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Routing a Question to a Particular SO Member or Members
How to ask a question to a particular user of stackoverflow.com

There come times where you have an advanced question about a platform (not a problem/error). Typical developers watching that tag won't be able to answer it, or the few expert developers might miss it.

Example: C# expert Jon Skeet, VSTO expert Otaku, Symbian expert QuickRecipesOnSymbianOS

Some experts like Jon Skeet / Marc Gravell watch their respective tags, but that's no guarantee that your tough question will be seen by them.

So a way to request a specific user to answer a question will be useful. An implementation:

  • Every question has "inform" link below it
  • Clicking "inform" asks you for a specific user ID, eg. "23354" for Marc
  • Marc then sees an alert on his Recent Activity page.
  • Marc answers the tough question, and helps devs when they need him most
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marked as duplicate by dmckee, Greg Hewgill, John Rudy, Shog9, fretje Mar 8 '10 at 22:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Why is it that this wonderful "meta" community hates new feature requests? What are we here to do, clap our hands and cheer the current state of affairs? not improve it in any way? –  Jarvis Mar 8 '10 at 5:01
4  
"Why is it that this wonderful "meta" community hates new feature requests?" Variation of this idea have been turned down before. More than once: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19990/… meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30564/… –  dmckee Mar 8 '10 at 5:05
7  
well, I'd argue this would drive away the very people who answer questions –  Jeff Atwood Mar 8 '10 at 5:47
2  
I've wanted to do this once, when I was pretty sure there was only one active user on the site with experience doing what I was trying to do. That user showed up after a while without any prompting, other than good tagging, and answered my question. Have you actually had problems getting answers? –  Dominic Rodger Mar 8 '10 at 6:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

As a "high-rep" user (not necessarily an expert, but easily findable on the first page), I occasionally get random people commenting on answers I've given, requesting that I look at their newly posted question. This happened just the other day, and as it happens that new question didn't have anything to do with anything I was interested in, so I did what I normally do - flag the question for moderator attention and indicate the user is spamming.

That's also what I would consider such an "inform" feature to be. I answer questions on Stack Overflow on my own schedule and on my own whim. I would definitely not like to receive directed requests from random users about their latest question.

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Some experts like Jon Skeet / Marc Gravell watch their respective tags, but that's no guarantee that your tough question will be seen by them.

The very idea that anything is guaranteed, to anyone, is corrosive to community.

If you make your question good enough, it will attract the right audience. And if you don't .. well, fix your question!

Beyond that, of course:

How do I get attention for old, unanswered questions?

share|improve this answer
    
You could just request someone to answer your question, there's no guarantee that they will answer it, and you can set a limit of 1 request per question to prevent abuse. This is basically for situations where people don't mind answering hard questions but don't want to get bothered by the simple stuff. Or don't mind helping out in situations where only their expertise can solve the respective problem. –  Jarvis Mar 8 '10 at 4:56

If this were possible, everyone would ping him with their question. Given that, do you really think that feature would be useful to you? Because either way you still won't stand out from the crowd or Jon has to just stop looking at any of the notices. Either way, it doesn't help you at all. And then put yourself in Jon's shoes for a minute. Would you want to get a notice anytime anyone asks a question even remotely related to C#? It'd get real annoying real quick.

I could maybe see this working if there were a stiff reputation penalty to use it - say spend 50 points or so every time you want to send a request and require the question be community wiki. That should keep the volume to something reasonable. But I think I'd still find it more annoying than flattering to be the target of such requests.

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You can set a reputation limit, that only users with 5K or more can send requests, and only questions with a bounty of more than 200 (so you verify that the question is an important one) can have the "inform" link. That should prevent most abuse. –  Jarvis Mar 8 '10 at 4:59

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