...if you don't get a response to a direct question (in a reasonable amount of time) to another member who has posted on a thread. Or, if you want that member's opinion or advice in specific, as well as just to "chew the fat" and "shoot the breeze".
I find it can be difficult most days to keep up with activity on the forums, as the SMF member count and active threads has grown by leaps and bounds very quickly. When I check My Profile page, I will see that there are unviewed posts in threads that I was active in, however, if it is a thread that I have not posted in for a few weeks or more, that thread will be way down the list, depending on how much I have been posting. If I don't click on the MORE button enough times and scroll to the bottom, then it simply will not show up, and unless I happen to catch it on the New Posts page, I will not know about it at all.
I'm sure I'm not the only member who is missing posts that he/she would like to view due to these situationss, so, if you don't get a response, here are the easiest ways to connect with that individual:
1) while viewing the thread page, just hover your cursor over the member's name on their last post, right click and select veiw profile, then click Open in New Tab, then, directly under their avatar picture, just left click on Send Private Message;
2) from the Users Currently Online or Who's Online page, just hover over the user name and right click on Send PM, select and click Open to a New Tab;
3) from the New Message page, if you know part or all of the user name, enter a few characters of the user name who you wish to contact. Auto-complete will list some choices of actual member names which to correlate to what you typed. You can pick from the list, or enter another character or two if the list is too long to easily find/indentify the correct name.
Tips on tabs: I prefer to open most everything into a new tab just so I don't have to wait for a reload of the page I was on if I click the Go Back button on the browser header. This saves tons of time and data transfer when you are viewing one thread, replying to a another thread, copying/pasting to embed a link insertion, reading/replying to a PM and viewing your profile page for activity updates all at the same time. You can run multiple tabs and switch back and forth between them as you wish, being limited only by your computer's capabilities with memory capacity, and certain web browsers/versions.
As many of us get more and more involved with multiple threads, sending a PM to get someone's attention is the best choice, IMO.
Also, don't feel like you're bugging someone by sending a PM. I personally enjoy the one on one conversations just as much as on the open forums, but if appropriate, I prefer to keep discussions that can benefit others in the open...just me, then it doesn't need to be repeated later,unless someone missed the discussion. If the topic is something that someone wishes to remain off the forums, then I will adhere to their wish. For those with slower internet connections, it may take a bit to load their messages page and open the new message, but you will have their attention.
I have my account preferences set up for instant notification of new PMs, so as soon as one is sent and the next time I go active on a SMF page, I get a pop-up. I can immediately cancel the pop-up and open my messages in a new tab from the messages button on top right or from my bookmarks. While it's loading, I can go back to what I was doing for a minute until the page is ready. Just one of many multi-tasking tricks to save time while I'm visiting all you fine folks, and it helps so I don't get spread too thin for too long at a time, 'cause I want to take in all I can and help who ever I can while I'm here.
Hope I wasn't too long-winded, but I felt the need for it to be said.
Stay safe, eat well and keep your smokers warm and happy, my friends!