I see and hear a lot of discussion about prevention rather than education. And quite honestly a lot of the stuff I read makes me a bit uncomfortable. I am for messaging because I feel like even if I were to get unwanted attention, I always have the choice to not reply or report. It’s impossible to control everything and I always prefer transparency. Education about what the community is, and users standing firm about it is the only way to educate people about appropriate behaviour.
I recently got a few suspicious messages from people on CS, and I followed my gut. I didn’t provide any personal information, but sussed out that it’s something nefarious. I messaged them what they were doing wrong, and reported them. It’s as simple as that.
One of my best friends I’ve made I contacted via a message. We lived in the same city, and I asked her for advice for something she was involved in. I was never hosted by her or her husband, but we ended up being in the same choir and developed a great friendship. This opportunity would have otherwise not allowed me to make friends, or become involved in my community, if messages were not available outside of a request.
This is the same for events and such. When I moved to a new city in France, the way I got involved was via their events and starting to message people in my community. Without these tools that can be monitored/reported, communication can lead to other off-site ways, which is uncontrollable and unmonitored, and lead to other problems.