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Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

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Ravin Sachdeva
Microsoft

Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

We have recently fixed the email sending behavior to a group, where senders had complained about receiving the emails they send to a group, back in their personal inbox. With this fix, senders will no longer receive the emails they send to a group, back in their personal inbox.

 

The primary complaints we heard were about reading the same message users sent to a group multiple times - in their sent messages, and their inbox.

 

We believe sending an email to a person or to a group should be consistent, and this circling back of an email from a group was just leading to confusion, unnecessary triage, and inconvenience for a lot of our users.

 

We understand that some users had started using this inconsistent behavior as a way to confirm if their emails were delivered to a group. An email sent to a group is already available in the group's conversation archive as well as in the sender's sent email.

 

Update (4/7/2017):

Thanks for all your valuable feedback. Though a good majority of our users have embraced this change for Groups, there's also a section of our users who complained about this change affecting their workflows. We value all the feedback from our users and hence we are considering enhancing this feature to address the negative feedback. Please watch this space for further updates on this feature in the coming weeks.

  • Groups
  • Office 365 Groups
49 Replies

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

This is the kind of communication I was expecting and that can be also found here: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-roadmap?featureid=76175

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

In general that will be nice to have the notification about such updates in Admin Message Center. Another recently introduced change is updating default mailbox size from 50MB to 100MB - also there was no notification (except appearing it in Roadmap Rolling Out section). Or i missed something?

 

Another point is "More info" in Roadmap sometimes forwards us on outdated articles.

 

Anyway, perhaps above is for separate discussion in another thread. As for this feature have nothing against it except no notification was sent.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Thanks for your feedback.

The message center post for this change is live, ID - MC94667.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Indeed both changes are in the Messages Center

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hi Ravin,

 

Found it, was published yesterday. When i missed the notification, sorry. Will try to find one about the change of mailbox size.

 

By the way, i guess that's not for you, but could you within Microsoft to unify the form for the message subject. Some starts from "Updated feature(s):..", some from "Feature(s) update:...". Not a big deal, just easier to check.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Perhaps I need to change my mobile on one with bigger screen... Or check the notifications more often, when i pay more attention to each of it.

Thank you

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

I don't understand this upgrade - we have users complain that they don't get messages sent to groups in their inbox - so are we taking away the subscribe button too? I don't want to see this go away. Users want the group messages in their inbox. 

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Is there any way to reverse this change?  I've got users who want the emails to keep coming to their own inbox

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

If the Office365 group is nested in a distribution list is the behavior the same? Seems inconsistent in what I have seen so far.

Solution

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

@Nicholas Williams - No, there is no effect to group subscription options with this change. Subscribed users will continue to receive all group conversations, messages and events in their inbox as usual.

 

The only effect of this change will be on the sender of the messages to groups as below.

 

Old behavior

I send a message to a group, or reply back to a message from a group. Message is delivered to the group and is available in the group's conversation archive. I would also receive my message in back my inbox.

 

Revised behavior

I send a message to a group, or reply back to a message from a group. Message is delivered to the group and is available in the group's conversation archive. I would NOT receive my message in back my inbox.

 

Would be great if you can help us understand why your users are complaining with this change? What additional benefit does it provide to users when they receive their sent email back again in their inbox? Is it just a confirmation that the message was delivered to the group?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hi @Joe Savage - Would be great if you can help us understand why you'd like to reverse this change? What additional benefit does it provide to users when they receive their sent email back again in their inbox? Is it just a confirmation that the message was delivered to the group?

 

We believe that sending messages to a group of people should behave the same way as sending messages to individuals. This change is made to achieve parity in email sending behavior to a person or to a group. When I send an email to a person, I do not receive that email back in my inbox. So why would i expect otherwise if I send that message to a group?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

@Michelle Proper - can you help me understand the issue in detail - You're saying that you have a DL which has a Group as a member. When you send an email to that DL, you get that email back in your inbox? Is my understanding is correct?

 

We have not changed email sending behavior for DLs. If you send an email to a DL, you will receive this email back in your inbox. This behavior is only changed for Groups.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Yes, we have a DL that has an Office365 group as a member. One member of that Office 365 group sent an email to the DL yesterday and he didn't get a copy. I was curious if the new group functionality overrides the DL functionality and if someone wants a copy of the message they send to the DL they need to cc themselves.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

The post that you provided wasn't 100% clear - I completely understand now.

 

I would like to be able to "Force" Subscriptions to group converstations to users inboxes and not let them unsubscribe from the group conversations. 

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Yes, they would like to receive it as a confirmation it was delivered. I understand why this might be seen as unnecessary, but I still deal with a lot of users who frequently CC/BCC themselves on all emails as well which is similar.  It's a bit redundant, but if it makes them more comfortable/ confident their message was received, I don't have a problem with it.

 

I agree that the new behavior makes sense for most people and should be the default, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that we be given the option to return to the previous behaviour if that's what is preferred by the user, especially since that's the way it's been configured for a while now.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Thanks for your feedback. We will evaluate making this option configurable.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Great to know that its clear now.

Regarding your comment about forcing subscriptions to users in a group, you must realize the delivery does not equal reading. It would always be up to the recipient to read their emails! :)

A nifty feature that exists to ensure delivery of group messages to all the members, irrespective of their subscriptions, would be @all and @mentions. Have you tried them?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

We were using Office Groups (and advertising them to users) as a direct replacement of distribution lists with extended capabilities. It was the only possibility to keep communication in desktop Outlook 2010 we still had on some PCs. For us it's not a confirmation of sending, but the message we can filter to a folder like a normal distribution list and reply to it. As we are upgrading from the last Office 2010 copies I try to convince users to the new Groups interface, but starting from "Microsoft broke something again" is not making my life easier. 

In short - configuration option would be great. Getting this option FAST would be even better. 

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Thanks for your feedback, Tomasz. I understand your concern.

While we evaluate making this option configurable to serve a use case like yours, CC'ing oneself on a message would be a quick workaround to continue using Groups as DLs. Do you think that option can work for you in the near term?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Is the recommendation the same for Office365 groups nested within the DLs? Were you able to confirm that the feature that doesn't cc the sender on an email to an Office365 group won't cc members of the Office365 group inside the DL and they need to cc themselves if they want the email?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

At least in our company's case, O365 groups were considered an upgrade of simple distribution groups, with all the added features, something that we absolutely loved and therefore upgraded all distribution groups to O365 groups. So it would make sense for an upgraded distribution group to function/behave as its simple version does, but with the added benefit (as its supposed to be an upgrade) of being able to change this behaviour. Your argument about keeping sending to a person vs a group consistent I believe does not stand if you compare sending to a person, vs a distribution group the sender is a member of, vs an O365 group the sender is a member of. It is not consistent across the board there.

So please make this configurable as people are used to this way of this working as it did for ages now. It is clear and logical.

Also, please dont think you know whats best for how people work. When making such a change in your code that is not a fix to something that is broken, dont force it down to people's throats. Set it as default if that is what your telemetry tells you that people want, but also make it configurable so that people have a choice. Thank you for your hard work.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Michelle, I'm not too sure I understand your exact question.

As a rule of thumb - mails sent to a DL will come back to the sender's inbox. Mails sent to a group will NOT get back to the sender's inbox. Nesting should not effect that, and the email sending behavior depends on what entity is in the TO: line. If you see it otherwise, please report the discrepancy here. Thanks.

Does that clarify your doubt?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Dimitris, thanks for your feedback. I understand your inconvenience and apologize if this change does not help you be more productive. Rest assured, from the tens of millions of customers that we serve, we've received a bunch of positive feedback on this change and some negative feedback as well. I hope you understand that serving millions of customers and catering to each one of their needs is not the easiest things to do, but we're trying our best :)

 

You have provided very valid feedback and I assure you that we will consider it as we plan engineering work for the immidiate future. Please watch this space for more updates on this.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Sorry it doesn't. I see the behavior for the DLs and Groups as you have explained but when my co-worker sent an email to a DL that had an Office 365 group as a member he did not receive a copy of the email so it seems that the new feature will not copy the sender even if it is inside a DL. The DL (with the O365 group as one of the members) was the TO address for the email. I just wanted to confirm that is the expected behavior and not a bug or unintended consequence.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

If I send an email to a group, it should go to everyone in the group.  That's what groups are for.  If I am a member of that group, I should get it as well.  If I don't want to send something to everyone in the group, I won't send it to the group.  This change makes no sense at all.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

We began researching changes when our documents shared to a group no longer showed in the group conversation or any of the member's of that group's emails.  It now only goes to the group's files.  Everyone in the group is subscribed so they are alerted when changes are made to the group.  They are no longer alerted.  We can get it to show up if we attach a document and email the group, but not if it is shared directly with the group.  It makes it confusing as to what will and what will not work.  On another note, I liked receiving my own emails with the rest of the group.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

This is a major change that our users were not expecting at. As a group collaborating together they were using the O365 groups in a certain way and working primarily out of their Inbox and all of a sudden they found that they are not receiving copies for the emails and have to communicate back and force between Inbox,, Sent Items.

 

At least 10 complaints so far from our users.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Does this apply to traditional distribution lists as well?  I am still seeing the behavior when I email a distribution list I am a member of I also receive the email in my inbox.  

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

No. This affects only Groups sending behavior and not traditional distribution lists.

When you send an email to a traditional distribution list, you will receive that email back in your inbox.

Hope that clarifies.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Sending to a group should still go to all of the group, regardless of whether it's a traditional distribution list or not.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Sending an email to a group or a DL will surely deliver that email to all the members. The only difference being that a sending to a group the sender does not receive it back in their inbox, while sending to a DL the sender gets that email back in inbox.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

The behavior we are experiencing is if the O365 group is nested in the DL, the sender will not recieve the message either. In order for the sender to get the message they must be listed individually in the DL or cc themselves on the message.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Michelle, the case you mention seems to be like the sender is only the member of the child O365 group and the not the parent DL. If this is indeed the case, you're correct, the sender will not receive that sent email back in the inbox.

Let's assume the sender is a part of the parent DL instead, and the DL also has a nested group. In that case, the sender should receive the email back from the DL. Are you saying that this is not working?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

The sender is not a part of the DL individually but a member of the group nested in the DL. It seemed easier to add the group instead of everyone one by one but sounds like we should add them one by one since the group behavior is different than the DL. Thank you for confirming.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

As a teacher I set up each one of my class sets as a group.  I do not like this change as when I used to send a message to a group the email that was sent to my inbox was a quick way to know that a email notification has been sent to each student in the group.  Now, I am uncertain if they have recieved a notification, not handy for me but a good get out clause for the students.  I can no longer say 'I got the email so you must have as well!'

On another note, I have spent quite a few hours trying to findout what had been changed when I noticed, last week, that group email notifications were not being sent back to me as the sender.  I did not find any notice about this change and only came across this thread today.

Please confirm, will all members of the group, excluding the sender, recieve an email to alert them to a new/reply to a conversation.  And is there a way to reverse the change for the reasons stated above.

 

Philippa

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hi Philippa, apologies for the inconvenience caused to you because of this change. A notification about this change was sent to your organization's IT administrator with the ID - MC94667.

Any email that is sent to an O365 Groups inside Outlook is available to view instantly in the conversations list of the group and your sent email. You or your students can navigate to the group from your Outlook left navigation pane and find that email under the 'Conversations' list. Needless to mention, any message found in this list inside the group can only be deleted by an owner of the group and no one else. This should ensure that there is no uncertainty about a message sent to a group. You should be able to tell your students "the email is a part of the group's conversation list, so you must have received it in your inbox!" :)

Rest assured, if there is any delivery issue with any email sent from Outlook, you shall receive an 'Undeliverable..' message error in your inbox. So, you'll always know if an email was undelivered to a recipient.

The behavior of receiving one's own sent email to a group back in the inbox was unnecessary and an annoyance to most of our users. That said, we are currently working on enhancing this feature, which will give a user more control over email sent to a O365 group.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hello.

 

Is this change world wide yet? I have some tenants where the change has not taken place.

 

Thank you.

 

Craig.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

This change should be deployed world wide by now. Can you provide more details of the behavior that you notice? We can help debug why you are not seeing the change in behavior yet.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hi ,
We are still facing the same issue ..If we reply on group or DLs , we also getting that in our inbox .
So Is that something we have to do on our end ?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

No, you should not have to do anything to see this change at your end for O365 Groups.

I will send you a private message, would be great if you could share your group's email ID.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hello,

Still not fixed. We've been testing the behavior of the Group Conversations, and still any message within a conversation goes to the Group but also the the personal Inbox of any of the gorup members. When I hit the "message" button, the Recipients automatically include both the group email and also each group member email address. 

The groups we tested are all created without the option of subscribing new members. We've tried Subscribe (afterwards) and Unsubscribe, but there is not difference. Each message in the group conversation goes to he personal Inboxes as well.

We have recently started working with Office 365, and this group conversation feature seemed very useful and attractive, but now it is simply annoyong the way it behaves.

Is there any solution forseen for this?

Thank you.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Any news on the ability to configure Office 365 groups so that the sender receives the email?  I have users that really, really want that ability.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

I'm having this problem with a newly created distribution group. Members of the group are recieving emails which they sent out. I've seen no settings in the Admin panel to control this behaviour. 

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Hi, can you please send me a direct message with your Group's email address? We will investigate why this is happening.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

This is on our backlog, but we do not have a definite timeline yet.

Meanwhile, can you help us understand what is the exact workflow which your users need this ability for? Thanks!

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

The use case is the very typical use case of every email user for the last twenty years or longer.

You define a group.  In that group is user a@foo.com b@foo.com and c@foo.com

User a@foo.com sends an email to the group.  User a@foo.com expects, since their email is in the group, to recieve the email they just sent to the group.  Again - as has always happened for many decades.  Why is this difficult to understand and why does it cause consternation among Microsoft developers?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Thanks for the explanation, @Matt Verner.

 

I partially understand the need, and I would like to clarify that this change was deliberate from Microsoft. It was difficult with distribution lists to track the mesaages sent to a DL, but with Groups, we have made that very easy by visiting the Group and looking at the conversations list. Any message sent to the Group will be available instantly to view in the group's conversation archive. This obviates the need of a bounce-back email to the sender if the purpose is purely to confirm whether the mail was delivered to the group.

 

Please do let us know if you are using the bounce-back email for triggering some workflows in your org, or is it just a means to confirm delivery?

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

I understand it was deliberate. Being a SW Engineer myself since 1981, I have seen untold number of "deliberate" decisions that were wrong or really, really disliked by large numbers of users. Based on the huge number of folks who liked and were comforted and have built up habits around a certain behavior, why is Microsoft having trouble admitting that this is wrong, really really disliked by large numbers of users?
This is simply exactly backwards behavior from the vast experience of ALL users for group email for decades. Sure, of course, you will have plenty of folks who are perfectly OK with this behavior. Adaptable, light footed users who just go with the flow. then you will have huge numbers of users who like things they way they have always worked and see zero reason that Microsoft changed fundamental behaviors of familiar tools "just because" and "you simply need to click here and then do this and you will see you sent it" when they used to do NOTHING and they saw it was sent and had immediate confirmation that what they intended indeed happened.

By the way, I am through trying to explain or do the job of your team. You guys need to get a usability clue and listen to your users. This is the last time I am responding in this thread.

Re: Feature update: Email sending behavior for Groups in Outlook

Does it matter why is @Matt Verner asking for that functionality back? He and his users (as well as the rest of us) had it before and were "robbed" of it, just because. Again, make this behaviour CONFIGURABLE, this is the secret to keeping not just the majority but ALL of your clients happy, unless you like these confrontations for some reason.

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