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I wanted to answer a question, in this case Dialogue tags with a mute speaker, but my answer falls outside of what the English Stack site might allow, or rather that it would answer the question in an unconventional manner and cause more discussion than was warranted.

Is there any way I can still answer that question, but send it directly to the OP to avoid untoward responses? It's not insulting, crude, or otherwise offensive -- but it is outside the standard rules of English dialogue.

I merely wished to explain how I handled the problem in my own writing, and leave it to the OP to decide if my answer had any validity.

  • Why not just answer the question. There aren't any rules about "unconventional" answers... just that answers must address their questions. – curiousdannii Apr 6 '15 at 3:11
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No. Answers can only be posted here. If you don't wan to post an actual answer, you can always post a comment. Or, well, you will always be able to post a comment as soon as you get 50 reputation points. The only other option would be to email the OP if they happen to have provided their email address on their profile but that's not a good idea. This site is where answers should be posted, not in private communications.

In any case, what you describe sounds like an answer. I don't understand why you would not want to post it. The voting system allows the community to decide if your answer is valid and the OP can choose to accept it or not according to their own opinions.

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If the OP has provided contact information in their profile, then you are presumably welcome to use it, as is anyone else. However that is the only way you can send an answer directly. Stack Exchange does not provide a mechanism for users to contact other users in this manner.

The principle of Stack Exchange is that questions and answers don't just help the OP: they are useful to those who come after them too. This is why answers are public and available to more than just the original asker.

While the asker does have a role in assessing the validity of an answer, by voting and accepting the answer which helped them most, Stack Exchange is community-driven. But it's not a forum, and does not encourage discussion on the main site; chatrooms are available for discussion of an answer. (Meta works slightly differently.)

Because the site is community-driven, you may find an answer is downvoted. But if a solution has worked for you and you want to pass it on, write an answer. If the answer is really unconventional, it would probably be worthwhile to take the trouble to explain why you opted for that course of action — and possibly what the alternatives were and why you rejected them — and also what the reaction was at the time. If your action was justified and the response you got was generally accepting, then your personal experience should have some weight when the community reads the answer.

You can delete one of your own answers at any time1. Deleting a post which has reached −3 actually earns a badge.

If you are really uncertain of the community response then you could create a second account to post the answer. Any reaction would thus be isolated to that account and you would be insulated from the effect of downvotes. You would also protect yourself from upvotes and badges if it is well-received. Creating second accounts is permitted but frowned upon because it subverts the community; SE uses various methods to make it difficult to do, and uses cookies deliberately so that it is not particularly easy to manage different accounts if you succeed in creating them. There is also the risk that you could use one of your accounts to vote for the other by mistake; that's voting fraud, even in error, and any abuse of the system using two accounts is rigorously stamped on. In this case, I can see no real reason which would justify using a second account. In the unlikely event that a good, well-argued answer is downvoted, the remedy is simple.

So: post your answer!


1 You are not able to delete an answer which has been accepted. Full details

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The SE system does allow the creation of private chat rooms, so you could leave a comment explaining your dilemma, and ask him to create a room with restricted access where you can discuss the matter.

This is just an answer to the general problem, though, since I cannot see any reason in your question why your answer should not be a good one.

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    Actually, only moderators can create truly private chat rooms, and these must be used only for moderation purposes. Other users can only create read-only galleries where only certain users are permitted write access. – tchrist Apr 4 '15 at 14:37

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