To cc:, or not to cc:, that is the question

One of my favorite Oracle Bloggers, Floyd Teter often uses Rock Lyrics quotes to open his posts.  I’ve blogged before about email management (26,138 Emails in My Inbox (and I feel fine) using a play on an REM song, but I thought I’d be a little more upscale today and go with Shakespear.

That is the question
To be, or not to be, that is the question.

I decided to write this post in response to a post on the Talented Apps blog, by Sri Subramanian discussing how we process lots of information from feeds, twitter and emails and mentioning that adding people to the cc: on an email is ok as long as the subject is good so they can filter.  I disagree.  There is a very big difference between email and feeds (RSS, twitter, facebook feed, blogs etc), one is like me going to a bookstore and browsing and the other is like junk mail, let’s compare the two.

Junk mail –  somebody gets my address and specifically sends a message to me and it is delivered right to my door and I have to look at it and chuck into the recycle bin that I keep close to where I pick up my mail.  If I don’t like something I’m sent, I cannot easily stop them sending more.

Bookstore – I look around for a bookstore I like the look of and I go in and navigate to the sections of interest and look around maybe thumb through a few, maybe buy some and read them fully, or not.  I decide when I leave and if I go back there again.

In summary the difference is that email (or junk snail mail) is not on my terms.  I opt in to feeds (or bookstores) and I can opt out whenever I like, but email I have no choice it comes to my inbox and I have to deal with it.  I can set up filters, but that is error prone because I may filter something that I need and miss it.

I love feeds and information flowing from them are great, because it is on my terms but I think people sending emails have some responsibility to attempt to cc: only people that need to know.

What’s your opinion on the topic, is it ok to cc: everyone on your mail, just in case they are interested?  Let me know in the comments section.

photo credit:  StreetAlbum

[The RISA mentioned in the photo is a company that paints over graffiti – some say it is cleaning up, some say it is destroying street art]

Author: David Haimes

I'm Senior Director in the Oracle Research and Development Organization, with close to 20 years working in various roles on the development of the Financial Management product suite.  Since the summer of 2016 my focus is exclusively on working with customers and longer-term design work, particularly around next-generation functional and technical architecture. My task is to figure out NOW what the financial management system of the next 3, 5 or more years should look like and start working toward it.  At the moment the majority of my time is spent working on Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), leading the effort for all of SaaS applications.  I'm also interested in AI, Machine Learning and new UX and interaction paradigms such as chat bots. I started out in Oracle UK and found my way out to Oracle's Redwood Shores, California HQ in May 2000.  My previous role was product owner for Fusion Accounting Hub, General Ledger, Intercompany and Legal Entity products in Oracle Fusion Financials and eBusiness Suite General Ledger. I have also worked on EMEA Globalizations, Federal and Public Sector Financials, XML Payments and a variety of projects on other products down the years.

4 thoughts on “To cc:, or not to cc:, that is the question”

  1. It is really hard to decide if you want to cc someone just cz they might be interested. it is actually a hard decision. Whille in the corporate world cc is used as the cya tool so that the boss doesnt saythey didtn get it but it is a really hard decision. Often times you actually start ignoring a person just because they cc you so many times that the information becomes junk.


    1. It is very hard to know who to cc: or when to prune people from the cc:, which is why people don’t do it maybe

      As for the cya by adding the boss to the cc: I think your boss will appreciate it more if you cc: him when it is of interest or importance to him and not for things you cna handle without him.


  2. David,

    Sorry for not responding earlier. I was traveling when you wrote this, and have been in catch up mode since.

    I am not sure if there is a disagreement, or if we may be saying the same thing. Clearly, we both don’t want junk emails – with jokes, promotions, etc.

    The question is do you Cc more people or less on informational email at work, or send it only to those who need to know. I (as a recipient) would rather *I* made the decision if some information is important to me. I find that not being in the loop, and thus not being able to contribute at a higher level, is a bigger problem than getting too many emails about a new customer, an escalation, a meeting, etc. – even if it does not directly relate to me. Certainly, RSS feeds and beehive collab are great for structured data (like ongoing projects), but does not cover a lot of ad hoc information that floats around in emails.

    I appreciate when people do not want to be sent emails unless there is any action required, and I respect that. However, I start with assuming the other way, and Cc my peers, my manager, and my staff on a lot of information that does not require any action from them. I do call out action items, so it is clear when I do need something from them.

    If you and I were to work in the same team, I would like you to send me more information, and not worry about whether it is useful to me. I would be happy to do the same, or to prune you from email, as per your preference.


    1. I don’t like my team to cc: me on everything, it is noise and I don’t know when to read and when not to, I trust them to have conversations without me listening and I trust them to know when to bring me into a conversation or better still give me a summary when a conclusion is reached.


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