The debacle, which students nicknamed “Replyallcalypse,” broke out Tuesday when the Bursar’s Office sent an e-mail to students with the wrong settings, reports NYU Local. A sophomore mistakenly replied to the message — and 39,979 people got the one-line e-mail (“do you want me to do this?”) actually meant for his mom.

In the more than 24 hours before NYU’s IT department shut down the thread, thousands of messages ricocheted around the listserv. But if you expected students to use their newfound platform toward a higher purpose, you’d be disappointed. Buzzfeed’s screenshots of the more outstanding messages include photos of Nicholas Cage, complaints about tuition and many, many requests for everyone to just shut up. Whether that reflects young people or Internet culture is up for debate.

“We had been given a great and terrible power,” freshman Kelly Weill wrote in NYU Local. “For a moment we contemplated responsibility, then gleefully tossed it aside in favor of posting pictures of cats.”