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.
You can submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you submit your letter, please read my guidelines here.
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, including a book, for example. 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 can’t promise a private response to your letter, so please save us both time and don’t send a letter if you aren’t 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 want an immediate response, 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.
Please keep in mind that this is not a crisis hotline. If you are in a scary or traumatic situation, if you’re being abused, or if you’re feeling suicidal, please contact someone who is trained to help with your specific issue. Here are some (mainly US) contact numbers, and if these aren’t helpful, please google “[your location] + helpline + your specific issue.”
This website thrives on the participation of its readers, so commenting is not only permitted but actively encouraged. Currently, comments first-time commenters will be held in moderation until 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.
I will delete comments that are overly offensive and ban commenters who are routinely out of line. 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 picking on or ganging up on a specific commenter or commenters.
You already said that a bunch of times in the same thread….
You are rude to me.
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.
You can post anonymously on the forums, but I encourage sticking with a consistent identity. The same rules apply in the forums as in the comment section and if rules are violated, posts will be deleted and a commenter may be banned from the site. I am not able to read each and every single thing posted in the forums and maintain the site and fulfill all my offsite obligations/ live my life, but the forums are moderated by longtime DW’er, Kate, who volunteers her time to help keep things running smoothly. She has authority to moderate the forum I the same way I moderate comments on the main page and I trust her to use her best judgment and am not interested in discussing with forum users why they might disagree with her judgement. Work it out yourself or find another forum to visit.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.