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My view on the functionality of “Send Direct Message” button

I have often found myself in a situation where I want to contact someone on SCN through a personal message. It happens especially when I have to contact a space moderator for some query. The query is not always generalized so that I can post it in the questions section and let it be public for everyone to read/respond. In case of writing to a moderator, I am already aware of the right person to approach, so again why should I keep it public and make my query be open to everyone to respond. Also sometimes for example, if I need some career guidance from an experienced person on SCN why not to send a direct message to the intended person instead of posting a question on the community?

Sending “Direct messages” helps us serve this purpose. However this feature has a major constraint

–> You can send a direct message to Mr.X only when he is following you. Independent of you following Mr.X, he has to follow you so that you are able to send him a direct message. I honestly do not understand the reason behind this constraint because; can I ask/force anyone to follow me so that I would be able to send them a personal message? They might not be interested in tracking my activities OR they might not even know me OR they might not find a need to be connected to me. Right ? Then how do I contact them via SCN?

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Another aspect of this functionality is, a moderator can send me a direct message and he doesn’t need to follow me to perform this activity. It’s a great feature however, how does it make sense to have a one way communication? After receiving a notification from the moderators, what if I have a query further to be asked on the same discussion?

There is an alternate to solve this problem, I can get their mail ID’s from the “Bio” tab of their profile and send them a message. But how many of us keep our email ID’s publicly visible on SCN? OR how many of us would like to do that? Not everybody, right?

With this discussion in place, does it concludes, that I should start following almost all the profiles on SCN, so that they are able to send me a direct message if need be? But seriously, I don’t wish to keep a track on everyone here. So what else can be done? Should SCN by default keep the field of “Email ID” as visible to “Everyone”? But then this might sometimes be against the privacy principle of the SCN user.

And looks like my question is still not answered, how do I contact someone on SCN via a direct message?

The aim of writing this blog is-

– Firstly, I am sure, SCN would have a very valid reason, for setting up such constraint on sending direct messages. I am just curious to know what those reasons could be.

– Secondly, I would like to propose an enhancement- it will be nice to have this constraint discarded so that we are allowed to send a direct message.  There are people who might be open to guiding newbies however they might not be following them coz they might not know them. This creates an obstruction in the communication for the person who wishes to initiate a conversation.  The site can give the privilege to the user of deciding on who can send him a direct message. The possible options can be:-

a. No one can send you a direct message.

b. Everyone can send you a direct message

c. Only the people you are following can send you a direct message

d. Only the people following you can send you a direct message

This will improve the usability of the site and provide an ease of communication.

– And lastly, I would like to suggest that it will be nice to have this constraint discarded so that we are allowed to send a direct message to at least the moderators if not to everyone.

I would be pleased to know your view regarding this subject.


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    • Hi Dev,

      Thank You for your response.

      I had to explain all the possible dimensions, according to me, of this feature and then come to the conclusion and hence I just thought of putting this in a blog.


      • I appreciate your thinking...

        Suppose SCN approve your thinking and implement the option B..

        Everyone can send direct message to each other...

        Now one morning, when you open your SCN account, you see you have received 1000 direct message from many users..

        And may be its saying "Hi Arti, how are you ? Can you help me for this? can you help me for that ? etc etc etc "

        All can send you a direct message without your permission, Following means you have given permission to the user to send you a direct message...

        • Completely agree to what you have mentioned. However,I think if I am not following someone this always does not say that I don't want to have a communication with them, I might have just not thought about following them. So here the communication is obstructed.

          And so that I always have a control on my privacy, we can have options to be set according to our preference.

          • You can't control the the communication tab from DM.

            If someone send you a DM, that will appear in Communication tab.. You can't control that...

            I am just saying about the permission...

            Suppose you are following me .. Then you have given me the permission to send you a direct message.. I have got a Notification for that.. And If I think it will be okay if you send me DM, then I will also follow you... (Following is not just mean to send direct message, here I have given an example)

            I am just telling about the restriction.

            Moderator can send direct message to any one, because they are the responsible to take care of the community and as well as to guide someone if they do something wrong...

            As of my thinking it should be a restriction for that... And here it is in SCN..

            I agree with Jason Sir, you can mark the user as a link, he will get a mail and popup as same as direct message.

      • Hi Arti,

        Your question is valid and wrote it in a good way 🙂 .

        Am curious to know the answer too .

        it could have been good if put like a discussion in  coffee corner space . You would have get more answers from moderators and if lucky some healthy debate too 🙂

        devs comment is valid here  🙂 ... nice thought Dëv Päträ !!!! . I think he is in the feel mode of SCN , getting the pulse and feel and scn 🙂



        • Hi Manu,

          Thank You for your comments.

          I do agree that Dev has a valid point however as already mentioned, I had a lot more to add before coming to the conclusion and hence ended up putting things into a blog.

          Appreciate your feedback.


          • Arti,

            per me , new thoughts are required and it need to be appreciated.

            And this idea/thought can be in the form of discussion, blogs or any form.

            You are free to make to your own view in the form of blog or discussion 🙂 (condition apply : within SCN RoE ). Please go ahead and never stop thinking and sharing !!!

            most welcome



    • To Dev: Maybe not a blog, but this space is indeed appropriate. Another option could be an idea on Ideas Place.

      To Arti: if you are on Twitter you understand the logic behind DM.



  • Hi Arti Gurbaxani,

    The primary reason for the constraint is to prevent unsolicited messages from other members in the form of spam: imagine how annoying it would be to be pinged by someone unknown with an offer for something you don't need (or at least don't think you do) or a request for information that should have been posted as a new discussion.  By requiring members to follow each other, their privacy is respected. 

    This requirement also ensures conversations that will benefit other members happen in the open (i.e. all can see) in case they're wondering about the same.

    If you can't DM someone, you can always @mention them, just as I have here with your name. The easiest way is to copy and paste the URL of the member's profile into the text editor.  The member will get a notification that they have been mentioned and where. Of course, no need to overdo this: I'm active in the SCN Support and About SCN spaces so, unless I'm away, I'll see just about every post without having to be mentioned.


        • There are no alternative process for direct message. You can add any person in a loop if you want. You need to right click on the profile's name and choose "Copy Link Location", then paste into specific place, as like as Sriram Tamil.

          Otherwise you have to follow each other.

        • it is only possible to send direct messages to a person you are following and he/she is following you too.

          What Jason meant is the @mention 

          You move your cursor over a username, and you look into the status bar of your Internet browser to see the name that appears after

          When you write a reply or a question then you type this @ sign followed by the name like it appeared in the status bar.

          in your case I type @ and then directly bharathprakash.gopalakrishan

          Sriram Tamil

          Now you should see in your emails and in the communication stream that I mentioned you

    • Hi Jason,

      I agree with Arti . What is wrong about the 4 options she mentioned?

      Such option can help a user to decide whether someone can DM someone else. Her idea is excellent & brilliant,I never thought of that.

      See her option "d" ,if someone checks that option then he can get messages from someone he might not have noticed but who needs a help. But if he/she feels he can later ignore that person. There can be an "Ignore" button  or a "Block" button to block the unwanted users whom I dont want to allow me to send direct messages.

      That way one can have the freedom with DM.

      Hope I am clear. And Arti I second you ,you may be discouraged by others but I totally see your point & agree with you!!

      With Regards

      • There is nothing about encourage or discourage. It is just own point of view. You may can adopt one of these facilities for now:

        1. Either you need to be a moderator to get the freedom to send direct message to anyone.

        2. You can enjoy the facility of @mention.

        3. Vote in the idea created by Arti to make it more valuable.

  • An important thing to note is that if you are contacted via DM e.g. by a moderator, you can then reply within the same conversation even without that person following you.


  • Hi,

    since the SCN follows Free to talk within the rules of ROE,Also there is experts available to edit/share the comments, It seems DM Creates/may violates RoE and other members may missed the discussions,

    With Regards,


  • Hi Arti

    I also felt the same years ago but then almost all those members/moderators followed me whom I want to send direct message 🙂

    I liked Jason's suggestion that you can mention someone but this will be publicly posted.

    I have displayed my skype ID and my email in my profile and trust me I receive a lot of messages and most of them are basic questions and I always ask them to search in forum and sometimes I need to train them how to search 😛

    I made many contacts and references with this (by showing my skype ID and email). Sometimes I feel panic when people continuously ask basic questions, scenarios and interview questions.

    I dont think so this is a good idea to discard this constraint from SCN. If it happens then trust me people will start sending messages without no reason. Just to say hi or hello and make it a social site like facebook.

    Another suggestion I would like to give you is that if you want to send someone direct message but can't send on SCN then you can find that user on linkedin which is easy to find and you can contact there. I did this with few users 🙂