A way to stop Email Cc abuse?

Do you frequently add others to the Cc: distribution?

Carbon copying (Cc for short) in Email is undoubtedly one of the most useful features. Alice sends Bob and Charlie an Email, then Bob invites Dave to the discussion by adding him in the Cc: field.

[Growing Inboxes]

As it happens, however, Cc is also one of the most abused features. WSJ has an article titled Email's Friendly Fire which says:

Email overload is now considered a much bigger workplace problem than traditional email spam. Inboxes are bulging today partly because of what some are calling "colleague spam—that is, too many people are indiscriminately hitting the "reply to all" button or copying too many people on trivial messages, like inviting 100 colleagues to partake of brownies in the kitchen."

If you're Bob, the person who adds others, Cc is great. But if you're Dave, the person who is being added, sometimes you may wonder why you're on the distribution at all and silently curse Bob for contributing to the "colleague spam" you receive in your INBOX.

One difference between Facebookmail and Email I've noticed is that in Facebook, once the sender defines the distribution scope, it becomes fixed and cannot be expanded or shrunk. In other words, Alice, Bob or Charlie may not invite Dave into the discussion, nor could Bob respond in private to Alice or Charlie without starting a new thread. The upside is that whatever is said between Alice, Bob and Charlie remains private to them, but the downside is that others cannot chime in or add value.

In contrast, Facebook event scheduling system allows participants to invite more friends as long as the event is open. A bigger party is always a better party, I suppose. :)

Can we think of a way to prevent Cc abuse yet maintain the flexibility of it at the same time?

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I currently live in San Francisco Bay Area. For the past seven years, I have been designing and building messaging solutions for Sun.

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