You receive a forwarded email about a political issue, which has also been forwarded to other people — some who you don’t know. Is it proper for you to comment on the message and hit the “Reply to All” button? If you don’t Reply to All to a political message you disagree with, will the other recipients think you favor the expressed opinion?
First off, if you are asking yourself these questions the sender made two big boo-boos that we talk about on a regular basis. One, forwarding of political commentary is risky business because not everyone is going to agree with you. Secondly, if everyone’s e-mail address is visible in the To: field, the original sender has shown a lack of respect for their contact’s privacy by exposing their e-mail addresses to strangers.
Because the sender disregarded everyone’s privacy, doesn’t mean you then can e-mail those you don’t know with your opinion. No matter how important you feel your opinion is. Don’t do it. Do what is right and only e-mail the sender your opinion. Including the fact you do not appreciate your e-mail address being exposed to strangers!
Who cares about those who don’t know you think? Silence does not necessarily mean agreement. There are many online, myself included, who ignore these type of forwards because of the potential problems replying can cause even with those you do know.
Many times, as in this case, e-mail etiquette dilemmas are created by those who don’t realize the consequences of their actions. When this happens consider pointing the sender to my site so they can review this site and my 101 Email Etiquette Tips and avoid breaching their contact’s privacy again in the future.
Knowledge is power after all!