Possible Duplicate:
Routing a question to a particular Stack Overflow member or members
What's the best way to invite a user to answer a question on Stack Overflow?

I'm a Stack Overflow user.

Usually I have to wait quite a long time to get an answer if the question is about a technology that not so many people know.

Sometimes it's frustrating that though I know an expert was active several minutes ago, I can't let him know that there's a question waiting for him..

So what about adding a feature that letting us to invite some experts to answer our questions? That would be much more effecient.

  • 2
    I would argue that "expert" is subjective (as it depends on what you want their expertise in), but is the "link to own question" below the tags not sufficient insofar as getting others outside of SO to look at your question?
    – Makoto
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:08
  • Those who agree to be contacted directly put contact details in their profile. Otherwise, most people don't want to be bothered. Jul 5, 2012 at 6:14
  • @Makoto Yes it's kind of subjective. But you can find clues on the site. You can find out what kind of questions he/she used to answer. If I could know his email/blog, I may send a message to him for help. But can't I do this on the site? Are there any differences? And isn't it more effecient? Again, nobody has rights to oblige the others. So they can simply ignore the invitation if they haven't time or not interested in..
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:18
  • @Sha Wiz Dow Ard oops, I didn't find it. Thanks. But I didn't agree with the answer to that question..
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:19
  • Jon Skeet would love that feature... Jul 5, 2012 at 8:11
  • @ThePower Yes. He does. But the others disagree.. Strange thing..
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


No no no no no no no.

I wish you had done a search before you asked this question, it has been answered many times. Stack Overflow is a Q&A site, not a consulting site. People are here of their own free will and good nature to answer questions, and they are in no way obliged to answer any particular question.

See my suggested duplicate comment for an answer straight from Jeff Atwood on this one. Here is another previous question: How to mention/tag any user in question

  • I did do a rough search but didn't find such questions. Maybe they are removed? IMO, an invitation doesn't oblige anybody. You can answer it if you can and interested in it or you can simply ignore it.
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:11
  • 5
    @GrantZhu: Everyone would invite Jon Skeet to answer the question, and his account would be flooded with 9001 invitation within an hour.
    – nhahtdh
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:15
  • @Grant think of spam emails - it's pretty much the same. Jul 5, 2012 at 6:15
  • @Grant, it is a bit difficult to search on because they are reasonably common words. I've added another link to a previous instance. We probably should have a FAQ entry specifically for this because it comes up often.
    – slugster
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:18
  • @nhahtdh That's a mechanism problem. There can be some limitations like you can invite at most 5 person per day/week. Or you may have to pay some reputation to send an invitation. Or you may have to have at least 500 reputations to send an invitation.
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:21
  • @Sha Wiz Dow Ard Yes. If it cannot be controlled properly, it can be like spam emails. But that's just a mechanism problem. We can send emails to anybody freely but we do have limitations on this site like if I am a new user, I can't upvote/downvote.. That's the difference. That's controllable.
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:27
  • @GrantZhu: You are only solving part of the problem, particularly from the sender point of view, but think about the receiver also. If you read the other duplicate thread, you will see that a few "extra" features must be set up so that it is not too much of a burden on the receiver side.
    – nhahtdh
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:27
  • @slugster OK. Thanks..
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:29
  • @nhahtdh A few extra features must be set up isn't the reason that we can't have this feature if it's good.. What's the key point of Q&A? People need help and people are willing to help. Isn't effort made to let it be easier valuable?
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:43
  • @GrantZhu: Setting up the feature might not even be a problem. But the extra effort spent to manage the use of the feature to prevent abuse. And another thing to consider is: how many people will benefit from this if all the features as suggested by Jon Skeet in the duplicate is set up?
    – nhahtdh
    Jul 5, 2012 at 6:57
  • @nhahtdh There won't be much effort spent to manage it if the mechanism is clever enough I think. IMO, many people will benefit from it. But actually I still don't understand why most of you disagree... Keep it controllable is not that difficult.. What's more difficult on this site is to let the people who can help you know you need their help. If they happen to not online when you raise the question, your question may be forgot forever..
    – Grant Zhu
    Jul 5, 2012 at 7:14

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