Well not all, but some of it definitely is. To know why we say that, lets dig into why we CC people on emails in the first place:
1) The “You must know this CC” – There is nothing wrong with this one. Example: I direct a question to someone in the To list, and put some people who can answer the question for find the answers immediately helpful in CC. This is done mostly when the people in CC might be able to add to what is being discussed, or might derive immediate benefit from what is being discussed.
2) The “I just want to cover my back CC” – This is where it starts to get shady. Example: The support team CCing their Head on every support email they respond to. The Head would probably not look at all the emails unless there is an exception and her attention is required. The people who are receiving the mail because they were in the CC list have nothing to add to the discussion, nor do they derive any direct immediate benefit out of being a part of the discussion.
3) The “You should probably know we talked about this CC” – This is the most evil of all CCs. Example: In a team of 50 people, every member writing to everyone about what they are working on. People do this because, for good reasons or bad, they want everyone to be on the loop about whats going on. When its a 50 people team, it generates very serious clutter. If you open your work inbox in the morning and go through 50% of the email leaving them unread, you know what we’re talking about here.
CC, and its first cousin mailing lists are the prime culprits for a lot of the email clutter and overload we face today. But at the same time, there are reasons why they continue to exist and be heavily used and abused. We need to figure this out and find a solution to this. This would make a lot of people happy about the time the spend with their inbox.