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Hi,

I want to contact a Stack Overflow user - is there anyway to send them a message or request access to there contact details?

The reason is a particular user has a lot of experience in a field in which we are looking to hire someone so we would like to contact them initially to see if they would be interested.

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Now an FAQ: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/57537/… –  Gnome Sep 19 '10 at 2:19
    
If you want a private messaging system, vote here: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/172688/… –  user216196 Mar 20 '13 at 14:44
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7 Answers

There is no way to contact a user. Users who wish to be contacted may have information listed in their profile. If they don't, you're out of luck. If you would like to hire someone, consider placing an ad in the joelonsoftware/stackoverflow job market.

If you're desperate, you may place a short and quick comment on one of their posts asking if they're interested. Don't ask more than once, even if they don't reply. This behavior probably isn't encouraged by others, so I would avoid it -- but nothing will stop you from trying.

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This feature is almost always requested by newer users who want to contact established, high-rep users. Put yourself in the established users' shoes for a moment: do they really want every new user out there pinging them every time the new user asks a question?

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A virtual +1! [Not enough rep on meta to actually give it] –  user138932 Nov 16 '09 at 15:31
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We can make this an opt-in feature (allowing incoming messages), like in Craigslist for commercial soliciting. –  Mark Cidade Nov 3 '11 at 21:27
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You can contact them in whatever ways the user has detailed in their profile. If they have no information listed, it is likely they are not too concerned if you want to contact them or not.

For example, my user profiles on the different sites have a variety of contact methods including email and the IRC channels I regularly roam in.

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Okay, I might be crazy but part of my profile used to have a check box labeled something like "I wouldn't mind being contacted by employers" or some such... and now it's not there. Did I imagine that?

Anyhow, you might want to contact Stack Overflow directly with your request. They might not be able to help you but they might have some service or feature in mind to help users out in this scenario.

I would certainly want to know if someone (legitimately) was interested in contacting me about a project. But that's why I include contact information in my profile.


Update:

When filling out a user profile, users can select "I'm open to employers (not recruiters) contacting me".

Considering that Stack Overflow offers a job placement service, it might be good-faith business gesture so place a job listing and inquire if they could pretty-please forward the listing to the user you are interested in (assuming the user authorized the communication in their profile).

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"I'm open to employers (not recruiters) contacting me" - it's on the Prefs page. –  Shog9 Aug 21 '09 at 1:44
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(no idea if it actually does anything though) –  Shog9 Aug 21 '09 at 1:46
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Apparently, it doesn't yet, but is there for future functionality –  a_m0d Aug 21 '09 at 2:12
    
Thanks, @Shog9. Phew. Thought I was losing it. –  Robert Cartaino Aug 21 '09 at 2:36
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If they are exceptionally-talented, they probably have their own blog, website, linked-in account. Try googling their name, it should come up with some results that can get you in touch with them if they are indeed as active as the average reputable so-user is.

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However, if they're exceptionally-talented then they'll also be expensive or already have a comfortable contract with some nice employer whom they don't want to leave. Good talent is hard to steal from your competition... :-) –  Wim ten Brink Aug 21 '09 at 7:46
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Users who want to be contactable can put an email address or personal web page in their profile. Click their name to see.

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As everyone else said, contact details are the way a user might choice to disclose ways of contacting him.

In case you don't have these data, you may try commenting one of his answers asking for him to contact you. He will see that.

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Is there a risk of being downvoted for that? I'd like to respectfully initiate a request for more detail from user X about an answer he provided, even though the detail about which I'm following up is really unrelated to the original question. I'd hate to pollute the question thread with irrelevancies. I surely don't want to get downvoted as I am right on the edge of comment privileges. But I'd also like to initiate at least one attempt at follow-up with the guy. Whaddya think? Many thanks. –  DavidW Oct 31 '09 at 13:14
    
@DavidW The risk of being downvoted is everywhere. I could downvote you right now. Downvotes can't be predicted. However, note that comments can't be downvoted. Anyone wanting to downvote you for your comment would have to find your answers and downvote them, which is rather sneaky. –  Daniel Daranas Feb 9 '10 at 8:38
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