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If a user is using their full name as their user name, what, if any, is the community standard with regards to emailing that user using their independently found work email address about their questions/answers on MO (since MO does not have a personal message feature).

I am aware that users are informed of comments on their questions and answers, but if a user is not responding to comments, is it considered "bad form" or a breach of protocol to contact them directly?

Another possible scenario: A user posts a research level question, which makes you think it possible to collaborate with that user on a paper, so you do not want to post partial results, which may lead other mathematicians to preempt your ideas (not my current situation, but as a young mathematician, I have a lot of ideas which I am sure other people could work out much faster than I can, so I can imagine this coming up).

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is bad form to pester someone who is not replying to comments. On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable to contact someone as in the scenario in your third paragraph. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Dec 13 '14 at 3:03
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to check "seen" on the user page to see if the user is still active/was active in the interim. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 13 '14 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ You can always leave a comment on one of the user's posts "May I send you an email with some ..." and see what they have to say about that. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '14 at 9:19
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    $\begingroup$ I have only once been contacted by email about something to do with MO. This was from a researcher who had seen a question of mine and had a question about it (and who was not able to comment due to only having signed up when he saw that question). This was of course one of the good examples (and I doubt if I am active enough in closures and similar to be likely to attract the bad kind yet). $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Dec 15 '14 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks to all for the replies, they have been very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Trevor Richards Dec 15 '14 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Tobias: The bad kind could be cranks sending you mathematical spam. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 21 '14 at 22:56
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I think that mathematical questions are fine (though don't pester people), but I get annoyed when I get emails about administrative issues (e.g. closures and down votes). Those should be dealt with on the site.

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    $\begingroup$ Although mathematical issues about posts that were closed/deleted/flagged as spam are NOT okay. Especially if those are outside the user's obvious field of expertise; and even more so if you also write to his M.Sc. advisor, his Ph.D. advisor and another unrelated mathematician in their field (which, again, has nothing to do with the original MO question). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '14 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ (Yes, to those that ask, I did receive something like that not long ago.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '14 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ Since I am asking about community standard, I will accept this as the (community) highest rated answer. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Trevor Richards Dec 15 '14 at 19:10
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To my knowledge, there is no spoken standard followed by the community. There are general rules of politeness and courtesy: applied here, they suggest to me at most one unsolicited comment and one unsolicited email per MO question. If you don't get a response after (say) three attempts, drop that form of contact with the MO user. You can try using the chat feature, but you have to monitor the other user's page; it can seem like stalking if done poorly, so be careful. Note also that the user name may actually not be the name of the person using the account.

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    $\begingroup$ "Note also that the user name may actually not be the name of the person using the account." And, I was wondering all this time in which language "Avenger, The Masked" was a common name. :-) Kidding aside, this is actually a useful remark since some pseudonyms can be deceptive. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 13 '14 at 18:13
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In fact, (and maybe I should make a separate question out of this) there probably should be an activable option to receive personal messages from other users here. Then if a user does not have this option activated you would know that this user prefers not to communicate in private.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is periodically comes up, and goes down just as fast. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 23 '14 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ If you mainly want to communicate that you do not want to be contacted, you could write it in the about me. Also see an earlier discussion about a PM service $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 23 '14 at 12:32

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