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I sent a letter in the mail to opt out of the new arbitration clause to the Terms of Service, before the new electronic opt-out was put into place. Should I be expecting a reply in the mail? If so, how long after my letter is received will a reply be sent? If not, will I receive an email acknowledging that I've opted out?

The official announcement for electronic opt-out says this:

Send an e-mail to team@stackoverflow.com with the subject of 'opt out of arbitration' and a link to your profile in the body. That's it, we'll handle everything from there. You'll get confirmation back via email.

Will I get a similar response if I previously sent a letter, or if I chose to send a letter instead of using the electronic opt-out after the announcement above?

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    Currently on mobile, I'll give an answer here as soon as I get to my desk tomorrow. Short answer is yes, but let me follow up on a few things and post more confidently. – Tim Post May 14 '18 at 21:14
  • @TimPost Lost the keys to your desk? – Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog May 15 '18 at 21:05
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I have to coordinate with the office but yes, you'll receive confirmation. It's very likely that we'll e-mail the address you use for authentication (or the one you've confirmed), but you'll get a reply.

I'll need to update this with an approximate timeline (6 to 8 weeks doesn't fit everything), but I'll do that once I actually figure out who watches over the folder where your letter now lives, and get a process in place for an acknowledgement to be generated as if you simply used email (or the soon-to-be-implemented form).

Thanks for your patience, and I'll get a timeline as soon as I can, which is very likely going to be Friday, May 18 or Monday, May 21, as the final stages of GDPR readiness are upon us and we're coping.

  • Or will the one I wrote in the letter be used? The terms didn't say I had to supply a profile URL, but they did say I had to specify an email address. – Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog May 17 '18 at 12:34
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog We'd run a query to find the email to locate the account, then get the account's confirmed email (if there is one) to send a response, or we'd just use the email supplied if there's no confirmed email. In cases where we could not correlate the sender of a letter to the account, we'd just keep the letter on file. Legally, we always have to accept snail mail correspondence for this, but when the new terms go live I think we're placing emphasis on just doing it electronically to save potential hassle. – Tim Post May 17 '18 at 12:43
  • So it's not possible for users who don't have accounts to opt out? – Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog May 17 '18 at 12:45
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog I just updated my comment, yes, it is possible. – Tim Post May 17 '18 at 12:50
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This is addressed in the recent update and its comments:

Send an e-mail to team@stackoverflow.com with the subject of 'opt out of arbitration' and a link to your profile in the body. That's it, we'll handle everything from there. You'll get confirmation back via email.

As for the drawbacks:

We're willing to risk email as the only method right now because we're pretty confident that we couldn't deliver something more comprehensive in the amount of time you'd be willing to wait for it, and get the policy in place in time to match up with other changes we're making for GDPR. It wasn't a tough choice as it was the only choice. [...] There's just no time. I wish there were. We don't control the time table here, unfortunately. GDPR is nearly here and a whole lot of work has to come together in a very narrow window.

As for how long to wait for an answer («Is there a timeframe of when we should start receiving the confirmation emails?»):

I'm trying hard to not look impatient as I continue to prod people to get that, I'll get that info out as soon as I can, which I hope is today. I'm certain it's before the end of this month, I just need to nail down the day / time more precisely.

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    Nice answer for the general case going forward, but the OP is likely asking about a physical, surface mail letter. He's one of the people who sent one of those immediately after the change was announced. – SOLO May 10 '18 at 17:44
  • @SOLO yes, but that method is supposedly superseded (although stackexchange.com/legal#terms still only mentions snail mail) so OP can send an email to the same purpose. – Nemo May 10 '18 at 17:46
  • This doesn't answer the question, which was "Should I be expecting a reply in the [physical-]mail [in response to be physical letter]?" – Martin Bonner May 15 '18 at 13:20
  • @Nemo But why should the OP send an email when they have already sent a letter? – Martin Bonner May 15 '18 at 13:32

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