Some online readers of FM may have noticed that our website introduced a new feature some months ago that allows them to comment on articles that we post online. One of my many editorial tasks I have is to regularly review these comments and to either allow or disallow (and in rare instances, reply to) them.
I thought it might be useful if I threw out a few rules of conduct for the site, in case any of you might have wondered how such comments are vetted, and what rules might exist for what we permit as postings.
FM remains a professional “b-to-b” (business to business) publication, so we encourage comments that either affirm, constructively critique, add to or question material that we post in editorial sections of the website. It's best if you keep your comments “on topic” and pertinent, share personal experiences that are relevant, and set posting examples that others can follow. When you post publicly in this way, you become a thought leader in the online community.
In a few cases, we reserve our rights to consider such comments “in the background.” And in (thankfully) rare instances, we take such comments under advisement, seeking to as quickly and practically as possible correct or clarify any facts that are wrongly or poorly stated in our online editorial copy, and to appropriately respond to perceived or inadvertent violations of others' claimed trademark or copyrights.
I'd much rather emphasize what we would like. That is for you, as members of our online community, to give us feedback and input in a professionally-constructive manner. If you agree or disagree with a business strategy, say so; if you have seen an adaptation or idea that relates to something we've discussed, let us and our other online readers know about it.
(If, on the other hand, you want to contact anyone on the editorial staff, our phone numbers are listed on our masthead, and we welcome calls from readers. My own office phone number is 216-931-9620. I especially welcome calls from operators who want to tell me about things they are doing or ideas they want to suggest to the magazine. I'll be glad to provide my email address to you if we need to continue the conversation that way).
Those who want to mail us new product releases, manufacturer news and other “general interest” information can do so via the U.S. Postal Service. If you think such information is so time sensitive that the postal service isn't satisfactory, call one of our regional marketing representatives (the list is on our masthead). These folks have a direct line to us and can communicate your news and information immediately. This approach will typically be more efficient and effective that just “shotgunning” FM's editorial team with product releases and other marketing materials.
Our general rule in terms of email is that if we don't immediately recognize the sender's name, or if the first few words of the subject line don't immediately tell us why the message is pertinent to our editorial mission, we delete it without opening it. The sheer (and growing) volume we receive of unsolicited material makes this an unfortunate necessity.
So, in short, we'd like for you, as members of our online community, to help us improve our online content by adding to it with your own comments. Whether we hear from you this way or by phone or mail, reader comments are always read and considered. We'd like very much for you to consider it your website as well as ours, and to help us make it better.