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If I would like to credit someone for helping out via an answer they gave (i.e., in the "thanks" section in a published book), what is the best way to ask for their real name? Because there is no private message feature on Stack Exchange, I can't think of a way to ask for real name that does not require them making it public (on the question page).

My going-in idea is just to ask for the real name as a comment to their answer, explaining why. If they are willing to provide it in the comments, fine, otherwise I guess I will have to thank them by userid, or not thank them at all.

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  • You can try to allure the user into a chat.
    – ott--
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 16:56

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If I would like to credit someone for helping out via an answer they gave (e.g. in the "thanks" section in a published book), what is the best way to ask for their real name?

If their profile page doesn't give their name and you can't find it from any links they provided, you can assume they do not wish to share it with the community or make it public.

In general - you don't need their real name in order to credit them - a link to their Stack Overflow profile page or using their display name should suffice.

I can't think of a way to ask for real name that does not require them making it public

And if they give you the name via any other means, they now have that name traceable to them via your book... even if they don't want that (this is an exaggerated risk, sure - but still there and some people will want to remain private).

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    They can also check the user's profile. Any information a user wishes to make public would (should) be shared there. Commented May 18, 2016 at 14:43
  • @RobertCartaino well, that's kind of common sense, we're assuming the question is what can be done in case the public profile does not contain useful information. :) Commented May 18, 2016 at 15:13
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    @ShadowWizard Common sense to you maybe as a long-term avid participant, but that little tidbit may not be as obvious to someone who is new to the network. Commented May 18, 2016 at 15:16

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