Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What Should I Post on Days When I Don’t Have a Quality Letter to Answer?

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You may have noticed a recent reduction in the amount of posts going up on the site. Five years ago when I launched DW, I usually posted three times a day. Then I had a baby and realized that wasn’t sustainable, so I started posting twice a day (which was still pretty intense while caring for a baby!). More recently, even the two posts a day feels like a lot and it’s not just because I’ve got two kids to care for these days. That’s a big component, of course; I have childcare only 13 hours a week, and in those hours I try to squeeze in DW work, household chores, errands, self-care (dr. visits, exercising, a haircut) and occasional school volunteering, which is too much stuff and not enough hours. I thought about adding some more childcare hours — the site is making more money now and I could afford it — but I don’t want to sacrifice any more time with Joanie (and honestly, we have lots of other costs I need to prioritize). And beyond that, I’m tired of posting stuff just to post stuff. I’m tired of answering letters I’ve answered a thousand times already just to have a new column up. I’d rather post higher-quality letters even if it means having fewer columns, and then funnel some of the time I was spending answering uninspiring letters on things that matter more to me or that make my life more manageable.

So, here we are on a Thursday and I don’t have a new column or anything scheduled for today because I couldn’t bring myself to answer yet another question about what a couple should do if they can’t agree on where to live or whether a woman is insane for wanting a guy who acts like he actually likes her. Every week, there’s a day or two like this and I’m always stumped on how to proceed, so I thought I’d open it for discussion. On days when I don’t have something scheduled, what would you like to see on DW? An open thread so you can talk amongst yourselves? Links to hot topics in the forums (like the weekly forum highlights I post on Wednesdays)? A question/topic of the day (I’m leaning toward this one)? Daily article round-ups instead of saving them for Friday? Nothing at all? (It feels weird to me to post nothing at all, but it also felt weird to go from three posts to two and then from two to one, and I’m trying to do what I need to sustain this site in a way that is both manageable and meaningful). Any other ideas?

To clarify: I am not going away or phasing out DW or anything like that. This is about making it a better experience for all of us. If I had interesting, meaty high-quality letters to choose from every day and didn’t have two children under five to care for, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But that’s not the reality and I’m tired of devoting precious hours in my week to creating content that doesn’t feel meaningful or interesting to me and likely doesn’t feel meaningful or interesting to you either. So, what kind of quickie content (if anything) would you like to see on the days I don’t have a meaty letter to answer?

87 comments… add one
  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover March 31, 2016, 7:53 am

    I like the question/topic of the day idea. We already have discussion among ourselves on the topics we want to talk about. Having a topic thrown at us would be more interesting IMO.

    The other thing you could do is take what you think is the most interesting Friday Link, and post it for discussion before Friday. Then still post the rest of them on Friday.

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    • avatar

      ktfran March 31, 2016, 8:07 am

      My vote goes to this option. I like the idea of you posing a question, Wendy and we can discuss. If you don’t have a good question that week, I also like RedRover’s idea of posting a link to one article we can discuss.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 31, 2016, 8:27 am

        I vote for this, too!
        Also, I know you can’t control what people send, but I do feel like we’ve seen some very similar questions recently. Of course, I’m sure for every similar question we see on the site, you’ve probably got like 10 more of the same thing in your inbox. Some people really just don’t know how to read the archives– or more likely they think they are a special snowflake whose unique situation (i.e. change one minor detail) would completely change the advice. Sorry, no. And I appreciate your not wanting to answer repeated questions just for the sake of having content!

        I love when our discussions go a little off topic to some larger issue in some of these threads, so maybe when you see one like that, just jot it down for a future discussion topic.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover March 31, 2016, 8:51 am

        I think the forums might end up with some similar questions because people google their problems and find a post on DW with a similar problem, and then they post because yeah, their problem is so specifically special. 🙂

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh March 31, 2016, 7:53 am

    I think the idea of bouncing between question/topic/thought of the day and links would be interesting. I wonder if you only shared one or two links it would get more interaction? You could probably base whether or not you do it on how busy the forums are? I think there are plenty of times when the forums are active and it would be fine to not have a letter that day and let people do their thing there.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 31, 2016, 8:30 am

      I do wonder about this, too. Sometimes I read one of those weekly links and I see there’s a bunch of comments and I’m eager to join a conversation on that link… only the thread is about a different link entirely.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover March 31, 2016, 8:52 am

        And sometimes some of the links are interesting, but no one comments on any of them. I’d be interested in more discussion on the links, and I think posting one at a time would facilitate that better.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 31, 2016, 8:56 am

        I agree with you both. I think people just need help focusing. On a Friday it’s nice to have multiple links for the afternoon to read through (or for that night over wine like me maybe). But, for a column in the middle of the week I like the idea of one issue to comment on.

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 31, 2016, 9:04 am

        Agree.

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 31, 2016, 9:09 am

        Third or fourth or fifth or whatever we’re up to.

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  • avatar

    Wendy's Sister March 31, 2016, 8:02 am

    I love the idea of the question of the day. I also miss reading articles by readers. Dennis Hong, HoneyBeeNicki, and others had really good essays, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking. I’d love to see more of those. I also like the products you and readers recommend. I’m also a fan of linking to an article you think is interesting, but telling us your opinion on it. Finally, I love it when you post letters from other advice columns, telling us how you would have answered it.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie March 31, 2016, 8:04 am

      Yes I like this idea, get some contributors in to add to the conversation. Or the guys’ opinions, or opening up letters to readers as you have done as well?

      And also, what happened to the alphabet series? I know you’re very busy Wendy with everything else that you do, but those little essays were wonderful and I’d love to read some more of those if you had inspiration for them?

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    • avatar

      anonymousse March 31, 2016, 8:45 am

      I like all of these ideas.

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    • avatar

      Vathena March 31, 2016, 9:17 am

      I liked the guest contributors, as well. I’d REALLY love to see some more questions answered by Miles. 🙂 And I loved it when Jackson answered questions, too. That was so cute!

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    • avatar

      for_cutie March 31, 2016, 11:22 am

      Yes, I like the essays by readers. It is nice to hear a different voice.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl March 31, 2016, 12:01 pm

      i was going to say this, too! Maybe some QOD’s and essays from readers!

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  • avatar

    keyblade March 31, 2016, 8:05 am

    I really admire Wendy’s writing style. I don’t always comment on the getting personal columns but they almost always leave me pensive. I’ve also enjoyed getting Wendy’s take on other advice columns. And book reviews. I think a question/topic/thought of the day could work.

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    • avatar

      Buzzelbee March 31, 2016, 8:54 am

      I also really like seeing Wendy’s take on other advice columns. It’s really interesting to see how different people have different takes on the same question.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce April 1, 2016, 5:41 pm

        I’d like to see Wendy respond to questions from Moss Manners. There are often relationship etiquette questions and I find that MM generally has incredibly passive aggressive recommendations for readers for those, which I hate. Wendy is often more direct, though I’ll admit that’s not always the case. Either way, I agree like more responses to other columns and Miss Manners is different enough to be interesting.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce April 1, 2016, 5:43 pm

        Uh, that was supposed to be Miss Manners. Moss Manners is more like a crappy band name. Or directions about how polite lichen should grow on the north side of the tree.

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  • avatar

    Bcamber March 31, 2016, 8:11 am

    From a daily reader’s perspective it’s important for me to see new content every day (not just on this site, but others as well).

    I love the links posts, maybe more of those? I also really enjoy your essays and editorials, so maybe just writing about your life, relationships in general, related stuff in the news, etc? I find your writing equally compelling whether you are answering an LW or just talking about what’s on your mind.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas March 31, 2016, 8:12 am

    I LOVE the articles idea. I always find gems here on Friday. Also linking to the forum hot topics sounds great.

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  • avatar

    Sara March 31, 2016, 8:16 am

    Love the ideas about other readers and how you might answer other advice columns. I also enjoy the times when you give us a small insight into your life.

    Is it time for drinking with Wendy to start up again?

    I’m personally not a fan of the forum links because I’ve generally already read those, but I suppose it’s a great way to introduce the forums to a new reader.

    What about a summary of a hot topic? I know I’m not phrasing this correctly, but we know we’re going to get topics about the evil boundary-ignoring MIL for example, so it could be general guidelines on how to have balls but compassion and stand up for yourself/make your partner do the standing up for you. A how-to based on multiple letters, I guess.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy March 31, 2016, 8:20 am

    Thanks, guys, this is really helpful! I am hyper-disciplined and organized and especially appreciate a routine, so to veer from what I’ve always done — post a column at least four days a week — feels like I’m “cheating,” but more and more lately, it also doesn’t feel authentic or meaningful to me. So, this is good to hear what other content you enjoy that may feel more meaningful — or, sometimes, less time-consuming — to produce.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 31, 2016, 8:24 am

      I’ve also always thought that a daily column anchors the site and that if I post, say, and personal essay not just in addition to a column but instead of one, that it throws everything off. But for a while now, I haven’t been posting columns on wednesdays, choosing to highlight the forums instead and try to get new readers over there, and traffic is always highest on that day, so maybe my instinct is off. I guess what I’m asking is: you guys will still hang around if “daily content” doesn’t necessarily mean “daily advice column,” right?

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 31, 2016, 8:30 am

        Yes ,right. When the forums first happened, I didn’t hang around them much and focused on your daily columns. For whatever reason, the forums felt overwhelming. Since then, I’ve adjusted and now participate in both. So, I think you’re good!
        .
        Oh, I also wanted to add, I love when there is friendly debate in your daily posts and the forums. I think that is why I like the question idea… I think it will spur more debate.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover March 31, 2016, 8:55 am

        Yeah, agree with this. I like participating in discussions. The columns are good jumping-off points, but lots of other things could be too. I think what you want to do is drive user-generated content, right? Because you can only post so much, but if the rest of us are also posting there are constant updates to the site all day, basically. Throwing us something to talk about will accomplish that.

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 31, 2016, 9:04 am

        Yes, for example the big blow up in the comments about whether that woman Marie was an evil person or just like any other typical divorced “dad” with shared custody. We shouldn’t necessarily be discussing HER since we don’t know her, but this could start a greater discussion about important topics. Wendy always offers such fantastic insights.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne March 31, 2016, 9:04 am

        Same. I always read the columns on the main page but if I am super busy, I generally skip the forums. It’s days when I am not crazy busy at work that I actively catch up on both. I don’t think the columns on the main page need to be letters at all. I find your essays, shopping recs, and other musings all very interesting. And I like guest contributors. Involving the community is a good idea, too – reader recs, home tours, style or beauty advice…anything like that would be cool, as well. One thing I haven’t seen you try on the main page, which could be fun, is recipe recs or workout recs…the possibilities are endless!

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 31, 2016, 8:32 am

        I definitely would.

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      • avatar

        keyblade March 31, 2016, 8:45 am

        Me too.

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      • avatar

        Bcamber March 31, 2016, 8:52 am

        Yep.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki March 31, 2016, 8:59 am

        While I like the advice columns, that’s not what makes this a great community. I mean, they’re awesome and I usually love your advice, but your personal essays are awesome too and I know a lot of us love reading them. Especially when we can relate.

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      • avatar

        Hannanas March 31, 2016, 9:10 am

        A solid RIGHT

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      • avatar

        SasLinna March 31, 2016, 10:20 am

        I’m always happy to see a personal essay posted. I also enjoy the “general advice” type of articles (like what to discuss before moving in together) – they allow you to focus on interesting topics.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 31, 2016, 10:25 am

        Maybe you could put a Forum Hot Topic Link on the main page whenever there is a busy forum topic going on so you could pull people to an engaging, busy forum topic on any day.

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      • mylaray

        Mylaray March 31, 2016, 1:00 pm

        I think part of what makes this site successful is that you have other content, and personal essays. I view a lot of the other things you post as “general life advice” so I think it’s still very fitting, and regardless, I like your writing style, and the news/hot topics you post because they interest me. I love advice columns, but I rarely read any others, because they’re not really interesting enough to keep coming back. I do listen to Dan Savage’s podcast, and I keep coming back to it because he talks about news stories and interjects with his personal life, which makes it feel more well-rounded.

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      • avatar

        AndSoItGoes March 31, 2016, 1:06 pm

        The difficulty with trying to get a sense of what makes this site valuable to people via comment is that many of the people who will comment are the same people that participate in forums and have a sort of long-term interest in you, Wendy (now I’m being creepy).

        I have noticed that there are less letters and have been disappointed by it. That is my opinion as a reader and follower of your work. Having said that, writing is already very hard work when you’re inspired. It turns into something like torture when you’re not. So I don’t begrudge you the fewer letters and I have not stopped reading the site as a result. This is largely because I’ve slowly engaged more with the forums. There have been a lot of good suggestions put forward about how to put out meaningful content other than letters, which I largely support. The one I am a little hesitant about is more open discussion posts–either in the form of having commenters respond to a letter or a link. While I know there are a lot of people who enjoy that, and I often enjoy reading the comments, I wonder what impact it would have on new readers, who might feel left out or less interested in a mass of comments than they would in a good piece of writing from you.

        I don’t know anything about how to make a blog/site successful or how to keep it successful. I’m just sharing my own preferences and concerns in the hopes that they’ll be somehow helpful to you, Wendy. There is obviously a lot of value in the forums and open discussions, but how you proceed depends on what you want from the site. If you don’t want to it move slowly closer to something like a pure community site, maybe the best way to proceed is to think about what sort of columns would be interesting and inspiring to you as a writer.

        Are you in a place in your life where sharing more personal stories feels good? Are you in a critical intellectual space, where presenting alternatives to answers from other advice columnists would be fulfilling? Can you be inspired to answer questions that aren’t new to you–perhaps, by treating them as opportunities to present an alternative perspective than the one that was your first instinct?

        In any case, I hope there is something useful here. I am not going anywhere, but I’m trying to think about ways to keep yourself engaged while also keeping the readers engaged who don’t participate in the community aspects of the site.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 31, 2016, 3:28 pm

        This is helpful — thank you, and you touched on the balance I’m striving for every day: keeping myself engaged while also building community, attracting new readers, retaining older readers, and entertaining and informing people.

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      • avatar

        AndSoItGoes March 31, 2016, 3:57 pm

        It’s a lot of balls to juggle. But you’ve done such a good job up to this point that at least you can feel some measure of confidence as you do some experimentation. The Wendy empire is strong!

        It’s exciting, too, I imagine. As your life is evolving, so is your work. How wonderful.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 31, 2016, 4:47 pm

        Aw, that’s nice — thank you!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2016, 11:23 am

      I wish I had some of your discipline. When works slow, I get LAZY. I need structure and discipline set for me.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover March 31, 2016, 4:15 pm

        Same here. I’ve thought of having my own business, but I’d have to basically hire a project manager to keep me in line. Hahahahahaha. That would eat into the profits pretty fast! 🙂

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    • avatar

      Meg Murry March 31, 2016, 7:57 pm

      One thing that I’ve seen go over well at Ask A Manager is a “from the archives” post where she pulls out an older question and then comments on how she still agrees with the advice she gave or if her opinion has changed and how she’d answer today. I think you could also approach that by not answering the question directly but rather commenting on the big picture stuff behind the question (bridezillas, friends w kids vs friends without, being treated badly by an SO, etc).

      Or you could probably just throw one out once a week as a “replay” and people would probably still comment and discuss it anyway. More than one blog I follow does that.

      Pulling out an occasional question from your forums or emails as a “ask the readers” could work too.

      Another fun one could be to give advice to a character in a movie or TV show.

      Or heck, just post a picture and say “Jackson made this artwork today” or “look how cute Joanie is” or “anyone else have a kid that does X” and see what people say.

      I have to say, I greatly respect that you are going for quality over quantity, and I think it shows, but if you want reader interaction you probably want to shoot for at least one post a day for at least 3-4 days a week.

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  • avatar

    Betsy March 31, 2016, 8:45 am

    I don’t post much, but I always read! I love your personal essays and product recommendations.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2016, 11:23 am

      Oh yes to personal essays! Wendy, can you do more of these?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy March 31, 2016, 3:34 pm

        It’s become harder for me to figure out how to share my personal life in a way that doesn’t compromise my family’s privacy. I need to practice and work on it. I missing doing that kind of writing and sharing in that way, too.

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    MissDre March 31, 2016, 8:51 am

    Wendy, I always really love your opinion, whether its a personal anecdote, a book review, a link review, a comment on something happening in the world or an advice column. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    I also really enjoyed it when you had certain readers give their advice to letters (like ReginaRey but I know there were others).

    But I definitely appreciate it that you’re not into answering the same old letter, over and over again. I’ve sort of felt that things have been going that way. As a lifelong reader and DW fan, I think it’s fantastic that you’re doing everything you can to provide fresh content.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2016, 11:21 am

      Maybe she should let Kate answer a few? Maybe Kate can be assigned to respond to those posters who pop up under different names but with the same problems, ha

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine March 31, 2016, 11:53 am

        I dunno that might be creepy…..

        Yes, that was sarcasm!

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki March 31, 2016, 8:57 am

    I love the idea of a question/topic of the day that we can just chat about amongst ourselves. Or an interesting article (this might take away from Friday links a little?). Or guest columns. Or that thing where people showed off their houses.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda March 31, 2016, 9:23 am

    There’s a fashion blog I read that routinely has an afternoon chat. Sometimes it’s silly other times it isn’t. It has (usually) nothing to do with fashion but nobody minds. It’s a lot of fun, too. It’s a cool way to get to know everybody – and usually draws some others out of the woodwork!

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    • avatar

      stickelet March 31, 2016, 8:18 pm

      Oooh I read that blog too! Gofugyourself? Love it!

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  • avatar

    rocketgirl March 31, 2016, 9:29 am

    Love all the ideas! I am primarily a lurker but would like to join in more. The forums are awesome and so many of the people here post insightful, thoughtful comments that they are a joy to read and always makes me think. You opinion and essay posts, Wendy are wonderful and I also like the guest essays or responses.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 31, 2016, 9:39 am

    How about a Get Support, Give Support opportunity at least once a month, maybe every other week. I think it was really appreciated when you put it up and the need is probably ongoing.

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  • kare

    kare March 31, 2016, 9:40 am

    Could we do Throwback Thursdays and maybe repost an old, infamous letter? I think it would be interesting to see if Wendy’s advice would be the same. Plus newer readers could revel in the joy of Romana or know the pains of the toothless groomsman.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie March 31, 2016, 10:04 am

      Ooooo! I LOVE this idea!

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    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl March 31, 2016, 12:07 pm

      This is really cool! Or even a rundown of advice from other sites, but giving Wendy’s opinion.

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  • SavannahAnna

    SavannahAnna March 31, 2016, 9:49 am

    Meaningful and interesting content doesn’t have to be advice every day to me, either. It’s great that you are working on how to keep it fresh and different for your own self as well as for us! I love to read whatever you write — SO compelling, and your voice is uniquely your own. But there is always going to be a hot competition for your precious time, so throwing out an idea or topic is a great way to “seed” the discussion. Thank you for all you do, Wendy!

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  • Diablo

    Diablo March 31, 2016, 9:54 am

    Wendy, I do hear what you are saying about letters you feel you’ve answered a thousand times. But keep in mind that for those asking for advice (for the most part), it is the first time. Likewise, many who visit the website will be doing so for the first time, or so you hope. I know we’ve often lamented the departure of key commenters, and I have faves that I miss as well who just aren’t around much anymore. But you need to keep new people coming to the site, to reinvigorate the community, not to mention you revenue stream. I bet Dear Abby answered most of the questions you’ve answered a thousand times too. The interesting challenge for you is to maintain a level of interest in those people coming for advice, and to respond as though this is the first time you’ve heard this. Like an iconic pop star, you’ve gotta play the hits: even though we’ve heard ’em a thousand times, we still want you to deliver as though it’s brand new. I think with your sense of humour and tough love, you can bring vigour to questions that are dead for you. Think of feminism or racial equality. I was done thinking about those things philosophically decades ago. Truly, I got nothing new – equality good. but when I am talking to someone new who doesn’t see things my way, I can always find the passion to make a convincing and compassionate argument, because i know that they aren’t done with these issues yet. And there is still LOTS to be done about making these things come true in our culture, as with your advice on relationships. So maybe part of my message is don’t worry about repeating yourself. It’s still good to hear it.

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  • avatar

    K March 31, 2016, 9:56 am

    Agree with everyone about a topic of the day. It could even be something like, “what’s your favorite new recipe that you’ve made in the past month?” or discuss what book you’re currently reading. As well as deeper, more thought-provoking topics.

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  • avatar

    Adrienne March 31, 2016, 9:57 am

    If there are posters who would be willing, you could do a “meet so and so” everyone once and awhile.

    Or, in looking at your ultimate goal for what you want to make here, pick a different topic to focus on. If you truly want to stay an advice column, then maybe doing a “Wendy’s take” on letters submitted to other columns (I have no idea what the blogosphere’s etquette rules are on this). Or if its lifestyle, write about how different people handle work/life/family balance, tips for not losing your mind while raising a toddler, etc.

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  • avatar

    Cleopatra Jones March 31, 2016, 10:04 am

    I’d like to see:
    1. The return of ‘Your Turn’ column.
    2. Ask the Guys. Where some of the male regulars would answer questions from LWs.
    3. Guest advice columnists. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the regulars (male and female) write a give advice to the LWs.
    4. Also, Kare’s suggestion of throwback Thursday or Wayback Wednesday, where we revisit some old questions.
    5. Updates, Updates, and more updates.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2016, 11:19 am

      Yes, I miss the “Ask the Guys” columns.

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  • avatar

    girltuesday March 31, 2016, 10:14 am

    1. Topic of the day would be great – I think we all have pretty good conversation with each other.

    2. Going off of that – article of the day. Find an article and we will discuss.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 March 31, 2016, 10:28 am

    I hope you can also print the uninspiring letters (maybe a whole batch of similar ones at once) along with a link to an older post that answers it. I feel like I never tire of reading them. This way everyone could read and comment on them, the LW gets a link to an answer, and you won’t have to rewrite an answer you’ve written a thousand times either.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 March 31, 2016, 10:31 am

    I love the daily topic/question idea or guest columns. An extra day of links would be cool too

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  • avatar

    Boosker March 31, 2016, 10:54 am

    Topic of the day works for me. I also really like the Friday links and also when you answer other advice columnists’ letters differently than they did.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar March 31, 2016, 11:08 am

    I like the “If they asked” If you see a letter that was posted somewhere else that you would have loved to answer then have at it – it doesn’t matter the original LW might not see it – a google search by someone with a similar problem might lead them to you and be of help.

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    • call-me-hobo

      call-me-hobo March 31, 2016, 11:17 am

      I especially love it when Wendy does “If they asked” for celebrities and people in the news.

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  • avatar

    for_cutie March 31, 2016, 11:28 am

    Here’s an idea: You have a few headings for columns like Short Cuts or Morning Quickie. How about making a column heading for sub-par letters, like “Heard this Before” or “Really!?!” That way you can answer their questions, but also give readers a heads up that is it not necessarily prime material. Similar to what @Diablo said, it will keep new people and new LW’s engaged, but have a qualifier on the type of post it is, as to not bring down the overall quality of the material posted on the site. Thanks for all of your efforts to post only the most interesting content!

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  • avatar

    em March 31, 2016, 11:31 am

    I would find it interesting if you answered a question from ANOTHER popular advice columnist when you disagree with their advice.

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  • avatar

    MissAnneThrope March 31, 2016, 11:37 am

    Ohh, I do like the “if they asked” column…kind of a sarcastic take on celebs issues. Like, “Hey, a teammate of mine took a video of another teammate talking about cheating on his fiance. While cheating is wrong, its also wrong to post something like this. How do I handle this delicate situation?”

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl March 31, 2016, 12:08 pm

    Feminist Fridays!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2016, 12:25 pm

      And Masochist Mondays!

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  • Bubbles

    Bubbles March 31, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I like the topic of the day idea. Also how about a “What would you do in this situation . . .” and the question or situation could be about anything, dating, relationships, childrearing, teenagers, family disputes/disagreements, fashion, or a hot mess problem/political issues.

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  • mylaray

    Mylaray March 31, 2016, 2:00 pm

    I love coming here for the community and discussions, and advice of course, whether that’s in the form of a letter, a list of things to discuss, a personal essay, or a news story. I also like the shopping recommendations (though I’m sure that takes more time to put together!). I also really like the feminist/political discussions on this site…the community here is so great, and I like the different viewpoints on here versus on other sites.

    I’ve found myself reading the advice columns less lately (sometimes I find them a bit sad to read or I have to be in the right mindset), and I feel like the other content you add helps keep the tone more upbeat. Overall, I like posts that open up discussion on the site.

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    KMJ March 31, 2016, 3:39 pm

    I like when you do the “In Other Words” posts.

    Also, do you ever reconsider advice you’ve given in the past or have a new perspective on it? I don’t know if that’s acceptable in this line of work 🙂 but if so you could occasionally do “On Second Thought…” where you revisit something you’ve come down on one way but now see differently (due to now being older/more experienced/a parent of two/whatever).

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    dinoceros March 31, 2016, 4:35 pm

    My recommendation would be to post the letters (without your response) like you do sometimes…is it called “your turn”? Personally, I come for the advice letters, so other things aren’t of as much interest to me. And I usually peruse the forums anyway, so I don’t typically look at the forum highlights post. Even if it’s a letter that’s boring to you, there’s bound to be folks who still find it interesting to respond to, and sometimes that provokes larger discussions. Like if someone has a wedding-related question and folks start talking about the kinds of centerpieces they had at their weddings. I just think it would be nice to have even though the forums exist, since some people just don’t read the forums and wouldn’t necessarily see the overflow letters that are posted there.

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    stickelet March 31, 2016, 8:31 pm

    I miss some of the old content. Someone above mentioned the Alphabet series. I loved those so much. I also really like your personal essays, but I can see how you need to find a balance with those. Also miss drinking with dear Wendy, having Miles, Jackson and Drew answer questions, his take, reader’s answering letters, readers personal essays, reader recs, Wendy’s weekly picks. There was something else where readers introduced themselves, like a specific commenter /reader was highlighted (they chose to write the introduction themselves, they weren’t picked from the blue). Book club. I like the idea of topic of the day and also posting a Friday link or two on a different day and opening discussion. I agree with whoever said it above that I often want to read the discussion on one of the links, but then I click on comments and there are none, or none about the link I wanted to talk about. I know I can start a discussion, but I’m not really a leader. I think there were a lot of ideas from the past that sort of petered out that I would like to see a return of. I generally can’t read the deleted threads as people are commenting because of my job, but I like reading them when I get home in the evening. I think there was one that was left up until 7am? I’ve been reading since day one and I’m an almost daily reader, I love the site. I don’t comment often but I enjoy reading the comments and like the community here. I feel like I know people and it’s a safe place. Plus I won some Dear Wendy shot glasses once, so that’s pretty awesome!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 1, 2016, 6:02 pm

    Why don’t you revisit letters from the past? Especially if you feel your advice wale deb any different if you answered it today…

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    memboard April 3, 2016, 11:14 pm

    Alphabet: A History (the lower case letters)
    🙂

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    memboard April 3, 2016, 11:17 pm

    I have to admit that I don’t often see the difference between the letters you put in the forums and the ones on the main page. You might be too harsh with them in pushing them into the forum (but that’s your right of course).

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    Doodledee April 4, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Long time lurker here (from way back in the Frisky days). Wendy, I understand why you are experiencing frustration. You have been writing advice for a very long time, and while you have grown and changed into a wife and mother, the new people finding your column have not gained that same maturity. I think that part of the problem is that like attracts like. People are out there googling their problems and come across your column, and then ask similar questions to ones you have already answered. I have two suggestions for this:
    1. Create some more articles similar to you things to you have written before, moving for love, getting married, having an inexpensive wedding. (I love these articles). I think it will provide value to LW’s while allowing you to write at a more thoughtful level without dealing letters that frustrate you. Topics: rules for dating as a parent, advice/checklist for having a child when financially insecure, a “he’s just not that into you” catchall. I’m sure the regular readers can help with topics here.
    2. Ask for the types of letters you want to receive. I am confident that the DW community will provide. Send a call out for letters for Workplace Wednesday or Toddler Tuesday, or whatever types of questions you would like to answer. As more of these letters are published it will attract new and different letter writers from the interwebs.

    Wow, pretty long for my first ever comment 🙂

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    Boozycanuck April 5, 2016, 6:23 pm

    OUCH!! I’m really hoping that you re-read this post in a week or two and realise how harsh and judgy you sound, and that perhaps this was written when you were feeling a bit frustrated rather than an accurate representation of how you feel. You ask people to write to you for advice, but now you’re telling them that their problems aren’t ‘high quality’ enough for you to answer? So what if you’ve answered the same question a thousand times before, you’re still answering it for a thousand different people, and besides, this is your job! These problems may not seem interesting, or new to you, but they are obviously very important to the people who have trusted you enough to write in, perhaps the first time they have ever taken such a step, and for them to have to later read how much you dislike answering their questions would probably be very hurtful. I know I wouldn’t write in a second time. Yes, instead of asking people to write to you with their problems, you could change it to ‘please go through my archives first to see if I’ve answered a similar problem, if I haven’t, you may then submit your problem for my consideration’, but I don’t think that’s really the feel you’re going for, is it?

    Look, I get that you may be struggling with motivation, it certainly sounds like you lead a busy life and so that’s completely understandable. You may also be worried about the site becoming repetitive, or going stale, also a valid concern considering this is your business. But would you ever advise a business owner to publicly tell their clients the work they are bringing in is not good enough? No, I imagine you would tell them to keep that to themselves while they look for ways to expand or improve the business. Good on for you for looking for ways to keep the site interesting for us and manageable for you, but you could have done that without the negativity about the quality of letters you get. You specifically ask for questions about relationships and dating, so don’t be surprised if those are the bulk of the letters you receive. If you really can’t bring yourself to answer another ‘why won’t he call me back’ letter, then don’t, but don’t publicly shame people for writing to you about it in the first place, or you may find your problem solves itself when you have no more letters to answer at all.

    No matter which direction you choose to take the site, I know you will always have loyal followers, but I would hate for you to lose any because they no longer feel you respect their problems.

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