From time to time a high-reputation, highly active user will stop coming here. Today, I am thinking specifically of Brian M. Scott, last seen January 2. Are moderators able to email such users to try to

  1. Find out why they left, and what, if anything, they would like to see changed that would have prevented their departure and

  2. See if they would be willing to give it another go?

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Can they? Almost certainly: Moderators do contact users at times in order to discuss moderation issues. If a user's professional affiliations are known (e.g. they state in their profile where they teach), then there's publicly available contact information that any user could use. Should they? I would tend to say no: If a user has decided to leave without making a public statement, then their reasons should be assumed to be private and should be respected as such. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Mar 9 '14 at 21:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I tried emailing Brian Scott last week, but I was not able to find a current email address. $\endgroup$
    – MJD
    Mar 10 '14 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers, by "can moderators" I meant "are moderators permitted to". It sounds like the answer is "likely not". $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Mar 10 '14 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MJD He still has CSU email address, which he shared in chat last year. $\endgroup$
    – user127096
    Mar 11 '14 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ i don't think BMS actually needs to turn up these days... $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Sep 7 '17 at 8:22

Moderators can see the email address associated with an account, so if the mail address a user provided is real, they have the ability to contact the user.

That email address is protected by the moderator agreement, moderators are only allowed to use such private information to perform their moderator duties.

I don't think contacting inactive users is a moderator duty, and under a strict interpretation of the moderator agreement moderators might not be allowed to use the private information that way. I'm not providing a legal opinion here, but I'm commenting on the intent of the agreement.

But even if it wouldn't violate the moderator agreement, I still don't think this is something that should be done.


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