I just answered a question and the OP accepted the answer, yet it seems like "i hav some more problem in my project" and the poster's now asking for my email.

I guess I will refrain from doing so, but I was wondering if behavior like this is to be flagged? Are there rules about contacting SO users in a non-SO way?

I do think asking people for their email (in case they don't state it in their profile) is a big NO.

Any opinions, thoughts, rules?

  • 4
    Just say no politely. You could also mention that you are not always available to answer questions and that they might have better luck simply posting another question on Stack Overflow - Its really active and it is very likely that they would receive a response faster that way.
    – Lix
    Mar 27, 2012 at 9:39
  • @Lix that's what I initially thought, but I actually fear a longer discussion resulting in some kind of sh*tstorm
    – m90
    Mar 27, 2012 at 9:42
  • 12
    Just don't raise a white flag and feel pressured into sharing your contact details :P
    – Lix
    Mar 27, 2012 at 9:51

4 Answers 4


Disagree with these guys.

Flag it. A moderator will delete the comment.

If you notice a pattern, flag one of the user's posts and give as much detail as possible.

Reason being is that bugging users for more help is kinda abusive, but not in a confrontational way. A mod can snick that comment and be on his way, and the target user can feign ignorance of ever seeing the comment. That way we can passively aggressively ignore these buggers. I mean, users that bug. Other users.

  • 1
    I suppose we're supposed to take your opinion seriously since you're a mod or something? Mar 27, 2012 at 20:21

Update: I have updated my answer because there was something I didn't consider.

While it's true that the user didn't actually made a terrible mistake, it's very likely that the comment is not appropriate for the context as in off topic or too chatty. On second thought, if you really want to do everything, I'd probably respond the user and then flag the comment for removal. If you don't want to respond, just flag the comment.

And yes, asking for private info on a public setting is not really the best practice, especially when that user didn't share any contact in the first place.

  • 4
    "Flagging is for things that you can't manage." Right. Like deleting a comment. You need a moderator to do that. Mar 27, 2012 at 18:12
  • @TheEstablishment: Not ture, enough offensive flags will do it. But then, asking for help isn't offensive, its just not really allowed.
    – user1228
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:58
  • @Won't: Technically, that's still a flag... :-) The fact a moderator didn't have to actually process the flag is merely an implementation detail. Mar 28, 2012 at 4:19

Your answer to his request is exactly what you should have done.

I agree that it is absolutely inappropriate to ask for personal contact details on SO, quite aside from the privacy and spam issues from screen-scraping, it totally defeats the point of SO as a public Q&A site.

When I come across questions or answers either providing or asking for personal contact information, I immediately edit it out as it has no place here. If I find a comment with it, I'll make a judgement call whether to flag it depending on the content and context.


No need to flag it, just politely decline. He was acting in good faith--so a flag isn't necessary. Comment-flag-deletion without warning tends to confuse people (since comment deletion is invisible). It may also lead to hostility (how would you feel if some unknown person erased something of yours without a trace)

Only use flagging to do something beyond your powers.

Note that if someone else posts their email on the site, it's better to flag it for deletion.

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