Reply to All

Email has become a part of our life as much as using an ATM machine or having a cell phone.  So, why do people still reply to all?  Perhaps there should be a small book on email etiquette.  Here are some basics.

1 – Don’t fight over email.  If you have issues, pick up the phone or say them face to face.
2 – Humor doesn’t come across so easily in email regardless of a funny face.
3 – Keep email short and sweet.
4 – Most important, don’t reply to all.  This is one of my big pet peeves. 

I get emails for the kids all the time.  School, sports and after school events.  The coach wants to know if your kid will be at the game.  The coach wants to know not all the parents.  People hit reply to all and we get to find out that Johnny loves baseball and will be there.  Frankly, I don’t care.  It just clogs up my box.  Information about a school gift.  Someone replies to all and uses it as a forum for their dismay at something else happening in the school.  Did I ask for that?  No.  The person who sends the email is the person who should be replied to.  Reply is not reply to all.

Email etiquette.  I’d love to hear other people’s email do and don’ts.  Maybe I’ll put a book together "email for dummies".  This is where I would put the little smiley face because that made me laugh, maybe not you but me.

Comments (Archived):

  1. ivan

    Please care about spelling and punctuation in emails.
    Please cut out the endless quoted history of the conversation – I hate getting six miles of the conversation with every reply.
    Please edit the Subject line to make sense if the conversation moves on.
    Please at least acknowledge if I send you something that seems remotely important.

  2. Roland Turner

    I can certainly understand your irritation at unwarranted use of reply-to-all, but you missed the other villian, the original sender (coach) who failed to use BCC in the first place. In the situation that you describe, the original message should not have included the list of recipients, rather the sender should have listed the recipients in the BCC list, not the TO/CC lists. The recipients would then have seen something like “To: (recipient list withheld)” and even reply-to-all would only have gone back to the original sender.

    (I learned this the hard way years ago when I invited a bunch of friends to a party, many of whom did not know each other, but I used a visible list of recipients. One of my etiquette-challenged invitees decided that this was an appropriate list of people to whom to post an advert for the car that he was trying to sell at that time. Several of my friends were less than impressed.)

  3. Fraser

    Hi Gotham Gal,

    Long time reader, first time poster (I think :))

    I agree with all of your email rules.

    I started experimenting with a singular rule that I called the “Blackberry-esque” response in January and have loved the results.

    It’s simple:

    If a Blackberry-esque response is appropriate, then use a Blackberry-esque response.

    Definition: a Blackberry-esque response is a simple, clear, and concise response to an email that simply contains the pertinent information. And nothing else. (Think of the typical email you receive that has “sent from my Blackberry” attached to the bottom).

    Here’s another thing that I dislike: the people who send out every email with “high importance” turned on.

    Am I really going to respond to your email quicker because of the exclamation point? (And ask yourself: does a photo of your new desk deserve high priority?)

  4. Chrysta

    1) If you are writing me a friendly letter from your work email, please delete your signature, with your title and credentials. I know what you do.

    2) If you HAVE to include your signature, please write your email BEFORE your signature, and not AFTER.

    3) Same goes for the email, itself. If you are replying to my email, and want to include my original email, please respond to it BEFORE my email, not AFTER–so I don’t have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find your response.

  5. mike logan

    Hi. I came across this site while looking for Blackberry etiquette. My question and comment I guess is: Does a blackberry owner have to write “sent from my blackberry wireless handheld”? I have personally removed it so people do not think I am showing off or expect a quick reply – allowing me more time to reply, if so needed.
    What do you all think?