21.3.11

Tyrranny of the Reply All

Today, going through my e-mail, I've noticed a marked increase in the number of Reply All messages.  It makes me wonder why...

There are definitely times when it's important, as it was when some friends and I were setting up times to talk about a presentation.  Then you want to make sure that everyone is seeing that you saw the previous posts and are able to make a decision based on previous information (rather than something in some side conversation).  And there are times when brainstorming or joking also builds on previous comments.

But most of the time, like if you're asked to participate in an event, or if a general query is thrown out to a large group, that it just becomes so much e-mail clutter.  It seems to happen most on e-lists, when several people will give the same (public) answer over the course of an afternoon - of course, many aren't reading the responses, just quickly trying to be helpful.  Still... e-mail clutter.  Sending a private message, with the assumption that some sort of round-up of responses will be forwarded to the larger group.

What most goes through my mine?  "Are you responding because it's important to the conversation, or because it's important that you are seen to be responding to the conversation"

Thus endeth today's rant.