I am new to MSE, and I do appreciate the good attitude of (almost all) the users.

However, I really miss the personal interaction, possibly with the assistance of a blackboard. Therefore, I wonder if MSE could also provide a platform which helps the users sharing the same interests, and which live approximately in the same geographical region, to meet each other.

I find inappropriate to use the comment board to organize such meetings. Ideally, there should be an optional feature that allows those users which are open to meet other users to let them know.

I imagine a map of the region, showing the open-to-meet users (with no other info, for privacy issues) as a dot on the map. By selecting the dot, the selected user receives a notification, such as "User $x$, living in $y$, asks to meet you to discuss about the topic $z$. Would you like to open a chat?", or something like this.

But I am not sure that this is feasible within MSE.

Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Check the local (community) colleges for possibilities. – William Elliot Aug 31 at 8:16
  • Without some identifying information, it would be hard to figure out whether both have an knowledge or interest in topic $z$. – Michael Greinecker Aug 31 at 8:45
  • @MichaelGreinecker Sure. But I assume that one wants to get in touch with someone sharing the same interests, as it comes out by interactions in a specific question (comments/answers), or by the info listed in one's profile (e.g. I could guess you are interested in measure-theory, real-analysis and general topology). But perhaps I didn't fully get your observation, sorry in case. – Andrea Prunotto Aug 31 at 9:06
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    Aren't there a variety of services on the internet that strive to do this already? Like meetup.com ? (Maybe that is not international, but I think there must be international versions.) It does not really seem to be in the purview of a Q&A forum – rschwieb Aug 31 at 13:46
  • I think the general idea sounds tempting, but I'm afraid there's very little way, when it comes to the details, to determine who should know what about whom, where they live, etc., where should meetings take place? The mode (most populated metropolis?, the median distance between all locations of all interested parties of Plunk's Theory of Foo?, the mean distance anyone would need to travel to meet. Kind of on par with programming an airline's routes and passengers. – amWhy Sep 3 at 18:48
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    I think that arranging such a meet-up in chat would be a very reasonable thing to do, and would be glad to attend one near me. – Stella Biderman Sep 5 at 13:52
  • I've done this once. I had to comment on one of the answers they gave me, linked them to a chat room, and then we exchanged information. IMO I wish it were easier than this. – Clarinetist Sep 5 at 16:22
  • Chat rooms are already available, if user ID is known right? After initial public chat may be switch to private mode. – Narasimham Sep 6 at 16:52
  • SE doesn't have this functionality, and although it's possible to use chat/etc. I think the easiest way is just to use an external site. Possibly announce it to interested users somehow (again, SE doesn't have this functionality) – user202729 Sep 8 at 14:09
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    Not having thought this all the way through, I think this functionality can be added if it's done carefully through layers. First, maybe add a flag or something to user profiles so people can say they're open to contact in the first place. Then perhaps another field saying they're looking for contact and what goal is sought from the contact. Then, create some sort of anonymizing e-mail like Craigslist so people can protect their identities in the initial interactions. There also needs to be some way to block undesirable anonymous senders if they start misbehaving. – ShyPerson Sep 9 at 17:21

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