For me, 49% of the point in having an online site is the scrapbook/diarist function: having a place to note developments, oddities, events I have come across that I won't put to "real" journalistic use. This is part of the way we all try to make sense of our progress through time.

51% of the payoff is hearing from other people about related thoughts, incidents, and  phenomena they have come across. It's like having a conversation with people you hadn't known before but who turn out to have common interests and experiences.

So I appreciate hearing from readers (see the "email JF" button at the right). I try to answer but ... no offense if I don't.

Here is the policy announcement: to save myself the back and forth of asking permission to quote this or that, I will assume that material anyone sends me IS quotable, unless you say otherwise. And, I will assume that I should NOT use your real name with the quote, unless you say "feel free to use my name." That is a safer default assumption, if I make a mistake, than the opposite one would be.

So, again: please do write; I'll try to answer; and I'll consider this all "on the record" unless you say otherwise, but not attributable by name unless you explicitly say it is.

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