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There was a question asked a few minutes ago that was not very clear. I added a comment asking for clarification, but another user followed that up with a comment that might have been perceived as rude. The comment itself was not constructive (IMO).

After thinking a bit out-of-the-box, imagining the OP intent, I have a possible answer. But the question has been "voluntarily deleted by the author", I suspect as the result of the second comment.

So my question here: is there any effective way to communicate with the question author? If so, how?

I understand that "private messaging" has been discussed before and rejected as a SO feature. I've not used chat often, so is that a possibility? Can one invite a specific user to a chat room?

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if you are talking about this question stackoverflow.com/questions/15554603 i'ts not closed (though I know I'm not answering) – Hugo Dozois Apr 21 '13 at 19:25
No, that was my lame attempt to contact the author; I'm sure that is not kosher but it's the only thing I could think of. So I thought I should ask here for advice. – BellevueBob Apr 21 '13 at 19:27
Do you mean deleted, not closed? Authors can immediately delete their own (unanswered) questions but they vote to close on their own posts like everyone else (needs 5 votes) – Ben Brocka Apr 21 '13 at 19:36
@BenBrocka Sorry, yes, I meant "deleted". But in fairness, I was going from memory and thought the message said "closed". – BellevueBob Apr 21 '13 at 19:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I believe you're probably referring to this question (10k) and me as the person who posted the "unconstructive" comment.

I'll stand by that one in this case; though I could maybe have worded it better. This user has a habit of posting questions that show little to no research effort. The full text of the question was (so you can confirm):

Two columns - A and B. I'd like to update A with the count of rows, whose B value is lesser than the B value of the current column. Is that possible?

To, I hope, prove my point you say "After thinking a bit out-of-the-box, imagining the OP intent". This defeats the objective of an answer. If you have to imagine the OPs intent then you're essentially guessing and the OP has not crafted a very good question. You might be guessing incorrectly. The best possible solution is for the OP to actually demonstrate what they're trying to do and to explain this well.

A user cannot undelete a question they have deleted unless they have 10k reputation or haven't navigated away from the question page. A moderator can see all deleted questions and undelete if requested.

To communicate with them you can post on one of their other posts. I would do this sparingly though.

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Yes, that's the one. I didn't mean to suggest that your comment was inappropriate. I don't know the author and don't know why the question was deleted so quickly. Thanks for the suggestion. – BellevueBob Apr 21 '13 at 19:53
I don't think it was inappropriate @BellevueBob; though as I say I could have worded it better and been more constructive about it. After 95 questions I doubt that I would get through with the "hello and welcome to SO" routine though. The question was deleted by the OP 1 min and 28 seconds after my comment... – ben is uǝq backwards Apr 21 '13 at 19:55

No, unless they have contact info in their profile.

You can also comment on any of their other questions or answers, although IMO it's a bit pushy.

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