Humans are naturally disposed to addiction – ask Coca Cola.  We’re also big fans of shortsightedness – skydiving anyone? Standing alone, these two qualities already get us into too much trouble. But, when the two meet, a synergistic catastrophe occurs that equates to something similar to the destruction of entire civilizations or, even worse, a really, really sad kitten.  Even further, the gravity of the devastation created is often entirely lost on the very persons responsible for the cause of said perfect storm.  While human history is chock-full of such hellacious occurrences, the one that stands out to us here at Taupe Times is, of course, the ever-dreaded Reply-All Email.

Forged in the depths of hell and delivered to Bill Gates by the devil himself, the reply-all button has driven anyone who has interacted with it, at least, mildly insane. By the merely existing, the reply-all button will put you into one of two categories in the office setting: the considerate, conscientious individual who isn’t hated by everyone and the self-centered, drooling dope permanently loathed by even their former-closest friends.  In a word, it is a test.  And, you are either going to pass or fail. If you fail, then we hate you. Permanently. However, we don’t want to have to hate you, so here are the oh-so-very-simple rules of the reply-all game that you will need to avoid slipping up and doing something you regret:

Reply-All Dos and Don’ts

DO hit the reply-all button when:

  1. Everyone in the To: and CC: field will benefit from your response OR
  2. You have something pertinent or interesting to add to the conversation at hand OR
  3. Wish to offer everyone involved in the email a portion of your recent lottery earnings.

DO NOT hit the reply-all button when:

  1. You don’t have anything but fodder to add to the email chain OR
  2. You don’t know fully comprehend the reply-all button and the social weight it carries OR
  3. You are having happy time and want to go clicky click with the fun plastic mouse like a big boy or girl.

Simply put, in a world that functions almost entirely in a digital paradigm, any superfluous emails take up the attention of the employee, thereby clouding their vision, decreasing their productivity, increasing their chance of error, and putting the life of the reply-all abuser in serious jeopardy.

Now, it is hard to comprehend just how something so simple can be so viciously abused and with such devastating results.  However, we suspect that it all really amounts to just another case of “people with reply-all buttons don’t ruin people’s days, people ruin people’s days”.  And, as is with any such social ill, the only true cure is prevention. And the only prevention that works is education.  So, before one of your very own office allies falls victim to their own lapse in stupidity, make sure you have them review the rules above and emphasize the grave importance and responsibility that comes with using the reply-all button. You wouldn’t want them to become one of the marked, outcasts in the world of email.  Those kids are doomed to a lifetime of cat videos and snopes-esque generated email forwards about rat shit on your soda can.


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Categories: Dipolomacy/Social Tactics

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