I received an email from someone telling me they noticed I was a backer on a Stack Exchange site, and asking if I would be willing to back a proposal for a related technology.

The email did not go through Stack Exchange servers, and did not purport to be from Stack Exchange, but this seems, at a minimum, unethical to me.

My questions are:

  • How did they get my email address?
  • Is this breaking any terms of use or anything for them to do this?
  • 9
    Is the e-mail they contacted you at the same one linked in your GitHub profile that you have linked to your Stack Exchange profile?
    – Spevacus
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:26
  • @Spevacus Yes. Good point. I suppose that would be harvestable - my assumption is that this is a mass email, not targeted. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:27
  • 8
    It's somewhat difficult for us to guess how this person found your contact info - particularly without any more specific information about who sent the email, what email address it was sent to, etc. Since this information is somewhat private, I invite you to fill out the contact form at the bottom of any page and include that information so that we can look into it a bit for you. In general, though, it's most likely that your email is findable through your profile, as Spevacus noted.
    – Catija
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:28
  • 1
    I can't find your Area 51 account to validate this, but it could be a issue with how avatars are generated on that site
    – smitop
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:28
  • @Catija The email it was sent to is the one Spevacus pointed out. I'm willing to name and shame the sender and proposed area51 proposal if appropriate. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:30
  • 11
    I wouldn't put their email here but if you have the proposal and username that's probably fine. In general, I'm not a fan of people doing this sort of thing to get followers for proposals but we don't have any specific rules about it.
    – Catija
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:34
  • 5
    @Catija I've gone ahead and submitted through the contact form. Thanks. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Stack Exchange staff got back to me and determined there was no evidence of foul play, and as Catja pointed out, there are no specific rules about not harvesting user information and sending email out in this manner.

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