name it, we probably do it), it's a pretty minimal desctiption of a person, really just enough so HR and then us can do a screen on applicants. When we get to the interview stage we'll often ask for a fuller resume, in my case I want to see an academic resume with a publication record, for example.

For the record, I've had stranger things attached to a job seeker's resume than a minion gif though.
posted by bonehead at 8:17 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


April Fools' works best when people don't realize what day it is.

On the Internet, it's immediately and overwhelmingly obvious when it's April Fools' Day. That takes much of the fun out of it.
posted by clawsoon at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why would you send your resume to someone who found you on LinkedIn, which contains your full resume already?

Most of my contacts have a bit but certainly not all of their employment info on Linked-In. Privacy management is a thing.
posted by bonehead at 8:19 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


People I know who have recently sent a resume over email after an interview was set up:
1. Myself, having gone through a friend to get referred to a company.
2. My boyfriend, having gone through a personal connection to meet the hiring manager
3. My neighbour, having been recruited off LinkedIn even though he doesn't have a resume on there

Anyone who can't imagine this happening may be less in touch with the tech world than they think. Seriously, as if you need a resume on LinkedIn to get recruiters calling you!
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:19 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, how many times has cruelty been protected by calls of "Why are you being a killjoy and ruining all the fun?"

A Minions gif attached to an email. Cruelty. Wow.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:20 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why would you send your resume to someone who found you on LinkedIn, which contains your full resume already?

"The client has some very specific requirements, and they match up with your resume, but can you make it say more about how many people you supervised in this job, and more about the budget of your department in that job?"
posted by Etrigan at 8:23 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


People I know who have recently sent a resume over email after an interview was set up:
1. Myself, having gone through a friend to get referred to a company.
2. My boyfriend, having gone through a personal connection to meet the hiring manager
3. My neighbour, having been recruited off LinkedIn even though he doesn't have a resume on there


4. Someone you've met at a conference or seminar and given your card to and/or asked them to send you a resume because you liked their presentation/talk/whatever.
posted by bowmaniac at 8:23 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought my favorite thing in this thread was going to be The Engineer Who Can't Understand Why People Would Use A Ubiquitous Free Email Service but now it's The Person Who Has Never Applied To A Job At 2am And Had To Send Duplicative Resumes To Multiple People.
posted by beerperson at 8:23 AM on April 1, 2016 [40 favorites]


A Minions gif attached to an email. Cruelty. Wow.

Did you see the /derail at the end? It was an aside, about April Fool's Day as a whole.
posted by defenestration at 8:24 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm amused that The Wirecutter posted a seemingly legit review of wire cutters today

That's a useful review, thanks! Too bad they didn't have any professional tools in there, Snap-On or Mac or the like, to see how the best consumer stuff measures up.
posted by clawsoon at 8:25 AM on April 1, 2016


So... this victim-blaming completely unthinking terrible posting thing that GhostintheMachine is doing is some kind of April Fools performance art, right? Nobody could actually think that "You have no sense of humor" is an appropriate defense of a thing Google did that sends unsolicited Minions advertisements to people. Like, I could understand if maybe Google had bothered to do an April Fools joke instead of an April Fools thing-that-is-not-funny-by-any-definition-but-got-us-this-check-from-Universal, but that combined with the taking melodramatic offense at the idea of people doing things like sending someone a resume or taking a nap that lasts less than 12 hours... this is just another stupid April Fools "prank", I think.
posted by IAmUnaware at 8:27 AM on April 1, 2016 [19 favorites]


Too bad they didn't have any professional tools in there

Wirecutter's tool reviews in particular are most charitably idiosyncratic. I've not found them to be really reliable. Sometimes they nail it, sometimes they're real head scratchers.
posted by bonehead at 8:29 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh god, since I seemingly started this derail...
My speciality is pretty specific, and I'm being contacted via a third party recruiter (as is relatively standard).
They don't have my CV yet but the clients HR process will need it, post interview to do their thing. But that happens after we chat about the minutiae to see that we're on the same page.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:29 AM on April 1, 2016


So here's a suggestion, then. Don't use gmail. Solves all your problems.

That's not a suggestion, that's a snarky reply. Gmail is a great product. It is the mail client that solves most of my email problems. It is, quite literally, my memory. I also have some personal connection to it, what with having worked at Google with the folks who made it. I like Gmail.

I hate to see Google do something that makes Gmail seem less trustworthy. It demeans the product and themselves. I don't think the world ended or anything, but it's a great example of an April Fool's joke gone terribly wrong.

(Also minions? Really? That's the best Google came up with? Corporations should not try to be funny.)
posted by Nelson at 8:30 AM on April 1, 2016 [24 favorites]


it's somehow really, really unsurprising that Metafilter is so against April Fool's Day.

Point taken, but it is possible to be humorless prigs and also get that this is probably by far the laziest April Fool's prank of the day. Surely a company that can turn ad revenue into useful technology like a Go-playing AI can come up with something just a little cleverer than a Minions GIF.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:31 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


April Fool's jokes are supposed to hurt. More precisely, supposed to make you believe you're hurt, and that's when the pranker goes "April fools!".

With the right execution, this might have been funny if they'd tricked you into thinking they'd sent something awful in reply but actually hadn't and displayed "April Fool!" before you really freaked out.

Actually sending it is fucking stupid. It's putting real dog shit on the chair instead of a plastic one.

(Still, though, at least it wasn't another hilarious press release of a fake thing. Those have never, ever been funny)
posted by bonaldi at 8:35 AM on April 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


[I know y'all love a good argument but in the interest of good conversation maybe we can (1) just generally agree that this is not a binary Either All April Fools Pranks Are Funny Or None Are thing where whoever disagrees with you is on the far end of said binary, and (2) skip entirely any kind of gross using-oppressed-groups-as-a-hyperbolic-cudgel type stuff. It's okay to be annoyed at Google, it's okay to not be, and we shouldn't be trying to solve the whole question once and for all in here, much as I appreciate the think and complex layers of April Fools related grumpiness that tend to get all up in stuff today.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


We're just playin with ya, cortex!
posted by thelonius at 9:00 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


With the right execution, this might have been funny if they'd tricked you into thinking they'd sent something awful in reply but actually hadn't and displayed "April Fool!" before you really freaked out.

Exactly. I typed an email reply to someone and pushed the button (on purpose) last night, and was very surprised that the button actually did what it said it would. I assumed it would email me the Minion gif, rather than the actual intended recipient.
posted by nicodine at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Email, designed for decentralization, has centralized on Google and no one can afford to get off of it -- so now they own everything we do and all there is to do if you aren't in a position to redecentralize (which is a profound position of economic and tradeskill privilege) you can pay someone, go to a second-rate free provider or flail around lamenting their indiscretions and poor decision making and propensity for experimenting on us.

The internet gets worse and worse every year while this trend continues.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 9:12 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Just fyi, if you're using a non-Google client to look at Gmail (e.g. Thunderbird or Mail.app), Gmail's wonky IMAP setup means that you might find your mail missing one day - happened to my dad.
posted by divabat at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


SEND AND ARCHIVE button

So what's the purpose of this button? Send an email and never see the response, only without a reaction gif? I don't understand why you'd want to do that often enough to have a button dedicated for it. "I'm sorry for the loss of your daughter. Let me know how we can help" *ignores all followup emails*.

Doesn't seem like an effective sales strategy for a funeral home.
posted by pwnguin at 9:17 AM on April 1, 2016


#gmailrippedmyflesh
posted by Existential Dread at 9:20 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Email, designed for decentralization, has centralized on Google and no one can afford to get off of it

I disagree with that premise, on two counts.

First, the reason Gmail is dominant is that it is so much better than anything else out there. It really does make everything else second-best. That's the compelling factor that keeps Google on top as a mail service, how good it is.

Secondly, Google makes it quite easy to get your mail out. It's a low speedbump to import it into something else, Thunderbird, for example, then switch to another service. With a gmail.com address you ahve the pain of switching, of course, but with a managed domain, it's quite transparent to people who want to send you mail.

So Google stays on top by offering a service so far no one else can really touch, not Apple, MS or Facebook. And they make it about as low-friction as possible to leave. The lock-in is voluntary and easily reversible, not, as many, many older services did, irreversible by technical difficulty.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Here at Microsoft, we got a memo that insisted "no public April Fool's jokes this year".

You're not alone :-)
posted by effbot at 9:22 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


SEND AND ARCHIVE button

So what's the purpose of this button?


I have no idea because prior to this whole affair I had never seen it. It's actually an optional feature in gmail. Is it on by default in new accounts? It seems like it was added as a full feature (and not in gmail labs) in 2012 but looking at my gmail settings it's hidden.

For everyone saying that this is an easy mistake to make becasue it replaced an existing button, no, not for everyone. And I spend about 8 hours a day staring at gmail for better or worse.
posted by GuyZero at 9:22 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


But it's not been removed. I'm sitting here, 10am GMT, and the button is still there, and it's still working. Why are people reporting that it's gone?

#voightkampff #firstdraft
posted by zippy at 9:24 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


That Minions movie was pretty funny.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:25 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think your facebook friends would appreciate it if you shared that with them. Maybe add some hilarious epigram to make it a bit more on point.
posted by bonehead at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2016


That Minions movie was pretty funny.

The Minions are way better than the Muppets ever were.
posted by beerperson at 9:29 AM on April 1, 2016


Am I the only person who is perversely delighted at this, even more so because it is so unprofessional and poorly thought out and just plain stupid for a company as big as google? I know it makes me a bad person and this has probably made more than a couple people have a really bad day, but there is some inner agent of chaos in me that is cackling with glee.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:31 AM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


At least Google just sent people a Minions gif and not a U2 album
posted by oulipian at 9:34 AM on April 1, 2016 [30 favorites]


So what's the purpose of this button? Send an email and never see the response, only without a reaction gif? I don't understand why you'd want to do that often enough to have a button dedicated for it. "I'm sorry for the loss of your daughter. Let me know how we can help" *ignores all followup emails*.

No, if you send and archive, it doesn't ignore follow up emails.

Basically, let's say you have an email thread in your inbox. It's bolded because there are unread messages. You read it, write a reply, and hit send, so the thread goes un-bolded but it stays in your inbox.

If you read it, wrote a reply and hit "send and archive" the thread would drop out of your inbox until a new reply comes in, then it returns to your inbox. Basically it just moves message threads into the archive unless there is new activity.
posted by antimony at 9:36 AM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


LinkedIn does not contain my full resume.

Anyway I have no problem with April Fools jokes but fucking with the actual content of people's email is such a bad idea.
posted by atoxyl at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Minions are way better than the Muppets ever were.

See, this is top-notch trolling. Bravo.
posted by clockzero at 9:41 AM on April 1, 2016 [22 favorites]


GuyZero: " And I spend about 8 hours a day staring at gmail for better or worse."

Jesus Christ, who did you murder?
posted by boo_radley at 9:42 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Bonehead: I don't dispute that gmail got to the top by providing a better service, but using their position on top they can get away with a lot. Too much. It's not a good thing that they can tweak their UIs and do whatever they like to UX at any time for any capricious reason.

I don't want to get into product endorsements here -- but there are actually better service providers out there. Better UI, more diverse security deployment options, etc.

Easy to get your email out, then what? Have you ever moved a 30,000 person organization to or from google? How about 1,000? Ever tried to help a non-technical user get off the google services and deprecate their @gmail address?

Keep in mind, in several sectors the service is provided gratis. That's the world I live in,and there are a lot of organizations that are truly trapped. And individual, non-technical users, they're trapped too.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 9:44 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Maciej Cegłowski:
Annual reminder: the development effort spent adding an animated minion GIF to Gmail could have kept Google Reader running all year
posted by Nelson at 10:05 AM on April 1, 2016 [31 favorites]


If you read it, wrote a reply and hit "send and archive" the thread would drop out of your inbox until a new reply comes in, then it returns to your inbox. Basically it just moves message threads into the archive unless there is new activity.

This sounds like Cult of Inbox Zero brain damage.
posted by pwnguin at 10:09 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


> If you read it, wrote a reply and hit "send and archive" the thread would drop out of your inbox until a new reply comes in, then it returns to your inbox. Basically it just moves message threads into the archive unless there is new activity.

To elaborate on why this is useful: my former employer (an educational institution) used Gmail. Between filters to tag my emails according to project, and "send and archive," my email filing system was basically automated.
posted by desuetude at 10:09 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here at Microsoft, we got a memo that insisted "no public April Fool's jokes this year".

Wait, so the racist AI wasn't an early April Fool's Day joke? Daaaaaamn.
posted by terrapin at 10:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


My desire to have a button on A Book Apart that launches copies of Design for Real Life at people continues.

fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: the writers are making that offer!
posted by divabat at 10:12 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Might not hurt to take a look at the blog/book Evil By Design either, if only to know what not to do.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2016


Have you ever moved a 30,000 person organization to or from google? How about 1,000?

Funny you should mention that. I have been on a planning team (as an end-user advisor) for an outsourcing move on MS products which does involve rehosting of the servers and a change of email addresses as a rebranding for the past 3 years or so (and counting). The chunk I'm part of is around 7k people, while the whole organization is in the 300k range. It's been a rather trying experience for everyone.
posted by bonehead at 10:25 AM on April 1, 2016


Annual reminder: the development effort spent adding an animated minion GIF to Gmail could have kept Google Reader running all year

That's of course complete and utter bullshit, and remarkably stupid even for being a throwaway tweet, but I guess it fits the theme of this thread nicely.
posted by effbot at 10:25 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm guessing this and other April Fools' jokes go through the entire Software Developer Lifecycle. Even for a funny prank, that's gotta suck the life out of the joy out of these things.
posted by ignignokt at 10:36 AM on April 1, 2016


Easy to get your email out, then what? Have you ever moved a 30,000 person organization to or from google? How about 1,000? Ever tried to help a non-technical user get off the google services and deprecate their @gmail address?

Keep in mind, in several sectors the service is provided gratis. That's the world I live in,and there are a lot of organizations that are truly trapped. And individual, non-technical users, they're trapped too.


I've moved large organizations to Google Apps, and have worked with moves from Google Apps. Google makes it as easy as it can possibly be to move from their product, and they certainly have no more lock-in than any other vendor. Microsoft is the big corporate email vendor with a higher level of lock-in, if for no other reason than the historical success of the Outlook email client.

Google does nothing to make it difficult to migrate from Google to another platform. If you're going to define "truly trapped" as "they give us something for free and we don't want to expend the effort to switch to something else", that is a pretty weak definition to put it mildly.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


bonehead: "The chunk I'm part of is around 7k people, while the whole organization is in the 300k range. It's been a rather trying experience for everyone."

Oh yeah, it's tricky!

Ideally in the public and non-profit sectors here's what would happen when organizations outsource email: the resourcing levels in the IT departments stay the same but a chunk of FTE becomes available for other work and this leads to overall better support services for the bussiness lines and more IT capability generally.

Here's what actually happened in my organization (and several others I'm familiar with): outsourcing email was sold to leadership as a cost-cutting measure (i.e. fewer servers to maintain) and also used as an excuse to reduce overall FTE, rather than to shuffle FTE into other roles, meanwhile those resources could have been allocated to other productivity improving work and the otherwise stagnant IT budget would have been able to cover keeping up with the times a little bit better and deep cuts would've been a little bit harder.

Instead, we lost capabilities in our email services (in terms of auditting, data loss prevent and virus detection and prevention in particular) and we lost employees and we lost funding on top of the annual cuts.

me & my monkey: Google does nothing to make it difficult to migrate from Google to another platform. If you're going to define "truly trapped" as "they give us something for free and we don't want to expend the effort to switch to something else", that is a pretty weak definition to put it mildly.

You phrase it as "want" and "effort" but the reality is more like "cash" and "time".
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:42 AM on April 1, 2016


I think we can all agree that this was not a good idea.

But I really like April Fool's Day on the Internet. Unlike in real life, it's generally assumed that you're in on the joke. It's people having fun being silly, which is nice. You get the faux products that ThinkGeek does every year, Blizzard's faux product additions, and even reddit has had some fun ones (historical reddit, reddit mold). AFD on the Internet, from my interactions with it, has seemed historically much less about tricking people than just letting people have an outlet to be silly.
posted by No One Ever Does at 10:46 AM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]




Ideally in the public and non-profit sectors here's what would happen when organizations outsource email: the resourcing levels in the IT departments stay the same but a chunk of FTE becomes available for other work and this leads to overall better support services for the bussiness lines and more IT capability generally.

That sounds like it's your ideal. I don't see why it would be the ideal for whoever's writing the checks. And is IT labor so malleable that you can just pick up a chunk from one place and use it in another? Is the former Exchange admin going to become your new Drupal themer, etc?

You phrase it as "want" and "effort" but the reality is more like "cash" and "time".

That's "truly trapped", really? Because that is the LOWEST BAR POSSIBLE. You realize that, right? Everything involves cash and time. The only way Google could make it easier to move from their products is to pay for the labor to do so.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the lawyers for Google had to talk to the lawyers for NBCUniversal (a division of Comcast) to get permissions to use the Minions gif? Or did they just snag it off of imgur?
posted by mhum at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2016


For the record, I've had stranger things attached to a job seeker's resume than a minion gif though.

Don't just leave us hanging!
posted by Jahaza at 11:10 AM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


I wonder if the lawyers for Google had to talk to the lawyers for NBCUniversal (a division of Comcast) to get permissions to use the Minions gif? Or did they just snag it off of imgur?


Not-on-the-record conversations say that it was a paid advert by Universal.
posted by synthetik at 11:15 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Anyway I have no problem with April Fools jokes but fucking with the actual content of people's email is such a bad idea.

Sent from my iPad.
posted by peeedro at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


Ideally in the public and non-profit sectors here's what would happen when organizations outsource email: the resourcing levels in the IT departments stay the same but a chunk of FTE becomes available for other work and this leads to overall better support services for the business lines and more IT capability generally.

Since this is April 1st, I'll just smile at this in the spirit of the day. The reality is too depressing to think about on a Friday.
posted by bonehead at 11:28 AM on April 1, 2016


From the washington post article:

39. The Smithsonian American History Museum (can we consider this a brand?) has not switched to a gross 1940s menu in its cafe.

I would kind of be in favor of this. History museums should serve historical food, at least some of the time.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:39 AM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


But I'm still not accompanying you folks into any room which has a big red button marked 'Do Not Press'.

Greatest Onion tech headline ever was "Do Not Click This You Idiot! virus spreads like wildfire."
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:40 AM on April 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


"That's "truly trapped", really? Because that is the LOWEST BAR POSSIBLE. You realize that, right? Everything involves cash and time."

Next time cash or time comes up as a constraint I'll try reminding the others that it's "the LOWEST BAR POSSIBLE" -- should be good for a laugh.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2016


Not-on-the-record conversations say that it was a paid advert by Universal.

It would be enormous if it were true that Universal paid Google for this April Fool's thing. If there's any way to get this on the record, or at least well reported rumor, it would be amazing.

Personally I'm a little skeptical, I think at most it would be a friendly understanding. But then I'm still suspicious of all the Star Wars tie-ins Google did last fall. I was told at the time it was entirely a "fun thing a bunch of Star Wars fans at Google did" but I really don't believe that.
posted by Nelson at 12:26 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Next time cash or time comes up as a constraint I'll try reminding the others that it's "the LOWEST BAR POSSIBLE" -- should be good for a laugh.

It's the lowest bar possible not because it's insignificant but because it's universal. If you've got an entire enterprise unit using on particular e-mail system, disentangling your users from what they're using now and getting them set up with whatever new hotness you've chosen is not going to be free and it's not going to be quick. The most you can ask of your existing provider in that process is that they not throw further barriers in your way.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:29 PM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can this be the regrettable incident that ends "dumb internet prank day" for ever.

Yes, please! What is the point of puling a prank on sanctioned prank day anymore? If you're really into pranks, have the guts to do it right: when no one is expecting it.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah! With a tire iron! Whammy, wowee, zowee! You just been pranked!
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:44 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]




Christ, what an ASSoL.
posted by nickmark at 12:51 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


GhostintheMachine: "The person claiming they lost their job - if you read the story they were sending a resume to an employer, so technically they would have lost out on the opportunity to get a job. But they were sending their resume to someone who wanted to interview them for a job. How the hell do you get a request for a job interview from someone who hasn't seen your resume?"

Networking; I done this at least a half dozen times.

divabat: "Just fyi, if you're using a non-Google client to look at Gmail (e.g. Thunderbird or Mail.app), Gmail's wonky IMAP setup means that you might find your mail missing one day - happened to my dad."

That's why you use POP instead; copies of your email are stored locally as well as on Google's servers.
posted by Mitheral at 12:53 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


But I really like April Fool's Day on the Internet. Unlike in real life, it's generally assumed that you're in on the joke. It's people having fun being silly, which is nice.

Me too. It's the unofficial Internet holiday. Some of the jokes are poorly done, and those that try to fool people don't go over well. I did one a few years back with missed but mostly positive reception and I've thought a lot about it since. The trick seems to be to surprise and delight the audience. If you can't do that, then it's not a good "joke". Which is why I haven't done one since, I haven't thought of one that fits this criteria. (Nor did my original, many people were fooled by it, and that wasn't what I was going for.)

And that's where the gmail one seems to fail. Even ignoring the miss-sent mic drops, the idea is just very meh. For one, most people are minioned out. They saturated the market for the movie and most people are done. It feels a bit like someone had this idea several months ago, and didn't really see that it would have be tired by April 1, 2016. That, and internet culture seems to be moving away from outrageous arguments and flameouts in email, so is there enough culture left to make a mic drop in email worthwhile. Heck, email as a whole has become both devalued and formalized. You're not going to argue there, you're going to get professional correspondences there.


But I hope this isn't the day April Fools day dies. Maybe it can be the day companies become more thoughtful about it?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:10 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lest we forget, Gmail started as an April Fools joke.

*sigh*

No, it didn't. I've had mine since WELL before the public Beta launched. It was never a joke.
posted by MissySedai at 1:46 PM on April 1, 2016


Mic drops are stupid in real life, the internet phrase is 100x more annoying. Hopefully this is the year that dies.
posted by bongo_x at 2:06 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


But I hope this isn't the day April Fools day dies. Maybe it can be the day companies become more thoughtful about it?

Dear Valued Customer,

In lieu of a joke, please accept our warmest wishes for a joyous April Fool's Day to you and your loved ones.

Sincerely,
ProductCo
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:15 PM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


I sort of wish for April Fools this year that cortex set something up where if you read a thread you commented in, you'd see your comment referenced in italics from some random (made up) MeFite saying "FUCK YYYOOOOUUU"

I mean, the place would burn to the ground, but still... how much better would Metafilter be if we all got that one check, that one warning?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:50 PM on April 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'd counter that using Minions was the most appropriate possible GIF they could use, since there are no mic drop Hampster Dance gifs.

From what I understand it, the difference is that Minions are the first internet meme that didn't originate or incubate in some avant-garde subculture. Previous memes like Hamster Dance, All Your Base, Rickrolling, and so on originated from bored nerds/hipsters throwing in-jokes at each other (and, in some cases, were later commercialised in an almost endearingly slipshod way, à la Crazy Frog/The Annoying Thing).

Minions memes came supplied by Hollywood in flat-pack form (because, hey, viral marketing), and their adopters were broadly representative of wider society, and the usage of Minion images and the text attached to them tends towards the norm. A typical Minion-meme caption is generally not some kind of absurd juxtaposition rendered in brain-hurtingly broken grammar and/or spelling, but something far more mundane, more often than not being a passive-aggressive self-help slogan suggesting unresolved baggage, the kind of faux-profound motivational phrase seen in Tinder profiles, something about Jesus or angels, or something like “why do they experiment on animals when the prisons are full of paedophiles?” (an actual Minion-meme quote seen in the wild). Minion memes are the Big-Haired Exurban Mom of online humour.
posted by acb at 4:18 PM on April 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


I mean, the place would burn to the ground, but still...

So many of our best April Fool's ideas fail this test. You have no idea.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:52 PM on April 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


There's no such thing as a "safe" April Fool's joke, unless you telegraph that it's a joke from miles away, and then it's not funny. Even sending someone a standard text only fake April Fool's article can result in people getting furious with you because they forwarded it to their friends and family as if it was real and ended up looking stupid, I've had personal experience with this. Some people can be rather melodramatic about damage to their "reputation".
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:01 PM on April 1, 2016


In related news, NBCUniversal and Google execs are deep in negotiations regarding the fees payable under the contract, stemming from the unexpected early termination of this promotional campaign.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 5:24 PM on April 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Reddit's had some good ones this year. /r/europe is turned into a "Russia #1" fanclub, which is even funnier because /r/russia is incredibly livid and is mounting raids.

If you're into Reddit's meta inside baseball stuff, /r/SubredditDrama is kinda funny. I do hope they go full energy and turn themselves into a Trump sub for the rest of the day, as promised.

In /r/roguelikes, CogMind's developer proposed turning his game into an ASCII RTS. Included a screenshot. It's proving to be more inspiration than joke and I think a rogue-ly RTS will turn up in a few months.

My favorite so far is /r/AskHistorians, where Napoleon is asking if it's ever a good idea to invade Russia. Charles "Hammer" Martel is looking for a way to tell the Moors: "can't touch this". Which, BTW, I really want Martel on a t-shirt with that phrase on it. Probably time to design one. And Joe McCarthy has shown up to ask each and every one on the sub: "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?"

There's a new social experiment this year from powerlanguage, the guy who did The Button for last year's April 1. This year it's a chat room called "Robin". Starts small and everyone in the chat has around 30 minutes to vote to abandon, stay, or grow. If enough vote to stay, the chat gets turned into a subreddit with all participants as mods. "Grow" means the chatroom will merge with another chatroom and the vote continues. I started off in a chat with around 6, and am now in a room with about 400. Conversations started off reasonable enough by Reddit standards, (de)evolved into something from Twitch or 4Chan as the merges happened, and are now just pure chaos and shitposting.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:49 PM on April 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


If they had used the Lego Batman mic drop it would've forgiven everything.
posted by M Edward at 5:50 PM on April 1, 2016


L.P. Hatecraft: "There's no such thing as a "safe" April Fool's joke"."

The colour change here we had was pretty safe.
posted by Mitheral at 5:55 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wait, I'm still confused about whether the April Fool's prank was an actual Gmail "feature" or just manufactured kerfuffle about how it went wrong. There are a few reports of seeing the button in this thread, but did anyone here actually receive or perform a successful Google/Pixar/United Pictures Mic Drop, or even direcly witness one in the wild?

I sent myself an empty email to see if it really worked. It's definitely real. It's got a minion in it.
posted by theorique at 6:28 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I prefer Internet April Fool's jokes where you know they're jokes. That's fine, that's funny, and I look forward to whatever ThinkGeek is putting out every year. I don't like the mean shit like John Oliver was campaigning about--really, announcing engagements/pregnancies/firings or doing mean shit isn't cool. But at least some websites are doing something that I know is a funny, and that's fine.

Meanwhile, my actual April Fool's sucked rancid donkey balls because life decided to prank me by having my work computer out of commission for 3/4 of the day, so I didn't get to do a whole lot of prank reading. At one point my e-mail had all e-mails written after 2012 disappear, and at that point it was like, "Seriously, is someone pranking me with this crap?" No, they were not. Nor was it a prank when I had to do a lunch meeting "in front of the coffee shop" and apparently that translated into "let's go into the very crowded large coffee shop and hang out in the back without waiting for jenfullmoon to get there" to everyone else. (Though the meeting thrower did buy me a drink in compensation.)

Anyway, real life pranking sucks donkey balls, even if none of it was technically an actual prank and more like 2016 hates me.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:06 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not google related, but the mixtape Hamburger Helper dropped this morning is dope af. Reactions are like and then.
posted by supercrayon at 7:06 PM on April 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Someone please defibrillate this old man of a website so he stops yelling at clouds.
posted by Don Don at 7:11 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


So late in the day (and thread), this feels more like a footnote, but I think the audience and target of Google's April Fools joke are misconstrued by most.

That is, most seem to understand the perpetrator of the prank to be the sender of the email and the victims to be the recipients who can't even respond to the mic dropping sender.

But I'm pretty sure the perpetrator of the prank is Google Mail itself and the targets are the hapless/tired/frazzled/and-for-other-reasons-unwitting senders of a mic drop email.

The April Fools joke makes perfect (malicious) sense as a "joke" when considering that some Google employees thought it would be SO FUNNY if a few users unknowingly sent a mic drop email without even knowing they had done so.
posted by mistersquid at 7:12 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


supercrayon: "Not google related, but the mixtape Hamburger Helper dropped this morning is dope af."

Yeah, it's way better than anyone could hope to expect. Here's an article with a bit of the behind the scenes. Tl;dr: they went to Toki Wright of the Hip Hop Department of McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN. who brought in his best students for it. Pretty neat.
posted by mhum at 7:41 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Charles "Hammer" Martel is looking for a way to tell the Moors: "can't touch this".

*mic drop*
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:45 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: magic Silicon Valley pixie-dust money
posted by oheso at 8:03 PM on April 1, 2016


the reason Gmail is dominant is that it is so much better than anything else out there. It really does make everything else second-best. That's the compelling factor that keeps Google on top as a mail service, how good it is.

When Gmail was first introduced, it was clearly better than any of the other free mail services and certainly easier to use than other webmail services. But all the others have lifted their game now, and Google cannot seem to get over its unfortunate habit of fucking with the Gmail UI just for shits and giggles.

I was a Gmail early invitee and booster, but I got sick of them three years ago, jumped ship to a paid Fastmail account and haven't looked back. Everything I've seen Google do since has made me happier to have done that.

Fastmail's IMAP-based import tool smoothly captured everything that was in my Gmail account, and their current web client is good enough to have weaned me off Thunderbird; certainly way, way better than Gmail's current offering.

If you do migrate to another provider, and you want your Gmail address to remain active and keep forwarding mails sent to your @gmail.com address, you need to be aware that Gmail's spam filter comes ahead of its auto-forwarder. That means there's a chance that a Gmail false positive could hold back a legitimate mail, which you would then never see unless you logged onto your Gmail account to check its Spam folder.

To work around that, you can set up a Gmail filter instead of using its usual forward-everything option. User-defined filters are applied before spam detection - they have to be, to allow you to use them to set the spam status on an incoming mail - which means you can set up a filter that forwards everything, including what Gmail detects as spam, to your new account.

You work through the same process you would in order to verify a new address for forwarding, but then instead of actually turning forwarding on, create a filter that matches every incoming mail and choose Forward and Delete as the actions for the filter.

Matching every incoming mail with a Gmail filter is surprisingly tricky. The most reliable way I've found is to use a negative match on impossible content, like "Includes the words -to:8a6jJjOqw9vE6976GRWP".

To make sure that match never fails, get your own unique chunk of gibberish by following that one's link to random.org instead of re-using mine. It will still work even if you leave out the "to:" part, but putting it in constrains the search to the mail's "To:" header instead of its content, which is a little kinder to the server.
posted by flabdablet at 9:09 PM on April 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


Return of the 3-Headed Person
posted by bukvich at 10:28 PM on April 1, 2016


flabdablet: "Google cannot seem to get over its unfortunate habit of fucking with the Gmail UI just for shits and giggles."

Thunderbird has this to a much lesser degree.

Thunderbird Team listen up: Your application is feature complete. Has been for years. There haven't been any innovations in standalone email clients in years. Do nothing but bug/security fixes and add new email protocols if necessary. For the love of all that you hold holy do NOT change menus, toolbars, MDI, or anything else a user might have touch. Develop as many add ons as you want but leave the basic install alone.
posted by Mitheral at 11:10 PM on April 1, 2016


Thunderbird Team listen up: Your application is feature complete. Has been for years. There haven't been any innovations in standalone email clients in years.

about that...
posted by pwnguin at 1:27 AM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


acb: "something far more mundane, more often than not being a passive-aggressive self-help slogan suggesting unresolved baggage, the kind of faux-profound motivational phrase seen in Tinder profiles, something about Jesus or angels, or something like “why do they experiment on animals when the prisons are full of paedophiles?” (an actual Minion-meme quote seen in the wild). Minion memes are the Big-Haired Exurban Mom of online humour."

So... is there some function being served by that last sentence that I'm just not understanding here, or are you insulting exurban mothers for no reason?
posted by langtonsant at 3:56 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do nothing but bug/security fixes and add new email protocols if necessary. For the love of all that you hold holy do NOT change menus, toolbars, MDI, or anything else a user might have touch.

When they signalled their intention to do exactly that a couple of years ago, half their client base panicked and started searching about for a different mail client on the grounds that Thunderbird was about to become a "dead product".

The slavish worship of change for its own sake is wired very very deep into this industry's psyche.
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 AM on April 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


To all the smarmy butts going "lol well shouldn't you pay for your email?? this is what you get!" or "this isn't something you use for business"

I know it's been covered, but google literally marketed gmail as a business product with the google for business/gmail for your domain/etc. That horse is out of the barn. "Well you shouldn't have trusted them!" is a crappy ass response. They are a huge corporation, practically IBM or Xerox of old in size when it comes to the internet. Everyone knows them.

When i was first starting out as an independent contractor probably like a decade ago, i looked at the various connect-mail-to-my-domain options out there that didn't involve rolling my own server. They were SHIT. They still are, mostly shit. I've kept track of this. Yea, there's probably some decent one i haven't heard of but gmail had a good web interface right now and instantly worked well with smtp/pop/imap and you could just fire away. Easy access to my Adult Worker Person Domain emails from any computer, or my paleolithic smartphone, or whatever.

The people talking huge shit on google at the time sounded like huge cranky paranoid nerds of the same caliber that people who go "i wont use windows because it's closed source" do now. This was not the kind of thing normal people should have known better about because the people complaining about it generally only talked to or were listened to by other nerds, and were on the fringes. It also wasn't a super realistic stance to take and still sort of isn't.


Basically, what i'm getting at, is "told you so" is a bullshit response. They are a huge company untold millions of people use who should act fucking better. "Well, we knew they were an asshole" sounds like people victim blaming someone who had their birthday party ruined by that one guy everyone knows is a drunken piece of shit.

Beyond a certain point when something reaches a level of market saturation like this, it's the creator-owners responsibility to not act like an ass. Everyone using it is in the clear because it's ubiquitous. You come off very badly blaming the users.

Would you guys be saying the same shit if toyota decided to swap the clutch pedal and the reverse selector randomly and lots of people backed in to stuff and fucked up other cars, their garages, etc? The "lol stupid plebs using google" is really, really tasteless. And it comes off as being too much of an alpha nerd who has to demonstrate they Know Better and have The Knowledge than having any damn empathy at all.

I really hope if any of you guys get taken by something like this, everyone just roasts you in the same way and tells you it was your own fault for using that thing or being too stupid to click a mouse right.
posted by emptythought at 9:20 AM on April 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


man emptythought, I fucking love it when you drop the science
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:08 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Well you shouldn't have trusted them!" is a crappy ass response. They are a huge corporation,

This doesn’t follow. I agree it was a stupid and shitty move, and don’t blame the users at all, but you’re coming across as someone who loved Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore too much. Google is Google, and you get what you pay for.
posted by bongo_x at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I know it's been covered, but google literally marketed gmail as a business product with the google for business/gmail for your domain/etc. That horse is out of the barn. "Well you shouldn't have trusted them!" is a crappy ass response.

Aside from a few grandfathered plans, Google Apps for Work is a paid service at all scales. I don't recall our Apps domain being exposed to the April Fools feature. In fact, pretty much all features are rolled out to paid domains on a delayed schedule.

As far as switching to a different provider, over ten years later, does any other UI, web or not, offer a similar threading model?
posted by pwnguin at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


“Laughter Doesn’t Scale,” Medium Track Changes, 01 April 2016
posted by ob1quixote at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


This doesn’t follow. I agree it was a stupid and shitty move, and don’t blame the users at all, but you’re coming across as someone who loved Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore too much. Google is Google, and you get what you pay for.

My point is more, try think of this situation without the word google. What if it was like, general mills packing in cans of fart spray in cereal boxes and kids ruining eachothers clothes at school?* Would everyone be saying "well those dumb parents should have just bought kashi, everyone knows general mills is evil and stupid duh".

It's not just a no one got fired for buying IBM thing, it's a people are going to:

A. Use what their peers and family use, which has been shown by those people to work reliably and reasonably

B. Following on A, use what seems to be accepted as the safe and reasonable standard to the best of their knowledge and education.

This wasn't supposed to come off as me defending google, more just me saying that no one is a dummy dumbbutt for thinking google products are reasonable to use.

Gmail and google apps are standard things. Many schools, starting at the k-8 level, use chromebooks and kids create gmail accounts then. There is a generation of people one step behind myself who will have literally been using gmail since they were 5.

I'm trying to even come up with a big enough analogy. Like, what if AT&T or Verizon decided to just play fart sounds effects endlessly and hang up whenever anyone pressed * or # during a call?

If you're getting hung up on this being Google, and not this being a big thing that normal people use that to their reasonable knowledge is a safe and reasonable thing to be using, then you're missing the forest for the trees.


*This is a real thing that happened with that spray, although it didn't come cereal boxes, when i was a kid. The stains would never wash out and the smell took like multiple washings.

Also that book made me roll my eyes, conservatively, like 700 times.

posted by emptythought at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I get it, but to use your previous example; if Toyota let me use a free car with ads all over it I would know that the bad comes with the good and they might change something like the pedals at any time, because that’s the way that works. People seem to have forgotten that. If you’re paying for it then everything is different.

Gmail and google apps are standard things. Many schools, starting at the k-8 level, use chromebooks and kids create gmail accounts then. There is a generation of people one step behind myself who will have literally been using gmail since they were 5.

Well, that’s just bad teaching, isn’t it? And stupid. They should be taught the downsides of their arrangement unless we’re teaching them to be complacent marks.

I'm trying to even come up with a big enough analogy. Like, what if AT&T or Verizon decided to just play fart sounds effects endlessly and hang up whenever anyone pressed * or # during a call?

Is it a free phone service? Then that’s their prerogative. You’re getting the service you’re paying for.

I’m not trying to be insulting, it’s just that there is no comparison with a free service from a for profit company.
posted by bongo_x at 2:48 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Since Gmail is a service and not a product (no matter how they word it) a better example would be something like broadcast TV. If the local news stops having the stock report at 10:45 and shows puppies instead I can let them know I would like it to return, but if I said "I built my business around the stock report being on 10:45 and you’re screwing me" that would be dumb and they’d say "you should probably subscribe to a stock market news source if it’s that important". They’d like me to depend on their news, they tell me that all the time, but they're not guaranteeing anything.

If the stock market news service I pay for goes down then I have a real complaint.

Google sells ads. The TV news sells ads. That’s the business they’re in. They’re not selling to me.
posted by bongo_x at 5:42 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sure, users are not to blame for Google's failure to test this and see how it would affect users and the people/clients connected to those users.

But to be clear, this only affected unpaid for Google Mail users. All the users negatively affected by this temporary and thoughtless product change can legitimately complain. Sure. Those users may also seek redress according to the contractual obligations and legal enforceable warranties, etc. etc. etc.

But seeing how users of a free email product probably have little to no claim in the US legal system, the deserved response is "you get what you pay for."

The exchange of money for services cements the liability of a provider to a customer and without that liability two details are simultaneously true.

1. Google caused problems for some of their non-paying users.
2. Caveat emptor (i.e. user should have known better)
posted by mistersquid at 7:15 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


But seeing how users of a free email product probably have little to no claim in the US legal system, the deserved response is "you get what you pay for."

No, it's really not. And it's not free, we pay for it by seeing ads. "You get what you pay for" is smug victim-blaming that ignores a couple of very simple realities: email is a necessity these days, not everyone can afford or is tech-savvy enough to pay for a service or roll their own, and gmail solves all those problems in a simple and seamless way.

Some assclown at Google done gone fucked up in a really malicious way with this alleged 'prank.' It has, demonstrably, caused pain and suffering to people. The appropriate response is very, very rarely "you deserved to have shitty humorous gifs attached to your job application, your condolence note, your prayer request."

I'm frankly appalled by the people saying that people using what has become an essential service in 21st century Western life deserved to have things fucked up for them because they weren't paying cash.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 PM on April 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm surprised that this is apparently something people are still arguing about. Providing an essential service for free (to say nothing of the ads that have always been a part of Gmail) doesn't release you from being held morally accountable when you do something harmful with it. If a consumer is harmed by that service, they don't magically become the responsible party just because the product is free. Right? People were harmed by this, so Google pulled it and apologized multiple times. I don't get why this is still a thing.
posted by teponaztli at 9:47 PM on April 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Google can both be wrong here (by having put in a badly designed prank) and people can be getting what they paid for (by choosing to use gmail instead of one of the various other free clients out there). These aren‘t mutually exclusive states, and I don’t think anyone has been arguing that they are.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:16 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


No, it's really not. And it's not free, we pay for it by seeing ads.


You suffer for it by seeing ads, you’re not paying for it. The people buying the ads are.

I'm frankly appalled by the people saying that people using what has become an essential service in 21st century Western life deserved to have things fucked up for them because they weren't paying cash.

Then it should be a public utility. Google is not working for us. If it’s an essential service it should not be left to the whims of a company like that.
posted by bongo_x at 10:22 PM on April 2, 2016


'Should' is not a useful word, because it does not reflect reality.

Realities:

- email is basically essential for everyone in the industrialized world
- gmail is an extremely simple answer to that essential need, with the added bonus of not costing money for the end user

As such, blaming users for fulfilling a basic need in 21st century industrialized society in the simplest and cheapest way possible is not helpful and is doing nothing but blaming the victim.

and people can be getting what they paid for (by choosing to use gmail instead of one of the various other free clients out there). These aren‘t mutually exclusive states, and I don’t think anyone has been arguing that they are.

"You get what you pay for" carries subtexts that several of us have rather patiently tried to explain, please stop pretending they don't exist.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:51 PM on April 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


email is a necessity these days, not everyone can afford or is tech-savvy enough to pay for a service or roll their own,

Whatever you may think, Google Gmail is not a public service and its users are not protected by any contractual or legal obligation.

This is not smug victim-blaming; these are the facts on the ground.

Some users suffered through no direct fault of their own, but they don't have legal means to seek redress, even (especially) if they are too poor to afford email access by other means.
posted by mistersquid at 10:58 PM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Whatever you may think, Google Gmail is not a public service

Ok like thanks for the shitty condescension and all but if you could show me where I said it was that would be... oh? You can't? Yeah.

Email is an essential need, and gmail fulfills that need simply and cheaply. y/n?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:01 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


In case it's not clear, I'd totally be down for providing email access to all residents on municipal- or state-supported servers.

But I really just don't see a private company being held legally accountable for changes they make to their unpaid for email service.
posted by mistersquid at 11:04 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


probably a good thing that I was nowhere suggesting that eh

like, maybe try responding to stuff people are actually saying?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:09 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


fffm, you're right. You didn't represent Gmail as a public service. Not sure how that single point is germane to the fact that unpaying users of Gmail have little to no leverage when it comes to problems with their use of the service.

Additionally, the very circumstances that started this thread sort of give the lie to the claim that Gmail "fulfills an essential need simply".
posted by mistersquid at 11:18 PM on April 2, 2016


well since I also said nothing about leverage and just said that google did a shitty thing I really have no idea why you're wittering on about that either
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:21 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


- email is basically essential for everyone in the industrialized world

Yep.

- gmail is an extremely simple answer to that essential need, with the added bonus of not costing money for the end user

Yep.

As such, blaming users for fulfilling a basic need in 21st century industrialized society in the simplest and cheapest way possible is not helpful and is doing nothing but blaming the victim.

The prank has been empirically proven to have been a crappy UI change. Bad UI is the fault of the designer, not the user. Google is at fault for badly sent mic drops.

well since I also said nothing about leverage and just said that google did a shitty thing I really have no idea why you're wittering on about that either

EVERYONE here has agreed that Google did a shitty thing. The only thing people seem to be talking about now is legal liability and the fact that people can choose from a number of free email services.

Perhaps a better question is: what do you think people have been saying here? What are people (including me, apparently) saying that they are not perceiving?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:30 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


the deserved response is "you get what you pay for."

This is smug victim-blaming, and that's what people are objecting to.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:44 PM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is smug victim-blaming, and that's what people are objecting to.

To be a bit glib, that comes across as a tone argument. I‘ve been reading “you get what you pay for” as a true, albeit blunt statement about Google’s liability. Differently from some folks, though, clearly. So I suppose the lesson is to use more detail.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:58 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


that comes across as a tone argument.

/eyeroll
yes, when a user starts denying that their comments are smug, then it becomes a discussion of tone. Less glibness, more following the thread, please.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:32 AM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


the deserved response is "you get what you pay for."

This is smug victim-blaming, and that's what people are objecting to.


I guess this is some sort of miscommunication; I’m not saying "ha ha, you get what you pay for". To me the phrase "you get what you pay for" is a direct reflection of reality, not snark. I have no idea what would be smug about this.

This is one of the reasons I believe essential services should not be left up to the whims of private companies, and should be regulated at the least.

Google screwed people. But they can do that. What else is there? I’m confused by the apparent anger going on here.

Surely you’re not suggesting that I’d spend my time mocking other people on the internet because I somehow feel superior because of my email service choice? Because that’s hard to fathom.
posted by bongo_x at 12:32 AM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


You said that when people have been inconvenienced or worse by this, they deserve a description of how they brought it on themselves by relying on a free product. That is literally victim blaming. It is smug because you are telling them that they are foolish for feeling upset by the eventuation of a risk that you feel was always predictable.

Why would anyone "deserve" that kind of dickish dismissal of their frustration instead of some goddamn sympathy?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:31 AM on April 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I mean, on the off chance you're not a robot in real life, how would you respond to a friend who had a minor car accident? "Well, speeding is dangerous!". I'm sure they'd be grateful for your wisdom, right?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:33 AM on April 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


As far as switching to a different provider, over ten years later, does any other UI, web or not, offer a similar threading model?

Fastmail does. Their web client is also smaller than Google's, and consequently loads noticeably faster.

It is smug because you are telling them that they are foolish for feeling upset by the eventuation of a risk that you feel was always predictable.

It's not at all foolish to feel upset when an upsetting thing happens, and the appropriate response to seeing somebody upset by an upsetting thing is almost never "I told you so" especially when you never did in fact personally tell them so.

That does not change the fact that it is foolish to agree to terms of service without reading them. It is particularly foolish to assume that the SHOUTY PARTS don't mean exactly what they say.

Nor does it change the fact that it is naive to consider oneself an organisation's customer when one has not paid that organisation any money.
posted by flabdablet at 3:01 AM on April 3, 2016


Bad UI is the fault of the designer, not the user. Google is at fault for badly sent mic drops.

then stop saying " you get what you pay for" because that phrase, to literally every other English-speaking human except you and bongo_x, is about putting the fault on the user and not on the person who did the shitty thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2016


I don't think anyone (?) was saying users are foolish for feeling upset. Users are justified in feeling upset.

They simply have no recourse to satisfaction/redress because (and here it comes, the statement of fact) they get what they pay for: which is nothing.

To bring this into car-analogy land, if a friend had an accident due to no fault of their own but because of the design of the car, that friend presumably owns the car and has legal recourse (insurance, governmental entities,etc) to be made financially and (hopefully) medically whole.
posted by mistersquid at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2016


that would be a super useful comment if anyone were talking about legal redress here but since we're not, again I am unsure as to why you're wittering on about it
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 AM on April 3, 2016


also, quoting myself for emphasis:

then stop saying " you get what you pay for" because that phrase, to literally every other English-speaking human except you and bongo_x, is about putting the fault on the user and not on the person who did the shitty thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 AM on April 3, 2016


I think what's happening is that people objecting to the assertion "You get what you pay for" see that assertion as inherently dismissive and demeaning.

For people who literally (and circumstantially) cannot pay, this is diminishing because in a capitalist legal system to not pay or be able to pay means you have no standing.

But people stating this fact, like myself, aren't mocking such users. At all.

Nothing good came from Google's Gmail prank and I don't think I'm feeling smug about not falling victim. I believe and feel it would be horrible to be fired as a consequence of this prank and/or to lose an opportunity at employment.

Users who do not pay have almost no means to seek compensation/redress for (perhaps unintended) sabotage of a system they rely on.

Given email is essential, it would be wonderful if a service were in place where such users would be protected by regulation and service level agreements.

Is that smug?
posted by mistersquid at 9:25 AM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


like, it may well be a statement of fact on its surface, and to anyone who isn't actually a robot in real life there is a thing called subtext
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:25 AM on April 3, 2016


fffm, legal redress/protection may not be what you are talking about, but it is certainly what I am talking about.

What are you talking about?
posted by mistersquid at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is really sort of silly, you and others calling other humans robots. Honestly.
posted by mistersquid at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am talking about you continuing to respond to stuff that nobody is saying.

And your continued refusal to understand that there is such a thing as subtext that many people have tried to explain to you. Doubling down on "but but but it's a factual statement" isn't useful.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:28 AM on April 3, 2016


mistersquid: "Not sure how that single point is germane to the fact that unpaying users of Gmail have little to no leverage when it comes to problems with their use of the service."

They have the ultimate leverage; they can stop using gmail. It's crap like this that gets people to switch.

This April Fools bug didn't affect me because I don't use the web interface. But if Google had started injecting graphics in my sent emails I'd be highly motivated to switch to something else despite what a huge pain that would be.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 AM on April 3, 2016


if Google had started injecting graphics in my sent emails I'd be highly motivated to switch to something else despite what a huge pain that would be

That's essentially Incredimail's business model.

Oddly enough, it tended to motivate its users much the same way.
posted by flabdablet at 10:24 AM on April 3, 2016


I'd be highly motivated to switch to something else despite what a huge pain that would be

Having done that very thing some while ago, I can honestly report that the pain was minimal and the switch has been well worth the trouble.
posted by flabdablet at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2016


like, it may well be a statement of fact on its surface, and to anyone who isn't actually a robot in real life there is a thing called subtext

You really ought to stop with the personal insults.

You said that when people have been inconvenienced or worse by this, they deserve a description of how they brought it on themselves by relying on a free product. That is literally victim blaming.

I don’t know where you saw that. That seems like a weird and tremendous leap of assumptions from what I said.

then stop saying " you get what you pay for" because that phrase, to literally every other English-speaking human except you and bongo_x, is about putting the fault on the user and not on the person who did the shitty thing.

No, it’s not, and I think you’re way over estimating how many other people misunderstand it with you. Is this what you’re on about this whole time? You think "you get what you pay for" means "you get what you deserve"? Those are two entirely different things. The former is advice and statement of fact, the latter a judgement that I don’t know that I’ve ever made on someone.

I had no idea a discussion about email, liability, and cartoon characters would devolve in to drama and name calling. Weird.
posted by bongo_x at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


You think "you get what you pay for" means "you get what you deserve"? Those are two entirely different things.

Yes, actually, that is very much the subtext. They are not different things. We are trying to explain this to you and you are refusing to listen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:10 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


You think "you get what you pay for" means "you get what you deserve"?

In this context, yes. Your repeated statements in this thread have all read to me as "people got what they deserved for trusting someone they didn't pay". If that's not what you mean, perhaps consider that the way you are using this phrase is not even remotely universal. Maybe consider even more strongly just stepping away and not doing a double-double-double down on how obviously nobody could possibly interpret it that way, since you've got ample evidence that in fact yes, people can (and have).
posted by tocts at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


There haven't been any innovations in standalone email clients in years.

Woah, woah, steady on there. I downloaded Thunderbird the other day, and it felt so far behind the times compared to clients like Nylas's N1 even I was surprised. Lots of people are doing new things with email, including CloudMagic and PolyMail.

It's a pity that so much of this innovation is being made dependent on funnelling all your mail through third-party servers, though. I'd be much happier if Thunderbird was doing this stuff, I'd trust Mozilla to do a better job with my privacy.

Unless Pocket wanted to get into email, I guess
posted by bonaldi at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


*You think "you get what you pay for" means "you get what you deserve"? Those are two entirely different things.

Yes, actually, that is very much the subtext. They are not different things. We are trying to explain this to you and you are refusing to listen.

If that's not what you mean, perhaps consider that the way you are using this phrase is not even remotely universal.

“We” is… two or three people in a thread on the internet. Compared to the two or three people in a thread on the internet who don’t consider that the subtext. I’m not sure anyone here is able to claim the weight of some sort of consensus, universal understanding of the phase.

“you get what you pay for” seems to me less laden with inherent subtext and more very heavily loaded with context. If someone came up to me and said that, hey they’d sent a mic drop email and it had cost them their job, who would respond with “you get what you pay for”? What a tactless, unfeeling thing and horrible thing to say! And yet, if a bunch of third parties are conversing about legal liabilities and someone comments that “you get what you pay for”, it reads ( to me, at least) as convenient shorthand for the idea that when someone doesn’t pay cash for something, they don’t get a lot of protection. That’s it. If there’s subtext, it could also be a lament that the system doesn’t protect you from things that are free.

So, yes. Language! The worst enemy.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:14 PM on April 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


bonaldi: "Woah, woah, steady on there. I downloaded Thunderbird the other day, and it felt so far behind the times compared to clients like Nylas's N1 even I was surprised. Lots of people are doing new things with email, including CloudMagic and PolyMail."

A quick pursue of their sites didn't immediately show anything unusual. What features do these applications have that you wish Thunderbird had?
posted by Mitheral at 3:54 PM on April 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Please drop the minute parsing of "you get what you pay for", it feels like we've been over that territory pretty thoroughly at this point. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:31 PM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


A quick pursue of their sites didn't immediately show anything unusual. What features do these applications have that you wish Thunderbird had?

A few things come to mind. I've tried looking for them in Add-Ons in the past, but the Thunderbird add-on ecosystem is not massively polished and I've had more misery than joy with Thunderbird's add ons.

Some of the other things I wish Thunderbird had:

- A single-window mode, where both the viewer and composer replace the message list. For someone raised on mutt, this makes me feel at home. (If Thunderbird had ever shipped compose-in-tabs, that'd have been close enough).
- Totally configurable keystrokes, so I now have mine set up like Bloomberg MSG (which is the world's best email client for high-volume fast-reply workflows, I think).
- Exchange support
- Contact activity pane that shows everything someone has sent you recently, plus their social profiles (and Github activity)
- A UI that feels native (even though in most cases it isn't). It feels like Thunderbird stopped tracking the Mac UI around 10.6.
posted by bonaldi at 2:57 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have no connections with the company and am far from a Google apologist, but still, I'm really sorry for Google.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:12 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


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