Forward, Not Reply

December 11, 2006

In this day of email it is common to get a message from someone, smack the reply icon, bang out a response and click send; all without a moment’s hesitation. The mode of communication has become nearly seamless, at least for someone who has been using email for more than five minutes.

However, there is a danger inherent in hitting the reply icon. Once you’ve clicked on reply the send function is loaded like a gun, ready to go off with your words, thoughts, rants, et cetera - ready or not. You are in effect playing Russian Roulette with your email client. Maybe your first response is heated and meaning to save it for later you close the compose window. Answering the inevitable “send now?” prompt incorrectly means your correspondent now has your raw thoughts in their inbox.

A friend of mine taught me a new trick; use the forward function when replying. The compose window works the same, there’s just no address in the “to” field. It is almost impossible to “accidentally” send a message before you’ve had a chance to read it over again. You have to actively enter a name (address) before the mail goes anywhere.

Maybe a simplistic check and balance, but a valuable one. I, for one, will no longer be replying to your mails; I’ll be forwarding them back to you.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.