- “Reply all” messages can become a nuisance, especially if you’re trying to get work done and the messages have nothing to do with you.
- To hide notifications from ever-growing email threads, Gmail users can go to a drop-down menu above the thread and click “Mute.”
- Whatever you do, don’t ask to be removed from the thread via “reply all.” Otherwise, you’ll be trapped in an email hellscape like employees at Microsoft or NHS.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’ve ever been roped into a massive email thread, you know how exasperating “reply all” messages can be, especially when they have nothing to do with you. As soon as you click on a new message in the thread, three more come in.
Thankfully, Gmail has a quick fix for that: the “Mute” button.
Here’s how you find it.
To find the “Mute” button, go to the email thread you want hidden.
Find the dropdown menu above the thread and all the way to the right.
Once you click “Mute,” the thread will be archived, but no longer visible in your inbox.
If you have a change of heart and need it again, it’s still searchable.
Another way to get out of an email thread is simply to ask to be removed.
“It sucks when you’re stuck on an email thread of declining relevance,” writes office culture expert Jocelyn K. Glei in “Unsubscribe: How to kill email anxiety, avoid distractions, and get real work done.”
Glei offers a graceful way of escaping a thread by saying this: “Looks like you guys have taken the reins on this conversation! Would you mind moving me to ‘bcc’ so that I can bow out?”
If the chain isn’t work-related, however, Glei gives a more personal example to keep things amiable: “Sean – Would you mind moving me to ‘bcc’ when you respond? I’m waging war on inbox clutter this week. ;)”
Whatever you do, don’t ask to be removed from an email thread via “reply all.”
You may end up in a hellish echo chamber with a million people asking to be let out, like NHS employees were in 2016. The UK health service’s 1.2 million employees received a “test” email, which caused some of them to hit “reply all,” asking to be taken off the recipient list. Since a single email in the thread reaches 1.2 million accounts, NHS’s servers slowed down considerably when dozens of annoyed employees sent a collective 140 million emails.
The same thing happened to 11,543 Microsoft employees last January, when an employee reportedly sent out a message to the entire company explaining how to change their GitHub accounts to get fewer notifications.
The irony was not lost on employees, one of whom described the fiasco as a “reply allpocalypse.” The moral of the story: don’t, under any circumstances, hit “reply all” to thousands of people.
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