One user in particular here has looked into the area of Pig Latin. How can I contact that person? I cannot comment on the original Pig Latin thread without 50 points, whatever that means.

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    Unless you see his or her comment here you can’t do much. But ask or answer a few questions and you’ll get points. – James McLeod Oct 29 '18 at 0:32
  • I just want to talk to @Kosmonaut about his or her research into Pig Latin. – Evertype Oct 29 '18 at 2:44
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    Hello, it's great you haven't disappeared but if you don't gain at least 50 rep you can't post a comment to Kosmonaut. So either post your comment here and I'll link it in a comment to Kosmonaut, actually that's exactly what I've done, or earn some reputation points. Be warned messages in comments are NOT private (long story) so don't reveal any private info about yourself. – Mari-Lou A Oct 31 '18 at 14:17

If you have a different question about Pig Latin, then you should ask a new question. This can be done at any reputation (obviously). You may not get a response from that particular user, but you're likely to get an answer from someone.

If you still want to contact that specific user you have several options:

  • Check their profile by clicking on their name and see if they've listed contact info for anyone who want to ask them questions about their posts.
  • Get reputation and:

    • 20+ rep: Ask them in chat, if they are active there. Search for users here. The reputation needed for chatting in this site's chat rooms is the sum of all your rep on different sites (which is currently 9). See here for more info.

    • 50+ rep: Leave a comment. Sometimes you get an answer from OP and (much more rarely, especially on older posts) someone else helps you. You can either earn 50 rep on this site or get 200 rep on any other site in the network and earn the association bonus, which is +100 given to all your accounts.

Earning reputation works the same on every site in the network. It's mostly about posting good questions and answers (+10 per upvote), but there are other things that you can do to earn it. (Note that your question was migrated to Meta because it is about the site, not English and you don't get reputation for votes on Meta.) The full explanation for reputation is here.

  • My question is about the poster's own statement that he or she made in 2010 that he or she had done a fair bit of research into Pig Latin. I would like to consult with this person on that. I can see that person's profile. I cannot contact that person. I'm an expert in orthographies and writing systems and I really find it irksome that I have to figure out how I can get 20 reputation points or 50 reputation points in order to communicate with someone who has expertise in dialects of Pig Latin. There is one thread on this forum that mentions it; I cannot make a comment there. Is there no hope? – Evertype Oct 29 '18 at 2:40
  • @Evertype Which post? – Laurel Oct 29 '18 at 2:40
  • english.stackexchange.com/questions/4219/… I want to talk to Kosmonaut. – Evertype Oct 29 '18 at 2:42
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    @Evertype I suggest posting a new question about it. Quote the comment and whatever other information you have on the subject (for example, you could use this page). It would get more eyes on the problem and if you got upvotes you would be closer to being able to comment. (In any case that user hasn't been on the site in a while and it's been ~6m since they did anything on the site.) – Laurel Oct 29 '18 at 3:02
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    @Evertype the question was posted in 2010, so it may be 8 years since Kosmonaut last studied Pig Lain in any depth. In my opinion, write what you want to ask him here and then ask the mods to migrate it over to the relevant page. Be prepared, the last time Kosmonaut logged on was in September this year, it might take months before the user sees your message. – Mari-Lou A Oct 29 '18 at 7:09
  • I don't really know how to "ask him here", though perhaps if I write @Kosmonaut he will see it. Or one of you who has points could write him a note if he accepts direct messages and tell him that Michael Everson who is evertype on Twitter and not hard to find wants to talk about the research he did on Pig Latin, even if it was some time ago. – Evertype Oct 30 '18 at 19:17
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    @Evertype StackExchange doesn't have direct messaging. We can't contact Kosmonaut any better than you can, sadly. SE tries to be less "social network" and more "Q&A". What's being suggested is you ask your question on English Language & Usage, with whatever you want to know, and if Kosmonaut is around, he'll see it. It's the best (well, only) way to get his attention. But if he doesn't see it, you might get answers from others. We have plenty of experts here. Maybe more will know Pig Latin. – Dan Bron Oct 31 '18 at 2:23
  • Unfortunately, Pig Latin is likely to be off topic, because it's not a question about English. Certainly the question asked in 2010 would be closed if it were asked today. Equally unfortunately, Pig Latin is not the Latin Language either. – Andrew Leach Oct 31 '18 at 22:40
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    @AndrewLeach: I think Pig Latin ought to be on topic, because it is a word game that involves the English sound system. (The rules are based on things like English syllable structure.) Linguists are often interested in studying this kind of thing, so if it turns out that this kind of question is not welcome at this site, I would hope it would be accepted on the Linguistics SE. – herisson Nov 2 '18 at 6:31
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    @AndrewLeach "it's not a question about English"? Do you even know what Pig Latin is? Of course it would be on topic! – nohat Nov 7 '18 at 16:52
  • @nohat Yes, which is why any question would have to be carefully worded, because most questions are likely to be off-topic. – Andrew Leach Nov 7 '18 at 19:12

We actually do find some personal information or 'leads' in the user's profile.

First, there is the user's pseudonym, not their real name, but it might be something they've used more often. Second, we know they've studied pig Latin to the extent the user described as "significant reading on Pig Latin as part of my research".

Combining that with our third observation, the link in the profile to a language blog, we can safely assume that the user has a strong connection with that blog and the university (group) behind it.

Possible courses of action:

  1. Contact the blog via their Twitter account
  2. Contact the university department behind the blog.
  3. Go through the list of people affiliated with the department and email those that might fit the user's profile

In any case, explain the situation, perhaps by providing a link to your meta question and hope for the best.

The user also participated in the ISLE2 conference in 2011, perhaps that helps narrow it down or could be something you can mention in your search.

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    Actually, my answer said to only contact the user if they have contact info in their profile. Anything above and beyond that might go against the wishes of the user and can seem creepy. – Laurel Nov 4 '18 at 23:07

How can I get in touch with a particular user…

added restriction

…who is no longer active on the main site?

Unfortunately, as a normal user or new contributor, you can't. Private messaging is not allowed on EL&U. There is no quick surefire way of contacting an absentee user unless that user has an email address on their profile page (some do) or you happen to know someone on ELU who has that person's private email address.

But how could a new contributor possibly have access to this kind of information?

By posting on meta the OP struck lucky, someone who read their request and (more importantly) recognized their identity, felt particularly ashamed by some of the responses supplied by experienced and thoughtful users and sought to contact the OP privately.

It's a cringing embarrassment, like the one you feel when watching a journalist try to tell the Dalai Lama a joke about the Dalai Lama ordering a pizza

However, the question remains: would the same user have still intervened if the OP hadn't been “…a leading light in matters where linguistics and technology converge.”?


I contacted Mr. Everson by e-mail and put him in touch with Kosmonaut.

Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed at the response he got here. This whole situation could have been avoided if there were a way for users to direct message each other. But there is not, and that's too bad.

Sometimes the best approach is just to be a kind, helpful person and not get bogged down in complicated site mechanics or obscure cyber-stalking techniques. But the best approach is not always possible, though I think some deference is due to a leading light in matters where linguistics and technology converge.

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    I think people were trying to be helpful, and it should not make one dot of difference who the new contributor is. I think the majority of users were unaware of @Evertype's identity, I certainly was, but everyone who posted comments or answers treated him with courtesy. So, frankly, where this embarrassment of yours stems from I have little idea. – Mari-Lou A Nov 6 '18 at 22:21
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    And how did you put him in touch with Kosmonaut? Was it cyberstalking, which you loathe, access to information the rest of us do not have, which would of course not cause you to to feel embarrassment on our behalf, or using the site-supported mechanisms the rest of us have dutifully and courteously been guiding this new user through? Because I’m not seeing a fourth option. But I have to say, it’s a refreshing breath of new air for a group that is constantly accused of being a bunch of elitist snobs to finally be accused of being a bunch of anti-elitist snobs. – Dan Bron Nov 7 '18 at 16:29
  • It's a cringing embarrassment, like the one you feel when watching a journalist try to tell the Dalai Lama a joke about the Dalai Lama ordering a pizza. – nohat Nov 7 '18 at 16:44
  • @nohat I would laugh at that situation and I genuinely expect the Dalai Lama would too (if he understood the joke, which a famous ELL question on that very topic suggests is not a universally reliable assumption). But you didn’t answer my question: how did you put our esteemed visitor in touch with Kosmonaut? Because unless it’s some option I didn’t mention, it undermines your entire answer as well as your aspersions. – Dan Bron Nov 8 '18 at 16:26
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    @nohat I know: did you see the link I supplied? It’s the video you’re referencing (and hence my parenthetical caveat). And yes, you said you put them in touch via email. The question I asked was how did you get Kosmonaut’s email? If it wasn’t “cyberstalking” (which by the way I think is not only an inaccurate description of JJJ’s answer, but a hurtful one; I’ll let you do with that critique what you think is best), then you have direct access to his email. Which we do not, and that is what we told Evertype. It is bassackwards to criticize us for something something we literally cannot do! – Dan Bron Nov 8 '18 at 16:44
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    I didn’t to my mind criticize anyone. I saw the discussion here and felt embarrassed that no one who had tried to answer in a helpful way was actually able to be helpful. If anyone is at fault here, it’s the site creators for making what ought to be simple—directly messaging someone in a social network—essentially impossible. You’re right, the answers he got were the best that non-admins could do, and that’s what’s bassackwards. – nohat Nov 8 '18 at 16:52
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    I’m sorry, that’s a very disingenuous reply. You wrote “Sometimes the best approach is just to be a kind, helpful person” as if that’s something that should have happened but didn’t. And “and not get bogged down in complicated site mechanics” as if we had some other choice. And “cyber-stalking techniques” like JJJ was stalking rather than going above & beyond. And “I'm a little embarrassed at the response ... some deference ...” as if we didn’t show proper deference, as if we could have done something better, though we did everything we were capable of. This post is about users, not mechanics – Dan Bron Nov 8 '18 at 17:04
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    I only meant what I literally wrote. Any assumptions about my intentions or hidden meanings are on you, man. – nohat Nov 8 '18 at 17:12
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    @nohat There were no hidden messages and I made no obscure interpretations. You cast aspersions without a basis for doing so, but that’s for you to live with, not me. My hands are clean. – Dan Bron Nov 8 '18 at 17:18
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    @DanBron you have now accused me of (1) "loathing" cyberstalking, (2) accusing you of being an "anti-elitist snob", (3) casting "aspersions", (4) making an "inaccurate" and "hurtful" description of JJJ's answer, (5) "criticizing" you, and (6) being "disingenuous", none of which I believe to be true. I'm not the cruel villain you may imagine I am, and I'm truly sorry if you can't believe me. – nohat Nov 8 '18 at 18:12
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    Then perhaps you might be moved by the fact that your post can be read that way, whatever your intentions? And demonstrably was, not only by me but by the other voters, commenters, and comment-voters? Do you think there’s room for clarification of your post, given this misreading? – Dan Bron Nov 8 '18 at 18:14
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    @Mitch I could cast the 4th downvote if that convinced you more. Personally, I took offense at nohat's first draft and I'm not sure whether his edited answer is an attempt to make amends or to cover his a**. Perhaps a bit of both. – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '18 at 12:29
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    I am grateful to Mr Friedland for his courtesy and his assistance. – Evertype Nov 9 '18 at 17:00
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    @Nohat For future reference, how did you get the email? Was it available to everybody somewhere on SE, was it viewable only by a select few, or did you just happen to have the email outside of SE (and so this was a lucky chance)? – Mitch Nov 14 '18 at 16:00
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    Do all diamond moderators automatically have access to our personal emails? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that. (I also thought that all of the responses here were kind, and literally as helpful as they could be given what they had to work with.) – 1006a Nov 14 '18 at 17:10

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