5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All”

One pet peeve that I share with a lot of people I know is the use of “Reply All” in email – especially when every recipient on the mailing list doesn’t need to be included in the response.

It’s very frustrating and such a waste of time having to click through useless back and forth email chatter when the topic doesn’t apply to me. The problem is that because I’m copied on the email chain, I falsely assume that I have to read all the messages and therefore I cannot just ignore them. In my previous job, this caused such a major productivity issue that the company literally removed the “Reply All” button and hid it so that employees think twice about using the feature.

If you’re the person replying back, there is only one simple, obvious rule that you need to follow: Don’t use “reply all” if only the original sender needs to read your message.

Of course, there are many situations where it makes sense to respond back to everyone on the list, such as for brainstorming ideas or for updating working documents. However, most cases don’t require that everyone read what you have to say, especially if it’s one of the following 5 annoying replies that frequently come up:

Have you experienced any other annoying reply all’s? Let me know in the comments section below!


233 responses to “5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All”

  1. Pingback: 5 situações em que você NÃO deve usar “Reply All” « It Comes And It Goes

  2. Love this post! On my part, I get too conscious in using ‘Reply all’ most of the time. I have to re-read my reply several times before it gets sent. Also, I usually get the desire to remove some of the people copied in the e-mail. But apparently, it’s unethical to remove that person unless you have a very valid reason to (read it somewhere). If it’s just to say Thank You, sometimes, I don’t reply at all unless it’s really such a big thing and I really mean it. I know that the message goes to the Delete box as quickly as possible anyway so why bother. If you’re an admin support, you get lots of e-mails you have no idea what they’re about. You must have lots of patience in dealing with it.

    • I dunno. I only get large-sender-list things for work, where it’s not unethical, just uncouth, to randomly exclude people if you’re including all of the rest of the department. Did you really need a book to tell you that?

      Those kinds of emails bridge the gap between emails and forums and kind of why BBSes died off — you can just do the same thing with email.

      I tend to include too many people just to cover bases — the boss, the manager who deals with the account, my direct superior, all get copied on anything. They can trash it if it’s of no concern to them — but I’m in no position to say “well I just thought it’d be better.” This way I can say, “I emailed you on this day to let you know and, as always, ask your opinion.”

      • Ah, the reference serves as a disclaimer, which you obviously missed. Is there even a whole book discussing just the “reply all”? Maybe you should make one. I wonder if people will buy it, more so, read it. One thing’s for sure though, I wouldn’t.

  3. The ultimate annoying reply is a suggestion that the sender (poster) needs to RECLAIM THEIR MIND

  4. ha! this is funny! confirmed my suspicion that i’m from another planet. never had a reason to use reply all but that would annoy the crap out of me!

  5. too funny!! At my workplace last year, they instituted a “reply all” rule for all business to business e-mails. ok, sure, no problem, I can follow directions. Yeah, 4 months later they cancelled that rule, because similar to your previous workplace, people were getting zillions of e-mails they really didn’t care about, including “thanks”, or “I’ll get back to you”.

    Not exactly a “reply all” e-mail pet peeve, but If I send you an e-mail with any kind of person conversational anything, don’t forward it (along w/all our previous replies) to a professional contact of yours that you think I’d like to network with. Not cool!!

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA now I need to borrow this post and send to my company 🙂 It’s funny because we do the same thing. If someone has a baby, everyone must have their share in the matter, “Awwwww, so cute” “Another baby!!” “He looks like his mother/father” lol. It can get pretty lengthy, the people who respond, but I don’t get too annoyed, though.

  7. Great post! I haven’t this problem, most of my friends and family know I hate group emails and they keep me out of them. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  8. this is so true, we go to the pub for lunch on a friday and sometimes the boss sends a “whose in??” email. you then get 19 “i am” and “yeah sure” emails. its so annoying!

  9. I think the first 3 are all debatable – others on the list may want to share the conversation. if you don’t then say so – but I agree no. 4 is annoying!

  10. Haha~~ I wanted to say Lol but I’d better not do it :p
    anyway, I like it~

  11. Oh My Goodness… YES! Thank you!
    Perhaps you could offer a How (Not) To session for companies all over America. It’s obviously needed!

  12. Not only have I received a “Thank you” reply all…I’ve also received the subsequent “You’re welcome” reply all. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. 😦

    Great post. I think most of us can relate, sadly…

  13. I’ve gotten reply alls that we’re clearly meant as a personal reply for the eyes of original sender only. “Can’t make the meeting – my hemorrhoids have flared up again.” You feel embarrassed for the sender and yourself for having to read something so personal .

    Now I work in a small office and we never have to send email. If we need to tell someone something, we just holler. Works great.

    Congrats on FP – it’s great fun.

  14. It’s funny that you mention the “Reply All” issue. A friend of mine sent an email to myself and five other people just to catch up and see how everyone was doing. By the time I opened this email I had six other emails waiting in my inbox. Only two of these emails applied directly to me and required a response. In this case, I didn’t mind because it was nice to see what the others were up to and I genuinely cared about their lives.

    I can see how this could be a major time waster with larger companies though. Your previous employer made a smart move by removing the reply all button, but it just goes to show you how crazy the problem can get. Maybe using Reply All in the way that you would use a chat forum isn’t always the best idea.

  15. Funny! I think you hit them all with your post. I think the worst reply all was when my superior would say, “so-and-so, what do YOU think of this idea?” This forced people to answer to everyone. It was mean.

  16. Good points! However, I have been burned (and annoyed) more often by recipients NOT hitting reply all, when they really need to. When you’re collaborating in a virtual team and utilizing email to communicate as a group, it is highly annoying to have to fill the rest of the team in on what someone has said by replying only to the original author.

  17. I usually work with small teams, so even the occasional “reply all” mishap isn’t enough to really clutter up my inbox.

    I did work at a startup with around 30 or so people a couple years ago, which was a bit of an incestuous place filled with alcohol and a fair amount of extra-curricular debauchery (side note: the startup did not succeed). “You left your panties here, I’ll bring them to work on Monday” is most definitely not a “reply all” moment.

  18. Is it almost the same that I have huge issues with people being copied into emails just for the sake of it? Of course it could also be one of the following;-
    1. To make the sender look good to his/her superior
    2. To ensure the recipient gets his/her mistake/bad idea noticed by all to ensure humiliation. (and in turn to make themselves feel better.) (!?)
    3. To brown nose.

    Excellent post … I can certainly relate!

  19. In my office usually the Reply alls are mistakes and they are HILARIOUS. We are talking embarrassing hilarious. For example, last year the editor sent something out to everyone in the newsroom about the poor state of the company. A few moments later one of the senior reporters send out a reply all with a joke about how the editor is the one driving the paper into the ground. He meant to send it to one of his fellow reporters. Painful and funny at the same time. Kind of like watching someone trip and fall or get kicked in the…


  20. We use group distribution email lists at work a lot. Some d-lists might have hundreds of people in it. The reply all that bugs me the most is “please remove me from this list”. The worst thing about it is you sometimes see a dozen or so reply all with this comment.

  21. Love this post. At my job it happens on a daily basis. I get copied on email chains that only required me to view the first message. Unfortunately I get to see every thank you, ditto and it is agreed that is then REPLIED TO ALL. It is very frustrating and I wish people would take the time to think before they hit Reply All.

  22. and i thought i was the only one who is not a fan of the reply all option, u right sometimes it really doesnt need to be read by everyone on the list

  23. Whether to “reply-all” can be a tricky judgment call and it can be even worse to err in the other direction. My suggestion would be to move away from emails and instead use wikis, a WordPress like blog/comment function, or newsgroups (depending on the exact context and circumstances) for any discussion that could be lengthy or involve many people. This has the advantage of putting the recipient in the driver’s seat: He decides which messages he wants to subscribe to, which he wants to visit later in bulk, and which he wants to ignore. As demonstrated by e.g. the talk pages at Wikipedia and many comment threads on WordPress, this can work very well.

  24. I hate the ‘Reply all’ system…… It’s really annoying!
    Great post!

  25. This is such a valid blog post that it should be printed and posted above each and every water cooler in corporate America! It should be a mandatory part of our “New Employee Handbook”. And we should forward it to every single email address in our address book….well ok, maybe that is pushing it.

  26. My favorite would be a “reply to all” that comes after several other “replies to all” and states “Wow, sorry, I was just at the bathroom and, you know how I have this constipation issue, it took some time. Did I miss anything?”

    a) THAT neither the original sender nor anyone else needed to know.
    b) WAY to many commas in the reply.
    c) NOTable lack of “listening” before speaking (there already were replies).

    PS: Excuse my login name. It does not mean “die nicely”. It rather is purposely grammatically incorrect German.

  27. The annoying ones happen at work. A fellow employee will reply all on an email, including the customer, and say something the customer should never here. That is annoying.

  28. Very amusing this post. Most things I find to be most humorous are those things that have a level of truth to them, which is why this post is funny. Just as you stated feeling obligated to look through all the meaningless jabber because its in your inbox, “wasting!” your precious time, I am there with you 100%. I hear myself thinking, ” did they really have to reply to that?” “And, why don’t I know these people?”

  29. Yes, I hate reply all messages. A friend of mine always sends a pic of new outfits she bought and always wants a “What do you think” response and I always reply back to the pic, but it gets sent to everyone else she sent it to. I always forget about it. It just needs to be erased from cell phones tho.. haha

  30. Sheesh, I HATE reply-all. I hardly ever use it, and I get so annoyed when other people use it.

    Anecdote: A friend sent me a joke. There were millions of people in the To: field, and many of them were uber-religious. The reply-alls were all terribly evangelical, which may have been great for some people on the list, as they were a group of church friends, but they certainly did not apply to me – just because I happened to be a friend/colleague of the original sender. I eventually had to ask each evangelist to take me off their mailing lists. It crops up again each time the original friend includes me in an email with a joke/family picture etc. Madness! Maddening!

  31. Doesn’t it drive you even more nuts when you pull out of a reply to all situation and respond to one individual…only to find that they have copied everyone back in their response to you? Ugh.

  32. Great post! I fully agree. I’d love to see a future post on finding a more creative reply than LOL. It is so over-used. Is everyone really laughing out loud that much? I think not.

  33. I love this post. I may print it out and post it in the break room at my job. Because if I sent it around as an e-mail, everyone would want to ‘reply-all’.

    One thing I’ve learned that cripples the chronic ‘reply-all’-ers is utilizing the blind copy feature. That way even if they hit reply-all, it should only reply to the original sender. Some companies have disabled this option as well, but sometimes it is necessary!

  34. I completely agree with this post ad would add “kk” to the list!

  35. For some reason, people tend to include me in messages that have nothing to do with me in the first place…then they “Reply All” all the time. I then sift through meaningless information for the next 37 minutes trying to figure out why it was sent to me in the first place.

    It has come to the point where, if I see that it is indeed a “Reply All” type of message, I just delete it. If I REALLY need to be informed of what is going on, someone will send me a message personally…well, hopefully. 😉

  36. Oh, and I just read your About me page, and saw your book and that reminded me of another pet hate: when people don’t use BCC when sending to loads of people who don’t know each other. I HATE that!

    Also agree with She.Is.Just.A.Rat!

  37. lol …haha nice post!!!

  38. I agree! Congrats! Thank you! LOL!

    Oh… wait… sorry.

    We had a rash of reply all faux pas events at my old company. Somebody accidentally sent a message to the world-wide “all managers and above” list. In a company with over 100K people, that ends up being a lot of managers. The first 25 responses were very petulant replies to all demanding to be taken off that list. The CEO was on the list. He actually had HR send out a memo to all managers on correct use of reply all and about being careful about what one asks for, since the way to get off the managers list was to cease to be a manager at our company.

  39. really annoying, specially in facebook messages. I wonder why facebook has only ‘reply all’ and no ‘reply’ option. Messages pile up from people you don’t even know…

  40. Pingback: 5 annoying replies that don’t need “reply to all” « BRING THE NOISE

  41. Haha, I used to hate that on Facebook more than email. When your tagged into a photo or status every time anyone replies you get a notification. It gets to a point where you beg to be untagged from the photo or status.

  42. This is why I try and actually “walk” up to the person I need the answer, or help from, and engage in conversation. Amazing how much more obliging people are when you take the time to see them in person.

    Love this post :).

  43. At LAST…. I’m not the only one who finds this sooooo annoying.

    I had a rant in the office the other week about people who feel the need to hit reply to all to say “thanks”.aaaargghh I don’t care and stop filling my inbox up with rubblish!!!!

    Great post!

  44. There was this new guy at some location who needed to get a new workstation registered or something and he mailed everyone in the company(over 10k employees) instead of the help-desk by mistake. it was near closing time. next day there were like a hundred fifty messages flooding everyone’s mailboxes. fifty wanted out of the list, fifty were saying they were not the concerned party and 50 had started joking about him becoming famous overnight! #1,3,4,5 all in one!

    • masrwatouness

      Now thats a great way to get known in a company where you are new and too shy to knock at everyone’s door 🙂

  45. The one thing I don’t like is when a meeting agenda is sent out and when someone can’t make it they “reply all” with their apologies. Realistically, they only need to tell the chair. AARGH!

  46. Saba Tahir Siddiqui

    I guess the most annoying “reply-all”s i get are on Facebook messages where all there is is “ahan” or “k”. it’s annoying because i usually get so excited to see a (1) or (2) message notification!

  47. Haha! I don’t even use reply all. It seems kind of silly to me. I love how ‘LOL’ is on the list. The remove me from the mailing list is funny, too.


  48. Hahaha I loved that illustration! Read Receipts and Reply All is a passive aggressive “I hate you all” action.

    Congratulations on being FP!!

  49. The truth of this is overwhelming. You could also add ‘Ok’, ‘Sounds good’, and (my favorite) ‘I’ll be there’ to that list.

  50. thank you for your post. I don’t know about this rule “reply”

  51. Yeh I agree lol great post!

  52. I’m with Saba. I hate the emails (and text messages) that just say “k.” I think it is safe to assume if I don’t respond with a rebuttal then whatever you said was fine.

  53. constantly, for instance when someone by accident replies to the group “EVERYONE”, suddenly you get a massive load of useless e-mail. And it just keeps going and going and going… -_-‘

  54. Pingback: Influence By The Great Writing Deities! (whoever they are…) | My Write Side

  55. I like when people reply all even when the message specifically says “do NOT reply all.”

  56. Reply Alls are almost as irritating as those web jokes many people tend to send to the masses.

  57. I can’t agree more. I am constantly getting “Reply All” e-mails that merely say “Thanks” or “Noted”. Even more annoying is being forwarded an e-mail with the message “FYI” when I’ve already received the e-mail from the original sender. I’m always baffled when this happens.

  58. The Compulsive Writer

    You know what is even more annoying… when someone presses “reply all” and they didn’t mean to. This can and has, created an awkward situation for the sender and the recipients. Case in point: Last week I was invited to a girls night out. Nothing big.. just drinks on Friday around 5pm. Thing is, one girl, who apparently lost a bet with her husband, had chosen that night to pay up. (Cough Cough) needless to say, she thought she was replying to the hostess ( a girl who she knew very very well) and divulged all the (cough cough) in’s and out’s of the whole ante if you get my drift. She knows now that she sent it to everyone and ..seriously…it was wayyyyy to much information from someone I barely knew. Funny for me…not so funny for her. It also ruined my lunch (which I was eating when I checked my email.)

  59. I’ve taken to rolling my eyes at certain people who always answer with some version of “Congrats” instead of looking at their self-aggrandizing-reply. I’m thinking of stealing your reply list and sending it to my one reply-crazy group. Can I?

  60. My friend was trying to plan a meeting. For days I kept getting emails like “Friday’s bad” or “I’m allergic to shellfish.” NO. BODY. CARES!

  61. And replies that are only emoticons. Really.

  62. Great post!

  63. OMG, yes! It’s sooo annoying! I get the Reply All on FB messages, and I really don’t care when two people start having a personal conversation and everyone has to read it.

    Great post!

  64. When I mass email a group of people I often put a line towards the end asking people to think twice before replying to all. It works but then it is pretty lame I have to do it in the first place.

  65. Pingback: Etiqueta virtual | psSil!

  66. This post is the TRUTH! I totally agree.

  67. congrats! i agree. thank you!
    please remove me from this list.

  68. I recommend

    1. Use reply all to write an inane comment
    2. Follow it up about 5 minutes later with a PS
    and then just to cap it off,
    3. A few more minutes later hit them all with a PPS

    Before long EVERYONE in the company will ignore you in person AS WELL as by email. Sorted.

  69. Very amusing. And there’s the other side of this, like when you’re trying to set up a family event—looking for shared input, please!—but no, everything comes back straight reply, not an “all” in the batch. Oh, well.

    Congratulations on your Freshly Pressed.

  70. missylikestoramble

    I love this post. In fact, I had been pondering writing my own post about this very same topic but you beat me too it! hahaha Good work!

  71. ditto on the annoyed with ‘reply all’ messages – i don’t have time to read all those! mostly because i’m busy reading responses to blogs sites…*hahah*

  72. Yes, this is extremely annoying, I can’t understand why people still do it, shouldn’t they have learned by now, it isn’t as though email is something new…

  73. Pingback: 5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All” | The Couch Manager | Gealachs Blogg

  74. I agree. “Reply all” is obviously an organizational element to getting out the “word.” That should be it. No more. I stopped that kind of traffic by simply putting a footnote at the bottom of my mass sent-out emails for work. Please do not respond to this email unless you have a specific question regarding its content. If possible, respond to me only. Email in general has ‘dumb down” our communication. Try for one week using email for communication that is absolutely essential and when writing, treat the communication simple and to the point with an approach as if writing a letter on paper. Keep it professional. Others will be glad you did.

  75. It’s weird, I can take the letter K in a text, but I don’t like tons of emails for one or two word responses.

    • Likewise. Probably because checking and answering emails take a little more effort on the go; however, can be received as frequently as a text. With phones which retrieve both, it can become time consuming-if allowed. Don’t you think?

  76. I could not agree with you more. It drives me insane when people go nutty with “reply all.” Another pet peeve: When people copy everyone and their brother when it’s not necessary. Really, people! Aren’t we busy enough!

  77. I once pressed ‘Reply All’ by mistake whinging to my department about their inability to put department equipment away properly. It went to the entire school instead… whoops. I then had lots of people replying to me going, “I didn’t even know we had laptops, can I borrow them?” Er… no. Emma

  78. I love this. But I would argue your list of 5 is really only 4. Because – seriously, how many people are really LOLing. I mean and if you really wrote them something that got them laughing, is that the best they can do? Lame.

    Nicely done. (And thanks for visiting me on my Freshly Pressed bloggie. I was the twit who wrote about how I tricked my book club into a writing exercise. Strange how it was filed under food. I know I mentioned chocolate, but seriously… (*kicks the dirt*)

  79. Pingback: 5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All” (via The Couch Manager) « slices of ink

  80. mysoulforsale

    Oh my dear God yes… you are preaching to the choir my new friend. The “Reply All” button is one of my many pet peeves. I’ve looked at some of your other posts, and it’s just as I suspected: our blogs have smiliar-ish content. I’m going to add your link to my blogroll because I want to be able to come back and touch base with you from time to time. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  81. AGREE!!! I hate those reply all emails too… especially those thanks emails that cc myself… it is super annoying when there are 10 people in the list and all reply thanks and cc me!

  82. I’m try to always be really careful about who I reply to. first of all because I find reply all annoying and second because when I respond to something it is normally not in a group way but to individuals.

  83. oh my goodness! this is the most annoying thing ever! I’m so glad you wrote a blog about it! I swear everytime a mass email gets sent out I get minimum 5 replies of “I can’t go” or “I’m confused” that have absolutely nothing to do with me. haha!! it’s so obnoxious!!

  84. If you are using outlook 2007 or 2010, Microsoft has an add-in that will let you disable the Reply All or Forwarding features. Really handy when you know you have dumb people out there who can’t tell one button from another.


  85. Wow! It really took a post to elucidate a notion that should be common sense for most people? And then to have nearly 100 comments fawning over it to cash in on the cachet of being freshly pressed (congratulations, by the way)? No wonder America continues to slide gracefully into Third-World status….

    –the Gassy Guy

  86. Nice points. This is why I’m glad I work with a relatively small group of people. I would perhaps beg to differ on point #4. Usually this response is not relevant at work. Some spammers get my email without my permission, and make it nearly impossible to unsubscribe (one even required my social security number before it would unsubscibe me)! When that happens, to be honest, I first try to call or email a company rep. But if that does not work, I unleash my not so polite opinion of the spammer company, no matter how many people have to read it. 😉

  87. Would anyone like a lift to the meeting next week?

    Yes I would.
    So would I
    Can I have a lift too?
    I am driving also if anyone’s interested.
    Great, I’ll come in your car then.

    I really don’t need to know this.

  88. I never knew that could be such a problem a company would remove it!

  89. Very true. I get a lot of those too 🙂 They do not concern you at all, yet you feel obliged to read them not to miss anything that might concern you – what a waste of time!

  90. By far, the most annoying to me is “Please remove me from this list”. I so want to reply, “Please read and follow instructions, dopey.”

  91. Yes this is so true. The only thing more annoying than this is the underuse of the blind carbon copy (BCC). If you are sending something to a large number of people bcc as I do not like having to scroll past 100 emails to read three lines of text or even one line that reads “lol.” 🙂

  92. Great subject, I do not like getting a reply to all and it can be embarassing depending on what the subject is.
    People need to stop and think before sending I think everyone has had an emarassing moment with this one.

  93. I know what you mean, I use to get that with Facebook, I would just delete the thread.

  94. Or the classic reply-all without realizing the person you are making fun of was CC in the email and therefore getting the reply all to… not good…


  96. Totally agree, I have a boss that requires we reply all to everyone in the department about any email. It’s so annoying to have to read about anything not relevant to my department or my particular job. Thank you it was a funny post.

  97. This is why the BCC should be used. I hate getting a mass email where you can see everyone that it was sent to, particularly when you don’t know the other people. This is how viruses can spread too.

  98. I’ve never really had a problem with “Reply All”, but I can see how it can get frustrating. However, I usually use jus the “Reply” button…I guess it just makes more sense if you’re wanting to tell a person something – just tell THEM it. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed! 😉


  99. Great post. Reply all has the potential to be the most annoying technological “convenience” ever invented. When I was a freshman in college, someone decided to e-mail a class of about 100 people to plan something for the teacher’s birthday. People responded with plans and even later “quit e-mailing me” messages and hit reply all. I don’t want your “quit e-mailing me” messages any more than you would like them, so why hit reply all? I just deleated all the messages. It was the only thing to do.

  100. Great Post. I am going to share it with all my friends…or is that what annoys you?



  101. Can’t anyone just TALK to each other? I hate email, I hate reply all, and I hate thank you emails. What a waste of time.

  102. Great post!
    That applies to mobile phones on public transport too! I heard a girl let her friend on the phone know that she had a cyst removed from her cervix 5 times, each time louder than the other. I did not need to know this. Also, had a guy let an old mate know that he and his wife were going to start trying for another baby in November… woohoo for the unprotected sex!

    About the reply all button though, we had a girl in my office lose a friend rather suddenly in a bus accident and our secretary sent a memo around letting everyone know that there is a card that can be signed (optional signing!) that will go along with a bunch of flowers. Although not a reply all incident, we instead found out that the office bully had accidentally hit reply instead of ‘new message’ and had written something along the lines of ‘Oh, that ska*k just wants us to buy HER flowers to make her feel better about herself, she can blow me!’ not even having taken in that the flowers were for a different person due to a sudden death. He walked around with his tail between his legs for a good 3 months after that and everyone found out through the grapevine.

  103. As someone else pointed out – people should use bcc more often.
    My Mum always does now, so there isnt a huge line of email addresses, and so that other peoples email addresses aren’t given to other people they don’t know!!!
    Forwarding all the email addresses is quite rude and invasive, really, lol.

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  105. Great post! We must really consider what information we send and who exactly receives it. It can certainly make a difference in professional etiquette and avoid potentially embarrassing moments.

  106. OrdinaryDayinParadise

    Love it, congrats on Freshly Pressed! On a similar note, an associate working in our Human Resources department of all places, accidentally sent the following email to every associate in the building (about 1200 people including the CEO):

    Girl, I am so BORED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And, of course it was in a bright pink, curly font too. Needless to say, I don’t think she’s with the company any more.

  107. When I use “Reply all” I take out the people who do not need the email reply. This saves me from looking up and typing in/checking off the emails it does apply to. Faster than doing it the other way, I think.
    Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  108. Love this post! Unnecessary use of “Reply All” is definitely one of my pet peeves. I often see this even outside of the work setting, where it definitely isn’t necessary for everyone to be included in your statement of “Congrats” or “thank you”. Most people I know are too overwhelmed with email as it is.

  109. Brilliant! This should be one of those training requirements like eithics, prevention of sexual harrassment, and the quarterly fire drill!

  110. hahaha!!! this post is hilarious!! congrats on FP!!

  111. The best one I got was a massmail asking if anyone had paper clips and all the people answering that they didn’t have any, but they thought Susie had some. The original person said they sent the note to save money so they wouldn’t buy extra paper clips. Guess they didn’t think what it cost the company for all those people to spend time reading all the stupid emails.

    Congrats on being FP! Keep blogging.

  112. I’ve taken to emailing via a BCC or to saying in the email “DO NOT REPLY ALL!” and it works for the most part. Totally share in your frustration with this!

  113. So TRUE! I’ve also experienced situations where someone hits “reply all” on accident and sends a damning message to everyone on the list by mistake. Either way, “Reply All” should be re-named, “Bad Idea.”

  114. I think it should be a offense punishable by flogging or walking the plank. I’m an admin and I get tons those incredibly stupid reply all mails. There are 50 of us and you would think these 50 admins would know by now. What really makes me spit my coffee is when I get a crabby one from someone about “stop using reply all” and they use the reply all button.

  115. I positive story about “Reply All.”

    When I was 19, I was a regular in one of those proto-internet type chatrooms, before people were really very savvy about computers or the internet. I had made a few friends there; one day, one of the friends sent out a mass e-mail about the chat server that we used; I had a funny reply, so I replied all and sent it out. Then, I got an e-mail in my box from someone I didn’t know, who had received the e-mail: “Hi there. I don’t think I know you–would you mind telling me who you are?” We started e-mailing back and forth.

    As it turns out, the young man who e-mailed me had heard alllll about me from our mutual friends, and had been waiting for a chance to introduce himself. Nine years later, we’re happily married 🙂 So, when you get those annoying replies to all, you never know what could be happening with all of the other people receiving that message!

    (I’m not usually that positive or inspirational, so this is really taking a toll on me–I must away to rant about something.)

  116. Reply all is a serious issue at my work. I got 7 emails today that were meant for someone else because I was accidentally added to the first email. So annoying! We also have a new lady who is very into asking questions I don’t care about in reply all mode. I want to issue her an IDBS, better known as Inter-Department Bitch Slap. Have a great night!

  117. Once we had someone send a 4.5mb photo to around 320 of us – the email system literally stopped working till the next day.

  118. Very clever! I totally agree. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  119. What I hate even more than ‘reply alls’ are the dreaded chain mails. Those just drive me crazy and I find them absolutely useless! ‘Send this to 10 people and you’ll have good health’ yeah, right, bunch of bullcrap. Luckily with my work I don’t deal with reply all situations or else I’d get pretty annoyed too.

  120. I deal with e-mails like these on a daily basis. My work uses Gmail threads to communicate each day, and we get enough e-mails as it is. The last thing I want to see is someone just saying: “Haha” “Cool” “Thanks” or something COMPLETELY off topic and unnecessary. People should stop and think “Is what I’m considering sending as a reply of importance to this conversation.” If people did that, it would save us all some aggravation.

  121. I defintiely agree! Some people even use “reply all” to claim “You were copied!” but the problem is if you keep copying me in the loop I might get used to it and end up ignoring your email.

    Also, some people copy all to cover themselves up in case they missed something and hope someone else would see their error- and if nobody did- “it’s not my fault!”

  122. even before i clicked the link i guessed 4 out of the 5. funny list good post

  123. LOL – and if the list is large enough, you start to get auto-reply messages that so-and-so is on vacation, immediately following each Thank You, LOL, or I agree sent to everyone.

  124. Oh, this is such a great post. Thank you! I guess most people don’t think before hitting the button (and maybe some email clients have ‘Reply all’ as a default feature?)

    I’d written an email tips post recently in which I addressed this (http://blog.affinityexpress.com/2011/02/11/tips-on-business-email-addressing-the-email/), but yours cuts to the chase so much better.

  125. I HATE when people “reply all.” Especially when my RA or RD sends out emails to everyone on my floor/in my hall. Good post!

  126. 🙂 I completely agree with you on this. In my last company, HR used to send out Birthday announcement emails to everyone in the company (addresses were given in CC), with the person’s email address also marked, so that you could wish the person. However, most people would ‘reply all’ their birthday wishes. Everyone received the birthday wishes and even the responses of the disgruntled receivers. So in the end it was just embarrassing for the person whose birthday it was. After receiving much comments from everyone HR finally came to their senses and did mass mail blast to prevent a reply all .

  127. while reading this post I just remembered one instance which happened with me recently. My supervisor had sent mail to me, asking few clarification but I was more frustrated to reply him as I wanted to stop to reply for his unwanted, sense less mails so that day I thought to reply him while copying rest team members. I did that and my supervisor became the matter of fun infront of rest team members. I became the source of my team mates smile but in later part my supervisor blew my appraisal & I got bad rating … ;-( ….so in one sense replying to all, made me celebraty but personally destructed my appraisal too…. 😉 so now I’m very cautios kid who scares to use ‘reply to all’ button …. 🙂

  128. This is an awesome post that’s oh so true! Seriously, why would someone think that the entire world needs to know you LOL’ed or agree with the sender. It’s almost as bad as the email chains!

  129. Funny! I totally agree.

  130. Of course… “Reply All” is used everywhere 😦

  131. Too funny! “Reply All” needs to go. Funny, your timing rocks, you beat the Wall Street Journal to a story on just this topic! Freshly Pressed AND a super scooper! Way to go!


  132. I’ve been involved, as an innocent bystander, in a number of reply-to-all situations at work. The most annoying reply I’ve received in those situations were those that said “Please do not reply to all”. And it wasn’t just one person sending that in, there were at least 10 of them who kept sending the same message over and over because people didn’t stop using the reply to all button. So the cycle kept on going and going.

  133. Simple yet awesome.

    Does that mean we don’t need to reply ‘LOL’ for this entry, no matter how hilarious your entry is?

    Yeah, just random person passing by. Now shall go back lurking..

  134. I agree. Congrats on your “FP” card!

  135. Very interesting….. lol 🙂

  136. An interesting twist is that the main cause of complaint against reply-to seems to be directed against emails with no informational value, e.g. “me to”s, “thank you”s, and the like—and that the majority of the comments are themselves of a similar character…

    (More generally, the comment section on “freshly pressed” posts tend to have a far lower information-to-noise ratio than posts picked randomly from elsewhere.)

  137. Reply ALL should be deleted period! People simply don’t understand the concept of it and abuse it like it’s their business!

  138. Reply-All is a simple thing which allows us all to send mail to everyone without us actually clicking on every singal persons name. And the awesome part is…We really dont even care if everyone replys, because when we sent the message out in the first place we have already thought of all the people who we were actually sending the Reply to anyways. But hey REPLY-ALL is soooo simple….So why not use it =]

  139. i totally agree with you on this one! it is annoying to receive a reply from a person when the message is clearly only intended for the original sender.

    One other reply that doesn’t require “reply all” is ‘OKAY’. Now, receiving that reply is absolutely annoying, wouldn’t you agree?

    *Visit my blogs too if you get the time: http://whutzhappening.wordpress.com and http://youdidnotjustdothat.wordpress.com. Thanks! 🙂

  140. Now after so many comments and I’m left with nothing much to add is like Reply all Thank you 🙂

    • What about when you do have a legitimate group email convo going, but one or more of the recipients is OUT OF THE OFFICE, so you keep getting those automated “I AM OUT OF THE OFFICE” emails every time you reply.
      Now, THAT’S annoying!

  141. this is really very annoying:P

  142. I hate when you send someone a nice long message, either email or text, and you’re reply is… K.
    Ahhh! Annoys me so much!

  143. I apply the rule of; if they do not need to know it, don’t send it.

    Kinda works for me.

  144. Some people at my work need to read this.
    #6 OK.

    Congrats on being FP! K

  145. Haha great topic! Spot on the money!

  146. I came across a guy used “reply to all” to ask for an email address that was actually copied in in his reply list… and that person he asked for was a very big client of our company. Dont you hate people who are not incapable of reading enviroment, but are simply blind.

  147. hmmmm. . . I might have to pass this post on in several delinquent listservs. 🙂 Nice post!

  148. So true! ‘LOL’ and ‘k’ are the most fustrating to recieve. Especially when you have 5 or 6 people saying either ‘LOL’ or ‘k’ and you have your email linked to your phone which goes off 5 or 6 times – one after another – when your in the dentist’s chair. Awkward.

  149. I get frustrated with:
    1. Yes.
    2. Don’t forget to e-mail so-and-so (I am the so-and-so)
    3. (The message is then sent again)
    3. Oh sorry so-and-so! I didn’t realise it was sent to you!
    4. And now that’s twice!
    5. Sorry guys, you didn’t need to get that message. I didn’t realise you were all attatched. Please disregard.

  150. Great post – the “reply all” button should be banned. The biggest problem I have at work is that most shouldn’t be on the e-mail in the first place. I reply only to the sender – congrats on FP

  151. Another annoying response:

    “I have completed the certification in question.”

  152. My workplace is sooooo guilty of this.

    The most common one is when a new person starts. We have many locations and divisions, so a head or branch manager will send out an email, telling everyone of a new hire.

    Then there are 75 REPLY ALL that say “Welcome!”

    The worst part is, these emails usually come out on a Friday, announcing that said person is starting on Monday. Said new person is NOT EVEN HERE YET, and thus they don’t get email. So the whole company gets 75 WELCOME messages, and the person they are directed to does not see a single one…

  153. A girl that I used to be friends with in high school…her father is “the” local judge. In high school she was very good at math and eventually she went on to The University of Vermont to further her education and then after school she got a job or jobs working with computers. She also helped my boyfriend cheat on me in my parent’s house one summer in high school. Once she was out of HS and got an office job she would often click the “reply all” button if some one in the office posted a joke and she wanted everyone to see it. For some reason I was in her group list even though I did not work with her and I always kind of wondered like what is the ettiquette about this? Should I respond? Did she mean to put me in this list? She liked jokes and riddles even in hs so it was not out of character for her.

  154. You are so right on. This is one of the biggest productivity wasters in our country and probably elsewhere too!

  155. I’m never sure whether the inappropriate use of Reply All is a tragic modern form of validation-seeking or simply latent stupidity emerging in a new format.

    Whatever the root cause, I wholeheartedly agree with the post author.

  156. This happens daily at my job, though it’s encouraged.
    I’ve been told to ‘include the whole department if you’re not sure of who needs to see it’, and when you work at a company that is multinational and has 700 people in it’s IT department only, it gets INSANE.
    I think i’m going to post your graphic in the break room…..

  157. Nice and short but sweet list. Can I post this in the xerox room for my colleagues?

  158. Yes, and if it starts with “This is really funny”, you know it won’t be.

  159. I totally agree. Another pet peeve. cc instead of bcc. I don’t need to see how many email addresses you sent this to and have to scroll all the way down to the message. Or get a forward where no one uses bcc and everyone uses cc. So irritating. But I guess that’s another post. haha.

  160. Sometimes, I go out for a few, or many, drinks with a large group of friends. When the instigator of a night out sends the first email to ask if anyone’s interested in a certain date, it is sent to well over 50 women. If you decide you don’t want to go, you can ‘reply all’ to let everyone know if you’re going to be there or not. As useful as this is, if you don’t want to go, you get bombarded with everybody else’s thoughts and feelings on the night out from that moment right up until the actual night out. You find out who’s going, what they’re wearing, what time they’ll be there, who they’re bringing with them, what pubs they will be visiting etc. As I said…it’s useful if you’re actually going. If you’re not…it’s a pain. Such is life. We can’t have it all can we?

  161. Anna Horner…I am so glad that that is not my life. I dress myself. My son dresses his little 5 year old self and when we go out we have fun.

  162. The only time I hit the “Reply All” button is when someone sends me a ridiculous forward and I want to tell them (and all the others on their list) to check it out on snopes.com before sending it out to the world!

  163. pretty sure i despise all reply alls…but i also have a general annoyance with people. so thats fitting.

  164. Don’t reply all y’all! I agree with everything you said.
    I like to thank people for stuff with one liners though, I just send that to the one person I am thanking.
    You are funny, like the blog!

  165. Oh the dreaded “Reply All” button. Seems as though there are very few reasons to use it, and everything else is either annoying (“ok”, “LoL”, “I agree”, etc.) or an accident. I haven’t yet hit reply all and sent a terrible message that was only intended to the sender *knock on wood*… but I’ve been the recipient of a few… which is still annoying.

  166. As a receptionist, I get these all the time. I hate it when my department gets lunch for hitting our numbers, and my coworkers hit “reply all.” I don’t care if you want taco salad with extra sour cream for lunch. The “congrats” and “good work” responses get old, too, especially if you are not the person who is being promoted or praised via mass email. I also find it silly when I was added to an email listing because I’m the receptionist (Aka: everybody’s personal asssistant), and I get all the replies from people I don’t even know from different organizations.

    Love this post.

  167. Reply all emails? ignore all emails to me I guess.

  168. I live in fear of they “Reply All” button. I am always afraid that I will use it by accident when trying to reply privately to someone on the distribution list, especially if I have something negative to say. I often use the Forward Button instead. It forces me to type in exactly to whom the response should go.
    Very funny post!

  169. Oh, man. This gave me some big lulz.

  170. This is the problem . . there is no etiquette of the internet… do you reply? do you not have to? why shouldn’t you?

    It’s tricky: I recently went back to the UK and subsequently sent a message to about 20 close friends that I’d met up with….. not one replied. I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything… but it hurts . . .

  171. Haha! Appreciated this post — simple topic, widespread issue.

    Yes, I’ve experienced the annoyances of certain e-mailers overusing and MIS-using the “reply all” button. Such as.. wedding/ super cool event invitations on Facebook. I log onto my account and it’s like — wow, 7? new messages? How am I so popular today!..

    Oh. “Congrats;” I’ll be there;” “Awesome;” “No thanks!.”

    Yeahhhh. Reply all should be BANNED.
    If it really IS an interactive email that simply needs involves everyone.. can’t you just click on multiples addys in the “addressed to” section? Does there need to be a defective, dangerous button ever involved? Kthanks.

    Aun Aqui

  172. I hate the Reply All. I especially hate it when it is used to call you out to your boss. But mostly, I live in fear that I will reply all when I mean to just forward to someone so I can talk trash about the person who used reply all to call me out to my boss.

  173. “Reply All” should have a ‘WARNING’ message that pops up before you are allowed to send it. This indirectly brings up a hilarious quote read at an alterations place nearby:

    “The toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”
    Unknown Author

  174. I agree with you. I hate it when people use the reply all only to say, “Okay, I’ll see you then!” It reminds me of people posting questions and comments that should be private on other people’s Facebook wall. When I read it, I think, “Shouldn’t you have messaged the person privately instead? We don’t need to know about your plans for dinner unless you’re inviting everyone on your FB.”

  175. compleximplicity

    Haha, this is too funny – especially #4 – a colleague wrote this regarding a social event but did it quite rudely so nobody was too impressed with him!!! I have a new starter who does the opposite and doesn’t reply all which has consequences all by itself ARGH – there’s just no winning! 😀

  176. I’m not bothered by it. I get to read the thoughts of everyone else.

  177. Reply all and enter “Winning!” … Thanks Charlie.

  178. I do not mind reply all. What I do not like are those ecards that my great aunt sends to me and like 10 other people whever she sees a cute one.

  179. i hate those people whom says STOP SENDING EMAILS 😀

    their replies email more than my group mails hahahah

    nice post Bo Ali 😉

  180. This is totally true! I hate it when people go off on a rabbit trail about something that does not apply at all to the original message and reply all. Especially when it’s like an inside joke or something with the sender. Great post!

  181. I think I’m the opposite of those annoying people who overuse “reply all.” As a teacher, I’m constantly scared to death of accidently hitting reply all and sending information to parents that they don’t need to see!

  182. Pingback: The Art of the ‘Reply All’ « The Thinking Suit

  183. It’s also bad when one person replies to everyone but is directing it to online one person, then the other person replies back but to only that person, and the first guy replies to everyone again so you are completely missing a part of the conversation.

  184. This is so true and some of my friends need to read this..!!

  185. LOL!!
    This is funny!!
    Just yesterday, I was chiding a colleague for doing repeated Reply All for mails which sent out birthday wishes!! So one person in the office is assigned the task of sending a Birthday wishes mail to a recipient and all the other team members in CC. This girl used to do a reply all with her wishes for the recipient. We must have told her a zillion times that if she wanted to send her wishes, she could send it to that one person alone. Why include all the others??!!
    Good to see you addressing the issue 😀

  186. i totally agree! it’s really annoying to be a recepient of this feature especially there are just one word responses from 6 people at 6 different times.

  187. When I keep getting a chain mail that I don’t want to read, Over and over again. Ugh. Makes me mad.

    Nice post btw.:)

  188. That was funny… I’m still laughing… Reply all. 🙂

  189. I’m a student, and last season on my athletic team we had a “reply all” rule if you couldn’t make it to practice. It was great in the sense that it kept people liable – you were much less likely to skip practice for a weak reason if you had to email everyone on the team why you weren’t going to make it that day. But, just like you mentioned, it was awful because every week you’d get multiple emails that were simply “I can’t make it, I have a midterm” or “I’ve got a meeting scheduled with my advisor, but I’ll be at practice tomorrow!” and along with the quantity of emails from professors, college listservs, spam, work, and messages from peers about group projects… it got a bit overwhelming! I feel your pain, couch manager.

  190. Oh I hate that button! Thank God, I only work in a small company so that no one uses it very often and if so, there’s rarely spam.

    What I hate even more is that mass mailing on Facebook. Someone adds me to a chain mail like those status update games and then for the next 12 hours I get notifications about new mail every few seconds. I really hate that stuff.

    What I don’t hate is your post. It’s great! 🙂

  191. Great post! Enjoyed reading it…and am so going to share it with my friends 🙂

  192. I wonder why so many people felt the need to reply to this post and say basically the same thing, over and over again. Isn’t that sort of the same thing? Everyone needing to chime in, just to hear themselves and be known?

  193. You must work where I work. I specifically love the idiot that not only Replies All with ‘Please remove me from this mail list’, but then proceeds to do so a second time with ‘As I stated earlier, please remove me from this mail list.’ #Winner …. DUH!

  194. Haha loved this post ! Esp the illustration ! =)

  195. You have described my pet peeve also. It is even more irritating when your company limits the amount of storage spcace you have for emails. Love the post.

  196. realanonymousgirl2011

    Yeah don’t need to hit “Reply All” when you’re asking the original person that started the email a personal question. It’s totally annoying.

  197. Reply all sometimes ends up like getting a lot of notifications from a facebook post and your email gets clogged with all the nonsense. The only time I like it is maybe family stuff so I can see what everyone thinks about something because we all live far away from each other and it’s just an easier way to communicate. Great post and funny title. “The couch manager” haha.

  198. Pingback: 7 Quick Takes Friday | St Monica's Bridge

  199. I totally agree with your five replies which don’t necessitate a Reply All. At my old job, we had people who would Reply All and say reeeeeeeally inappropriate things that were meant for one person and/or shared way too much. It was incredibly awkward. I couldn’t fathom up until that point that people needed Reply Etiquette Lessons but they proved me wrong.

    My favorite on your list is “LOL.”

  200. Pingback: 5 situações em que você NÃO deve usar “Reply All” « anapaulamota.com

  201. I loved this! All throughout my read through I was smiling and agreeing. This took me back to places that I’ve worked in where people seemed to think that “replying to all” would be the most productive and proactive way of working. Let me tell you, there was a lot of forehead slapping moments!

  202. i hate one word replies such as idk. wahtever, iguess, and okay

  203. #4 if BY FAR the most annoying. You would think they would know that the only person who COULD take them off the “mailing list” is the person who sent it in the first place.
    When someone forwards junk to the company-wide distribution list, it never fails that at least a dozen people ask to be removed from the mailing list.
    It’s a little funny, too, because I’m thinking, “Really? Are you that stupid? Did you not notice that this was just sent to everyone in the company via the distribution list (the list code shows up in the recipients section), and now you just told all 50,000 of us that you want to be removed? The only way for that to happen is if you quit or get fired (and franky, that would not bother me).”
    I am always tempted to reply to them to tell them how much of an idiot they are, but of course I don’t; )

  204. To be true I never thought there are people who can use the Reply All button 🙂 I definitely send only to the people who I am communicating with in a specific letter 🙂 I consider myself a very lazy person, but still if i need to send a CC to some people, I prefer to do it manually, i.e. most automatic action here is choosing among the list shown when I enter first two letters of a person’s name ))

  205. Pingback: 5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All” (via The Couch Manager) « Normanomicon

  206. Pingback: Email Pet Peeves « Snowflakes

  207. Oh My Goodness… YES! Thank you!
    Perhaps you could offer a How (Not) To session for companies all over America. It’s obviously needed!

  208. Pingback: How I Made it onto Freshly Pressed 3 Times in 6 Months

  209. I tend to review an email interaction so that I would not miss a single bit of message. The worst part is, after you’ve read the whole email, you’d realize that three minutes of your time had been wasted. Nice post indeed!

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