Tag Archives: rule

Inoculating a Reply All plague

The “Reply All” feature of most email programs like Outlook is a convenience ripe for abuse. Unfortunately such abuse seems to occur about once a quarter or so where I work. Folks add an alias to their message (To or Cc) that ends up involving a multitude of folks who could care less about the message just received.

So, unfortunately (!), what many folks do in reply is Reply All, yet again. :-(

When you Reply All to a Reply All asking not to Reply All, you defeat your purpose. Instead, be surgical and just educate the offenders. That is, be sure to remove all aliases from your reply–if you really feel the need to reply in the first place–and communicate solely with individuals on the To line of the diseased message.

Surely there is a way in Outlook to establish a rule as follows:

    Apply this rule after the message arrives
    with INOCULATION_KEYWORD(S)_HERE in the subject
    reply using INOCULATION_EMAIL_TEMPLATE_HERE
        and move it to the Deleted Items folder

If you really feel compelled to Reply All, then at least do others the favor of changing the Reply-To address in your message to something less hideous (e.g. (in Outlook) Options | Direct Replies To | Have replies sent to: no-reply@…).

Recall this message

Instead of recalling messages, delay their delivery long enough to confirm they’re truly right to send in the first place.

While reviewing my flagged and annotated items in Omea, I was reminded of Scott Hanselman’s post on Outlook’s “Recall this message” function being naive. When I first flagged Scott’s post, I annotated it to remember its familiarity with a post by Chris Sells some time before. Later, Lars Bergstrom shared a Outlook rule idea with Chris that Chris captured here.

Along with Scott, Chris and Lars, an effective delay rule is priceless and more importantly more reliable, effective and professional. Recommended!