Remove from Distribution   Leave a comment

It shouldn’t be done, but we all done. An e-mail thread begins, and folks get added as the problem expands. Sometimes, it is the actual “to” field. Other times, it’s to the “CC”–perhaps the manager of the person just added. The list grows. Once added, somehow, you never get removed.
Original Message
Once your work is done, the discussion moves on to other activities. After a few messages, I stop reading it–maybe skimming a message every hour or so. However, I see this as a bad thing. First, it is simply making the number on the badge on your phone increase, clogging brian space that could be used for other things. If you stop paying attention to the thread, you may miss when you are needed again. Getting off the e-mail chain would solve both these problems.

Easier said than done. Sending a bulk “get me off this thread” comes off as a bit obnoxious–not a team player. I’ve tried pinging a few friends, asking them to take me off. This isn’t as effective. I think this is an opportunity for enterprise e-mail producers to create a feature for this. It could work just within a mail system (just my office’s Exchange implementation), or as a standard that everyone could adopt. I call it “Remove from Distribution.” If you select it, either from a button or menu option, the server intercepts messages that match this message (same subject/distribution), and your name is removed from the “To” and “CC” fields on any message related to that thread. Instead, it is moved to a new section.
In my demo, it is called “Ignoring,” though some other language (“Removed from Distribution” for instance) could be used. This ensures the rest of the distribution is aware that they would need to add you back to the thread if they need you (rather than just dropping off silently). It could even be set with a checkbox to facilitate that when “Reply to All” is clicked.
Edit the Message
Once added back in, you would know to read the new message–you may need to do something!

There are probably several kinks to work out of this idea. However, I think that it would help cut down on e-mail volume for busy folks, and help folks react to new messages in a more timely fashion. So Google and Microsoft: here’s a proposal for a great new feature. Run with it!


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