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Reply To All

I'm curious. A woman I work with whom I consider extremely smart AND unbelievably detail oriented just hit Outlook REPLY TO ALL on some stunningly routine email that is of absolutely zero interest to all but one of the 100+ people she sent it to. This happens all the time, not with her, but with lots of people in our shop. Do I work with a bunch of idiots (which if so must include me since I don't think any of them are idiots), or does this happen elsewhere?
NetFreak Send private email
Friday, June 10, 2005
 
 
It doesn't happen often, but sure, even though I'm careful, it happens every once in a very long while.

If the shop is big enough, it can seem like it happens "all the time," even though each individual is very careful. Time for some statistics!

Suppose in a shop with 50 people, everyone randomly hits "reply to all" about once a year on average. If that's during business days only, that's once every 52 weeks/year x 5 days/week = 260 business days/year. The chance of any one person hitting "reply to all" on any given day is 1/260 = 0.4% -- pretty small. But with 50 people, the chance that at least one person hits "reply to all" is 18% (= 100% - (100% - 1/260)^50; that is, 100% minus the chance that *nobody* hits "reply to all"). That's a pretty high number, and can make the shop look like a bunch of idiots.

I worked at a place with about 50 people, and saw this happening every once in a while, but I'd guess it was much lower than 18%, which makes me think that either my calculations were wrong or people have a much better rate than once per year.
EKB Send private email
Friday, June 10, 2005
 
 
Even smart people accidentally hit the wrong button every now and then. I'd only label them stupid if they hit "Reply To All" again to apologize.

Here's another possibility. When you receive email from someone on a mailing list, you may press "Reply", intending to respond to the sender only, but the mail may be sent to everyone on the list. That's happened to me a couple of times.
Julian
Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
 
NetFreak, your own perfection is humbling.
son of parnas
Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
 
The other thing that bothers me is people who double-click submit buttons, submitting duplicate entries.

Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
 
The other thing that bothers me is people who double-click submit buttons, submitting duplicate entries.

Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
 
LoL!
Haertchen
Sunday, June 12, 2005
 
 
>The other thing that bothers me is people who double-click
>submit buttons, submitting duplicate entries.

This could easily be fixed by disabling the button by javascript once it's been clicked.
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Sunday, June 12, 2005
 
 
>Do I work with a bunch of idiots (which if so must
>include me since I don't think any of them are idiots),
>or does this happen elsewhere?

Yeah, all the time. If you look at them for a split second they look similar.
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Sunday, June 12, 2005
 
 
"The other thing that bothers me is people who double-click submit buttons, submitting duplicate entries."

LOL

But clueless website 'designers' who don't mitigate such common situations?
new nick, new rep
Monday, June 13, 2005
 
 
I hate phpBB's way of doing it. It decides that you can't update your post for up to five seconds after posting it.

I think this is meant to prevent double posts, although it doesn't and it is really annoying when you've written something and you just realized that you want to change it after clicking submit.

Bad design.
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Monday, June 13, 2005
 
 
If it's Outlook, you might want to take "Reply To All" out by customizing the menu bar. Or better, teach your coworkers to use keyboard shortcuts.
Egor
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
 
 
It's pretty common. People get used to using "reply to all" for group emails so they click it reflexively.

The true "idiot" is the person who sent out the email being replied to. People should learn to send out broadcast email with the "Reply to all" disabled.

One can disable the "Reply to all" button in Outlook.
One can also list the recipients in the BCC field (these guys are excluded from the "Reply to all" thing.
somebody else
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
 
 
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
 
 
Where I work, people will start VERY ridiculous threads using the hated 'Reply To All'... usually something about 'your Mom'. It's really annoying. Reply to all is a useful tool but severely abused.
:)
Saturday, June 18, 2005
 
 

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