Idiot of the Week: Think Before You Reply (All)

A belated congratulations to Jen and Gabi for their stellar additions to the Idiot of the Week Blog Hop. I can’t seem to keep up with the demands of a weekly blog hop, so for now I am returning to the old-fashioned approach of complaining about idiots at my leisure.

The most recent idiots to catch my eye did so literally, by sending 13 emails within one minute of each other. Reply All strikes again. It is a great invention, but in the wrong hands, it can only spell disaster. I’m not talking about the accidental use of reply all, where you send that, “Can you believe this guy, what a jackass” email to your whole office. That’s hilarious. (Unless it happens to you, in which case it is a total gut punch.)

No, I’m talking about the nitwits who intentionally reply all for the dumbest and most irrelevant shit imaginable. Have some discretion, for the love of God! Just ask yourself, “Is there any reason whatsoever that I need to share this with my entire office, or is it really only applicable to one person?” It’s that simple.

In my office, if someone will be out sick, a manager will email the whole team with this information. But then every Tom, Dick, and Harry feels the need to reply all with their well wishes.
“Get better soon, Frank!”
“Drink lots of fluids!”
“Aww, no fun! Feel better!”

Why does this call for reply all? I’m not the one who is sick, so why do I need to know what Bob’s advice for Frank is? Why do I need to see if Tom wants Frank to get better or not? I don’t! Leave my inbox alone! It’s not like we all need to be updated on what advice has already been dispensed. Hmm, well, Bob already told Frank to drink water, so maybe I’ll suggest tea specifically, or I could remind him not to play outside in the cold…

I was starting to wonder if I was the only person in the world who understood how to use reply all correctly when something happened that restored my faith in humanity.

I received a mass email from a woman I did not know asking if the meeting was still on for today. I was about to reply to her (just her) to let her know she had the wrong person when someone beat me to it. And someone else. And someone else. Eventually people stopped explaining and would just say ‘ditto.’ I think she gets it by now! No need for us ALL to do a roll call and confirm that she included not a single correct email. She probably just typed in the wrong group name and is now realizing it. I doubt she hand-entered 30 emails for a phantom meeting we all had nothing to do with. Use your heads!

One minute and thirteen reply all emails later, I was ready to throw my computer out the window when the 14th reply all said, “There is no need to reply all.” Then a 15th person replied all, one of the higher ups, saying, “Everyone—please STOP replying to all. Just delete the message.” Based on the font size and color, I really took this last email to say, “You are all so fucking stupid it makes me want to die. Please, STOP replying all like a pack of raging morons, just delete the message and get on with your lives. UGH!”

I was so excited I wanted to run down to his office and scream and pull my hair like he was one of the Beatles.

American screaming Beatles fansI almost replied all saying, “THANK YOU! You are my hero!” but I thought that would undermine the point. So out of solidarity, I said nothing.

Then a 16th person replied all, with the final word on the issue. “Will there be donuts at this meeting?”

And there you have it. My palm was restored to my face, and my faith in humanity…

44 thoughts on “Idiot of the Week: Think Before You Reply (All)

  1. Completely agree. I have people at work who send their equity investment details to the whole damn team of 120 people instead of just the compliance and monitoring team =P. Something similar (and equally annoying) these days is the Whatsapp messenger. People make groups and keep texting irrelevant messages and jokes. The whole day long!

  2. This really makes me want to created another blog to dedicate just to my FB rants which I have called The Fucktard Diaries… from the looks of it, you would certainly enjoy them. I promise that I’ll let you know when I get it up and running!!

  3. So this morning, some guy apparently decided to share a poem written by his granddaughter about Veteran’s Day. He used a group that included, from what I was told, around 19,000 people. Then the reply alls started rolling in. Cute poem, etc. I never read it. After a few minutes of reply alls, we started getting reply alls telling everyone not to reply all. Then some genius replied all with “unsubscribe.” Not sure if that worked but then we started getting people replying all with that. Then, much like your situation, we started getting some smart ass remarks. In the end, I think the people replying all with telling everyone not to reply all were the worst offenders. the count is over 230 emails and still growing. Hilarious.

  4. Oh my, YESSSSSS!!!!
    This is my biggest pet peeve – it’s so idiotic to do, so show-boaty, so inconsiderate, and on and on.
    Anyways, I just had to exclaim that, such a good topic to post about. Well done!

  5. Another equally annoying concept: THE GROUP TEXT.
    I recently received one about a new phone number, and then was forced to read at least 20 exchanges wondering “Did you move?” “How are you?” and whatnot. I don’t know what happened after that because I threw my phone out the window. Life has been MUCH easier since then.

  6. In my defense, I am new to WordPress. I just needed to say that. Regarding the “reply all from all to all” incident, at least the emails weren’t all sent in Comic Sans or some such font, maybe? I do little things like that in these situations- I find ways that idiots could have been even bigger idiots so I can comfort myself by thinking, “Okay, that was bad. But it could’ve been worse. It wasn’t quite as maddening as it could’ve been.” Not a perfect system but it’s all I’ve got.

  7. Reblogged this on Thinking Outside The Shoe and commented:
    I must admit, I sometimes do idiotic things, like using the “Press This” button to share this post despite not knowing what the button was or what it’s purpose is. Instead, I should have simply reblogged the post, which I’ve now done, so the person who originally published it will get credit for such a refreshing read. Which brings me to one point I would like to make: I can appreciate someone who does something stupid and then feels stupid for doing it. What I cannot abide but usually manage to tolerate on a razor’s edge of poise and rage, are idiots who remain just as blissfully unaware of their idiocy as everyone else is bitterly and hopelessly hyper-aware of them and their perpetual half-witted thought and behavior. This post was about the very behavior I’m referring to so I had to share. This goes out to all my girls who feel my pain and are also living on the edge.

  8. oh. my. god. LOVE YOUR BLOG! i love the title of your blog! all of it is everything i’ve been trying to say for years! so i reblogged your latest post and let you say it for me. it’s not that i mind writing my own posts but i really couldn’t have said it better myself.

  9. Pingback: Idiot of the Week: Think Before You Reply (All) | Thinking Outside The Shoe

  10. Did you hear me laughing? Because I’m pretty sure I laughed loud enough for you to be able to here me from ecuador. Thank you.

  11. I hate office e-mail altogether and I refuse to check it. Maybe that’s why I don’t have health insurance… anyhow, let’s talk about text threads! I hate those too!!

  12. There is no greater offense of this kind than in conjunction with a listserve. 450 people do not need to know the answer to “Is your firm having a picnic this summer? Not sure what we’re going to do” When I posted to the list serve I always had to be sure to include as my last sentence “PLEASE REPLY ONLY TO ME. If anyone else is interested in the responses, let me know, and I’ll share.” And even with that, it only worked about 50% of the time. I think Darwin would have found this fascinating, evolution-wise.

  13. Haha oh my gosh this happens at my work and obviously the type of person who does this is sitting at the intersection of “idiot” AND “illiterate” so the replies are always worthy of KILL.

  14. Most people where I work use Gmail as the email client since we are one of those places powered by Google apps. What gets me is that it takes an extra step to “Reply all.” It’s not the default, so why waste your time sharing your inanity with everyone?
    Please say the person who emailed about the donuts has a wicked sense of humor.

    • good point – that would baffle me why anyone would go out of the way to reply all, at least in Gmail it’s all part of the same grouped conversation and not each a new line item. I didn’t know the donut guy so I really really hope he was kidding…but it could go either way

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