Disconnect That Button: Reply-All Just Causes Trouble


“Reply All” is the e-mail button everybody loves to hate, says the Wall Street Journal. Some people hate it because they’ve accidentally sent a confidential e-mail to “all.” Others hate it because they’re constantly being CCed on e-mail that doesn’t really involve them. The people who develop e-mail systems recognize the perils of the reply-all button. Sperry Software has developed an add-on to Microsoft Outlook called the “Reply to All Monitor.” Its features include a prompt that asks “are you sure?” before releasing a reply-all. AOL is considering showing dozens of face icons in the reply field so it will be visually clear that you’re about to send a message to a huge list.

My favorite part of the Journal “reply all” story is the graphic which shows the chronology of an e-mail storm. It’s such a perfect description of something that happened at my office a few months back. A message about a troubled cable installation was sent to thousands of fellow Time Warner employees. And then dozens of colleagues hit their reply-all button to inform the sender that they didn’t want to be included in follow-up e-mail. Then somebody else hit reply-all to tell the others to stop e-mailing. This type of e-mail storm overloads a server with thousands of unwanted messages.

 

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

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