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View Full Version : What's the point of CC (Carbon Copy) in emails?


BrandonR
07-30-2002, 09:29 PM
I mean, you can just insert multiple e-mail addresses into the "To:" field, and I see the point of BCC, but why CC? You can achieve the same effect with "To:" so why have ANOTHER text field? Ideas?

Dr. Lao
07-30-2002, 09:33 PM
I guess just to make it extra clear to the person you are sending the e-mail to that you sent it to someone else. The same reason people put "cc" on regular letters.

jaybee
07-30-2002, 09:44 PM
I often cc my boss when I am communicating with another coworker. That way my boss knows I am not talking to him directly, just keeping him informed.

If I were to bcc my boss then the coworker would not know that the boss was privy to our conversation. That is considered rude. For a good example of how bcc can be misused just go rent the movie "Office Space".

SmackFu
07-30-2002, 10:12 PM
We use it at work in a similar fashion to jaybee.

If it is directly to you, you usually have to do something in response.
If it is cc'd to you, you just have to read it at your leisure.
And if it's bcc'd, that means no one is supposed to know you're reading it.

j666
07-30-2002, 10:42 PM
I think bcc's are just wrong. It's like taping a conversation. I won't accept bcc's.

Duckster
07-30-2002, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by j66
I think bcc's are just wrong. It's like taping a conversation. I won't accept bcc's.

Just remember that you might be the principal recipent of an email, of even a cc, while someone else is getting a bcc of that same email. :)

ski
07-30-2002, 10:59 PM
I use cc: extensively, as I have a lot of people I need to keep informed of progress on projects, but that don't have to do anything with the information. If I put you in the To: box, I expect some kind of action of out you (generally). If you're in the CC: box, it is just FYI. Bcc: I only use occassionally.

Big Kahuna Burger
07-30-2002, 11:11 PM
It can also be a way to categorize the recipients. In a coincidental and frivilous occurance today, a friend of mine sent an e-mail that showed The Onion had stolen our in-joke. A lawsuit is forthcoming. Anyway, he sent it to editors in the To: field and a friend who hung out with us a lot and also knew us in the cc: field. During the year page editors and the chief would get e-mails in the To: field while associates would get them in cc:.

Una Persson
07-30-2002, 11:14 PM
Originally posted by j66
I think bcc's are just wrong. It's like taping a conversation. I won't accept bcc's.
So what do you do when someone at work sends one to you? Delete it unread? Not accepting BCC's would get most people fired eventually.

j666
07-30-2002, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by Duckster


Just remember that you might be the principal recipent of an email, of even a cc, while someone else is getting a bcc of that same email. :)

Oh, yes. I reply to all on difficult emails.
I might bcc HR on a reply to an email that suggested carnal knowledge of barnyard OR wool-land animals (I always copy the original message) but I just think they (bcc, not woodland animals) are low and sneaky.

typhoon
07-31-2002, 12:03 AM
Er, what's bad about BCCs? I wish people wont to send out mass e-mails would regularly do the honorable thing and keep my address in the BCC field. This way, Joe Idiot can't get it and spread spam or worms my way (intentionally or not).

GusNSpot
07-31-2002, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by typhoon
Er, what's bad about BCCs? I wish people wont to send out mass e-mails would regularly do the honorable thing and keep my address in the BCC field. This way, Joe Idiot can't get it and spread spam or worms my way (intentionally or not).
This is how I use it. In an office environment it is a different game but to spread all your friends email addys to one and all is a no I was taught. Now if you have no family or friends to email, then I could see why you might not be in favor of it.

I have broken some of my friends from just doing the FWD thing with out looking or editing out or using the BCC by replying to all something rather silly and making reference to the person who sent it to me so they get LOTS of email saying, "HUH"? Who is this guy? Add a really stupid joke, that helps too. Of course there are people who won't answer a phone, who won't answer mail from family if they are not the first and the top of the list on mail or email or notification of event # 27. I will not make 142 separate mailings to all that need to know the info I am sending, {{{{Big Family :) }}} but I will not send all the addys to everybody. I send to myself and BCC everyone. That way there are no hurt feelings......

I'm so nice........... :D

SandWriter
07-31-2002, 02:43 AM
Hey Jaybee,

Where in "Office Space" is there mention of a BCC? That movie is like my bible and I don't remember any e-mails. What scene was it?

Thanks,
-Sandwriter

Crusoe
07-31-2002, 03:01 AM
I often use BCCs for client communications, where I want my manager to have a record of my message but where I do not want the client confused by seeing the name of somebody who they may not have met.

pulykamell
07-31-2002, 03:23 AM
Quick sidenote - I distinctly recall reading somewhere that "cc" does not stand for "carbon copy" or "courtesy copy" but simply "copies," like "pp" stands for "pages." It may have been in a Bryson book, but checking the dictionary seems to indicate that cc does stand for carbon copy. Anybody else recall reading something similar somewhere?

Futile Gesture
07-31-2002, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by j66
I think bcc's are just wrong. It's like taping a conversation. I won't accept bcc's.

There's nothing wrong with BCCs if the communication is not addressed to any one particular person.

In fact this is the prefered and polite method of sending out circulars or any kind of mass email (except spam, there is never a polite way of sending spam). It stops everyone getting an email filled with everyone else's addresses. And not everyone who receives the email wants to share their address with everyone else.

I wish more people would learn how and when to use Blind Copy.

KarlGrenze
07-31-2002, 08:46 AM
I use BCC's most of the time, instead of CC's. I don't want all my friends to get all the other's internet adresses. I don't like receiving messages from someone who got my email address because someone used CC instead of BCC.

Besides, most of my communications are pretty general information (I'm alive, healthy, surviving, stuff like that), which is better for me to send in mass email.

BiblioCat
07-31-2002, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by pulykamell
Quick sidenote - I distinctly recall reading somewhere that "cc" does not stand for "carbon copy" or "courtesy copy" but simply "copies," like "pp" stands for "pages." It may have been in a Bryson book, but checking the dictionary seems to indicate that cc does stand for carbon copy. Anybody else recall reading something similar somewhere? Back in the Dark Ages before computers and Xerox machines, if you wanted to make a copy of a letter, you had to put a piece of carbon paper under the original as you wrote it.
The use of "cc" was just so ingrained that somewhere along the line, it was renamed "courtesy copy."

NYR407
07-31-2002, 10:04 AM
Related question, if you "reply all" will a BCC get a copy as well? Afterall, your e-mail does't know it is supposed to send it to them. Or does it?

Yeah, where in Office Space is BCC mentioned? I don't remember it either.

That's it! I'm going to Chatchkey's!

Telemark
07-31-2002, 10:34 AM
Nope, if you use BCC the people on the TO and CC lines never get that information. They can't reply to the BCC folks because they were never sent that information in any form.

friedo
07-31-2002, 10:37 AM
Your email client does not know who was in the original BCC field. That information is not sent to your SMTP server by the sender's SMTP server. Which is pretty much the whole point.

friedo
07-31-2002, 10:43 AM
Your email client does not know who was in the original BCC field. That information is not sent to your SMTP server by the sender's SMTP server. Which is pretty much the whole point.

CurtC
07-31-2002, 11:33 AM
BiblioCat wrote:
The use of "cc" was just so ingrained that somewhere along the line, it was renamed "courtesy copy."It was? When? I guess I haven't received word yet. If I heard someone say "courtesy copy" instead of "carbon copy," I would think they were from another planet.

Acsenray
07-31-2002, 11:38 AM
That's it! I'm going to Chatchkey's!

Wasn't it "Tschotschke's," as in Yiddish for "knick-knacks"?

Monty
07-31-2002, 11:44 AM
In the Navy, the difference between a "To" addressee and a "Courtesy Copy" addressee is the "To" addressee is an action addressee. In other words, if you're the "CC" recipient you don't have to do anything other than be aware of the information and who's supposed to be working on it. The "To" recipient is the one who's supposed to do the work.

pulykamell
07-31-2002, 11:54 AM
Yeah, yeah Biblio, I remember the dark ages. Hmmm...I'm gonna do some digging at home and see if I can find my cite. Get back to y'all tomorrow.

BiblioCat
07-31-2002, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by CurtC
It was? When? I guess I haven't received word yet. If I heard someone say "courtesy copy" instead of "carbon copy," I would think they were from another planet. Well, CurtC, (can I call you "CC"? ;) ), I sent you a memo about the name change to "courtesy" from "carbon", and it was CC'ed to everyone in the office and I know they all got it. Get with it, slacker! ;)

Monty
08-01-2002, 12:40 AM
Another irritating Navy change to things that work without needing to be changed but the Navy does it anyway: "Message Traffic" (teletype messages) don't have CC, they have INFO addressees. Same thing.

Mangetout
08-01-2002, 03:03 AM
BCC is no different to photocopying a paper memo and distributing it to some person unnamed in it; it can also be used to archive copies in a central location.

As others have said, emails often contain requests or instructions; the instructions are for the person(s) in the TO: field, the people in the CC: field are interested parties, but not those from whom action is expected.

e.g.
TO:Fred (Goods Inwards)
CC:Jim (Fabrication)
Subject: Pending order
Body: Fred, I've ordered some widgets for Jim, please make sure he gets them as soon as they arrive.

j666
08-01-2002, 07:27 AM
Originally posted by Anthracite

So what do you do when someone at work sends one to you? Delete it unread? Not accepting BCC's would get most people fired eventually.

Of course, I do read the bcc'd emails. Then I ask the person not to bcc me anymore. If they continue to bcc me, I forward the email to the original recipients, so they know I got a copy.

Re: protecting others email addresses; good point. But I've made some new aquaintances, friends of friends, from a few accidental reply-to-alls.

But I think bcc is like bugging the converence room. People should know who is in the conversation.

And can so easily be abused by unscrupulous manipulative co-workers.

I also hate people who automatically reply-to-all. I think that option should come with a pop-up warning.

Acsenray
08-01-2002, 09:33 AM
BCCs are considered important in the business world. You need to keep bosses and colleagues and central files informed of what's going on, but it's not necessary for the client to know about it. Indeed, it is often considered critical that the client not know about it. It's not any outsiders' business how you go about communicating internally.

Mangetout
08-01-2002, 09:48 AM
Absolutely; there may be email addresses within a company that are only ever used internally; you may not want people outside of the business to even know about them.

ElwoodCuse
08-01-2002, 01:38 PM
Re: Office Space

Are you referring to the memo joke from the beginning, where Peter's bosses all think he didn't get the TPS memo?

And no, they don't use the Yiddish spelling for the restaurant. There's a scene (I forget when) where you can see it spelled out.

Markxxx
08-02-2002, 09:07 PM
I have used BCC consistently in dealing with directors and managers who refuse to acknowledge tasks.

They say they aren't informed but a simple BCC to the director or managers boss confirms he WAS emailed on the subject.

A read receipt does not always work on all client emails.

Also dealing in my business if you were to CC the Director of Sales, often the clients will suddenly only want to deal with the director, regardless of the request.

This is something that a BCC solves. BCC means it is confidental to you. Forwarding ANY confidental information on to someone is very unprofessional.

Captain Amazing
08-03-2002, 02:39 AM
Well, when I send office mail, I usually bcc myself. That way, I have a saved copy with all the headers.

I also sometimes BCC my boss in e-mails to clients. It'll be something like

To: Client
BCC: Boss

Client,

Please give us your gross revenue information for the past 3 years.

That way my boss knows that I sent it, and also knows exactly what I sent. I bcc it instead of cc'ing it because it's not the client's business that I copied it to my boss. It's a strictly administrative, FYI bcc.

MovieMogul
08-03-2002, 07:42 AM
I think it's interesting that some e-mail applications (like Outlook) don't have the bcc: option at all.

Koxinga
08-03-2002, 08:14 AM
Originally posted by ArchiveGuy
I think it's interesting that some e-mail applications (like Outlook) don't have the bcc: option at all.

Huh? Outlook does have the bcc option; I'm looking at it right now.

Balthisar
08-03-2002, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by ArchiveGuy
I think it's interesting that some e-mail applications (like Outlook) don't have the bcc: option at all.

In Outlook 2000, in a new mail document, choose View->BCC field.

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