I’m just curious. In recent weeks I have desired to contact a couple of posters privately; the first, because I think the two of us will be in the same city at some point and (given that we are both living abroad, and I like this poster’s comments and think s/he probably likes mine) it would be fun to grab a cup of coffee together in some neutral location. The second, because they mentioned having a close relative with a rare disease that a family member of mine also suffers, and I’d love to share experiences.
Anyway, neither poster is reachable through PM or email. No biggie; it isn’t like I’m that desperate for people to connect with. But I am curious why people block out these opportunities. I’ve never had a problem with it, myself; it isn’t like the SDMB is full of stalkers just waiting to harass people. My contact with other posters outside the boards has been entirely pleasant, minimal, manageable, and a nice adjunct to what appears in the public forums.
So, people who block these private contacts out: why?
If I remember reading someone correctly a long time ago, they’d had their email visible (this was in the days before the Dope had PMs or was pay-to-post) and shortly after a heated debate in the Pit or GD, they started getting somewhat bothersome email from a member. I don’t recall if it was reported or not, but they took that information out of their profile because they just figured it was less of a hassle and easier without it.
I’ve almost recklessly advertised my presence on the internet in the past, and have never been pestered by stalkers, nutters, or even spammers (touch wood!)! I’m starting to feel a little insignificant, as a matter of fact.
Blocking e-mail goes along with my philosophy of being “semi-anonymous” here (i.e. I know the admins can easily catch up with me, and I’m not concerned if someone else has so much time on their hands that they want to play private eye and track me down, but I’m more comfortable making my real-life persona hard to identify).
While I think I’ve maybe had one PM in the whole time they have been available I don’t mind if I get PMs since it doesn’t alter the “semi-anonymity”.
Yeah, while I could create a “more anonymous” e-mail, my e-mail reveals information about me I’d rather not make public. Actually, this isn’t as true as it used to be–I’ve got a g-mail account whereas I used to have an account ending in .edu–but I’d just as soon not make it easy for people to find out more about who I am.
I have no problem with people sending me PMs, but have only recieved one unsolicited PM. (PMs to provide Party roles for Party games in the game room count as solicited).
Honestly I have no idea if I have email or PMs disabled or not. I joined this board to read and post posts. The rest of it seems irrelevant. I’m not opposed to the idea of other types of contact, I just never bothered to take the two seconds to figure out how it works.
Not being accessible by PM/email doesn’t necessarily mean someone is worried about stalkers. Could just mean they’re busy and don’t want that level of connection with people over the internet. If you chat with people publically, you can wander in and out of conversations, and nobody thinks twice if you just disappear because you had other things to do. But if you start PMing or emailing with someone, it’s a closer connection and there’s more pressure to respond.
And there’s also the whole “Are they gonna be pissed if I stopped in and posted to a bunch of threads but didn’t respond to them privately?” thing. Suddenly you feel like you’re in some kind of relationship with someone, when all you really wanted to do was show up and sometimes post to threads if you felt like it, and lurk other times if you felt like it, or disappear for months at a time and it’s no big deal to anybody.
So I can see some folks choosing to simply not be accessible at all, if they don’t really want a connection with people. That said, I tend to hide my email address on boards, but leave PM available (mine isn’t at the moment simply because guest accounts don’t have access). But it’s pretty rare that I end up PMing with people, let alone interact with them IRL. It’s hard enough for me to find time to meet up with the people I already know IRL.
I don’t know if there are many people like me, but I rarely ever read my e-mail. For all I know, there could be months-old messages in it that I never read. People I know IRL know that so nobody e-mail me (apart one friend who lives in Chile, and even then only when she sends collective e-mails), so I’ve no real incentive to open my e-mail and wade through spam or messages from services I subscribed to 5 or 10 years ago just in case someone would have e-mailed me, which is unlikely. Plus, for some reason, I find writing emails to be a chore, and I tend to procrastinate if it happens that I actually received one.
So, why do I show my e-mail? Well, mainly because when I joined the SD in 2001, I was actually using it and checking it regularly. And I’ve never felt the need to remove it because I’m not opposed on principle to receiving emails. It’s just that I’m unlikely to read them until I think some email cleaning is required, which might happen every two or three months.
As for PMs, I only recently noticed that this feature had been added. If the default setting is “enabled” then I can receive them. If it’s “disabled” , then I can’t. Because I didn’t even bother to look at the setting.
By the way, I would second the advice given about mentioning the Straight Dope in the email title, because many people will just delete messages they can’t identify at first glance. Even truer for me, since I’m French, and even when I was actually using my e-mail, I could be almost certain that any message in English was spam.
That also, I must say. Though it hasn’t been a problem here (contrarily to other places where I used to roam) since there has been a grand total of two dopers I’ve been in contact with for more than a brief exchange on a specific issue, if I were to receive emails or PMs on a regular basis, I know out of experience acquired in other venues that I would indeed quickly feel “pressured” and it would annoy me.
Fair enough, especially wanting to stay semi-anonymous. Wow, clairobscur, I have no idea how you can actually have an email address and not look at your inbox for months … I guess it helps that people know you don’t check it, and obviously you don’t have any billing statements or things like that arriving. But I’d find it easier not to have an email account at all than to have one I never checked.
That’s good to know! I’m still getting a feel for the place, and I notice that lots of people here seem to get together IRL and stuff. Which is great–nothing wrong with that. It’s just that I’m not sure whether I’d want to, so I’ve been hoping that if I do decide to join I wouldn’t suddenly get hit with a ton of PMs from folks wanting a lot of contact with me. I wouldn’t want to seem rude or unfriendly, since there are tons of interesting and nice people here. It’s just that life is pretty full these days.
Jesus, people – my PM and email (my twickster acct., not my realfirstandlastname acct.) are enabled, and I can actually go weeks – sometimes months – without anyone writing to me via either of those media. I also have my Yahoo IM address up – there are two Dopers who have turned into friends that I talk to pretty regularly and another half dozen I talk to occasionally – plus another 20 or 30 I’ve said hi to, or who have said hi to me, who I haven’t had more than 2 or 3 conversations with.
It turns out I’ve never needed that big ol’ stick I obtained to beat the clamoring hordes off with.
As I said, I used to use it. Plus, you need one, anyway. For instance I registered on Youtube two days ago, and of course they asked my email. I also recently had to provide one to fill an e-tax form, and to order something on some internet site. But in practice, I open it (note that I don’t even know how to use Outlook, so I actually go to the site of Yahoo or of my IP), barely glance at the first page which contains only spam anyway, open the mail from Youtube/the French IRS/the online shop, click on the link, leave.
Once in a while, I notice there’s really a lot of stuff in my email, so I delete everything, and doing so, I typically find also a newsletter about a theatre play that seems interesting except that for the fact that the last performance took place in may, a couple pictures a friend had sent to me two months ago and a link from another friend pointing at a site that would be mentioned on the French equivalent of Snopes if such a thing existed. That’s about it.
(Though I actually have an e-mail from a doper currently sitting in my e-mail that I’m yet to respond to …ahem… :o … Just mentioning it in case said doper would read this thread…)
I’ll just say there are some places on the internet with incredibly dysfunctional dynamics going on behind the scenes and leave it at that. But you don’t know about it until you’ve gotten in over your head, because everything seems just fine in all the public interactions. At which point I don’t grab a stick–I bail. Life is too short for such drama.