25 October 2005

Bcc etiquette question

Suppose you have a friend J and he knows this other person K. You receive an e-mail that appears to be from J to K (not to you). Apparently J has Bcc'd you on this message.

Without getting into the content of the message itself, does this situation make you feel like you should treat the content of the message as private (just between you and J)?


Mattie said...

The message should be considered private unless instructed otherwise, or you awkwardly ask the sender to let you on the thread. I expect that etiquette when I BCC someone on an email. Yet, because not everyone follows or understands this 'code', I rarely, if ever, use BCC (unless the other person was already aware that the BCC would be sent).

Most commonly I will send my message without using BCC and then immediately forward it to the indirect recipient with an "FYI" message and/or a Do Not Forward flag.

jto said...

I never use Bcc: because it's too risky.

(1) It breaks the recipient's de facto privacy expectations. People seem to expect both sides of an e-mail conversation to be kept private. (This may or may not be stupid of them, but that's how it is.)

(2) The appearances are wrong. Bcc-ing someone is by its nature secret. It seems too sneaky, once revealed.

(3) It invites a private reply from the Bcc-recipient--but if he accidentally hits Reply All instead of Reply, unpleasantness follows.