A solution in search of a problem…or the reply-all button

Slashdot carries the news out of Nielsen that they are disabling the Reply-All button.  Specifically with the goal of “eliminating ‘bureaucracy and inefficiency.'” This strikes me as the classic case of a solution in search of a problem.  Or maybe a technology lead in search of some way to seem effective.

The Reply-All has been an issue for ages.  It’s an issue that every company has struggled with.  It’s an issue that won’t be solved with this little “fix.” Point-less fixes like this can often have results opposite those that are expected.  Instead of reducing total emails and inefficiencies this could actually increase both email and inefficiency.

Imagine all the soon to be generated “FYI” emails coming in to those left off of future replies.  Imagine the lost time to those that were left off of follow-ups when they are actually the critical party. Then think about the morale issues that this could generate.  The concept of the organization as baby-sitter is not a pleasant one for most employees.  How can the company know best if they take away a key tool to getting work done?

Think people.  Don’t just do something for the sake of doing something.

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