I have, from time to time, wished to ask for clarification from an OP, and could think of no way to ping a person. A high percentage of MSE questioners are anonymous. At my age, that seems to make little sense, but I can see that today's youngsters automatically assume an online pseudonym/username unless there is an awfully good reason otherwise.

So that is the detail I find interesting, is there now, or could there be, a method for pinging an anonymous user who is, at least, registered? For now, I mostly ask people to email me if they are interested in, say, getting a pdf of some article I already have. Sometimes they do, not many. Some newcomers hardly seem to notice such "comments," so it would be nice to be able to generate an email to them, perhaps saying only "Please check your responses/comments at question number xxxxxx."

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The system already notifies users about their messages. If they are ignoring them there is not much one can do. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


I can see the problem, but in terms of website email ethics, I strongly feel that SE should not allow one user to directly trigger the generation of an email to another user, except when the receiving user has very explicitly opted in.

The underlying problem is more one of SE inbox management for new (or old) users. I think it would be acceptable if SE aggregated all comments and sent one email to new users:

It is now at least 72 hours since you visited SE, and during this time other users have posted the following reactions to your posts:

which would be sent some small number of times (as/if new comments arrive without any visits by the user) unless the user went to his profile page and explicitly opted in or out.

For all I know this may already be happening. And it would certainly be invisible to those who wrote the comments directed towards that user.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Maybe wait even longer, about a week. Something like "Your SE inbox contains unread messages that arrived a week ago. You can check the inbox by following this link." And I would set "small number of times" to be equal to 1. $\endgroup$
    – user31373
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry people feel this way. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: Do you feel sorry because you somewhat feel this is your own personal fault? I doubt that, I think that this is just how the internet evolved to be... :-P $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila, Hi, I can't see any way to find an email address for you at Ben Gurion. I could explain more. The original idea was: since questions should not be moved to MO without the explicit permission of the OP, I put this suggestion as part of the MO migration thread, but I don't think the idea got across. Then I moved it here. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: You have emailed me before. It was from an msri address of some sort. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ I think a week is too often, but perhaps monthly for people who ask a question and forget to come back and look for the answer. There is at least one question I asked that was "answered" years after I asked it, when I was already retired from the job it was asked for. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 6:14

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