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May 9, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Reply All

I’ve resisted for so very long.  But now I must, MUST vent about what is undoubtedly known within my organization as the “Re: Resume” e-mail.

A month and a half ago, someone accidentally sent out an e-mail to a list at work.   The e-mail was from someone with a friend, who we’ll call “Charles Pimpdaddy”, who wanted a job in our fine establishment.  The e-mail requested that so-and-so look over the resume and see if C. Pimpdaddy might be a good fit.   

The e-mail list contains 3500 people on it.  So that day, naturally, at least one of those people replied to the e-mail with a polite “Please take me off this list.”  They also chose to “Reply All” instead of just replying to the sender.  So the entire list was made aware that this individual did not want to be on the list.  I’m not talking about some “Fans of Sci-Fi” list that they simply wanted to unsubscribe to.  I’m talking about THE list.  This is the list of everyone in the organization, that the powers that be use to send out very, very important mass messages. 

You really can’t be taken off this list, because if you are taken off the list it means you’ve probably been fired. 

Anyway, many people jumped on the “take me off this list” bandwagon and hit “Reply All” as well, not realizing that every time that someone hit “reply all,” 3,500 people got the message too.  I can promise you that 3,499 of those people really didn’t give a shit if the e-mailers didn’t want to be on The List.

The “Reply All” fiasco lasted several days.  It was compounded, and added to, and multiplied, and eventually took on a life of its own. 

People just can’t help Replying All.  The temptation to point out someone else’s mistake, especially a mistake that has been repeated multiple times, is too much for some folks to handle.  Over the past forty-five days or so, there have been random replies to the “Re: Resume” e-mail (probably as people come back from long vacations, medical leaves, etc.) and then the whole e-mail chain kicks back up again as people Reply All in anger.  This happened again today.  Again, people have replied en masse and cannot, cannot stop.  I understand this reaction, truly I do.  It isn’t that big of a deal to set up a rule, or simply delete, or even to be the Bigger Person and ignore the whole thing.  But it’s a lot more fun to bitch about it. 

Since I have gotten over my initial rage over having to constantly press delete, I now want the “Re: Resume” e-mail to live on in infamy in the Google caching system.  Here are some clips of the “Re: Resume” e-mail for your enjoyment.  I’ve selected just a few of my favorites from the past several weeks.  The mispellings, self-contradictions and hypocrisy are left intact for maximum effect:

Please remove me from this list.

Likewise. 

This has been going on for almost 4 months, can you please stop e-mailing me.  My inbox is full of e-mail that do not pertain to me.  Take me off the list. 

I am also on this list and need my name to be removed as well. 

Me as well.

Please remove me from this distribution.  No interest or involvement.

O.K. I’ve seriously HAD IT with all the “reply ALL’s”.  For God’s sake…..  How many e-mails does it take for (you) to figure out that when you hit “reply all”, the message in fact actually goes to everyone, most of whom don’t care that you want your name removed from the distribution list.  The appropriate response is to hit “reply”  AGAIN…. not “reply all” so you’re fascinating insights do not clog up the mailboxes of over  3,000 incredibly busy professionals.

PLEASE STOP HITTING REPLY ALLLLLLLLLLL

I’d like to propose that anyone sending “reply all” messages out in future, after this one of course, should be automatically disqualified from consideration for projects for the next six months as we can’t afford to have people working on engagements who are incapable of following simple instructions.

Please, PLEASE!  Folks, please recognize a few key issues here:

1.    That this message was sent to a broader group than it originally should have been

2.    That your name IS supposed to be on this list because you are attached in some manner (or were, when it was originally sent) to one of the administrative address groups listed

3.    That in the event you were addressed in error, you should simply disregard the message and delete it.  This grind we’re trapped in of sending everyone requests to delete your name from distribution is a poor reflection of the discretion that a firm of our maturity and capabilities possesses.  You do nobody – most of all yourself – any favor by continuing this loop.  My apologies if this comes across as harsh or critical, but let’s just end this practice today. 

So did this <Charles Pimpdaddy> ever get the job?

Please take me off of this list. 

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One Comment

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  1. cherikooka / May 10 2007 5:19 am

    As an e-mail administrator, I find this appalling and disturbing and I would remove all e-mail accounts from those that kept asking to be taken off the list, or just replied to All in general. Idiots don’t deserve e-mail or a computer for that matter. Off with their heads!

That's what she said!

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