Somebody asked a question.

I take solving the issue for a nice challenge which requires communicative interaction with the person who asked the question.

I.e., I see several ways of approaching the issue, with different benefits and different drawbacks. What to consider the best approach depends on the specific needs and the workflow on the side of the person who asked the question.

I.e., testing and feedback might be interesting during the process of developing a solution which - when that process is terminated - can, e.g., be posted to TeX-LaTeX StackExchange as an answer.

Therefore I would like to contact the person who asked the question in order to

  • express my point of view, i.e., that effective help requires communicative interaction.
  • convey my own e-mail adress as a means of communication.

This way the person who asked the question is free to decide whether s/he is inclined to communicate/interact with me and whether to reveal contacting details to me.

What is the best way of doing this via TeX-LaTeX StackExchange given that the person who asked the question does not provide contacting details in her/his profile and given that I don't like making my own e-mail adress available to the public?

  • 9
    I think the best way should be post a draft answer (writing that it's a draft) and ask for clarification commenting the question (or in the answer directly). You may also start a chat room with the user.
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 13, 2017 at 13:57
  • 5
    Since everything on TeX.se is public, one of you needs to have a publicly available email otherwise there is no way to contact people off the site. So you can make a chatroom between you and the questioner and do the interaction there (which is public) or you can exchange email information there (which is also public). Since many of us have public web presences I guess it's not so much of an issue. But if you want to keep your contact information private there's no way to do that and still contact people privately using the site.
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 13, 2017 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


You can also proceed as follows:

  • Create an "alias" at a website like yopmail or any other "disposable" mail service that offer to redirect disposable emails to your "real" address.

  • Indicate that alias address in your profile.

  • Leave a comment offering to contact you via the address indicated on your profile. The message will be forwarded to your "real" email address.

Then, you can feel free to disclose your "real" email address, ignore the message, or even change or re-configure the disposable email if you feel like it was compromised.


By-design, there is no 'private' communication on the StackOverflow network. (Exception: moderators can send direct messages for serious issues.) The reason for this is that as a Q&A site the aim is that both questions and answers have value for not only the original poster but also for future readers. As such, any clarification should be sought in public, possibly as a comment or possibly in a chat room. The question should then be updated to make this clear, or potentially answer(s) may make it clear that they cover one or more of several possible approaches.

There are occasions where mail-based communication is helpful, most obviously where an issue needs a full .log and source files. For those, some public email address is the only way to go: for example, I am happy for my 'home' one to be used. Some people may wish to use a 'secondary' mail address for such purposes, or simply to avoid tackling these issues.

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