David Quigg has a good rule:

When I was a newspaper reporter, I inevitably imagined my profile subject’s grown children coming across my article someday. I aimed to write something that would be accurate, skeptical, analytical, and empathetic something three-dimensional enough to give those hypothetical offspring some useful piece of the truth of who their mom or dad was. Maybe that makes me “too stupid or too full of (myself).” I don’t think so.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.