“Reply All”


reply all

How many of you have been the victim of “reply all” fanatics?  I’m sure all of you have.  These are the people who send their e-mail replies to everyone on an e-mail list without thinking that it should really only be sent to the person who originally sent the e-mail.  So, they start off a chain of e-mails that increases and increases until your inbox is filled with messages that have nothing to do with you.  Many of these messages could have been avoided if the “reply all” button hadn’t been pressed.

I don’t understand these people who feel the need to send their personal message to the sender to everyone else on the sender’s list.  Most of the time, these messages have nothing to do with the other recipients, and they just clutter up the inboxes of people who have better things to do than read through a swamp of irrelevant drivel.  These people who hit “reply all” need to be told not to do it.  They need to be told that their response to the sender is between them and the sender, and nobody else.  This will stop the inbox clutter and let people get back to work.

I concede that sometimes “reply all” is warranted.  Sometimes there are things that all the recipients need to know, or need to be told.  There are changes in meeting dates and locations, updates on information that pertains to everyone or even attachments that need to be seen by everyone.  Often, when used responsibly, “reply all” can be helpful in getting the opinions of several people at the same time.  I’ve used “reply all” on several occasions when the information was relevant to everyone on the original e-mail list.  Very often, however, that’s not the case, and the ensuing message chain is irrelevant to most of the people on the list.

Sometimes, hitting “reply all” can be hazardous.  You wouldn’t want to include the boss in on a comment about the stupidity of the e-mail you just got from him.  You wouldn’t want to “reply all” about someone’s surprise party when that person is on the sender’s list….or when there are people on the sender’s list who haven’t been invited.  People need to be more careful with hitting the “reply all” button.  It’s right next to the “reply” button, and I’m sure there have been mishaps.  Hopefully none have resulted in people being dismissed or hurt by other people.

People who are serial “reply all-ers” need to be told to stop.  They need to be told that their responses are not the business of everyone on the list, and please send only to the sender.  They need to have their e-mail privileges revoked if they do it too much, or everyone needs to CC them on every e-mail sent.  I’m sure they’ll eventually get the picture!



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