(This is not a duplicate of Does SO need social networking features to improve the experience for expert users? or Any way to send a personal message to another user?—see comments thread below).
Given that this is primarily a Q&A site and not a hang-out spot, the fact of the matter is that asking people questions and getting answers from them are social activities. Gaining and losing reputation are mechanisms of social status. Everyone loves Jon Skeet (or else) and Eric Lippert. Sure, I can find their e-mail address or personal blogs and connect with them there but I would prefer to have some Stack Exchange back-channel for a one-to-one follow-up that the community needn't mediate. The chat feature only goes so far. I don't even use it. I don't expect others to poke their head into a chat room on a regular basis to see if I said something interesting.
I want Stack Exchange to be part of the social web and ultimately the semantic web. I'm not satisfied with the archipelago of S.E. islands, each with their own priesthood of moderators who frown upon chit chat and buddy buddy.
I'm asking for OPT-IN socialization, not soviet socialism. If you just want to ask and answer, don't check the box that says you want to do otherwise. Technology isn't evil, it's just misunderstood. Policies can be automated, and I feel that they should. Communities should just have fun and let the machines moderate whenever possible.