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Dangers of replying to email and having statements misconstrued

By Big Ole Jack ·
I got into a heated argument with someone who ccd' me on an email and I responded with my feedback and assesment of an ongoing technical issue. Even though some problems were solved, the overall problem still exists. Somehow, my statement was misconstrued and taken out of context that the problem is completely solved and no longer a pending issue. If someone ccs' me on an email, is it wrong for me to respond with my feedback? If they don't want my input, then they should not include me in the email...period!

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email a very two edged sword

by midniteone In reply to Dangers of replying to em ...

you have my sympathy on this as emails have a high crap quotient and a strong propensity to drop us all in the wet squishy stuff.

we've all been hammered with the truisms about misinterpreting emails, forgetting that there is no feedback through visual or audio cues, and so on - but it doesn't make the whole case.

personally I've wound up second-guessing myself so often of late that it would be quicker to write a letter or (heaven forbid) actually go and meet with someone.

this was because someone took one of my emails (delivered in a slightly more flippant fashion than I normally indulge) got passed on unedited to the person it was about. the facts were on my side, and even my exasperation with the subject person was justified (well, I would say that!), but it turned into a firefight between our respective managers entirely divorced from the facts and concentrating on that one email.

the problem is that emails become public property the moment they hit someone else's screen and there is nothing to stop you being quoted, edited, mangled and misrepresented entirely out of context. people WILL read exactly what they want to read from your response and I think in the case you mention I would at least be appreciating the fact that someone had remembered to cc me in at all - I've had a few issues pass me by because I got left out of the loop and made myself well unpopular by sticking my oar in late in the day when they got around to remembering me. After all, I have to deliver on the second-class processes these people come up with.

On balance I understand your frustration but to be absolutely honest (not knowing all the facts of the matter!) I would have probably stayed out of it and taken it as an 'awareness' thing until someone specifically asked me for a view. The worst of it is that there may have been discussion (written or otherwise) to which you weren't party - as I've found out sharply on the discussion boards here of late!! - which is informiong their exchange.

Unless it's clear that someone is poaching your territory, or is about to screw up big time, I'd tend to let them get on with it - at least you have knowledge of the history when they DO come knocking on your door.

Having said that, you know your people better. I'm just learning, after half a dozen jobs in the same Council over 20-odd years, the need to duck. Frequently.

Best of luck with it - sounds like you haven't heard the last.

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