Requests for private comments via PM - What's your opinion?

J

JaneB

#11
I, myself, have been guilty of asking people through PMs for their thoughts on information specific to what I am looking for. Sometimes it helps you to figure out the path to provide better information through the public forum.
Oh, absolutely, SteelMaiden, me too and I don't think there's anything to be 'guilty' of in the use of PMs.

Thanks for the various comments, people. It's been interesting.

Just to clarify, I'm definitely not talking about the use of the PM function in general, nor am I seeking any kind of policy or ruling - just interested in whether other regulars get these kinds of requests, and if so, how/if they respond. And yes, I use it at times when a conversation is most appropriate between me and one other person, rather than being public.

I quite agree PMs are a case by case basis. And yes, I know I could disable my PM option entirely if I chose; so far I choose not to because there are times when it is appropriate and useful.

The times when I don't think it is appropriate is when I get a request from someone I don't even know, who is most often new to the forum, when they and I have had little (if any) previous interaction, and yet they appear to feel it's quite reasonable (why escapes me) to send a PM asking for a private, individual answer or coaching. In these circumstances, I think the behaviour is completely self-centred, inappropriate and rather selfish.

My rule of thumb remains to say no: & to suggest they pose their question in the public forum, where anyone can read it, and perhaps benefit from the responses posted.
 
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J

JaneB

#12
Most days I have limited time for participation here, and I focus that time on community posts. I tend not to respond to such PMs.

My perspective is that anyone needing private, personal advice should be hiring a consultant. Those who would respond that the reason they come here is because it's free, and who don't display at least a modicum of community-knowledge orientation, pretty much immediately lose their access to my time and advice. Those who demand my time and seem to regard me as obligated to help them personally, get nowhere.
:applause:

Thanks - you pretty much took the words out of my mouth. :yes:
 
P

Polly Pure Bread

#13
If you want to give a message for someone or everybody that anybody can see, post it in public. Public posts should contain something of interest or importance to the general audience. If, however, you have something more private that you want to communicate to someone, sending a PM is better way to go. I believe that there are messages that should preferably be kept as private as possible like mentioning names, addresses, contact numbers, etc. I encountered public messages that were supposed to be private ones.

For your consideration
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#14
just remember that hiring a consultant is not always possible. A lot of the folks here don't have the authority to hire consultants, and are doing the best they can. Sometimes I cannot answer the questions people pose in a PM, or sometimes I think it is just better that it becomes public knowledge. I don't think we will ever get away from the problem so we just each have to do what we feel is best.
 

bobdoering

Stop X-bar/R Madness!!
Trusted Information Resource
#15
just remember that hiring a consultant is not always possible. A lot of the folks here don't have the authority to hire consultants, and are doing the best they can. Sometimes I cannot answer the questions people pose in a PM, or sometimes I think it is just better that it becomes public knowledge. I don't think we will ever get away from the problem so we just each have to do what we feel is best.
I agree - and some people in that position may feel comfortable enough to discuss a problem in PM where they can provide more details on their process that they may not wish to publish to the world. I find that appropriate.

For those that are full-time consultants, I understand what they need to do to sell their wares, and it may make less sense to hand out too many free samples. They have to do what they have to do.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#16
I agree - and some people in that position may feel comfortable enough to discuss a problem in PM where they can provide more details on their process that they may not wish to publish to the world. I find that appropriate.

For those that are full-time consultants, I understand what they need to do to sell their wares, and it may make less sense to hand out too many free samples. They have to do what they have to do.
I think that all questions should be answered even if the answer might be to politely decline giving personal help. Everyone is free to deal with these things as they see fit, but I think that telling someone that they should post the question(s) in the forums is better than no answer at all. There are few questions I've been asked that I consider inappropriate. Occasionally I've been asked for copies of copyrighted material after someone has been told in the forum that we don't share those things here. That's pretty rude, but I still answer them, albeit tersely.
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#17
I think that all questions should be answered even if the answer might be to politely decline giving personal help. Everyone is free to deal with these things as they see fit, but I think that telling someone that they should post the question(s) in the forums is better than no answer at all. There are few questions I've been asked that I consider inappropriate. Occasionally I've been asked for copies of copyrighted material after someone has been told in the forum that we don't share those things here. That's pretty rude, but I still answer them, albeit tersely.
In your typical 17,945 Karma manner :tg::D, you have succinctly and accurately given an excellent summary of how each should handle this subject. If someone asks in a PM for help, give it if you wish, decline, or suggest to post publicly, but I would give an answer. :agree1:
 

howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#18
A couple of times I've received PMs from people where there was a valid reason for the topic to be private. In those cases I've answered in private as I felt appropriate.

In other cases I've received PMs where they seemed to want a private tutoring session outside an exisiting thread with the same topic. Sometimes I've posted or paraphrased their question in the thread and then answered in public. For my own consulting clients, I'm always happy to do one-on-one emails and messages. If I have no relationship, I don't feel obligated to answer in private.
 
J

JaneB

#19
I think I found a useful option in the profile to block PMs except from friends/contacts. That will avoid the 'as you're a consultant, I'm sure you'd be interested in this wonderful ProductName/Software Name/Whatever it is we sell) PMs.

I don't remember seeing it before... might be just another CI from Marc. Thanks Marc.
 

Ajit Basrur

Staff member
Admin
#20
Similar to other responses, I receive many PMs on general topics, Hi and hellos, asking for technical help, local Indians wanting specific technical info relating to Indian regulations etc.

Those who ask me technical questions or general questions, I usually refer them to mention is the respective forum. Some personal ones I do answer them seperately on a case by case basis :)
 
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