Discussion on How should we respond to contact-me-privately and no-work-shown answers? includes SE is not a social networking site. My cousin has been researching both her and her partner's family for quite a long time. One of the names researched has recently appeared in a question on Genealogy.SE. This is of interest to my cousin and she would like to contact the writer. There are no contact details on the user profile. What are her options to persue this contact?


2 Answers 2


I think that there is a way to invite a person to a personal, private 'chat', but maybe you both have to already be in the chatroom?

...or no, if you made a chat post like, "Hey @user, I'd like to discuss some family-name related stuff in a private chat..." then would you include a private chat link or something? Not sure how it's done, but by @user-ing that person in the chatroom, they would get a notification that you had spoken that message to them - even if they get the message three days later.

(hope that made sense) lol

Any experienced SE users want to comment or clarify what I just tried to bumble through? ;)

Maybe you would need to be a high-rep user in order to 'create a chatroom'???

  • 1
    You can create a chat room with rep of 100, and talk in a chat room with rep of 20. (You can listen but not talk with zero rep). Remember, no chat rooms are private -- creating a new room is a way of making space for a focussed discussion but anyone will be able to see it and enter if they choose.
    – user104
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 19:48

She can include her own contact details in her profile. and leave a comment for the user asking them to make contact. The comment should be relevant to the specific post it's associated with or it risks being deleted as 'noise'.

  • 3
    Solicitations for personal contact should not be permitted in answers or comments. The public nature of these sites specifically dissuades that type of private, off-line contact. That is by design. We do not provide social networking functions that would allow you to contact a user privately, so if a user wants to be contacted in this manner, they can leave that information their profile. Chat would also be appropriate because it designed to be a bit more social, and it is not really considered part of the Q&A canon. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 15:29
  • @RobertCartaino Thanks for the clarification. We maybe need to update meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/q/1568/104.
    – user104
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 15:40
  • 2
    It would be useful to use whatever mechanism boosts this thread to the front of people's consciousness to encourage them to include a contact address or website.
    – Fortiter
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 11:07
  • 1
    Although I include my email in my own profile, I completely understand if people don't want this to be visible to "the world". While I appreciate that SE isn't a social networking site, I DO believe that there should be a link for sending an email to someone without requiring their email to publicly displayed. The sender should not see the email address when sending that message, and it is therefore up to the recipient whether to reply or not.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 15:49
  • 1
    @ACProctor That sounds like a feature request -- do you want to post it as such?
    – user104
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 15:53
  • 1
    I think it's probably too obvious so I'm sure it has been suggested before. It avoids adding lots of social-networking features. It avoids Web bots finding visible email addresses. It also allows the recipient to stay cloaked and to not enter into an email conversation if they so wish.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 15:57
  • @ACproctor, various things seem to have been suggested but every one of them has been rejected -- I think there's a pretty firm intention not to enable private contact.
    – user104
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 16:09
  • @ColeValleyGirl, Yes, I get that impression. However, as a dogmatic "no", it does not satisfy real end-user requirements, nor satisfy me that SE is being allowed to evolve naturally. I still doubt that SE is workable on a variety of topics in its current form.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 17:21
  • @Acproctor, I'm pretty sure it's not being allowed to evolve naturally... it's designed as a Q&A site, not a forum nor a discussion site and the design decisions are taken to channel it down that route.
    – user104
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 17:35
  • 1
    @ColeValleyGirl, So why do our profiles contain any contact infomation at all then? Either we're expected to use them or they shouldn't be there. As it is, expecting people to make such details publically available is very bad practice. Whoever makes those decisions needs to take a second look at it.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 17:58
  • @ACproctor, Moderators need to contact users privately in some circumstances, which is what the hidden email address in your profile is for. Everything else is optional. Publishing a web-page in your profile is one (ineffective?) way of raising the profile of a related activity; that's the only other piece of structured contact information. What somebody chooses to put in the free-text is their own decision, and not a design decision by SE. So I don't see that anybody is being expected to make contact details publicly available to make SE work for its intended purpose.
    – user104
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 18:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .