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Sorry if everyone else knows about this stuff, but I can't find any information about it anywhere.

I see occasional comments about one user putting something on another user's "talk page". I have some questions for a particular user that don't rise to the level of an official question (but it's not a private matter), so I'd like to use this feature. But I can't find it anywhere. What is it? Does it just mean that someone has opened a chat and invited or tagged the other user or something like that? (If so, are there best practices for that?) Or are they friends in some other venue?

Edit:

My reason for asking this is that I really like one person's formalism and want to ask that particular person for references the she/he uses.

To be clear, I understand that chat exists, but I particularly want this one person's input, and it looks like chat doesn't really have a mechanism for that. I certainly don't mind if other people chime in with their opinions about references, but I would like to ask one person in particular.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you give a concrete example if this feature? I have never heared about this before and have a hard time to imagine how it works without an example ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 4 '13 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ This may be a reference to either on-demand or user created chat rooms. Other than that there is no such feature. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 4 '13 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton I don't know, hence the question. :) All I know is that I've seen discussions in comments, and then somebody says something like "I posted the link on your user talk page." $\endgroup$ – Mike Jun 4 '13 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee Okay, so on the current list of chats, there's one titled "Room for Dilaton and David Zaslavsky" (coincidentally enough). And then Dilaton said "Hi @Da..." So, is that a standard way to start a conversation and notify them even if they're not expecting a chat? $\endgroup$ – Mike Jun 4 '13 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Mike Some of those are created automatically when a comment thread runs too long. Then the user get notified. Some are created using the "create a new room" button. I'm not sure if a ping will work in a new chat room, but you can try it. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 4 '13 at 20:39
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Talk pages exist on Wikipedia, but not here. So I'm not sure what the comments you're talking about might have been referring to. If they actually said "talk page" they are using the wrong terminology.

Generally speaking, the Stack Exchange system is designed to keep communication public and exposed to the entire community as much as possible. If you have a question for a particular user, consider posing it to the community at large instead, for example in our chat room.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I'm thinking they must have known each other on wikipedia, and the conversation moved over there. I have absolutely no problem keeping the conversation public, but I won't ask a question that I really just want one particular person to answer. And I don't want to hijack a comment thread to ask my question. $\endgroup$ – Mike Jun 4 '13 at 22:10

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