Today, I flagged two different comments on two different questions because users had left their email addresses in them. (This and this question)

So far as I am concerned, leaving your email address out in the open like that is just an invitation for spammers, so I flagged the comments for deletion, particularly since there have been some very well publicised cases of doxxing recently, and no-one should be adding fuel to that fire.

However, one of my flags was marked as helpful and the comment deleted, and one of them was declined, and the comment is still there.

image showing flags accepted/declined

So, for the sake of clarification, what's the site's policy on people leaving personal information around the place? In these particular instances the deleted comment was asking people to email with answers. The not-deleted one was in order to arrange further discussion of the asker's issue. Does this difference of intent/usage require a different approach?

What should we do when a user leaves their personal details (such as email address) in a question/answer/comment?

  • 6
    This can likely be explained by us not having a policy yet, and different moderators handling different flags. Definitely a good idea to hash this out. Oct 16 '14 at 19:33
  • @StrixVaria yeah I thought it was likely to have been two different people handling the flags.
    – shanodin
    Oct 16 '14 at 19:34
  • 6
    I deleted the "Windows 8 steam compatibility" comment. I didn't do it just because it contained personal information, but because it begged people to contact him privately to solve the issue in question - and that's not how we roll.
    – badp
    Oct 16 '14 at 19:46
  • 1
    FWIW, on the Android site we delete or edit comments and posts with email addresses. 95% of the time it's spam, and the rest of the time we want users asking and answering on the site rather than being directed elsewhere. If they need to have an extended discussion, there's chat. If they want to keep in touch with each other then they can set that up without cluttering comments -- comments should be relevant to the issue at hand, or removed. It's fine in user profiles, of course. Nov 4 '14 at 20:27

People are free to post their own contact information as much as they like. Let them worry about their own privacy -especially when it comes to basic information like an email address which is, on it's own, not terribly useful.

If it's not relevant, it ought to be deleted on those grounds, but there's nothing wrong with providing contact information. Where it is relevant, whether in an answer, a comment, or a user profile.

  • 4
    Er, the problem is, it's almost never useful. I could see, for example, in a question about setting up an email server the asker could say, "For example, my email is abc@gmail.com and when I..." but I'm not sure how a relevant situation could come about on this site... Oct 21 '14 at 3:41
  • 2
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft the point is, we don't need any special policy on the matter. Oct 21 '14 at 13:54

I typically edit the contact information out of the post. It's still in the history, but that's less obvious, and the original poster can delete the question or answer if they want it gone from there too.

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