This has happened to me several times already, and I think I'm not the only one.

A (possibly new) user comes by with a question which clearly shows he is way out of his depth and he needs professional advice, such as this one; after some comments and/or answers, the suggestion is given to hire someone who actually knows what he's doing, and the question is closed as too broad and/or not professional enough.

The user will probably realize the truth in the suggestion, and he'll go find someone with real experience. Now, chances are one or more other users could actually help him, and are willing to do so (for a price); case in point: I'm an expert in network design (amongst other things) and I'm currently unemployed, thus a short-term consulting job like "please advise me on designing my company network" is something I'd be glad to take on.

However, I have no way to contact the user (there still is no PM function on any StackExchange site), and posting my email address in a comment is something I'd like to avoid; also, posting a comment such as "please contact me privately, I could do this job for you if we agree on the price and terms" strikes me as rather inappropriate for a site whose main purpose is definitely not handling job offers.

So: there is a situation where a user is clearly in need of professional support, he is probably looking for it, and someone is willing to take on the job, or at least tell him "let's see if we can work together on this". But the site provides no means to handle this situation.

What would be the best approach using the current tools?

Could something be introduced to handle this better?

  • 4
    Just eave a comment saying contact me if you want help sorting this out - works for me occasionally. Don't forget to delete it later though.
    – user9517
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 20:47
  • 1
    As an independent consultant there have been times when I've wanted to tell someone "Contact me if you'd like to discuss how I might be of help to you on a professional basis (or something to that affect). In those cases I simply leave an email address by which they can contact me in my SF profile. As for whether or not it's appropriate; I think that in those cases where it is appropriate it's usually pretty obvious. I've only ever done it once or twice but I trust that your good judgment will tell you when it's appropriate and when it's not.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


Agreed, this is a touchy subject, and I appreciate that you are bringing it up.

There are many barriers in place: both technical and ethical. Technical, in that we don't have a PM feature, and ethical, in not wanting to spam SF QAs with consulting solicitations. As a mod, I'm also (perhaps needlessly) even more careful to not solicit consulting gigs than I would be if I weren't an elected moderator.

Anyway, I have chosen to post one of my "junk" email accounts on my SF profile. While I never solicit work, people do contact me from time to time at that email address, and I've done a small amount of consulting work as a result of those contacts.

In your case, I would either recommend either doing as I do, post a junk email account, or else leave a comment for the user to the effect of "post your email somewhere and I'll contact you". Clearly, if someone started soliciting work incessantly on posts, they would likely get dope-slapped fairly quickly, but I would have absolutely no problem with people like yourself trying to connect with people from time to time, especially in instances like the question you linked to, where guidance is clearly needed.


If you are unemployed it's very possible you have some spare free time on your hands. In that spare time you can create a small, personal: "Tech guy for hire" website or even just a LinkedIn profile and tell the guy to reach you in there.

As long as you don't abuse of this and don't spam your activity, it should do fine enough.

  • 2
    I of course have a LinkedIn profile, and there is a link to it in my SF profile; but this is quite unwieldy (the other user needs to be a member, and LinkedIn doesn't allow PMs between not-linked people unless you have a premium account).
    – Massimo
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 12:36
  • Then, stick to the small personal consultant website. That's going to be public. Even better, a personal website can showcase your abilities better than a resume. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 13:01

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