I feel there should be a message system where you can leave specific users private messages, so that users can comunicate privately, which is why the chat won't do. How come we don't have anything like that yet? I know S.E. doesn't have it as a feature in any site, but, hey, it's never too late.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If possible, is there an example you can give of where you think this feature would benefit the stack as a whole? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


I can't find a specific link or quote right now, but afaik that was specifically left out because SE doesn't intend to be a forum/chat community but rather a dedicated Q&A site. IIRC the tenor was that including too many social features (like private messages) would diminish or dilute the main focus of the sites.

Communication between users should be focused on the questions and answers and comments and the chat already provide that functionality. If users wants to be able to discuss other things they can always include further contact information (email, facebook, whatever) in their account profile.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, SE is very focused on being public. Everything we do around here is more or less in the public eye. \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 14:37

Most basic questions have been addressed network-wide on Meta Stack Overflow. Answer to this one is "no." Any way to send a personal message to another user?

The consistent response to this is that it's a bad idea, because:

  1. It could hide information from the community: useful information transmitted privately is unavailable to other readers, subverting the core purpose of the site.

  2. It could be used to harass other users ("Answer my question!", "Accept my answer!", "Yer momma so fat she overflows the stack!", etc...)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Building on point 1: So many times I've seen someone ask a question on a forum with PMs, and very soon they get a reply saying "PM me with the details and we can talk about what to do here." There's a huge benefit to public discussion lost if the asker does that: others can criticise bad advice or add to the talk, and if the answerer fails, the entire discussion was public and doesn't need to be repeated for other answerers' benefit (and the asker doesn't have to answer the same questions multiple times to each answerer). Having everything be public is incredibly important for good Q&A. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 1:52

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