I think Matt should require an e-mail address to be posted. February 16, 2005 9:40 AM   Subscribe

It's really frustrating that so many Mefi people don't have e-mail addresses posted on their member page. In fact, it's really inexcusable given the ability to obtain free secondary and terciary e-mail addresses.

While no one can be forced to read their e-mail (or have the Mefi address mails forwarded to a primary one, I think Matt should require an e-mail address to be posted.
posted by ParisParamus to Feature Requests at 9:40 AM (87 comments total)



Did someone hijack PP's account?
posted by mischief at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2005


Paris, I think that idea is b*ll*cks.
posted by veedubya at 9:46 AM on February 16, 2005


No.
posted by grouse at 9:48 AM on February 16, 2005


After one particularly controversial post I made I was flooded by dozens of emails. Some supporting me, some threatening me, some saying really bad things about my mother and the manner in which she wipes after pooping.

I can see the benefit in not listing an email address.
posted by bondcliff at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2005


I see the benefit also. I've got mine listed, but it's a yahoo address... perhaps mefi pro can have private message capability.
posted by chaz at 10:02 AM on February 16, 2005


Sorry, I meant to say I see the benefit to having no email... you don't necessarily want your mefi posts to eventually get back to your boss/clients/etc.
posted by chaz at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2005


So, just have a Metafilter e-mail address. No harm, and, possibly, something good may come of it. Yes, tertiary.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2005


The possibility that you might email somone is an excellent argument against putting an address in one's profile.
posted by trondant at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2005


Even if people do put up a MeFi address, I have one, how often will they check it? I check mine at best once every week or so.
posted by caddis at 10:07 AM on February 16, 2005


I don't think Matt should require it, but I definitely would encourage and urge people to post contact info. Honestly, if you use a hotmail address, it's really non-problematic. All but one of the emails I've gotten have been pleasant (and that one was from one of the site's biggest assholes, so who cares anyway).
posted by orange swan at 10:09 AM on February 16, 2005


This is a totally stupid suggestion. People have a right to privacy. What the hell is wrong with that?

I wholeheartedly recommend the deletion of this thread, for whatever that's worth.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:10 AM on February 16, 2005


Gmail invites are a dimehalf-penny a dozen. Set up an account as a metafilter dump that you check once a month.

Honestly, how much e-mail gets generated by a post? I've been a member for a couple years now, and in all that time I've been e-mailed by a member once, and that was to ask for more information about an AskMe answer.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:10 AM on February 16, 2005


Several people are arguing that this is not burdensome because people are free to use a throwaway gmail account. But if people don't want to be contacted, what's the point of forcing them to give a throwaway account? You think they're going to check it?

FWIW, my e-mail address is posted.
posted by grouse at 10:17 AM on February 16, 2005


I'm only suggesting that it be recommended. And, I think all these people who fear being deluged with e-mail are full of themselves.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:21 AM on February 16, 2005


I agree with grouse.

A @metafilter.com account for "pro" members would be nice, but only if mail was managed by an independent server. A stable www server is more important than mefi-prestige IMO.
posted by tcp at 10:23 AM on February 16, 2005


If you don't have an email and forgot your password ( I don't know anyone who's done THAT), how is matt supposed to be certain that you are who you say you are when you request your password.

Okay, I know from experience and is why I have my hotmail account listed.
posted by mic stand at 10:34 AM on February 16, 2005


And, I think all these people who fear being deluged with e-mail are full of themselves.

Hmm, yes, it's only the occasional email usually. Though perhaps for an A-list or problem MeFite it's different...?
posted by orange swan at 10:36 AM on February 16, 2005


Paris is right--every member should have an email listed.

It's no trouble to get a yahoo or hotmail or even gmail account--i have 50 more to give away if anyone wants.
posted by amberglow at 10:37 AM on February 16, 2005


It's really frustrating that so many women don't offer me their phone numbers when I go to a bar.

While no one can be forced to answer the phone, I think bar owners should require a phone number to be worn on a name tag all times.
posted by willnot at 10:39 AM on February 16, 2005


[meekly pins on 1-900-HOT-SWAN tag]
posted by orange swan at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2005


horseshit
posted by angry modem at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2005


People have a right to privacy. What the hell is wrong with that?
Given that this is a public website, with little moderation and with members that have a propensity towards name calling and bandying around accusations with little evidence to back them up, I personally feel that a little more accountability wouldn't be a bad thing.
posted by chill at 10:45 AM on February 16, 2005



Considering how abusive someone could be, even to a throwaway email address, by hooking it up to all sorts of spambots, I can understand why someone would be reluctant to make theirs available.

That said, I just unobscured mine.
posted by crunchland at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2005


I agree with PP. In all the years I've been a member, and all the various pissing matches I've either started or jumped into, I've gotten only a handful of unsolicited emails from the site. I've even gotten a couple from PP, and my computer's still running ;).

I think the best solution would be a form that lets you send email to someone via the site, so that the address is still obfuscated from the sender.

People have a right to privacy.

I agree with this statement, but I also think that people have the right to respond privately to crass, obnoxious statements flung at them in public. It's good manners, and cuts down on site noise.
posted by mkultra at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2005


Oh, and BTW, I haven't gotten ONE piece of spam to my mefi email addy.
posted by mkultra at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2005


chill: Explain how listing an email address which you will never read provides accountability.
posted by mendel at 10:51 AM on February 16, 2005


Oh, and I can't think of a compelling reason to require it, if anyone starts getting out of hand, we tend to self-(or Matt-)moderate them into better behavior.

Suggesting that one be included is an inoffensive idea, though.
posted by mzurer at 10:51 AM on February 16, 2005


Pfft.
posted by Specklet at 10:52 AM on February 16, 2005


Should I expect a torrent of spam and e-mails from this post?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:52 AM on February 16, 2005


I repeat: utterly asinine, pointless request.
1. No matter that chill thinks we should be more accountable, I don't believe that's part of the MeFi charter. People can use this site as they wish, and that includes NOT being contacted by others.
2. Fine, go ahead and require the listing of email. People who don't want to be contacted will just set up a dummy account and never check it ... which brings us right back to where we are now.
3. There is no need to compromise the privacy of anyone who doesn't want his or her privacy to be compromised.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2005


I like it when people have their email address listed because it's easier to check with them about a busted link, or tell them why a post was deleted. I'll go as far as looking for a contact link on a web site, but that's about it. I get no spam at my mefi address either.
posted by jessamyn at 10:55 AM on February 16, 2005


OK. It' shouldn't be required. It should be strongly encouraged. Sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2005


mendel - I was really just responding to the privacy point because I think that it might help a little if more people had a valid email address listed. Of course the cool kids will just list a fake address, but to re-iterate, I personally don't seem any harm in encouraging more accoutability.
Dr. Wu - Relax, Paris was just making a suggestion and voicing an opinion, don't take it personally!
posted by chill at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2005


I wholeheartedly recommend the deletion of this thread, for whatever that's worth.

Why, because you disagree with PP's idea? That's worth less than nothing.
posted by mkultra at 11:13 AM on February 16, 2005


It's a nice gesture to list a contact address, but I can understand why many aren't comfortable with it. But while we're on the subject: Smark Dalek, i would like your email address plz.
posted by naxosaxur at 11:14 AM on February 16, 2005


I think it's a good idea to make it strongly recommended. I'm not into it so much as a measure for "accountability": rather, I'd say it's a good way to cut down on comment clutter by moving private conversations offsite.

As for people ignoring mails to dummy addresses, I think it might be a good rule of etiquette to let a user know that you've sent him/her an email within the comments of the relevant thread. I've seen this here quite a bit, actually. Kind of like what naxosaxur just did.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:16 AM on February 16, 2005


Interestingly with changes on the site it's clearly more important for users to have an e-mail address listed, at least for Matt and Jessamyn.

On the other hand it's now quite possible for a spammer to pay five dollars and get access to a whole load of e-mail addresses - maybe not likely but possible. It might be an idea now Matt has reopened logins that he finds a way to obscure e-mail addresses. It could be quite easy to hide e-mail addresses entirely but then provide an e-mail form in the users profile so they can be contacted. This would certainly bypass some objections.

Also, in all the time I've been at mefi I've only been e-mailed twice - both of which were very nice. I think people round here prefer to attack in full view so everyone can appreciate their rapier wit.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:20 AM on February 16, 2005


You want people's email address? Why? You finally going to let people start subscribing to your newsletter?
posted by dios at 11:22 AM on February 16, 2005


chill: I don't take it personally. I just think it's a pointless idea.

mkultra: Not sure if you're saying that it's my opinion or Paris's that's worth less than nothing, but, in any case: see above. It's just a needless suggestion, and I can't see any good coming of it.

Really, it's not that big a deal. Sorry if I came across a bit hostile. Unusual amounts of caffeine already today.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:25 AM on February 16, 2005


I repeat: utterly asinine, pointless request.

This is a totally stupid suggestion.

I think you should post your displeasure for the third time just in case we didn't get it.

PP, I'm inclined to agree with you but that's coming from someone who's had their email available since day one. I've never been hassled by my MF brethren. I think it helps more than it hurts.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:27 AM on February 16, 2005


Ignore my snark, Mr. Wu. Missed you in preview there. My apologies.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:28 AM on February 16, 2005


I don't understand how telling people how few emails you get is supposed to make them see the necessity of listing an email address.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:43 AM on February 16, 2005


Dios, how did you Know I have a newletter? Who told you about Behind Metafilter?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2005


I'd like to mention that I have never been emailed by a non-#mefite even though my email address has been "visible" since I joined.
posted by Stynxno at 11:47 AM on February 16, 2005


Stinky!

*emails stinky to see if he knows any shady-looking guy who might or might not be a pot dealer*
posted by dios at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2005


Oh Paris, you have this mania for organizing things!

My god, Next you'll be saying White House reporters should use their real names or something.

But, ok, my email is jd@MilitaryEscortsM4M.NOSPAM.com

But seriously Paris, what are you missing that others' email addresses will give you? If you have something to say in a thread, say it there. Anything you can't write publically in a thread, you probably shouldn't be emailing privately.

Sure, you'd only use the addresses to write "Great post! Where can I send flowers!", but less agreeable people (like me) would use it to continue beating dead horses ("I still don't agree with your 5th reply to my 3rd comment in that thread about whether Bush is a chimpanzee!") or to form "coalitions of the bitter" ("Hey let's all gang up on Steve_at_Linnwood and tell him he'll think differently after he graduates highschool/ hey let's all ask y2karl if he is now or has ever been a member of the Yippies").

No good comes from insisting other people submit email addresses. if you want to list your own, relax and wait for them to contact you.
posted by orthogonality at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2005


I personally think some form of interaccount messaging would be a good idea. With a blocking function.
posted by angry modem at 12:01 PM on February 16, 2005


Grrrrrr.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2005


Strongly recommend that users list an email address: yes.
Require that users list an email address: no.

For what it's worth, I hate "addy" as a shortened form of "address." Not that that's relevant here. I just wanted to share.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:08 PM on February 16, 2005


Grrrrrr.
Oh Ortho, you're going to get a nasty email.
posted by underer at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2005


OK. It' shouldn't be required. It should be strongly encouraged. Sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:58 AM PST on February 16


I totally agree. For whatever "strongly encouraged" is worth. I guess it is probably worth something--I only put my real name because of the "what's the point" admonishment.
posted by grouse at 12:11 PM on February 16, 2005


grouse: thanks for the laugh. What do I win?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2005


I'd like to mention that I have never been emailed by a non-#mefite even though my email address has been "visible" since I joined.

I've been mailed twice, by non-members who wanted to give information on links or questions I had posted during the time that signups were closed. Both were terrific contributions that I pasted into the threads in question.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:16 PM on February 16, 2005


I agree with the basic idea that some form of external contact should be listed somewhere on a user's page. I just don't think that should be limited to email.

About two years ago I realized email was completely broken between spam, trojans, forged headers, etc. So I stopped checking unless I had a SPECIFIC incoming email. Because of this fact I list my AIM nick twice on my userpage so that if someone wants to shout at me that I need to write shorter comments, they can still do so.
posted by Ryvar at 12:22 PM on February 16, 2005


Anything you can't write publicly in a thread, you probably shouldn't be emailing privately.

Bullshit. Many threads have interesting tangents that would be more appropriately pursued via private conversations than through thread derailments. Email is the proper forum for this. It's also superior to a MetaTalk callout for all sorts of minor annoyances, such as "Hey Ryvar, your comments are too long!"
posted by mr_roboto at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2005


The AIM thing is interesting.

Of course, there's always the idea of a Woodstock-style loudspeaker announcement feature...
posted by ParisParamus at 12:33 PM on February 16, 2005


KevinSkomsvold: no offense taken. We cool.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:35 PM on February 16, 2005


Here's another example: in this thread, I commented that a link was so good that it made me finally install RealPlayer. y2karl emailed me to tell me about Real Alternative, a way to listen to RealMedia files without dealing with all the cruft associated with RealPlayer. A helpful comment, but one that really didn't belong in the thread.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:35 PM on February 16, 2005


I am astonished to find myself in agreement with Paris. First time for everything. I would even add a request for some kind of geographic identifier - zip codes for those who have them.
FYI Devil, from some cool young people I absorbed the shorthand "edress" for email address, thus obviating the irritating addy.
posted by Cranberry at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2005


I agree with Paris too (in the emended "strongly encouraged" form). I think a lot of the newer members never gave it a thought and if there were a note on the form saying "You are not required to provide an e-mail address but it can be very helpful for other members" they would do so. Personally, I've enjoyed a number of amicable back-and-forths with other members and never had any problems from having my address visible. Obviously those who feel strongly about it should be able to opt out, but I think that's a small minority.

Ryvar, I wanted to contact you a while back but I don't use AIM, so it didn't happen.
posted by languagehat at 1:18 PM on February 16, 2005


Why has no one mentioned that PP himself doesn't have an email address on his user page?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:08 PM on February 16, 2005


I think an inter-MeFi email address is a great idea. Then we can more easily pass notes and arrange to meet behind the gym after class and make fun of the socially inept.

Check this box if you think that PP is hawt [ ]

Check this box if you want to hang at the Denny's tonight [ ]
posted by papercake at 2:20 PM on February 16, 2005


Why not have email addresses? I've only once gotten an email from someone here and it made my day. So, whatever, make a friend, share your email. If you're really scared about it, just start a MeFi-specific email address, like I did.
posted by Arch Stanton at 2:32 PM on February 16, 2005


This is a totally stupid suggestion. People have a right to privacy. What the hell is wrong with that?

The problem is not privacy but anonymity, and the assholery it can engender. When someone is uncontactable, they tend to mouth off more.

A requirement, however, is not the answer. Suggesting cheap free email accounts as an answer is a non-answer in any case. What's the difference between having nothing listed, and having an address listed which you created for the sole purpose of registering (with the intention never to check it again)?
posted by scarabic at 2:34 PM on February 16, 2005


But yes, I will join the chorus of people who have said that showing your email comes with lots of benefits. I highly recommend it. Lots of nice people have written to me, and even some correspondences which weren't all fun and games were better handled offline than here.

List your email.
posted by scarabic at 2:34 PM on February 16, 2005


Why has no one mentioned that PP himself doesn't have an email address on his user page?

Because he does...?
posted by scarabic at 2:36 PM on February 16, 2005


Because he does...?

Well, he didn't when he posted this thread, that's for sure.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:39 PM on February 16, 2005


So would ParisParamus/Steven happen to live, say, @Linnwood? ;)

I think 'encouragement' is a good idea, but if they miss out on the benefits of having their e-mail address available, that's their choice.

The freedom to choose is the freedom to make the wrong choice.
posted by cosmonik at 2:49 PM on February 16, 2005


shorthand "edress" for email address

Actually, just as the best abbrevition for "electronic mail" is "mail" (electronic now being default), so the best abbreviation for "e-mail address" would be simply "address."
posted by kindall at 2:54 PM on February 16, 2005


Whoa. This is all types of crazy.

I don't have an email address and, uh, I don't really see the point. I already have four (or five?) email addresses and have no desire for another one. Maybe if Mefi had a built in person-to-person messaging system, I might use that, but otherwise... meh.
posted by nixerman at 3:05 PM on February 16, 2005


I agree with Paris too. It may not actually lead to quick communication because no one checks all the various site specific email addresses they accumulate very often. It still improves communication and betters the site, even if the pace mimics snail mail more than email.

What I find sad about this thread is how so many people who disagree politically with Paris, (and a few who dislike his rather terse style) seem to disagree with him as much because they dislike him as anything else.
posted by caddis at 3:13 PM on February 16, 2005


Well, one someone you disagree with demands that you give him more access to your life, it can cause a bit of panic.
posted by occhiblu at 3:48 PM on February 16, 2005


Caddis: the trailblazers are used to such treatment. Someday, they will all look back and realize that I was right.

MUHAHAHA.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:53 PM on February 16, 2005


I don't list my address because I'm not currently accepting new friends.

(Actually, that's not true. The real reason I don't is because I deal with enough email at work and home I really don't want any more. Giving a g-mail or yahoo account would disingenuous. I'd never check it.)
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on February 16, 2005


This is a totally stupid suggestion. People have a right to privacy. What the hell is wrong with that?

That was a totally stupid comment. [/snark]

Do so many people simply not get the internet? You can create utterly divorced-from-your-'real'-identity, mefi-specific email addresses at any of dozens of places (including gmail, for which there are literally more than a million invites floating around (google 'gmail spooler')) that do not impact in any way on your privacy.

Don't check them once you create them, if you're so inclined, if you're worried about getting flamed.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:33 PM on February 16, 2005


stavros, that's just goofy. Other than to silence the whiners, why should I go through any effort, regardless of how small, just so that another might feel all pretty while venting their spleen to an email account that never gets read?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:38 PM on February 16, 2005


To be nice? You might get pleasant emails too, as I almost invariably do when someone bothers to drop me a message.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on February 16, 2005


Actually, I have gotten nice emails, through the edress on my website, which is posted. But still, in the modern world it seems to take some incentive for people to be nice. That's all I'm asking here.

What's my incentive? (/pompous Baldwinate actor voice)
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:47 PM on February 16, 2005


It's really frustrating that so many Mefi people don't post their bench on their member page.
posted by mr.marx at 5:15 PM on February 16, 2005


Well, he didn't when he posted this thread, that's for sure.

Mmmm. I'm not sure about that, OC. I'm pretty sure I've emailed him before. Mainly flames.
posted by scarabic at 5:30 PM on February 16, 2005


Ryvar, I wanted to contact you a while back but I don't use AIM, so it didn't happen.

languagehat: as a result of this I have updated my userpage to include my ICQ UIN and MSN name (which is a defunct email address). I really can't do much more to facilitate contact than this, as I simply refuse to use email anyjmore.
posted by Ryvar at 6:12 PM on February 16, 2005


Or anymore, for that matter.
posted by Ryvar at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2005


I'd like to mention that I have been emailed by a non-#mefite and my email address has been "visible" since I joined. I read it say, a month or three after I got it.

We all have differences in the manner in which we operate. I don't see the need to have your email listed if you don't care to get private messages from those on a public forum. It has nothing to do with accountability or assholery, potential or otherwise. Merely a preference I'd think.

If you don't mind, list away.
posted by juiceCake at 8:52 PM on February 16, 2005


how much e-mail gets generated by a post?

a lot -- flames, love letters, advice, marriage proposals, thank-you notes, job offers, the occasional virus. for some of us at least.

just like the proverbial broken clock, at least this time Paris is right -- I think there should be a way to contact users off-MeFi. afraid of getting a nasty piece of text from a perfect stranger whose email adress you can block anyway? then you're probably too thin-skinned for MetaFilter (not to mention for RealLifeFilter).

Paris is right. I vote for mandatory e-mail adress visible to all members. yahoo has decent anti-spam software anyway. and if spam kills your MeFi email, eventually get another
posted by matteo at 5:30 AM on February 17, 2005


afraid of getting a nasty piece of text from a perfect stranger whose email adress you can block anyway?

No. Just don't want to is all. Why is a different preference fear?
posted by juiceCake at 7:53 AM on February 17, 2005


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