Please provide a way to contact our peers off TMF

The old TMF allowed us to email our peers.
The process DID NOT reveal the email address of the TO address.
IF the recipient wanted, she/he could respond.
Only after a response, was the TO address revealed.

I’ve seen a suggestion that external emailing was eliminated due to lawyerly concerns about liability of “privacy”.
Surely, there’s a way to overcome this concern.

The ability to contact each other outside TMF was beneficial.



Agree. And FWIW I have received three messages from the New TMF to my private e-mail address, by both TMF’ers and a civilian. So the feature is available and it it does work if they want it to.


I’m not so sure I like this. I have received multiple emails as well and I’m not overly fond of my email address floating around all over the place.

You can change whether you get the ‘email’ notifications. No, I don’t know how to do that, but as I ‘trip around over this site’ I sometimes encounter it. I’ve considered changing it, but have left most stuff as I found it.

When I perused the ‘to address’ and to whom any reply would be addressed and delivered… I don’t see MY ADDRESS being ‘revealed’. The ‘return address’ is something like

NO email addresses other than that one.


I agree, but I think it would be similarly useful if there was a message capability within this system. Suppose I could send you a private message, and when you get on here it showed up for you to read. It could be used to exchange email addresses - or not. I don’t think it would be useful for anything really confidential, as I think TMF would need to be able to read them if only to cover their posteriors.

That said, several days ago I was writing yet another reply to the same Fool and the system offered to send it as a message instead of a public post. I didn’t accept the offer, and I haven’t seen again, but it sure sounds like a feature that exists and would only need to be activated.

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As I’ve said in a few other posts, the messaging is inactive for legal reasons. I’ve seen the same pop up though - it seems as though if you reply to the same person multiple times (perhaps in the same thread), the system throws that pop-up at you, suggesting that you message that person instead. It appears to be a bug that it still shows up even with messaging deactivated so I’ll be reporting it to the platform folks.


You’ve mentioned that, and I’m certain that’s what the lawyers said. But I find it difficult to believe that is sound legal advice. For example, you can send private messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Discord, the old TMF, etc. Presumably, their lawyers all looked at it and concluded it was okay. Can you share with us the legal thinking behind this decision? Because it doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense based on what we know so far.


Hoping this gets answered so the community has more clarity on the issue, but to throw in my own $0.02…

Absent any other explanation, I assume the reason is more CYA from TMF than anything else. Although I have no insight or guesses why TMF would be more concerned with legal ramifications than other sites that allow it, including other financially-focused sites.

It has been a feature for a couple decades now of nearly every online message board and community forum that I’ve seen, from those focused on woodworking to car repair to home theater to real estate flipping to private equity deal flow to college application support to … (some of which use Discourse as well).

It’s disappointing to say the least that TMF has disabled it given the usefulness of it. For example, on Saul’s board, where most readers are not allowed to post, it’s impossible to reach out to any participant in any way whatsoever, whether public or private, to follow-up on a particular topic.


For me, what would be particularly attractive is the ability to send a message without the recipient getting my e-mail address … although, I suppose that could also be the vehicle for abuse.


What I would like to see is being able to have the system send a boiler-plate message along the lines of “RHinCT wishes to contact you privately”, presenting them with choices such as Yes, No, and Block. If the answer is Yes, each of us has the option of sharing an email address - or not. And blocking can occur at any time.


I can only say it’s a decision from legal and if it had been possible to block it on the old boards, I’m fairly confident they would have done there too (but it wasn’t so it had to remain). Anything more would be speculation.

I doubt the software supports this at the moment, but I can dream.

How about setting it up so that I can not write a message to anyone, but I can push some button so that the system sends a message to someone that says RHinCT would like to communicate with you. Click Yes, No, or Ignore. If they click Yes the system gets back to me with that response, and I hit another button that sends the other Fool my email address that TMF has on file. If they then choose to use that email address is up to them. No could mean No this time, while Ignore could mean blocking any more attempts from that person (from me in my example). Also, since there is an Ignore list already, nobody on that user’s Ignore list can even start the process.

(This really is a significant hole that needs to be addressed, IMHO.)


This isn’t a software problem. I’ve had the software suggest I e-mail another user directly rather than post yet another reply to them. The software has the capability to send private messages.

TMF has chosen to turn that feature off. And the reason has been explained. I don’t expect them to back track on this one.

My guess is while there may be some liability associated with facilitating private conversations, the real issue that that the paying users want it turned off. So it will be off.



Really? That is news to me.

I’m a paying user.


Since we’re speculating…

Well put! I’m gonna go with your ‘while’ and a maybe. :slight_smile:

I’m not. Was close to become one, but in my case the community boards are/were a main selling point. As far as I know, the paid and the free site are two separate instances which can be configured independently.

Private messaging is one such setting but the messages need to be stored in a database. So if you turn it on you better be confident that there isn’t and won’t be any vulnerability that could be exploited to, for example, download the entire database and put it out in the open. In a speculative worst case scenario, someone might end up losing his life savings because of private messages he shouldn’t have sent.

With Discourse being great and all, I’m gonna with Peter and don’t expect them to back track on this one anytime soon, unfortunately.

Is this a primary reason? No idea.

Hi @RHinCT. Were you in the beta group on which the new format was tested?

No. They used the Options service boards for that, and I have never been subscribed to that service.

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Word. This “the legal team won’t let us” is nonsense. Once your have responded to the same poster in the same thread three times, the Discourse software will prompt you to take the discussion off board to private email if you like. So not only does the software “have the capability” it will actually suggest it to you in some circumstances.