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Dear Everyone: Stop Hitting "Reply All" When You Return an Email

Email 101.

As a parent you’re probably part of more than just a few group emails. The most important one of the bunch is probably when your child’s teacher sends out a mass email to the parents of all the students in class.

You’d think that by now, with a majority of  us emailing daily for most of our adult lives, we would know proper emailing procedures both when we send and receive.

Not so.

As Megan Hook over at mom.me reports, parents get an “F” when it comes to email etiquette. I’m not surprised. Being a recipient of group emails myself I have repeatedly been the victim of a most vicious form of email assault.

The “reply all” response.

Hook rightfully bemoans the fact that her email inbox  is full of parents who hit “reply all” when responding to the email. As if the 27 other parents really need to see your “thank you :)” that you send the teacher in response. “They either think it’s proper email etiquette to “reply all” to every single email the teacher sends—or they don’t understand the difference between reply and reply all. Either way, it’s annoying.”

Hook became so annoyed that she even considered sending a carefully worded email in response to the parents:

Dear parents, if you want to show your gratefulness, reply to the teacher only. Not to all of the parents.

In the end Hook refrained but another parent, obviously exhausted by the deluge of emails, did send an email requesting that other parents simply reply to the teacher (who, Hook adds, hadn’t even asked a question in her email.)

Another parent took issue with the polite request and again hit “reply all” to reprimand the parent.  Hook says ” She replied to all, again, and shamed this parent for his request, implying that he must not care about meeting the needs of the teacher or the kids. She said she would gladly remove him if he didn’t want to help but for the rest of “us,” this was the way of communicating effectively.”

How are emails  multiplying like rabbits in your inbox “communicating effectively?”

I constantly deal with this in my daily life. Emails filled with people who obviously don’t know the difference between “reply” and “reply all” or people who think they are so witty and hilarious that the rest of us obviously want to read their brilliant reply.

We don’t. Because I write online for a living I have my hands full dealing with the hundreds of emails a day that come with communicating with editors and co-workers and yes, sometimes the reply all button comes in very handy but, for the most part, I don’t need  the extra fifty that your stupid “reply all” will land in my box.

So, to all the parents part of group emails that come with parenting a child in school and involved in extra-curricular activities, stop hitting “reply all.” Unless it directly affects everyone, leave the rest of us alone! Email is overwhelming enough. And teachers or those responsible for sending the emails – use the BCC (blind carbon copy) field when sending out group emails as that would eliminate the “reply all” situation entirely.

Who’s with me? Together we can all stop the epidemic plaguing our inboxes!

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You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who or come join the discussion on Facebook!

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