Email Needs a “My Colleague Can Ignore This Message” Button

Julie and I work together on most Capulet projects. As a result, we both get CC’d on a lot of email. In 80% of cases, only one of us actually replies and participates in a given email thread. In many of those cases, the discussion is mostly or entirely irrelevant to whoever doesn’t respond. If they need to know about it, the responder can generally be convey the thread’s gist in a very brief conversation.

It isn’t news to anyone that CC gets abused all the time. In truth, though, when Julie and I both receive email, it’s usually not CC abuse. The sender is just unsure which of us will respond. And I think we like it that way, because we don’t necessarily want to surgically divide our duties and responsibilities.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, if my email app included a button that read “Julie can ignore this message”? Having replied to a message (and maybe its followups), it takes much less attention for me to assess whether she needs to read the thread than it does for her to make that appraisal by having to read the whole thing.

Wouldn’t it be great if we assigned a few trusted colleagues this power? They’d just right-click on our names and choose “Ignore this thread” from a drop-down menu. The message would bypass our inbox and get archived wherever we specified.

Maybe this functionality already exists in some email applications? If so, when can we get it in Gmail?


  1. How about adding a unique keyword to the subject line or body of responses that you could run a filter against? Then you could auto-archive cc’d emails including that unique term.

  2. Ed: Yeah, I thought of that. It’s a possibility, and would work with Gmail because it would archive the entire conversation. I also thought of a former client of ours, Taglocity, which might offer this functionality.

  3. I used to work as an IT order processor and there was a shared IMAP inbox in which 10 people would be accessing the same account via Outlook. A couple of people would scan the main inbox and filter whatever applied to my team and then we would pick off the emails relevant to us, respond and remove them, or categorize them under the person who needed to address it. However, I think this method would involve you both centralizing your email into one account.

  4. Hi Darren

    Yeah, Taglocity Groups does this, or rather gives you and others the option to ‘CC’ a ‘Capulet’ group rather than Julie directly – that way she can bring back (by a search or a subscription) the info as she wants it.

    It’s good because this type of ‘cc’ takes the responsibility/guilt off of the sender and then lets the ‘potential recipients’ choose what they want to do.

    You can set up a ‘Capulet’ Taglocity group if you like – we do work with Gmail (although the client bit is all about Outlook), and you just need to use our Web UI plus remember to use the plain ol ‘Tags: tag1, tag2’ bit of text at the end of a message (if you want to use some tags for organizing the group’s content).

    Cheers – David (the English one)

  5. Personally, if I add someone in a CC field it means that I expect no action from them… it’s just an FYI kind of thing. I read the same way as well, if I’m CC’d I do not feel compelled to respond (unless prompted).

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