If I get an email from a head manager in the company, and other managers are referenced in the CC section, should I respond to everyone? Or do I add those other emails in the BCC/CC spots too?

  • 7
    Frequently people CC/BCC other managers to put some pressure / communicate the sense of urgency. If you establish that this is the case, then you pretty much must reply to all.
    – Job
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 21:10
  • 2
    @Job +1 on that comment. My experience is the same: "look at how many important people I can rally to my cause, now do what I tell you or you'll be in trouble!". All about the politics.
    – pap
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 13:55
  • 1
    @pap, I have done it myself. At large companies sometimes you have to get around the "process" to get important things done.
    – Job
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 20:02
  • 3
    Always do a reply all. That's the protocol everywhere.
    – abhi
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


It would depend solely on the content of the email and the response. Sometimes you want to keep everyone in the loop and sometimes you want to provide some private information.

For instance, Sometimes I get emails with a long list of CCs that include clients. I may want to discuss something with the Project manager without the client seeing it, so we can honestly talk about the potential problems so then I would I would remove them from the list and let the PM figure out how to give them the news once we have figured out what our position will be. Other times, especially when I know the issue is going to be important to all the CCs on the list, I keep everyone on it. And sometimes, people are cc'd who really won't care about any responses. For instance, we get some emails that are sent to just about everyone but really only a few people care if I need to tell the DBA that Thursday is not a good day to refresh the QA database.

Especially avoid CCs if your reply is something like Thanks with no other detail. 37 other people don't need to know that you were polite. Another one is when the email is something like "Joe is having a birthday today". Don't wish Joe and 45 other people Happy Birthday, it is fine to respond just to Joe in this case.

  • 8
    One thing that I do if I edit the CC line, perhaps to drop people, is call that out on the first line of my reply "(Note CC: list changed)"
    – sdg
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 15:01
  • Even better use + and - to explicitly show changes in recipient list, e.g. CC: +Bob Enginner, -Alice Client Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 7:19
  • 1
    In principle I like the answer. But I think if the mail is originally also to clients and then something should be discussed internally without the client it's probably best to start a new email or at least change the subject. Otherwise it is too easy for someone to "discover" that later on a client should be included in the cc and then maybe the internal discussion, which the client should not know about, is still somewhere on page 3 and revealed to the client. I saw something like that happening and luckily I was not involved ...
    – Edgar
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 8:54

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