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Right now I'm aware that there is no Private Messaging system and that almost (if not all) request for creating one have been denied. Most likely because of the difficult nature of such a system and the amount of data a Private Message system could take up. So I'm not suggesting a feature that creates a Private Message system. Instead I'm suggesting allowing the user to integrate his/her Facebook or other social network profile into Stack Exchange.

The hooks seem to be in place for using the Facebook ID, but I'd rather like someway to post a private message to his/her Facebook on Stack Overflow. This will allow you to have a PM system without creating one, and it would be 100% an opt-in feature. Not everyone likes the idea of sharing their profile information. I would also like to suggest that a certain amount of repetition be hit (say 100) before the user could activate this ability and a smaller amount (say 15/20) before a user can message someone. This is of course to weed out any junk messages.

I know that a fully extensive Stack Exchange API exists and if someone wanted to they could recreate the stack overflow sites with this feature, but its a small concern that seems to be growing in the community. I'd rather like this feature implemented, and I believe the feature could be implemented easily.

Another way to use this feature instead of Social Network connections could be an e-mail button right from the profile. Same repetition restrictions as before, but instead of showing the e-mail the user would enter the message an in form mailer and it would be the users choice to respond and share the message. (Change the Reply-To header field in the message to the actual users message.)

I've noticed that these features, and like ones, that would be nice and benefit the community have been declined. Therefore I implore you to wait a few weeks before making a decision to see if enough of the community wants this feature. It doesn't seem that difficult to me to add such a feature but I'm not a Stack Exchange developer and I really wouldn't know. Just please do me the kindness of giving a reason if this feature is declined.

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This idea continually comes up and continually gets shut down. At some point one has to ask why a feature so commonly sought is thrown out like yesterdays trash... –  RSolberg Jan 14 '11 at 23:11
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But does it necessarily become better (as in, needed as a feature of Stack Overflow) because it continually comes up? –  Pëkka Jan 17 '11 at 23:59

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

People can already do this by editing links to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkinIn, etc. accounts into their profile information.

Making this public indicates you are willing to be contacted via these avenues, and you can set up communication channels this way. However, this is non selective as all users of the system can see this information.

That coupled with the chat system means there are more than enough ways to contact people if you really want to.

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That is true, but is there anyway to protect those links from people with low repetition scores? I don't want to be cluttered with junk mail. –  Justin Jan 14 '11 at 13:51
    
@Justin - no there isn't, which I admit is a flaw in my answer. –  ChrisF Jan 14 '11 at 13:52
    
Maybe that what the feature should be, revised to. Connection exists but no protection against junk mail. Just out of curiosity, how many people participate in this function? –  Justin Jan 14 '11 at 13:55
    
@Justin - as the profile is free text you'd have to write a program that either used the data dumps or the API to get the profile and analyse it for social networking links. –  ChrisF Jan 14 '11 at 13:56
    
Well isn't there a links section of the profile... and if so I'm assuming the best way to protect the data would be to opt-in to profile protection. Which in that case may not be such a good idea. IE a way to protect the profile from people below a set repetition score. –  Justin Jan 14 '11 at 14:02
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@Justin - the only "links" section is the field for your website. –  ChrisF Jan 14 '11 at 14:06

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