One problem that occasionally arises here is a question or answer that is wanting but has promise but the OP is unavailable for clarifications or advice.

It might be possible to have some UI by which a mod, knowing only the user's screen name, but NOT their identity or email address could have an email sent to a user suggesting that they visit one of the chatrooms. The email wouldn't come from the mod's email account but from, say, mods.cseducators.stackexchange.com or some other constructed address, and marked noReply.

This would be a one way communication channel, available only to diamond mods. It would reveal nothing to either party other than a request from an unnamed (or maybe named) mod.

In the simplest form, the mod might only need to enter a username and check a radio button for the particular message, but in a more useful form the mod could enter at least part of the text of the message sent by the system.

The advantages of this would be, I think, that questions (and answers) could be improved in a more timely and reliable manner.

Other users could, of course, request that a mod send such a message, which might be a feature or a bug.

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    $\begingroup$ ...you mean, essentially the already existing mod message system, but for less serious problems? $\endgroup$ – Mithical Jul 20 '17 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir Perhaps. If I understand it properly, the existing system reveals the user's email to the mod. Partly for this reason (if true) it is used only in very serious cases. But yes, find a way for a mod to "issue a request to appear", and similar. $\endgroup$ – Buffy Jul 20 '17 at 12:01
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    $\begingroup$ It does not reveal the users email to a moderator. Mods do not get any additional information by sending a moderator message, and users don't get to know who the mods are. $\endgroup$ – thesecretmaster Jul 20 '17 at 12:09

This is a great idea! In fact, we already have just such a system. But there are a few caveats:

  1. The system that exists is designed for serious issues that are outside the bounds of the community entirely (such as disciplinary matters).

  2. Using such a system to help posters with their questions would move the central work of defining what is on-topic from the community (via accumulated culture and this meta area) even more squarely to the moderators. I would already prefer that it be less. The moderators are not the community, we are of the community.

The question closure process exists to help the community improve questions that aren't quite right, and the main tool available to invite people to chat is a comment on the question itself. Diamond mods also have the ability to ping someone who hasn't been in a room, but again, (like all mod powers) this is meant to be used sparingly.

If you'd like to read more about the moderator messaging feature, you can have a look at the moderator-message tag on meta Stack Exchange.


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