Author Topic: The Reply-All Assault  (Read 4413 times)

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mbbored

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The Reply-All Assault
« on: March 03, 2013, 01:16:30 AM »
One of my pet peeves is when people needlessly hit reply all to an email with a lot of recipients and all of a sudden my email inbox is filled for hours, or days, with everybody expressing their opinion to the original email. I'm in two groups of 60 plus persons whose leaders refuse to use BCC ("this way we can all get in contact with each other!") and it happens almost weekly for at least one of the groups.

Is there anyway to gently say "Please reserve reply all for messages the entire group needs to see?" Or am I doomed to just delete a bunch of needless emails almost every day?

menley

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 06:14:29 AM »
Sadly, I think you're doomed to delete. I belong to a number of different groups that have members that reply-all. Every now and then someone will reply all saying "please stop replying to all!"... and then even more people do the same... so by the end, I have 3x as many emails about NOT replying to all :) And the original offenders never stop doing it. I've resigned myself to deleting lots of emails daily.

WillyNilly

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 02:41:39 PM »
I have found a reply of "is there a reason I was CC'ed on this reply?" message sent to the sender, and maybe if appropriate a few key head folks (not a reply all  :) ) works well to clue them in the practice is annoying.

mmswm

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 02:48:44 PM »
I worked for a large, national company.  The email address format was firstname.lastname at compnayname dot com, or firstinitial.lastname, depending on factors I never figured out.  I have a common name.  In this huge national company there were three other people with my exact name and 5 more who's name started with the same letter as my first name with the same last name.  The "reply all" assaults were even more aggravating when I was the wrong mmswm to begin with.

I can't say I ever figured out a great way to keep people from emailing me sensitive customer data when I wasn't the right mmswm, let alone ending the reply all assaults.  Delete is your friend.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

Library Dragon

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 11:18:43 PM »
I BEG people on listservs to put their emails in their signature so people can reply off list.  I'm amazed at the intelligent folks who say, "Reply off list" but give no way to complete the request.

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Sebastienne

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 11:37:42 AM »
At my last job, at a university, emails to "all faculty/staff" weren't BCCed. And "reply all" was the default on our email program. The result was that an exchange like this would happen pretty much once a week:

Campus police:
Renew your parking permits by Tuesday!
Professor Mortimer T. Jingles: Professor Jingles is out of the office and will return your email when he returns
Sally Jones: Why did I get this email? Remove me from the list.
40 other people also hitting reply all: Remove me from this list, too!
Lone voice of reason: Stop using "reply all." This is ridiculous. You're filling up the mailboxes of literally everyone on campus.
80 other people: Remove me from the list!!!!

Every. Week.

xanne

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 01:41:29 PM »
I sent a message out to the people I work with trying to determine if there was enough interest to hold an event.  Message said the since the number of people in the building is now 1/3 of the population from last year, will enough people participate to make it worthwhile, please let me know.  Mr. Bigshot VP sends out that there are not enough people and no one has the experience to run the event (one I had worked on for 2 years at other locations), reply all.  Needless to say, no more responses came after that one.  Up to that point I had 5 volunteers to assist, 2 to put on workshops and about 10 others who wanted to participate in the 10 minutes prior to the VP's reply.

JoieGirl7

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 01:47:29 PM »
("this way we can all get in contact with each other!") and it happens almost weekly for at least one of the groups.


"I don't want everyone to get in contact with me and I am sure that others are inconvenienced by this too.  By not controlling how we send out email we are likely cutting down the number of people we reach because people will just set up rules in their email to dump our communications into the spam folder."

I don't know that they would get the message though.  Everyone thinks that what they are sending out is the most important thing EVER.  It never occurs to them that people have lives and other interests and while they would like to be informed of goings on, they do not want it to take a disproportionate amount of their attention.

Julian

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 07:25:53 PM »
At my last job, at a university, emails to "all faculty/staff" weren't BCCed. And "reply all" was the default on our email program. The result was that an exchange like this would happen pretty much once a week:

Campus police:
Renew your parking permits by Tuesday!
Professor Mortimer T. Jingles: Professor Jingles is out of the office and will return your email when he returns
Sally Jones: Why did I get this email? Remove me from the list.
40 other people also hitting reply all: Remove me from this list, too!
Lone voice of reason: Stop using "reply all." This is ridiculous. You're filling up the mailboxes of literally everyone on campus.
80 other people: Remove me from the list!!!!

Every. Week.

We had this happen at a previous job (hospital).  Facilities management sent out an email to 'all' re some diseased trees that were a problem.  Cue the 3,000+ staff across the site all hitting 'reply all' to complain about the trees, complain about the plans to cut the trees down, complain about the barrage of emails, to complain about reply all, to complain about the complaints, to complain about the complaints about the complaints...

It crashed the email server.

Browyn

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 10:13:59 AM »
Very large company, 40K+ employees.

Person at headquarters office thinks he has picked all staff at his location email group to announce there are free cookies in the breakroom.

Accidentally gets all employees email group.

All the reply all nonsense and jokes about "we didn't get any cookies" brought the email system to a halt.  IT had to shut down the email system and delete the emails to get things fixed.

I figure the poor guy who sent the original email was hiding under a desk by then.

wyliefool

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 10:21:37 AM »
I worked for a large, national company.  The email address format was firstname.lastname at compnayname dot com, or firstinitial.lastname, depending on factors I never figured out.  I have a common name.  In this huge national company there were three other people with my exact name and 5 more who's name started with the same letter as my first name with the same last name.  The "reply all" assaults were even more aggravating when I was the wrong mmswm to begin with.

I can't say I ever figured out a great way to keep people from emailing me sensitive customer data when I wasn't the right mmswm, let alone ending the reply all assaults.  Delete is your friend.

I had this problem for a while. The problem was that my name alphabetized first in the global address, and therefore also in the email autofill. At first, i forwarded to the correct person. 'I think this is for you.' But it kept happening. So, I wrote up an email draft that said basically 'Hi, you've reached the wrong [name]. To prevent this happening in the future, follow these procedures to add [othername's] email to your autofill. [etc]' People must have followed the instructions, because it didn't happen nearly as much. And most of them sent back an apology. Except the one dude who sent a snarky 'I know how to use email, thanks.' And then proceeded to send me another email meant for [othername] a couple days later.  ::)

Eventually my branch of the company was sold so it stopped happening.

GratefulMaria

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 10:23:41 AM »
Someone I know had an adult daughter living in the WDC area in the fall of 2001.  When daughter sent a not-too-large group email letting people know she was fine after the anthrax attacks, mom emailed back and included an invitation to come up home to New England for a weekend -- except she hit "reply all" and had a bunch of other recipients joking that, sure, they'd be up, and thanks for the invite!

Edited to correct year.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 11:12:28 AM »
Way back in the early '90s when my work was just getting email, a friend was taking the training course.  One of the smart alecks in the class was supposed to send an email just to him and wrote something not-so-vaguely suggestive.

Turns out, he sent it company wide!  Because the first thing in the address dropdown was the one that went company wide.

My friend, being the quick thinking man he was, quickly hit 'reply all' and said something like, 'Hey, John.  Thanks for the compliment.  How's that email training going?'  Completely diffused the situation and no one got in trouble.

It took years before the finally changed the first listing in the dropdown to go to the IT helpdesk, instead of company wide.  It took another few, more innocuous mistakes before it happened.
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lurkerwisp

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2013, 02:22:29 PM »
My grad school had a listserv.

Two professors (with offices down the hall from each other) kept stubbornly replying to the listserv address while having an extremely heated argument that devolved into name calling and insulting each other, their students, and the school.  It got so bad that I had to remove myself from the listserv to stop getting these emails.  Several other people had replied to the nasty messages to try and let the two professors know that their argument was public, but they just didn't seem to get it.  The whole listserv also got to read their "but I'm replying to Prof. X, not to the server.  If you're seeing my posts she's doing it wrong, not me" back and forth as well.

Everyone on the listserv got all of these emails - including former students, the students that were insulted in the messages, and prospective students who'd joined the list before coming to the school.  It was really miserable and unprofessional.  But apparently there was no way to stop it.  There's also not apparently a way to stop people from using reply all in less horrible ways.

TootsNYC

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Re: The Reply-All Assault
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 11:06:05 PM »
My grad school had a listserv.

Two professors (with offices down the hall from each other) kept stubbornly replying to the listserv address while having an extremely heated argument that devolved into name calling and insulting each other, their students, and the school.  It got so bad that I had to remove myself from the listserv to stop getting these emails.  Several other people had replied to the nasty messages to try and let the two professors know that their argument was public, but they just didn't seem to get it.  The whole listserv also got to read their "but I'm replying to Prof. X, not to the server.  If you're seeing my posts she's doing it wrong, not me" back and forth as well.

Everyone on the listserv got all of these emails - including former students, the students that were insulted in the messages, and prospective students who'd joined the list before coming to the school.  It was really miserable and unprofessional. But apparently there was no way to stop it. There's also not apparently a way to stop people from using reply all in less horrible ways.

Probably if their boss had walked into their office or called them on the phone to say "knock it off!" that might have stopped it.

Or a friendly colleague calling them on the phone or speaking to them in person to explain the problem, that might have stopped it.