Why lazy email replies drive me mad

Continuing our look at emails, I’d like to turn our attention today to email conversation grouping. This feature places all emails with the same subject line into a group, and may be used by people who receive your emails, even if you don’t use it. So the golden rule here is this: never hit ‘reply’ if your message is on an unrelated topic.

People abuse this in two ways, and it drives me mad. The first is that I send them an email, perhaps an automated report, and it reminds them that they need to ask me something completely unrelated. So they just lazily hit ‘reply’ to do it. From then on, this correspondence is forever hidden under an unhelpful subject line, and can be infuriatingly hard to find.

The second (and rather odd) way this occurs is when people use their inbox as an address book. At least, I think that’s what’s happening. So, to send me an email, instead of looking up my email address and hitting ‘New Email’, they search for any old message they received from me, and then hit ‘reply’. The resulting email I receive can be bizarre; I was reminded of this last week when an email arrived with the subject line: “Re: 2014 Advertising Plans”. Needless to say, the sender wasn’t reconsidering what they’d done two years ago.

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