I own the copyright to all of my writing. Guest contributors retain their own copyright. Don’t steal my words or I’ll hafta hunt you down. Quote away, but please attribute with a link back.
By sending me questions, you are granting me the right, in perpetuity, to use, quote, alter, and/or display those questions however I choose for commercial and non-commercial distribution. I recommend changing names and removing identifying details before you hit ‘send.’ Also before you send, please check the archives for columns that address your issue. If you have found my site by Googling a topic and landed on a column that is similar to your issue except for just one little detail, I’m not going to write a whole new column just for you, sorry. And I don’t answer questions privately. DO NOT SEND YOUR LETTER IF YOU ARE NOT OKAY WITH ME PUBLISHING IT. Please keep your letters under 500 words and please, for the love of God, use paragraph breaks.
Sometimes it can take me a month or longer to reply to a letter. Sometimes I don’t reply at all. If you don’t hear from me within a few weeks, I recommend you try the forums, or turn to a friend, a family member or a therapist for help with your issue. Seriously, therapy is awesome. If you think you can’t afford it, research sliding-scale therapists, community counseling centers (they often serve low-income individuals), and university psych departments in your area. In addition, 12-step programs are a wonderful way to get cost-effective group therapy in a supportive environment.
I will not share your personal email address or identity, unless you threaten or harass me or other posters and commenters. If that happens, I will not hesitate to share all identifying information I have with the appropriate authorities.
This website thrives on the participation of its readers, so commenting is not only permitted but actively encouraged. Currently, first-time commenters must be approved, but every comment thereafter will be published immediately. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me or my advice and I don’t expect you to agree with each other, but I do expect this to be a respectful community.
In case there’s any confusion, let me make something very clear: I run this site. I decide what comments get deleted and I decide whether and when a commenter gets banned from commenting. I owe no one any explanations about my decisions. I have pissed off plenty of people with my decisions about which comments I allow and which ones I delete and I don’t care. If setting clear boundaries that protect my well-being and keep this site welcoming for the majority of readers pisses off a few people, I’m ok with that, and I will continue making decisions based on what is best for me and the community.
A good dose of common sense should ensure that most of your comments stay up, but for those of you whose sense isn’t always common, here’s a non-exhaustive list of some reasons why your comments could get deleted:
You use hateful language, including racist, homophobic, or sexist slurs.
You call other commenters names.
You divulge personal information about another commenter.
You are excessively boring.
You are picking on or ganging up on a specific commenter or commenters.
You’re conducting back-and-forth, off-topic, non-inclusive conversations with other commenters that go on and on and on (consider, instead, setting up a private email chain, or starting a forum thread or a FB group or chat).
You already said that a bunch of times in the same thread….
You are rude to me. How do you know what I might find rude? COMMON SENSE. Don’t mock my family or anyone I love and care about. Don’t mock me. Don’t make pointless, disparaging remarks about this site. I pour a huge amount of time and energy into running Dear Wendy, and I make no secret that it isn’t a big money-maker, so it’s very much a labor of love, and I feel protective of it. That said, I welcome criticism if it’s genuinely constructive and made in good faith, but there’s an enormous difference between making a polite suggestion, and saying something like, “This site has really gone downhill! I’m out of here!” You know what I say to a comment(er) like that? Good riddance.
This is a very comment-y blog and I aim to read every single comment and moderate fairly aggressively in order to keep this an interesting, welcoming, insightful, and entertaining site to visit. I have to make snap judgments about comments and since I’m human, just like all of you, some days I’ll be in a better (or worse) mood than other days, which will probably affect what comments I allow and which ones I delete (it will also affect what kind of comments I make myself). I might let what seems like a big-offense comment fly while deleting one that seems innocuous to you. I reserve that right. And you reserve the right to stop reading.
To that end, I welcome comments with personality. Be yourself (unless you’re boring or rude or hateful) — be jokey and sarcastic and smart as a whip. Drop an F bomb if you feel like it. Disagree with me! Disagree with each other! Just be respectful, and don’t be an asshole.
What does MOA mean? How about LW?
MOA is an acronym that stands for “move on already!” LW is an acronym that stands for “letter writer” and is most frequently used in the comment section when referring to, you guessed it, the writer of the letter in question.
How can I send you a letter?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you edit letters?
Yes. I often edit letters for both brevity and clarity, but I always keep the gist of the question and the scenario unaltered.
Do you answer sex-related questions?
I stay away from most sex-related questions, but I’m a big fan of Dan Savage’s column, Savage Love, and would recommend you direct such questions to him or any of the other wonderful sex advice columnists out there in the wide world.
What makes you think you’re more qualified to give advice than any other joker with an opinion?
I don’t think I’m more qualified, but I do think I’m good at it. Advice is subjective though and I have off days where my advice isn’t as sharp as it could be, and I bring my own baggage and biases to each question, which is why I have an active comment section for readers to challenge me and each other and hopefully provide a range or perspectives not only for the letter writer, but for others with similar questions and concerns.