Mefi Email November 29, 2001 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Email this MiFier: it would be nice to have the ability to contact even those MeFiers who don't have an email address on their profile page [more -->]
posted by Shadowkeeper to Feature Requests at 12:32 PM (22 comments total)

I completely understand that some folks don't want to have their email address on their profile page, but when, in a thread, someone directs a comment to you that you'd really rather respond to personally, it's a drag to have to post your reply to the thread instead because you have no other way of contacting them. (In this case, I'm referring to this, followed by that and then the other.)

What if, when someone registers, they are required to provide an email address. Post this address to a profile page would still be optional on the part of the user, but the page would feature a "Email this MeFier" link, which would bring you to a form. The form (and the source of the form) would also not have the email address, but the backend could do a lookup based on the MeFi ID number of the recipient and route the message accordingly.

posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:33 PM on November 29, 2001

I agree. Either you're here with the rest of us or you aren't. Though most people do respond if you leave a simple message on the thread, along the lines of "wish I could email the guy/girl". And a lot of others, who don't include their addies on their user profiles, can very easily be contacted via their blogs.
But I'm the sort of person who dreams all communications were available to everyone all the time - knowing how difficult it is for someone to actually care to contact someone else - so I'm probably not representative.
If I had my way, there'd be an emails section on MetaTalk, so everybody, if they so wished, could read everybody else's emails. What do we have to hide? Why should we think ourselves that important? People don't want to know. They have better things to do. But if they do? Why deny them what isn't really such a big deal?
I hate people who say one thing in private(or more)and another in public. While I edited a national newspaper here in Portugal, "O Independente"(1987-1996 and early 1999-to mid-2001) I absolutely forbade "off the record" stuff.
If you know, you say. If you say, you let people know who and where you are. Needless to say, my little experiment was a flop and, to this day, my reporters hate me for it...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:14 PM on November 29, 2001

Since it's easy to get an anonymous email address which can be forwarded to you, I would assume that the only reason someone would have for not putting an address in the profile is that he or she does not want to be emailed.
posted by transient at 1:25 PM on November 29, 2001

Either you're here with the rest of us or you aren't

Miguel, the nature of "being with us" is that you have an account on MeFi and you post. There should really be no other responsibilities for a member. Hell, even posting or visiting isn't required. I leave my email address so that others can track me down (as you and Shadowkeeper both have), but that's a personal choice. Why require people to leave a method of contact? This site isn't about person to person contact. This site is a waypoint of sorts where anonymity is offered as a choice and rightly so. Think of it as being asked for your telephone number at a party. If you don't want that person to contact you outside the confines of that party, you wouldn't give up the digits.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:41 PM on November 29, 2001

Anonymous email is a solution I can live with. I'm one of these privacy freaks, for reasons that Miguel has not thought through very carefully. I have a very public public life; during the school year I interact with hundreds of college students, give them grades, and, as some of them misguidedly believe, determine their future careers. A few times over the years, some students, not many but enough to give me the eebie-jeebies, have tried to get glimpses of my personal life. One borderline stalker is one too many. Now I do everything I can to keep the two worlds apart. It makes it easier for me to be authoritive when I have to, distant if I need to be, and still feel free to be an idiot when my students can't see me. Simply put, my email address is too obvious; it's my name, and I don't remember to check the free sites often enough to keep them active. But an anonymous system is an acceptable compromise.
posted by dness2 at 1:43 PM on November 29, 2001

Hotmail. Worked for me. Anonymous, effective, free.
posted by UncleFes at 2:04 PM on November 29, 2001

the nature of "being with us" is that you have an account on MeFi and you post. There should really be no other responsibilities for a member.

Well look: I wish everyone had their email addresses on their profile pages, but I really don't feel too strongly about it. That said, another responsibility of MeFiers, I think, is to try and not gum up the works with flames, trolls, or copious amounts of humorous, trivial or off-topic asides. But this last part becomes difficult when someone without an email address poses a direct question to you in the middle of a thread. If, halfway through a discussion on Cochlear implants, someone comes out of left field and demands to know what my favorite flavor of ice cream is, I'd just as soon email the guy rather than post my answer to the thread and risk derailment. Likewise, if someone flames me, or if I think that someone is flame-baiting me, I'd rather contact him directly rather than make everyone in a thread suffer through our squabble. If more people did this -- took stuff like this to MetaMail -- I think MetaFilter would run a little smoother.

< shrug> Like I said, though, I'm not really gung-ho about it one way or the other.

I would assume that the only reason someone would have for not putting an address in the profile is that he or she does not want to be emailed.

I think the fear of email havesting by spammers would be another reason.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:11 PM on November 29, 2001

eyeballkid: I just imagined MetaFilter without the people who don't post their addresses. The horror! And dness2's headaches if his students could keep track of him. And- worst of all, no UncleFes, whose identity-enigma(though he says it would be easy to nail him, a challenge to tamim if ever I saw one) is a staple of life here. So I grudgingly agree. It's up to each one. Can I then rephrase Shadowkeeper's original intention, if I understand it well enough: that it's good to post your email address unless you have a really good reason not to?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:26 PM on November 29, 2001

I recall this kind of conversation being up in MeTa not too long ago, I just don't know where it is. Part of that thread was questioning the idea of a "really good reason not to" post your email address. Who decides who has a really good reason? mathowie?

This still goes back to anonymity being a poster's choice, for whatever reason. That kind of makes the whole suggestion null and void.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:55 PM on November 29, 2001

Given that it's possible to create an e-mail account just for Mefi, there's really no excuse not to have an e-mail account. I think it should be required, especially as a control on "detached, reckless activity."
posted by ParisParamus at 3:49 PM on November 29, 2001

“Who decides who has a really good reason [for not having an email address]?”

After being signed up for spam, ostensibly for something I wrote here, I don’t want anyone connected with this site to ever email me or visit any site I am connected with.

If it comes down to booting people who don’t supply an email address — I can understand why you’d want to do that — I would pack my bags.
posted by raaka at 3:49 PM on November 29, 2001

eyeballkid: is it this thread? If it's not, they're a lot of good pointers in it, anyway.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:25 PM on November 29, 2001

Well, you could run a mail server and give everyone a POP3 account with the same password. But then again, it's not as if this server isn't overloaded enough.
posted by dlewis at 4:34 PM on November 29, 2001

What about an internal MeFi messaging system?

"[Holloway | 1 message waiting | Logout]". Follow the link to read your messages. Each message has a tickbox to delete it, etc..
posted by holloway at 5:03 PM on November 29, 2001

Not bias,[g] I do think Holloway's idea is best so far but...
nightmare server load issues

Ponies cost money you know, and you all say you want one now, but soon you'll discover Boys, and then you'll never pet it or groom it, and it will go wild and then the Glue Factory.
posted by Catch at 5:18 PM on November 29, 2001

The problem with Hotmail, like I said too quickly, is that if you don't access your box within a month it gets deleted. And since I'm not popular enough to get regular notes, or maybe I don't sling around insults enough, I would get out of the habit of checking an empty box very quickly. A Mefi message server would be really nice. Or an anonymous email form.
posted by dness2 at 5:56 PM on November 29, 2001

Miguel -- let me set the stage -- a minor incident, so perhaps you can be a little more begrudging..

Once upon a time, it had been months since this sad academic got out of the house. A group of friends called and dragged me out to the Chuy's Taco Shack where Margaritas quickly sent me into a giddy reverie. After 2-3 hours, against better sober judgement the now-happy academic went to a local dance place and wildly started scrumpin' down to the thumping music. As I recall it was the Nine Inch Nails, blah blah like an ANIMAL whomp whomp, man I love that song, when I realized that a small posse of my students was cheerfully taking note of my exhuberance. Lucky for me I was leaving town and starting over soon, but until that happened they did not cease to remind me of how it was "so COOL" to see me drunk in a dance bar. I think they were very suprised to find out I knew the words to the song too. Moral of the story -- never underestimate the power of students to glory (in a bad way) in the discovery that their professors may not be THAT much older than them, have libidinous thoughts, or ever act slightly like an MTV wannabe.
Simply put, it's comfortable to know that if I want to throw my pelvis around on MetaFilter, MetaForically speaking, without fear of someone bringing up the subject wink, wink in class the next day, I can.
posted by dness2 at 6:30 PM on November 29, 2001

I understand and mostly agree with everything you've said (in this thread), dness2, except that bit about your reaction to your students reaction to you. I can't quite figure out why you would or should care?

"It was so cool to see you getting with it, man!"

:::chilling glance::: "Where is that paper that was due last Tuesday?"
posted by rushmc at 8:23 PM on November 29, 2001

ParisParamus: So let's say Matt starts to require email addresses. I go out and make one up at hotmail. He sends me my MeFi password or something to make sure the address is legit. Then I log on to this site and I never check the email account again. Anyone who bitches about my posts or wants to take it to email will just be filling up an empty box. So what's the point of requiring an email address if I could make one up in ten minutes, use it once and never use it again? What's the difference between me not posting an email address to my profile and posting one that I'll never check anyway?
posted by eyeballkid at 9:11 PM on November 29, 2001

Just to add, I was going to also suggest something like holloway's idea of an internal messaging system, but then, I'm not responsible for coding something like that into this site. The MeFi/MeTa db is taxed enough already, I can't imagine the server resources it would take to add a messaging system to the whole shebang.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:13 PM on November 29, 2001

Were I to establish a MeFi-only e-addy, I would check it, and my gentility would obligate me to answer any message with one of equal word-weight and refinement...

...which could range anywhere from "Fuck U2" all the way up to a 400 page treatise on some obscure subject with which I'd foolishly pretended familiarity.

And I don't wanna. But I'd hafta. But I don't wanna.

See the problem?
posted by Opus Dark at 12:18 AM on November 30, 2001

The last time this was aired, I went out and got myself a hotmail address. That was 6 months ago and I think I've been back twice (it's still active - I just went to check).

The thing is, the email address Matt had when I didn't have it displayed is the one I check every day, so if for any reason Matt wanted to contact me ('I just deleted you FPP because you linked to pictures of kitties' etc.) then I probably wouldn't get the email for weeks.

So why is that a good idea?
posted by Markb at 7:34 AM on November 30, 2001

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