CV gives practically unfettered access to renowned experts in the field in a democratic setting that would have been unthinkable in the not so distant past. Incredibly, in many cases, this is even achieved anonymously, using avatars and pen names. Personally, I try to show appreciation for this incredible gift.

On the other hand, and in the frenzy to learn and participate, it is easy to lose perspective of who is who in the real world, where texting each other would be a preposterous thought.

In this context, I wonder if it is OK to ping any user at any time within Ten Fold (as the most commonly used chat room), or if the fact that it is a chat room makes it more personal than the "open forum", and considerations such as time of the day, personal rapport with the person based on prior interactions, or status of the user being pinged in the profession should be more strongly weighted than for a regular comment at the bottom of a post.

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    $\begingroup$ FYI I believe it only works when the user pinged has visited the chat room not too long ago. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Scortchi I was not aware of the "not too long ago" part. $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think we need rules for everything. If someone wants to communicate that way, they'll reply; if not, they'll ignore you or ask you to ask a question directly or communicate otherwise. More importantly to me, I don't mind too much one-to-one conversations, but the purpose of chat in my view is to supplement the main site, not act as a medium for personal exchanges better carried out in some other way (e.g. email). A little related, but I am not keen on people who I've answered on the forum contacting me privately for further help (yes, I know, I should make myself less identifiable). $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ Otherwise put, a positive principle for chat is that you should be able to imagine that whatever you say could be of interest to others, even if it is only as a joke or a grumble. That principle makes marginal some exchanges of the form: Dear X: I would value your advice on Y. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox Your views are always insightful, and I couldn't agree more with the danger of stifling spontaneity. Please note my emphasis on etiquette. The question is more about using the resources on the site at large with propriety... I missed initially the second part of your comment. What do you mean by 'makes marginal'? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AntoniParellada Thanks. Here is a blunter (or perhaps sharper) version. I don't want to see others' essentially private conversations as part of CV chat. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @amoeba: I recollected hearing of some recency criterion: here it's said to be 48 hours. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


You may be worrying more than you need.

I think it's within the rules of the site to ping absolutely anyone -- but not everyone would see the ping.

However what's within the rules is not always the same as what people might see as reasonable. I think it would generally be reasonable to:

a) ping a user that you have a specific reason to contact (like an issue with a question or answer you want to raise with them beyond what would be suitable for comments -- such as extended discussion). Given your judgement of what the question was about, your ping should arguably fall under this category.

b) ping a user you have interacted with regularly, for any reasonable purpose consistent with your personal relationship and the (fairly lax) chat rules (this is really a personal judgement about individual interactions so it's hard to say much ... and this is what I think you're asking about. We can't really establish a policy on individual judgement about the social suitability of a ping)

c) ping any user who is a regular in chat, for any purpose reasonably related to what the site is for, unless they have indicated otherwise. (If you're a chat regular I think it's reasonable to expect to be pinged there)

  • $\begingroup$ Because $T^-$ (meaning "test negative") was read by me as $TN$ ("true negative"), I felt a sense of urgency to correct what (under the light of this misunderstanding) seemed like an outrageous ("accepted") mistake, reflecting poorly on CV, precisely because of its basic nature. And I couldn't think of a more authoritative voice to correct an issue on epidemiology than Professor Harrell. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Antoni Yes, I understand this in retrospect (I was talking about it in my answer). In that light it made some sense to do what you did, but I didn't interpret the situation that way at the time. That's the different understanding of the circumstances I was discussing above. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to delete this question, I have no problem. If you can't, because my answer has an upvote I can delete my answer. (If the upvote is yours you may be able to remove it and delete on your own). Or it can stay, if you prefer, I don't mind either way. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ I just "accepted", and upvoted your answer! I truly was curious about what was on your mind... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:32
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    $\begingroup$ Less than you might guess. I was a little distracted at the time. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ @AntoniParellada: You've 3 deleted questions on Meta - all worth asking IMO. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Antoni downvotes on meta don't normally indicate a poor question (though they can, they often don't). They tend indicate disagreement with a suggestion / proposal (and even when you're not proposing something, people may seen it as an implicit proposal). If you delete such questions because someone disagrees, you remove the chance for people to come along a few minutes later to agree, and perhaps in greater numbers. Not everyone has to agree, and in any case suggestions in questions with which people express disagreement are valuable resources. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Antoni If I understood your comment correctly, I just deleted it. It contributes nothing of any ongoing merit. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 1:09

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