One thing that I will be very happy if added in Stack Overflow is a Private Message system like in forums, because there's some things that you want to be in private with your internet friends.

  • 2
    It's so weird to see 3-digit question IDs when voting to close a question. Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 19:13
  • I agree there should be a pm, and maybe you could be able to not allow people to pm you in your user settings.. Like sometimes someone answers, then I comment asking for more information or something but they never come back to see it..
    – mk12
    Commented Aug 17, 2009 at 21:01

7 Answers 7


SO.com is not a social site. It is a programming Q&A site. No thanks.

If I wanted to talk to you, you would find a way to contact me in my profile. Many people do include this, if they don't, they don't want to be contacted.

  • I've been trying to tell people that.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 18:28
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    @user: you seem to be missing the point of Stack Overflow.
    – perbert
    Commented Mar 9, 2010 at 15:51
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    @user142380 On the contrary, keeping the site as is lets users focus on what's important: asking and answering questions.
    – alex
    Commented Mar 9, 2010 at 15:51

Normally people who want to be contacted will give their email address (or a website link) on their profile to allow for people to contact them. This has been discussed before and I really doubt that it will ever get implemented. The idea of the sites is supposed to be for Q&A, not extended discussions and social networking.

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    But the current system makes it much harder to share pony photos! Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 18:24

In my experience with various web forums, this feature is most commonly used by newer users trying get help directly from experienced users — to make sure their question gets attention from the bigger names at the site.

So now turn this around for a moment; if you were one of the more experienced users *cough*Jon Skeet*cough* would you want anyone and everyone to be able to send you a message like that? Would such a feature be useful, or would those users be more likely to just get swamped with junk messages? If they don't get swamped, is this fair to users that don't message these people directly? If you are planning to use the feature to discuss stackoverflow with your existing "internet friends", don't you already have good communication channels available to you for them?

  • Isn't that what MSO is for?
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 19:13

I think it's reasonable to assert that a lot of users won't want to be contacted (spam, flamewar instigation, etc). Users who don't mind being contacted can be, through the personal website or email listed in their profiles.


I agree with everyone else here in that you can use email for that.

However, there are times I'd like to tell somebody something which; a) adds zero value to the community, and/or b) might embarrass the other person.

In those cases, it might be nice if we could flag a comment as private.

To be honest, I still don't know if this is a good idea or not, but thought I'd throw it out to the community anyway.

  • Just make a separate question for it as a feature request.
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 18:49

This feature has been requested before and declined on UserVoice: http://stackoverflow.uservoice.com/pages/1722-general/suggestions/99462-allow-private-messages

admin response

it's about the questions and answers, not social networking. But if you want to contact someone, check their profile -- they will provide an URL or email address there.


The majority voice here seems to be opposed to anything social-icky. Your best bet is probably to email your friends, or get them on your own IM client.

  • And that opposition is something that I really do not understand... Integration does not equal adoption of becoming social-icky, but it certainly can use social features...
    – RSolberg
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 18:29
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    One of the reasons for opposition is that it can be a pain in the butt to go and check an indefinite number of websites that all implement messaging in them to see your messages. I'd much rather just get an email from someone go to my email box, then having to monitor yet another mailbox.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 18:35
  • 1
    I, personally, am in favor of the social-modules.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 13, 2009 at 19:28

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