Reply All: it’s not an opinion…

I’ll try to explain in this brief article something that makes me mad: the complete lack of habits, for some people, to use the “Reply All” feature.

Picture source: https://goo.gl/00sqeL

If you are cc’ed in one email, “maybe” you should use Reply All

How many times have you ever written an email and decided to put some people in CC?

I am not talking here about when and who you should put in BCC, this is probably the title for another post. I am referring to those cases when you already decided that is correct to copy some people in your outgoing message.

OK, so, the answer is for sure “many”. Well, it happens to me that for whatever reason, people I send email to, with other recipients in copy, systematically respond only to me. And this makes me maaaad!

Why do they do it? The reasons could be many. Let’s explore them a bit further.


Scenario 1: I don’t know what what Reply All means.

Ok, we are not all fans of Gmail or the like. Maybe we are accustomed to the good-old Outlook, or maybe we are still using our old email provider with it’s 1.0 web interface. That’s totally fine. But in all email programs, whether they are a new HTML5 interface or an old desktop client, there is for sure the possibility to reply to the original message including all the other recipients. So why people do this? Because the probably don’t know what it means. Lack of knowledge, ignorance, computer illiterate. Call it how you want.

Scenario 2: I didn’t want to Reply All — and that’s not fine…

These are the bad guys. If I (the sender) decided to put you in an email thread with other people, it’s because I have my good reasons to do so. So, why should you break up the conversation and talk only to me? It’s not polite. Not for me, nor for the others who might be there waiting for you to answer.

It’s like if you are at a party, talking to few folks, and all of a sudden one of them takes you on a side and starts talking privately just to you…

Weird eh?

Scenario 3: I didn’t want to Reply All — and that’s fine!

In other cases, the receiver might have a good reason why he replied only to you. Maybe he wanted to share some private thoughts. Maybe he wanted to ask for some clarifications before hitting Reply All and that’s ok to double check before with the sender. These, in my opinions, are the only cases when a not usage of the Reply All is permitted.


What’s next?

Ok, so, what’s next. Nothing much. I will keep on writing emails and getting emails. And every time I see a misuse of this common-sense rule, I’ll try to explain it to the end user. The only one I will always forgive is my Mom.

One day, we’ll all know how to use the Reply All feature wisely.

Thanks for reading!

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