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When you are researching a topic, before asking a question on SO, you check on whether that question has already been asked (even indirectly). If not, then you ask.

After asking and waiting, what if you do not get a relevant answer? On reading responses/answers to related/relevant questions, you might think "this guy would probably be able to answer the question better/best." But he has not answered or even commented on the question. Maybe he has been busy (in which case you cannot do anything), but maybe — since there are so many questions on SO — your question skipped his eye.

There should be a way in which we can ping or poke "that guy," to tell him about the question.

There is a spam fear factor, when you poke a guy again and again, or poke for irrelevant questions.

The team can come up with a mechanism to prevent people from spamming others with irrelevant questions, but I think if the other person feels disturbed/spammed, he can vote the question down, ask for it to be closed, with his comments specifying the reason, and a moderator or even the community can take care of it with five votes to close. I think.

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+1 because this is a good question to have answered on mSO. My impression is that we should vote for questions when they are clear and useful, whether or not we agree with the questioner's point of view. Answers provide a great place to express POV. Let's not dilute value by mixing purposes. –  Argalatyr Jul 14 '09 at 4:38
    
@Argalatyr, wasn't my downvote and overall I agree. But, the downvote was before the OP edited the question, when it was much harder to read. –  Timothy Carter Jul 14 '09 at 4:42
    
@yshuditelu: Thanks for pointing that out - I should have checked the edit history before commenting. I can see that made a big difference. –  Argalatyr Jul 14 '09 at 11:16
    
@GraceNote, I know, no "real tags," I couldn't think of an appropriate one. –  Pops Sep 17 '12 at 12:15
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5 Answers 5

While emailing the person may been seen as a little intrusive, if you know that user's on Twitter I don't think it's unreasonable to tweet "@foobar: I think this question is right up your street. Care to have a look? http://..." I know that's happened to me a couple of times, and it wasn't a problem at all.

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hmm this is surely one way and good one too, but not everyone use twitter, and how to find that guy on twitter if he is using bare information of himself in his profile page. –  Vivek Sharma Jul 14 '09 at 9:10
    
I agree, if you have some other "relationship" with a person, I have no problem contacting the user outside of the site, but internal to the site, I don't think it's something that should be supported. –  Timothy Carter Jul 14 '09 at 12:25
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Users who are cool with being contacted have contact info in their profiles. If you se a Twitter handle, email address etc then you can use it to tell them about the question. If you don't, then you have to accept that you can't contact them directly. I've found that @-ing people on Twitter works well, attracting both the @-ed person and others. –  Kate Gregory Jul 25 '11 at 14:30
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I don't particularly like the idea of the system sending an email, IM, whatever to me whenever someone thinks I can answer a question.

I wonder if it would be possible to simply flag the question for a particular user. You flag a question for user x's attention and next time they login they see a bar at the top of the screen like you see when you have new comments/answers.

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The SO community is based on allowing user's to answer at the leisure and desire. If you are not getting the responses you want to a question there are a few things you can do. First of all, make sure you question is worded well and explains directly and clearly what it is you need help with. Additionally, if you have continued working on the problem yourself, posting what you have tried (successful or not) will help show people that you're working to solve the problem yourself and may also provide more direction to potential answerers as far as what you're looking for. There is not a way, nor would I expect there to be in future, to specific "ping" one user; but if you make your question good enough, it likely will get seen by someone who can help you.

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When I ask a question I've usually exhausted my other resources and gone through quite a lot of trial and error etc. so "working" on the question and editing it (and in turn bumping it up) doesn't really work. –  gix Oct 12 '09 at 15:38
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We already have Unanswered Questions -> My Tags to show you questions with the tags where you are active that have no up-voted answer. Perhaps we could highlight this feature better?

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I know my buddy is online (I can see by his profile) - but I don't want to email him or twitter, I just want to notify him that he could look at my question and know that a message has been sent (just like on FB or whatever).

Would be great to be able to ping him - but yes, I realise there's scope for spam and other abuse for this sort of thing....

A GREAT idea though.... PLUS 1 !

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