I don't believe this is something that we're considering for the general userbase, for several reasons.
The mission of the Codidact Network is to provide a space for communities to share, maintain, and curate an information repository, through tooling and support specialized for the needs of each community.
We're not a social media platform. We do hope to have integrated chat at some point, because that interaction and less formal space is integral to community-building — we're not robots, after all. But providing a social-media like experience isn't our goal.
If someone misunderstood, then other people are likely to do the same
If someone misunderstands something you wrote, and reaches out to you via DM to get a clarification, you can clarify and explain it to that person. That's very well and good for that person; but everyone else reading the post still doesn't have that explanation.
Other people are liable to misunderstand the post in the same way, and then you might get a dozen DMs about the same thing.
Instead of taking that to a private space, leaving a public comment means that other people can see that the author of the post has been notified about the issue. The author can then edit the post to clarify whatever the issue was. This fixes the issue for all future visitors and people reading the post, and avoids the issue of the author receiving an exccessive number of messages about the same issue.
Whenever you have a messaging service, particularly on the Web, the issue of moderation comes up. Unfortunately, people aren't always nice, and the issues of bullying, harassment, spamming, and other issues crop up. If you have private DMs, nobody else can spot this issue and have it taken care of — it's all up to you to flag the behavior and then wait for it to be handled.
The lack of oversight means it's possible for this behavior to go unnoticed and unhandled for much longer than if it's public.
Is this really the right method for mentoring?
Your proposal hinges on the assumption that private DMs are a good way to mentor new users. A couple things to think about:
- Nobody else can learn from it if it's all private. You have to mentor each new user individually if it's all private, as opposed to new users being able to view the efforts made previously and learn from that.
- We do currently have a question-asking tutorial that goes over the best way to ask a question. Should we maybe focus on improving that, and make it more available? Should we use this as a springboard for a question-asking wizard that guides you through the process in real time?
Guiding new users is important, and an area we definitely need to improve in, but I don't think Direct Messages are the right way to go about it.
As a side note, we do currently have a one-way system for moderators to send warnings to users, and we're working on a way for moderators to be able to send non-warning messages and have the user respond. However, these are reserved for important moderation issues, and only used sparingly. The reason for this mod messaging system is that we don't want to be calling users out in public about certain issues. This isn't a system that's going to be rolled out for general use.