If you ever want to email more than one MeFi user... July 11, 2007 8:22 AM   Subscribe

The recent Wendell kurfuffle brought to mind a very simple rule of email that is quite easy to remember and it is amazing (and annoying) that so few people actually use it. So I share it here in the hopes that anyone emailing more than one MeFi user will use this technique, in the future:
If you ever want to email more than one MeFi user*: send the email to yourself and put the list of people you are sending to in the Bcc field. Any moron recipient who hits "Reply to All" will send their reply to an audience of ONE (the original sender) and (additionally) no recipient can see the other recipients' email addresses.
This is simple, basic stuff. *Obviously this applies to any email you send to more than one recipient, not just MeFi users.
posted by spock to Etiquette/Policy at 8:22 AM (68 comments total)

For those that don't know, Bcc stands for Blind Carbon Copy (indicating the above benefits).
posted by spock at 8:23 AM on July 11, 2007


OTHER INTERNET TIPS:

Stop periodically to listen for pops and to exclaim, "I can't believe this is actually working!"
posted by carsonb at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a good idea.
posted by Partial Law at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2007


I don't know how I got on the list to see this MetaTalk thread and all responses to it. Please remove me from the list.
posted by ODiV at 8:33 AM on July 11, 2007


Next week on Stating the Bleeding Obvious: Scratching your arse (with optional simultaneous gum chewing).
posted by Jofus at 8:35 AM on July 11, 2007


This is very good and smart tip. However, people will ignore/not remember it. The only solution is to keep your email address outta your profile and instead put a link to a contact form in it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 AM on July 11, 2007


This thread brings to mind a very simple rule of MetaTalk that is quite easy to remember: [more inside] is your friend.

This is simple, basic stuff.
posted by amro at 8:39 AM on July 11, 2007


bcc stands for BeCause you Care.

Also, the best thing about the kerfluffle is the term "title wave".
posted by Mister_A at 8:40 AM on July 11, 2007


You may also be interested in this great site called Google that may relate vaguely to some other random month-old MeTa threads.
posted by Partial Law at 8:42 AM on July 11, 2007


No.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:43 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Everyone is being earnest and beating our breasts about a real serious situation, and in you come to ruin it, Partial Law. Who do you think you are, Marshall Guffaw?
posted by Mister_A at 8:45 AM on July 11, 2007


Also, why didn't my last post generate more comments? Is it the quality of the post or because you are a bunch of cunts?
posted by Mister_A at 8:52 AM on July 11, 2007


I thought the point of his email was to point out that each one of us wasn't a unique butterfly that was getting a personal email from the esteemed Wendell hisself. A secondary point was to help identify the squares who get all bunched up when they receive fifteen emails they didn't expect in advance.
posted by Plutor at 8:54 AM on July 11, 2007


Because we are a bunch of cunts.

Duh.
posted by Sheppagus at 8:56 AM on July 11, 2007


Thanks Sheppagus, I will tailor my posts accordingly in the future :)
posted by Mister_A at 8:57 AM on July 11, 2007


Is it the quality of the post or because you are a bunch of cunts?

A priest decides to take a walk to the pier near his church. He looks around and finally stops to watch a fisherman load his boat. The fisherman notices, and asks the priest if he would like to join him for a couple of hours. The priest agrees. The fisherman asks if the priest has ever fished before, to which the priest says "no". He baits the hook for him and says,

"Give it a shot father".

After a few minutes, the priest hooks a big fish and struggles to get it into the boat. The fisherman catches a glimpse of it and says "Whoa, look at the size of that fucker! "

Priest: "Uh, please sir, can you mind your language?"

Fisherman: (THINKING QUICKLY) "I'm sorry father, but that's what this fish is called - a fucker!"

Priest: "Oh, I'm sorry - I didn't know."

After the trip, the priest brings the fish to the church and spots the bishop.

Priest: "Look at this big fucker"

Bishop: "Please, mind your language, this is a house of God."

Priest: "No, you don't understand - that's what this fish is called,and I caught it. I caught this fucker!"

Bishop: "Hmmm. You know, I could clean this fucker and we could have it for dinner."

So the Bishop takes the fish and cleans it, and brings it to the Mother Superior.

Bishop: "Could you cook this fucker for dinner onight?"

Mother Superior: "My lord, what language!"

Bishop: "No, sister, that's what the fish is called - a fucker!.Father caught it, I cleaned it, and we'd like you to cook it."

Mother Superior: "Hmmm. Yes, I'll cook that fucker tonight."

Well, then the Pope stops by for dinner with the three of them, and they all think the fish is great. He asks where they got it.

Priest: "I caught the fucker!"

Bishop: "And I cleaned the fucker!"

Mother Superior: "And I cooked the fucker!"

The Pope stares at them for a minute with a steely gaze, but then lets out a huge fart, takes off his hat, puts his feet up on the table, lights up a spliff, pours himself a large whisky and says, "You know what? You cunts are alright."
posted by kosem at 9:02 AM on July 11, 2007 [38 favorites]


Spock's solution is logical, as always, but I'm a Kirk man and I say fuck that noise.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:21 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


No Bones about it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:22 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Red guy = dead guy.
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2007


thanks! you just reminded me that I wanted to email horse pr0n to all of you.

I really need to keep up with my to do list.
posted by Stynxno at 9:42 AM on July 11, 2007


*wishes he had five bucks to register horsepr0n*
posted by Mister_A at 9:44 AM on July 11, 2007


I can't wait until my son gets a bit older and asks me why they call it a carbon copy?
posted by bondcliff at 9:57 AM on July 11, 2007


Your thoughts are intriguing and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by mendel at 10:02 AM on July 11, 2007


Okay, I'll go first: why THE FUCK did you post this inane MetaTalk post? It's good advice and all...FOR SOMEONE WITH AN AOL ADDRESS. The rest of us know this already.

Nothing personal. Just don't do it again.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:16 AM on July 11, 2007


Okay, I'll go first: why THE FUCK did you post this inane MetaTalk post?

Would you prefer an e-mail next time?
posted by phatkitten at 10:33 AM on July 11, 2007


From now on I will BCC EB with everything I send from my AOL address.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:40 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Come on, EB is just saying what we're all thinking, only with more cursing.
posted by Mister_A at 10:42 AM on July 11, 2007


More email marketing/spamming tips:

Emails with multiple recipients in the BCC, CC, TO fields are often flagged as spam and never reach their destination.

If you really want to make sure your email about LOLCATS reaches it's destination, use Outlook/Word's nifty mailmerge feature:

1) harvest email addresses
2) insert them into a spreadsheet
3) in a second column, put in first names if you know them
IMPORTANT: you need some sort of personal info (the more the better, to massage egos) that you can insert into the body of the email
4) Using mail merge tool, insert names, personal info
5) Spam away!

Outlook's mail merge tool for email works really well for my job, where I have to contact a large client base, and often need some sort of response. But it could work well for spamming MeFites, too.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:43 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Haha! I laugh at you kokoryu, for I, like all civilized people, have a Mac, bitch! No Microsoft Outrage for me, thanks. I am above that shit. I AM THE COOL FIT HANDSOME YOUTHFUL GUY FROM THE COMMERCIAL AND I PAL AROUND WITH BRUCE WILLIS AND I HAVE BEVELED EDGES MOTHERFUCKERS! You are beige and clunky! Hahahahahaha!
posted by Mister_A at 10:47 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Screw you all. This thread was worth it just for kosem's joke.

I'd email it to everyone I know, but whenever I do that it turns into a big mess with everyone replying-to-all. It's such a hassle.

If only there were some way to keep that from happening. Oh well...
posted by quin at 10:49 AM on July 11, 2007


By using the term 'Microsoft Outrage', you have identified yourself as not being THE COOL FIT HANDSOME YOUTHFUL GUY, but a skinny, pale developer with a neckbeard, incredibly long hair, tinted John Lennon glasses, and black clothes bought at Target.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2007


Curses! You win this round, KokoRyu.
posted by Mister_A at 10:58 AM on July 11, 2007


Okay, I'll go first: why THE FUCK did you post this inane MetaTalk post? It's good advice and all...FOR SOMEONE WITH AN AOL ADDRESS. The rest of us know this already.

Nothing personal. Just don't do it again.


That's funny, I thought this whole thing was an issue BECAUSE SO FEW PEOPLE KNEW THIS. Why on earth are you so pissed about someone trying to be helpful?
posted by freebird at 11:07 AM on July 11, 2007


HOW IS BABBY FORMED?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:07 AM on July 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm fairly sure that Wendell knew full well what he was doing :)
posted by empath at 11:22 AM on July 11, 2007


Ya how IS babby formed anyhow? Something about butts? I hope?
posted by Mister_A at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2007


Wendell never quite knows what he is doing. That's why you love him.

In the case of "The Wendell Kurfuffle" (which I hope and pray someday becomes the title of a Ludlum novel), it was a matter of extremely poor judgment on my part that I thought all the persons involved would like to know who else was on the list and not go "Reply All" crazy, otherwise, my own default practice was to use "BCC".

And remember, in the words of that OTHER Spock (in the sixth Star Trek movie): "Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end."
posted by wendell at 12:04 PM on July 11, 2007


Cut! Print it.
posted by Mister_A at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2007


Coming soon: How to remove all the previous recipients from a forwarded message.
posted by Cranberry at 12:10 PM on July 11, 2007


Ric Romero has a metafilter account?
posted by jamaro at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2007


Look, whatever the original goals of this thread, can we just agree to ban anyone who favorites ThePinkSuperhero's comment?
posted by Wolfdog at 1:47 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is awesome advice and I hope everyone putting me on big ass distributions follows it. Mail with the same from and to line where I'm bcced almost unfailingly ends up in my spam trap, insuring I will never see it.

If you want to give advice, Spock, I'd suggest rephrasing as "Don't send mail blasts to so many people that you need to consider putting them all on the bcc: list."
posted by phearlez at 1:51 PM on July 11, 2007


*removes phearlez from ass distribution*

And how will you get ass now? Hahahaha!
posted by Mister_A at 2:08 PM on July 11, 2007


In the case of "The Wendell Kurfuffle" (which I hope and pray someday becomes the title of a Ludlum novel)

^Hardest I've laughed all day. That's why I have no problem overlooking just about anything Wendell does.
posted by spock at 3:00 PM on July 11, 2007


The BCC technique is really more a personality barometer than anything else.

If you put everyone you're sending the email to in the "TO:" field, it means that you trust folks to be basically good and smart and not use the "Reply To All" button.
If you put everyone in the "BCC:" field, it means you're a cynical bastard who can't even trust people to do something as simple as avoiding the "Reply To All" button.

(I put everyone in the "BCC:" field.)
posted by Bugbread at 3:46 PM on July 11, 2007


If you put everyone in the "BCC:" field, it means you're a cynical bastard who can't even trust people to do something as simple as avoiding the "Reply To All" button.

Or it means you're considerate enough to not broadcast people's email addresses to others they may not even know. When someone at an adoption group we were involved with sent out emails to a hundred people, very few of whom we knew anything about, I had to explain exactly how to implement spock's method. Some of the people who got the emails inevitable did 'reply all,' of course. It always happens, if there are enough people receiving.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:05 PM on July 11, 2007


Do you have any other awesome life tips for me? I really don't how to live on my own. Seriously, I almost dropped my car off at the shop without getting a ride home today. I'd have been stranded!

PLEASE INTARWEB STRANGER TEACH ME HOW TO LIVE!!
posted by !Jim at 7:21 PM on July 11, 2007


The latest from Robert Ludlum: The Wendell Kurfuffle
posted by wendell at 7:46 PM on July 11, 2007


Coming soon: How to remove all the previous recipients from a forwarded message.
Wow, you can do that now? Or is that only on a Mac? I'm learning so much today - you guys are awesome!
posted by dg at 8:12 PM on July 11, 2007


Wendell, that is awesome. I came seriously close to you owing me a new keyboard. Fortunately the I got the soup bowl in front of my face in time and the mustache caught the rest.

It would be really neat-o keen to know precisely how many of snarks in this thread actually didn't know my tip before reading this thread but are too juvenille to admit it, and how many were/are the ignorami who simply hit the forward button (or Reply All). (And how many are just bitter assholes.)
posted by spock at 9:35 PM on July 11, 2007


Still kinda hanging on the whole babby question. Going instain.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 PM on July 11, 2007


Count me in for bitter asshole.

Although I was genuinely confused why you took a two-and-a-half-week-old thread which contained this suggestion twice already, then commented in it yourself (bringing the total to three) then opened a brand new thread about it seven minutes later.
posted by Partial Law at 9:51 PM on July 11, 2007


WTF is a carbon copy?

And how did it go blind?
posted by Exchequer at 9:58 PM on July 11, 2007


Perhaps, Partial Law, it was because I considered it unlikely that many would see (let alone READ) the 293rd comment (in a two-and-a-half-week-old-thread) and I felt that a sufficient number of people would benefit from it as its own etiquette post? A better question might be what I was doing reading a two-and-a-half-week-old-thread. The answer (as it is with much of the web produced longer than two-and-a-half weeks ago) is that I followed someone's link to it in more current thread somewhere.

Less confused now?
posted by spock at 10:15 PM on July 11, 2007


I thought email was for old people.

Then again, I am an old people, so there you go.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:58 PM on July 11, 2007


*raises hand*

Count me on the bitter asshole team.
posted by carsonb at 11:33 PM on July 11, 2007


I see your bitter asshole and raise you. I am a bitter, old arsehole. So there.
posted by dg at 1:01 AM on July 12, 2007


Hate to break this to you, Wendell, but you misspelled kerfuffle.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:31 AM on July 12, 2007


no, spock spelled it that way and I'm just being consistent.

or could this turn into a whole nother kurkerfuffle?
posted by wendell at 1:43 AM on July 12, 2007


"It's good advice and all...FOR SOMEONE WITH AN AOL ADDRESS. The rest of us know this already."

Not everybody with an AOL address is a clueless idiot. Nor does every Bligh of the Ethereal sort does not have its head up its rectum. (I never had an AOL address, so there!)

I for one hadn't heard of the Spock Solution before (nor had I thought of it on my own), but then I hadn't had cause to: alas, unlike you zillions of Specials, Wendell loves ME not a bit.
posted by davy at 8:09 AM on July 12, 2007


This thread has made clear to me what the next metafilter site should be. A sort of inverse partner site to AskMe:

TellYou: people will post random tips and unrequested answers , then the community will all join in brutally skewering and viciously condemning them for doing so.
posted by freebird at 9:33 AM on July 12, 2007


Sounds like Jeopardy. Who gets to be Alex Trebek?
posted by misha at 9:44 AM on July 12, 2007


Not everybody with an AOL address is a clueless idiot.

It's hard to believe, but no doubt it's true. There's got to be, like, at least five savvy and smart AOL users.

It seems to me that it's obvious that you can do this. When I was trying to get an Austin meetup going a few years ago, I probably emailed all the users listed as being in Austin this way. In other cases, besides avoiding “reply to all crap”, you can email a bunch of people without revealing everybody's email addresses to each other. It's these uses that bcc is for. If you didn't know about bcc, then you're a clueless idiot.

Okay, that's too harsh. But it's a level of ignorance below that where similar level tips to MeTa would be innumerable.

I guess this separates the folks who have used email apps from UNIX shell accounts and people who know email only from PC apps and the web. Sigh.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:41 AM on July 12, 2007


I wake up and go to bed in a fucking UNIX shell. When I shit syslog comes out and when I get drunk I bellow perl code generators written in SED and piped over SSH tunnels to high port numbers. I spit UDP packets over fiber and when I cum, far away ASNs quiver. I dismiss worldwide outbreaks of spam with a wave of my .bash_profile and bots all betray their herder when I show up in IRC. Charlie Root sus to *me*, and every time I 'import random' Larry Wall sheds a tear on Vint Cerf's shoulder.

Yet somehow, I am neither threatened nor pissed off by people offering useful email advice for the muggles. What the hell is wrong with you people.
posted by freebird at 2:15 PM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm with freebird:

1) Yeah, I knew this already.
2) Yeah, I thought it was odd to have the suggestion here out of the blue, weeks after the incident in question.
3) No, I don't get why that pisses people off (or causes whatever emotion it is that is making people want to make fun of spock). It seems MeFi folks are always pissier than I estimate.
posted by Bugbread at 3:59 PM on July 12, 2007


It seems MeFi folks are always pissier than I estimate.
We drink a lot.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:08 PM on July 12, 2007


It's these uses that bcc is for.
See, it's from living in a UNIX shell that you get this kind of narrow-mindedness. bcc has a long tradition that started in the ancient days of letters written on flattened trees and was used to tip off someone who had been sent a copy of a letter that the person who the letter was addressed to didn't know that they had a copy. As opposed to cc, which was noted on both copies of the letter, the bcc notation only went on the blind carbon copy, not on the original. It was around way before e-mail was invented. But you probably knew that, I'm guessing.
posted by dg at 4:26 PM on July 12, 2007


freebird, when you mention your spiffy bash profile in an attempt to prove your old-timer UNIX creds, you've already lost the pissing match. Or ssh.

Anyway, this post didn't piss me off. My comment was intended to be humorous hyperbole because, all pissing matches aside, it's still a lame MeTa post.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:42 AM on July 13, 2007


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