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Note: I am currently not enrolled in any courses, whether remote or in-person. This question is based on a post I saw a couple days ago on Reddit where someone asked a similar question.

Now that distance learning is quite commonplace among both secondary schools and higher learning institutes due to COVID, there isn't as much of a possibility for students to approach each other outside of class hours in an attempt to hang out together or get romantically involved, as quite frequently happened in the pre-COVID days.

My question is whether it would be considered inappropriate for a student to use private chat options on whichever platform the school provides for distance learning to contact another student for explicitly non-education related companionship, assuming the contact happens during moments where such contact would happen on campus, like between scheduled classes or during pair activities. The intent is to use the private chat options to send communications that would otherwise be done at school outside of class hours, with no real distinction between asking your best friend if they want to play some Fortnite after school and asking that cute girl in one of your classes whether she would want to go have a drink with you after school.

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  • Are you thinking about already established contacts (of which you might not have a phone number or email address), or contacting people that you haven't talked to before?
    – Mark
    Oct 9 '20 at 13:30
  • @Mark Both, actually. The intent is to use the private chat options to send communications that would otherwise be done at school outside of class hours, with no real distinction between asking your best friend if they want to play some Fortnite after school and asking that cute girl in one of your classes whether she would want to go have a drink with you after school.
    – Nzall
    Oct 9 '20 at 13:31
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    If it’s talking to an already established friend, it’s probably understood that this will happen. If it’s used to initiate a new friendship (in particular of possibly romantic nature), I would find it probably creepy. I could even see situations where it gets you into trouble. Oct 9 '20 at 14:53
  • There is a fine line between chatting and stalking. Best to use non-school related tools and take No to mean No.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 9 '20 at 15:06
  • I think there are two questions here: (1) Is it okay (towards the school) to use learning chat for non-academic issue. (2) Is it okay towards other students to get contacted? I'd say (1) yes, if not so much and used reasonably, (2) I don't know.
    – user111388
    Oct 9 '20 at 20:18
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For already established contacts, there should not be any problem. Same when you ask a group of known and new people (e.g. the general group chat), whether they want to do something together (which might not be the best idea at the moment, but I hope you get what I mean).

Contacting specific people that are not your friends might be a different story, especially if your approach might not be desired. If you go this way I would be very careful in how you are approaching someone, especially if it is, or can be perceived as such, of romantic nature. One way to go could be to start out with asking if the other person is okay with being contacted by you for private matters at all in this system.

However, I would suggest to try social media instead. Or ask common friends/acquaintances for a contact - the way we did it before social media existed. Again, of course, nice and respectful.

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