How to Email: 1) Click “Reply all” 2) Write the following: “STOP REPLYING-ALL TO THIS OUT-OF-CONTROL EMAIL THREAD.” 3) Send to all your coworkers. 4) Wait for 50 more reply-all email replies.

by worstideas

Background:

Sometimes, someone will send out a company-wide email that is CCed to everyone else at the company.

The issue:

Anyone who sends a “reply all” response to that initial email will generate another company-wide email.

After a while, people will start getting annoyed by the constant irrelevant emails and will request that people stop replying-all (by themselves sending a “reply all” response).

The problem is that everyone feels the need to reply-all to tell everyone else to stop replying-all, or to jokingly reply-all with something to the effect of “Ok.”

Proposal:

This proposal is simple: once a certain number of “stop replying” emails are detected by your mail server, future emails will show up with a warning at the top (like a spam-email warning) and a button the user could click to “unsubscribe” from the reply-all thread. See Figure 1 for details.

Once you click on the “snooze thread and report as a ‘reply all’ storm” button, you’ll no longer be bedeviled by these messages. (Gmail’s plain “Snooze” button mostly accomplishes this, with the only downside being that Gmail will later remind you to check out the snoozed thread, which you probably don’t want.)

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Fig. 1: This annoying email exchange can be automatically detected by ADVANCED MACHINE LEARNING techniques, which will then add the warning message and “snooze / unsubscribe me” button at the top.

Conclusion:

This would discourage users from reporting their own coworkers’ emails as spam (which is the only immediately obvious way to “unsubscribe” from an email thread in many email clients) or from being frustrated as they ineffectually delete each reply as it comes in.

PROS: Saves frustration and email annoyance!

CONS: Actually probably none!