Microsoft wants to eliminate the “Reply to All” button in emails

Microsoft is experimenting with a new feature to limit the abuse of the "Reply to All" function within emails

Whoever works in a large company, with hundreds or thousands of employees many of whom are administrative, will surely at least once have ended up in the middle of a devastating "Reply to All" email thread. From urgent internal circulars to corporate Christmas greetings, when the message is sent to hundreds or thousands of people and even a few of them start to respond to everyone it generates a staggering amount of responses.

Unpleasant for us, but not pleasant even for mail servers that must sort a huge amount of messages to an equally huge number of addresses. But Microsoft has decided to say enough: a feature against the "Reply All Storm" is coming on Microsoft 365. A sort of block will be imposed on these mass responses, but Microsoft assures that it will listen to feedback from users and administrators of IT departments of companies. A sort of test, then, that should start in the coming weeks.

Blocking Reply to All, how it works

Microsoft has decided, to put it very simply, to set a threshold beyond which collective responses will be blocked. The threshold at the moment is very high: 5,000 email addresses. This means that all message threads sent to less than five thousand addresses will not suffer any block. The others, however, will undergo a partial and timed block: no more than 10 Reply to all in 60 minutes, from the eleventh onwards you will receive an NDR message, i.e. Non-Delivery Receipt. These messages are sent directly from the email server to warn the user who sent the message that it was not sent, but blocked. The block will be temporary: after 4 hours you will be able to go back to sending replies to everyone, but always for a maximum of 10 messages in 60 minutes.

Function under test

Microsoft specifies that this is a test, there may be changes: "We would like to receive your feedback on this feature. We are considering possible further improvements to refine the way we intercept Reply All messages, to add configurable block thresholds and durations, and where reports are produced." In the meantime, Microsoft will also be monitoring what's most important to it: by how much the load on its email servers decreases.