BCC, Distribution Lists & General Email Etiquette

Ryan YatesConsultant

Just a dude in his 30's doing things in Tech & trying to break the stigma's around talking about Mental Health

If you work in a big organisation, or like me, are on a number a of cross organisation distribution lists or listservs, then it’s likely that you have some myriad of email rules that route all emails sent to a specific distribution list to a specific folder. This is a good email management practice as you can then filter your searches to a single folder that should just have conversations related to things sent to that distribution list. I know that this is how I’ve managed being on something like 40 very chatty distribution lists in recent years.

However the point of this post was due to a reoccurring theme that I am seeing in some of the distribution lists that I am on

That theme is as below

Moving DL to BCC

I will say that this is the single most frustrating thing to see in an email that has landed directly in my inbox, because not only

  • Should it have not landed in my inbox in the first place
  • It’s disconnected from the original thread in an organisational sense making searching less optimal.

So much so I have started to do this in return (highlighting the Moving DL to BCC in the senders email) & highlighting the “this” in the first line.

Hi ,


Doing this throws the email you just sent into many peoples inbox unnecessarily as it often will bypass any mail rules that people like me have added to organise our mailboxes & will ping on all their devices too.


It is frustrating when this happens & it happens so frequently on the many DL’s I am on however there is a better and more etiquette friendly way to do what you have just done & that would actually be to not to send 1 email but instead send 2.

1 to the dl saying you are forking this thread

1 starting the fork of the thread


Yes it takes you a small amount of extra time to send 2 mails not 1 but doing so makes it better for the x number of people on the dl’s


I didn’t need this dropping in my inbox & alerting me on all my devices – nor did anyone else that got this pushed into their inboxes. Please think about the disruption that doing this can cause to people working  in future.




It’s a really simple thing, but as someone that gets alerts on

  • My Work Laptop’s Desktop
  • My Browser, if I am in SharePoint or anywhere else in Office 365
  • My Phone
  • My Fitbit

That’s a lot of noise & distraction for something that was not critical for me to read, and in many cases, wasn’t even that useful for me to read either.

I also add this line in every time this happens more than once a day (often from different senders)

This is the second time I’ve had this happen this today.

I wonder if I’ll ever get a day where I change the second time to tenth time, though I hope this post will stop that being the case

So Please, don’t do that in future & feel free to make use of the draft above to send to others that you see do that in future too (& point them to this post too)