PC Pet Peeves: Kill the "Reply" Email Button

Death to the email "Reply" button!!  Long live "Reply All"!!


One of the more frustrating behaviors I find in the online world is when people click "Reply" to an email instead of "Reply to All" (or whatever is similar on their email app).  Why clicking "Reply" is a bad habit is that usually other email addresses on the email that need to be kept in the loop are dropped.

When I joined Microsoft I was in such a bad habit of clicking the Reply button that I removed it entirely from the Outlook toolbar (right-click on the toolbar, choose Customize, then drag the button off).  This made my life so much easier, just having the "Reply All" button visible.  Alt-L became my friend.  Now this is a standard practice at my current company. (see this little video on how to remove the Office 2007 "Reply" button)

Of course there are cases when you need only reply to the one individual that sent a mail to a long list of recipients, but I find these to be the exception rather than the rule, and it is still very easy to remove email addresses from a reply.

Google Gmail gets this.  The very first Labs option (under Settings > Labs) is an option to make the "Reply to all" button the default.




The Call to Action
So my call to anyone that does email, please, help destroy the "Reply" button and remove it from your Outlook toolbar or other email client.  Help make the world a more peaceful place by facilitating better communications and use the "Reply to All" button instead.

5 thoughts on “PC Pet Peeves: Kill the "Reply" Email Button

  1. That’s pretty funny…

    I see more people take the opposite stance, standing for the removal of the Reply All button.

    Now I TOTALLY agree with you (well 95% agree). If I CC someone on an email I want them in the loop. As the recipient, I’d like your reply to also go to them, closing the loop, etc. Because if you don’t I have to forward your reply to them… sigh…

    Now there’s one instance where I’d love the Reply All killed. That’s the Group/Department/Division/Company wide emails. I SO hate Reply All’s to those.

    Here’s what I’d like to see… A flag, sent by the sender, that indicates the preferred “reply” mode.

    So normal emails, I would set the ReplyMode = ReplyAll. Wide Distro emails get set to “Reply” (or even a ReplyOnly mode)

    If someone replies with the other kind, they get nagged, etc.

    Well, it’s an idea at least… 🙂

  2. Good point Greg about the group email blast. In that case, my opinion is that the distribution list (or long list of recipients) should be put on the BCC field, so that replies go back to the original sender only.
    It is easy to remove people from an email thread. I’d rather be kept in the loop unless explicitly removed, instead of the other way around (accidental excluded).
    Thanks for chiming in!

  3. As an email administrator, the Reply All storms can be a nightmare. In reality though, like you mentioned it isn’t the Reply All button’s fault for the 40 emails sent to 3000 recipients that say “Please remove me from the list”. The user behavoir is the issue… If the original sender would just put the DL into the BCC field when sending to a large group, then I wouldn’t need as much tylenol to help me deal with the fall out.

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