Possible Duplicate:
Any way to send a personal message to another user?

I don't expect that this is going to go over well here based on the only other question I've found related to this topic, but here goes....

It seems that some sort of user-to-user messaging is the only major "social/community" feature missing from Stack Exchange. Would there be any value to adding user-to-user messaging outside of the context of questions, answers and comments?

What are the reasons for and against including user-to-user messaging on SE sites? Note that the lack of the tag is intentional. I'm not requesting that the feature be added. I'm just interested in the discussion about it.

  • Have you looked at Facebook? If so, why do you want to turn the nice, clean, simple, purpose-driven SO sites into the site you use as an example of pointless featuritis?
    – Macha
    Aug 1, 2009 at 15:48
  • 2
    random updated their status: "What? No votes left? Back in 11 hours?"
    – random
    Aug 1, 2009 at 15:56
  • 5
    I didn't tag this a feature-request on purpose. I wasn't requesting the feature be added, I'm just interested in the discussion about it. Aug 1, 2009 at 16:00

4 Answers 4


The big reason against: SO isn't a social networking site. It's a Q&A site. Anything which distracts from making it as simple as possible to ask questions and answer them is taking away from the main point, IMO.

To put it another way: do you expect Windows Live Messenger or Google Talk to add Q&A features? If not, why not?

  • 4
    why not allow it, but add the possibility of opting out? It doesn't have to be a facebook or google chat, but sometimes it would be useful to be able to talk to someone.
    – Vivi
    Jun 9, 2010 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Vivi, even if you make it opt- in, just having the option available will make the site more "social networky" in users' heads, especially new users.
    – Pops
    Sep 11, 2010 at 16:46
  • @Popular Demand: but isn't chat making it more "social networky" anyway?
    – Vivi
    Sep 14, 2010 at 21:25
  • 1
    @Vivi, unfortunately, it is. But one step in the wrong direction doesn't justify a second step in the wrong direction. Chat has been useful for a few things, but overall, the reward-to-effort ratio just isn't there.
    – Pops
    Sep 14, 2010 at 21:49

It's not missing.

It's not wanted.

  • 13
    Given the fact that this is a very common request, I dispute the notion that it's not wanted. Aug 1, 2009 at 16:23
  • Common request or good way to test the patience of dupe and search features? U decide!
    – random
    Aug 1, 2009 at 23:17
  • Technically, repeated expressions of (dis)interest in something (from different parties) are not dupes, because the information is the volume of desire. On the other hand, non-new arguments why something is a good or bad idea often are duplicates, because the information is the argument. Jun 21, 2012 at 16:52

Users can include IM details in their profiles if they are interested in being contacted that way. Jeff Atwood is pretty adamant about SO, etc. not being a social networking site, but rather a place to get answers for questions.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .