I think reply all should just go away

It happened again. I received a message from an event organizer that went to over 40 people. And four people (a whopping 10%) decided it would be a grand idea to hit "reply-all", even when the email clearly stated to let the sender know if you're not interested in continuing on with the event. Just sender. Not the other 39 people on the list.

Yes, folks. This is my first straight-up rant post. Please continue reading.


The "reply all" feature was available in almost every email client I have ever used: AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Google Apps, etc. (Oh, AOL, I miss you). It was built to make it easier to reply to groups of people all at once. It's just like text messaging on an iphone. The entire gets your response (and sometimes that can backfire). And yes, I think reply-all from your iphone should burn a slow death, too.

Why do people hit reply all?

Their message tends to be of zero value to the other members in the group anyway. It's usually something like "Hey, John - thanks for all you do. Let me know if you  need anything - Maria".

Seriously? Do you know you sent that to 40 people who simply don't care? Drives me nuts. Or, as Peter Griffin would say, "do you know what really grinds my gears?"

I propose a simple remedy.

You know how Gmail warns you to attach a file because you used the word "attach"? (quite possibly the greatest email feature of all time, by the way). They, as well as other email clients, should do the same thing for reply all.

Hear me out:

You just got a message about someone's surprise birthday party. The message was sent to 100 friends and god forbid you hit the reply-all button. You type your less-than-fifty-word-response about how you're excited to go and hit "send".

Up pops a box that alerts you: "Are you sure you want to send this to the 99 other recipients?" Then you have two options: "Yes, send this to everyone", which confirms you want to spam everyone's inbox, or "No, reply to just the sender", which sends your email as a "reply", not a "reply all".

That's all I want. Who's with me?