Notes
First thoughts, running arguments, stories in progress
Your Questions
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The Atlantic is always trying to ask great questions. We know our readers are, too. What are your curiosities? What are the lingering questions you have that never found satisfying answers? We’ll be posting calls for questions around particular story threads on social media, in our daily newsletter, and in the thread below.

You can also weigh in with your general questions using this online form. We can then use these as fodder for thought-provoking posts, like Julie did here.

Or, send your questions our way via Twitter—check out great examples of that exchange here and here.

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Caitlin Cadieux / The Atlantic

This week, we launched a video series tied to The Atlantic’s election coverage, affectionately known as 2016 Distilled.

I’m pretty excited about the possibilities here: Our goal for the video series is to boil down some unnecessarily wonky aspects of the U.S. election process—because, frankly, it’s six shades of impenetrable for those of us who weren’t poli-sci majors (🙋).

Each episode, I’ll be sitting down with Atlantic staffers and outside experts for some help interpreting the major election checkpoints and dynamics in the coming year.

For the record, and to reassure the concerned readers we heard from during our call-out in November: I’m more interested in empowering voters with insight on these concepts rather than having our editors and reporters join the hordes of talking heads offering their hot takes. My hope is for these to be like an ongoing study guide to help people know what to listen for throughout this election year, and what to do with the polls, platforms, and outcomes.

This week’s episode featured Priscilla, assistant politics editor, laying out what actually happens during the Iowa caucus—taking us inside the room(s) where it happens, if you will.

We’re aiming to produce these pretty frequently throughout this election cycle. So I’d love your help brainstorming future episodes. Let me re-up that call for questions: What else can we untangle? What are the cryptic election terms and processes you hear thrown around casually, but aren’t totally sure what they are?

Tell us using this short online form, or shoot us an email at hello@theatlantic.com.

People run after hearing what is believed to be explosions or gun shots near Place de la Republique square in Paris on November 13, 2015. (Dominique Faget / Getty)


On Friday, multiple attacks in the French capital killed 129 people, while 43 were killed in the Lebanese capital the day before. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks, and France has vowed a “merciless” response against the terrorist group.

You’ve seen no shortage of news coverage around the attacks, by us and other outlets. Our hope at The Atlantic is to offer context and answers where possible. Here’s a roundup of our coverage over the weekend, and here’s the latest on the Paris attacks, last updated at 10:59 a.m.

But tell us: What are we overlooking? What questions do you have about the ISIS attacks in Paris and Beirut? Send them to us here.

SANA via AP

Syria is now more than four years into a civil war, which began in the midst of the Arab Spring protests. The armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is made up of several groups, including ISIS, and major world powers (i.e., the U.S. and Russia) are butting heads over how best to respond. Caught in the warfare are roughly 4 million refugees and 7.6 million people internally displaced.

The complex causes, dynamics, and even basic details of this conflict can be difficult to keep up with. The Atlantic is working on a project we hope will clarify things, and we’d really appreciate your input in guiding it. So: What do you want to know about the Syrian civil war?

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Our latest news from Syria comes from the caption for the above photo, taken today: “Released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, this photo shows Syrians holding images of President Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a rally to thank Moscow for its intervention in Syria, in front of the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus. (The placard at right with Arabic reads, ‘Yes to Russian-Syrian cooperation.’) As those hundreds of pro-government supporters gathered, insurgents fired two shells at the Russian embassy.”

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Check out our guide to the conflict, where we answered your questions on the who, what, where, when, and why of the Syrian civil war.

The exit of long-time Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the scrutiny of Common Core during the GOP presidential debates are just the latest signs that American education is in a period of major flux. Parents, teachers, lawmakers, and officials have long wrestled with the best way to prepare students for the world beyond school boundaries, as The Atlantic has covered more and more. But we still have a lot of blindspots, so maybe you can help.

We want to know your questions about education, big and small, in places all around the world. Maybe you’re curious about U.S. national policy, other countries’ approaches, alternative methods, pre-K, community college, school choice, charter schools, for-profit education, student debt, teachers unions—it’s all fair game.

Ask your questions here.

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So far, we’ve touched on your great questions about standardized testing, teacher strikes, and schools’ responses to our increasingly digital world, plus school reform, the effectiveness of charters, and examples from history of education access  failing to fix inequality.

On Friday morning, House Speaker John Boehner surprised just about everyone with his decision to hand over the gavel. His last day will be October 30.

It’s an especially tumultuous time in Congress; there’s concern that while lawmakers will likely avoid a government shutdown this week, they might not be so successful come December.

We’ll be digging into this development more, but while we do, we’d like to know what you want to know. What lingering questions do you have about Boehner’s resignation and its implications for Congress? Tell us here.

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Here’s what we’ve answered so far based on your responses: Will Kevin McCarthy be any different than John Boehner? How big of a pension will Boehner get?

This week, the European Union settled on a deal to handle the largest refugee crisis the continent has faced in the last century. There’s a big difference, though, between outlining a plan to accommodate 120,000 people fleeing their countries, and actually putting it into practice.

So far in covering this story, we’ve looked at economic elements, as well as the scale of the crisis and human voices involved.

What else would you like to know? What can The Atlantic dig into to help you understand the complexities at play?

Tell us here.

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Here’s what we’ve answered so far: Is the European Union doing anything to take in more refugees? What’s the U.S.’s role? Why aren’t we taking in more refugees? What’s the impact on employment in receiving countries?

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s cover story on the causes and consequences of the age of mass incarceration has produced a massive response. And we’re continuing to explore the economic and emotional effects on families when a loved one is incarcerated, such as Coates’s in-depth look at the intellectual roots of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family,” and an eye-opening debate between Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg on potential solutions. Check out all of our ongoing coverage here.

Now that you’ve had several days to digest the cover story, what lingering questions do you have about it? What do you want to know about  the complex topic of mass incarceration?

Tell us here.

Your input will help guide our coverage going forward.

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Here are some of the questions we’ve answered so far based on your responses: Why did crime rates fall in the U.S.? What role did decreased crack use play in that decline?

For journalists, a great question is a spark.

What does ISIS really want? Do babies know what’s happening when they interact with relatives via FaceTime or Skype? Why did crime decline in America? Who is the actual worst character on television?

The Atlantic is always trying to ask great questions like these. We know our readers are, too. As The Atlantic’s new assignment editor, part of my job will be fielding your questions: What are your curiosities? What would you like to know more about? What’s not on our radar but should be?