This feature should be seriously considered.
"Send to a friend" is a very common UI feature for websites, and many people use it not only to notify friends, but to send links to themselves.
It's true that there are better ways to manage saving and sending links, and users can do this themselves in a number of ways, but that's no reason to deny this feature.
Good reasons to deny the feature should be based solely on:
- Will this increase readership?
- Will it improve the usability of the site?
- Does it add value for our core users? (Note that this site's core users may not be who you think they are)
- Will this harm the site?
- Will this complicate the UI?
- Is it technically difficult?
We already send automated emails from the site for question alerts, and we specifically encourage users to share links.
Honestly it looks to me as though the only issue one might have with it is that adding yet another feature to each page could clutter the ui.
One option (of course not the only one) is to use an overlay popup for the "link" link that gives the users additional options, including email, and possibly other sharing options (twitter, facebook, digg, reddit, a user referral link, a clean (no user number) link, etc). This wouldn't complicate the ui any more than it already is, adding no additional page elements except when specifically requested by the user, clicking on "link".
We're not a social website, but the more people we attract to the site, the better. Given that the vast majority of people visiting come through google, and these users are doing research for themselves or others, this sort of feature may actually have a significant effect in advertising the site through personal referrals.