Pre-MeMail email etiquette question March 25, 2005 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Last week I posted a music question to AskMe. To be honest, I really, really wanted one particular user to answer (he/she did) because I know from their previous answers that they know a lot about recording/playing music. What I want to know, though, is whether it would have been considered bad etiquette to email this person directly, after hunting down their address via the home URL on their profile. Basically - an unsolicited email. If you received such an email from a fellow Mefite would you consider it spamming and/or somehow taking advantage of the "community"?
posted by bunglin jones to Etiquette/Policy at 10:13 PM (34 comments total)

Unsolicited e-mail != spam.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:16 PM on March 25, 2005

It's absolutely not spamming. It's one email asking for insight from a fellow community member.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:29 PM on March 25, 2005

I totally disagree with saucy intruder.

Putting your email on this site, or any links between it and this site, is, if not a solicitation of contact, at least being open to it. Don't list your real doman or email if you don't want to be found!

Considering what real spam is like, I think you're totally within bounds here, bunglin' jones. I have been contacted in such a situation as you describe, and it's always been okay with me. I put myself out there by participating in a community weblog. I can't expect to be some kind of internet hermit. Anyone who wants both of those things at once is fooling him/herself.
posted by scarabic at 10:31 PM on March 25, 2005

Actually, perhaps I do agree with Saucy Intruder. I think I had some double negative != != !!= issues.
posted by scarabic at 10:32 PM on March 25, 2005

Yeah, I've been contacted by MeFites in the past and I have had no problem with it. It is not something that really gets abused IMO. Also, what scarabic said. No one forces you to put your email address out there.
posted by knave at 10:40 PM on March 25, 2005

I got one once, and I was kind of flattered. Whoever you're e-mailing will probably feel similarly. Go for it.
posted by painquale at 11:04 PM on March 25, 2005

No. Unlike Mofi, showing email is optional here. If they show it, then you know that they want it. (I've been watching too much Jon Stewart. Can you tell?)
posted by orthogonality at 12:41 AM on March 26, 2005

*grins at orthogonality...

Jon Stewart voice: Oh, i know that you do.

I do not mind getting unsolicited MeFite email.
posted by schyler523 at 12:55 AM on March 26, 2005

I don't think it's bad form to contact another member if the email address is there.

As for MoFi, no one said it had to be a real email address, there are ways around it if you want to be unreachable. Just think you could be bananas[at] ;)
posted by squeak at 12:56 AM on March 26, 2005

I have got a few from people. I don't mind, some are actually really cool. It makes me feel like I am in some sort of community.

I sent one the other day to someone from the email in their profile. It was lame (broken links). I felt like a bit of a dick so if you're reading this, you know what I'm talking about, and sorry.
posted by bdave at 1:15 AM on March 26, 2005

I sure as hell mind people emailing me, since I don't check it (see my profile), but I've gotten a few IM's and I've loved them.
posted by Ryvar at 1:17 AM on March 26, 2005

Iget one or two e-mails from Mefi strangers a month, since a long time ago I said I'd be happy to read people's resumes/cover letters. It tapered off but then started up again after new memberships were allowed. I always respond but I don't always help.
posted by pomegranate at 4:10 AM on March 26, 2005

Not spam at all. A fellow MeFi member emailed me to ask a bike question since I said in a ask MeFi thread that I love talking about bike stuff. We exchanged several messages and I was glad to be able to offer some small help and advice.
posted by fixedgear at 4:36 AM on March 26, 2005

Not spam, unless your email is to sign me up to your wonderful newsletter.

I've received a couple and the only problem I've had is that I feel guilty because I don't check my gmail account often enough.
posted by substrate at 4:55 AM on March 26, 2005

no, nothing wrong with that at all
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 AM on March 26, 2005

I get e-mails from other MeFites now and again and it's no problem (though I only check my Hotmail account every two or three days).
posted by Prospero at 5:54 AM on March 26, 2005

I get an email from a hitherto stranger mefite about once a week. Both freindly mail and the occasional hate mail. I've even gotten mail from the occasional lurker. I don't mind.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 AM on March 26, 2005

Mefi-mail is cool.
posted by dabitch at 6:50 AM on March 26, 2005

I like getting e-mail from peeps I don't know, and I send unsolicited e-mails rarely but occasionally too. I've made some incredible friends via sending or receiving here at MeFi. And if I send an e-mail and don't get a response, I just don't send again. Screw anyone, ya know, who can't take a friendly e-mail.
posted by Shane at 7:37 AM on March 26, 2005

Since 2000, I have met 5 single women from Plastic and 2 from MeFi by way of email. Of those I contacted who weren't single (status is not always obvious), all replied politely.

This is a community, and in communities people contact each other.
posted by mischief at 7:42 AM on March 26, 2005

I get emails all the time too--i like it, and it really is a community thing.
posted by amberglow at 7:55 AM on March 26, 2005

Yeah, I get email and send email to other Mefites. There are a few people here who have shown expertise in certain areas in AskMe or other places where I make a note "Ask so-and-so if you ever have a question about X" and when it comes up, I'll do that. I sent dobbs an email just this week about tracking down an obscure DVD and he totally helped me out, it's a great community resource.
posted by jessamyn at 8:22 AM on March 26, 2005

I've never minded an unsoclicited email I've gotten from a MeFi user.
posted by absalom at 9:26 AM on March 26, 2005

I, for one, cannot abide unsolicited email. About a year ago, a friend of mine emailed me -- without calling me first to ask whether it was ok -- to ask me if I wanted to go see a play with him. Well, obviously, I couldn't allow that sort of crap to go unchallenged, so I rang him up and yelled at him for a couple of (ok, six) hours. Some people think that was a bit extreme, but, I tell you what, it worked. I have never gotten another email from him. Come to think of it, he doesn't call any more, either, but I reckon the sort of person who would have the audacity to email without asking is not the sort of person anybody needs as a friend.
posted by anapestic at 9:52 AM on March 26, 2005

I gotten too few. Really.

They have always been interesting and sometimes even touching. I thank each and every sender for taking the time to write me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:53 AM on March 26, 2005

Screw anyone, ya know, who can't take a friendly e-mail.

Oh man. Now I'm going to be paranoid about deleting all the crap email I get that I don't reconize the sender and just delete.

Maybe I'm weird, but is email really that much of an imposition? I mean, a phone call interrupts your day, but email? It just sits there until you're ready to respond. Even if that response is, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Sorry."

Other community sites I'm on have their own message boxes and send me a note when another user contacts me. I find it ridiculously annoying and much prefer the out of the blue email.
posted by Gucky at 10:56 AM on March 26, 2005

I've always loved hearing from anyone who thought I wrote something helpful or interesting. Too, I've heard from people who had help or information who couldn't or didn't wish to post it here, and I've appreciated it a lot. In the scenario you describe, I can't imagine feeling anything but flattered, and if I were able to help I would. And as others have said, a displayed e-mail address invites contact, or else why display it?
posted by melissa may at 11:47 AM on March 26, 2005

So tip your wait staff, and fill in the e-mail field—or any contact field, for that matter—on your user page on your way out. Thanks.
posted by terrapin at 6:13 PM on March 26, 2005

I've had a few MeFi emails and was happy to get them. Definitely not spam.
posted by biscotti at 8:03 PM on March 26, 2005

Anyone who isn't open to getting a polite email from another member shouldn't put their email address in their profile. Simple as that.
posted by tdismukes at 7:44 AM on March 27, 2005

people do this all the time. don't sweat it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:45 AM on March 27, 2005

Happy to get them, happy to respond.

There have actually been a couple of times when I have wished there was an email in a profile, but there was not.
posted by OmieWise at 8:31 AM on March 28, 2005

It was a question about fiddle pickups, right? As long as you are not sending your question concerning piezo mics and pre-amps to 75,000 random addresses bought from a spy-bot guy in Nigeria, it isn't spam. I get questions from Mefites all the time - it is common courtesy to answer them.
posted by zaelic at 9:33 AM on March 28, 2005

Why would I ever list my email on a site if I didn't want people who didn't already have it to use it?
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:50 AM on March 29, 2005

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