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Should I edit out the (thankfully obsfucated) e-mail address from this post? Is this something we should allow on the site going forward?

I don't care about the "thank you" or "hello", but this might lead to an answer being sent by e-mail, which would mean it wouldn't be peer reviewed (for what that's worth), and the answer would be lost to the community.

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5 Answers 5

I went ahead and removed it.

We don't email answers to people. It totally removes the aspect of people finding answers to their problems on Stack Overflow through google.

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Well, if an SO user would be willing to give one-on-one consulting sessions on a difficult topic to somebody, then I'd say go ahead. After all, it's none of Stack Overflow's business how its users communicate with each other. I agree with removing the E-Mail address as noise, though - it's extremely bad form to ask for answers through E-Mail. –  Pëkka Feb 2 '10 at 16:29
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@Pekka I disagree. Stackoverflow should not facilitate one-on-one help. That is not the intent of the site. If someone wants to go out of their way to contact someone, that's their choice. But having a policy that explicitly says that it is Ok is against the aim of the site. –  jjnguy Feb 2 '10 at 16:32
    
Nelson, I think we agree more than we disagree. I am totally for answering all questions on SO - it's what makes most sense. I have done a lot of lenghty "can you change x to y?" "ok, can you check whether a is n?" support sessions in the comments to an answer myself. But if both asker and askee want to, as you say, go out of their way to contact each other directly, it's none of SO's business. I agree with what you say about policy. –  Pëkka Feb 2 '10 at 16:36
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If two SO users want to contact each other, there are a million ways for us to find each other already. However, it does not belong in posts. (For example, several SO users follow me on Twitter and vice versa. My Twitter URL and obfuscated email are both in my profiles; I'm not hard to find. But @jinguy's right -- it shouldn't necessarily be facilitated.) –  John Rudy Feb 2 '10 at 16:40

Answers are for the benefit of the Stack Overflow community not just for the OP. So tacking on your email address to a question (perhaps) in the hope of a direct and private answer is up there with the same sin committed by Usenet folks who request that you "plz reply directly to email".

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It's noise. Like "Howdy" and "Thanks to all my peeps, peace out!". Get rid of it! (In this case you do not have to do anything though; someone was faster)

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The only reasons to include an email in a post might be to

  • Arrange a personal contact
  • Converse about the post off the site

Both of which move the site in directions that have been declined time and time again for the following reasons:

  • SO is not a social networking website.
  • Questions and answers are meant to appear onsite so that future SO users may benefit.

The site already has a feature to email the question owner if they want to receive updates via email.

In 5 years the email will have absolutely no value or bearing on the question.

Therefore it doesn't belong - there's no reason to have it now, and there's no reason to have it long term.

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If someone want's to post their email, let them. I don't think it's a great idea though.

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If they want to give you their email address, the correct place to put it is on their user page. –  Brad Gilbert Feb 2 '10 at 17:09
    
@Brad, yes, I think obfuscated on the user page is the best option, but we shouldn't restrict people from putting it in their post if they want. –  Lance Roberts Feb 2 '10 at 17:16
    
Why obfuscated? If they want to put it in plan text, let them –  jmfsg Feb 2 '10 at 19:33
    
@Down, it's intelligent to obfuscate it so spambots don't get it –  Lance Roberts Feb 2 '10 at 19:35

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