Q: If I know for a fact that a specific user is the author/maintainer of a certain package, is it OK to draw their attention to a question regarding that package by @-mentioning them in a comment?

I realize that depending on the popularity of their packages, some authors/maintainers might end up being pinged by a lot of people if we allow this.

At the same time, if package authors/maintainers decide to participate in answering questions related to their packages on Emacs.SE, that probably means they are following corresponding tags, and would see most of the questions anyway. As a result, they might not mind being pinged.

Maybe it would make sense to require that people wait for at least x hours/days to get their questions answered before pinging package authors/maintainers? How do we feel about this?

  • 2
    I see absolutely no problem with pinging people. I don't think we'd reach anywhere near spam-level frequencies with this. That said, last I checked this doesn't work. You can't ping somebody who hasn't participated in the question so far (wether by asking, editing, or commenting). Perhaps a more frequent SE user can confirm this.
    – Malabarba
    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:31
  • @Malabarba I think the ping will still work, but you will not get any help typing the user name.
    – T. Verron
    Dec 3, 2014 at 22:29
  • @T.Verron I pinged you on another random post, did you get it?
    – Malabarba
    Dec 3, 2014 at 23:31
  • @Malabarba No. Ok. :(
    – T. Verron
    Dec 4, 2014 at 6:01
  • 2
    Oh, all the rules are here : meta.stackexchange.com/a/43020/266014
    – T. Verron
    Dec 4, 2014 at 6:06
  • @T.Verron Thanks for digging that up. Looks like the whole thing is a non-issue, then. I could have sworn I saw people using this technique to ping others on StackOverflow...
    – itsjeyd
    Dec 4, 2014 at 9:46
  • 2
    @itsjeyd they may have tried it but it wouldn't necessarily be successful.
    – Matt Ellen
    Dec 4, 2014 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


I would be cautious about doing so. I would say that if you've established yourself in the community, you should already know how to proceed (based on who you would be trying to ping). I don't think they're going to come after you with pitchforks of burning entrails and makeshift explosives, but you should also try to respect their privacy and their time. With packages that I've developed, I feel an odd obligation to answer questions about them. I don't want to pit this obligation on a single person.

Package maintainers would normally follow the appropriate tags for their package to answer questions about them. There are even mechanisms for receiving email digests about such questions, so if a maintainer wants to answer questions here, they have many means to focus their SE experience on them.

I suppose this mainly applies to posting such questions in chat, anyway. As @Malabarba points out, pings don't work from normal posts :)

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