You've come here because you want to contact Yr. Humbl. Ed.
Forthwith, a few facts 'n' fun stuff, in case any are pertinent:
1. YOU HAVE A TIP
Fantastic! Thanks. I'm always happy to get tips...even if others have sent me the same one already. Almost every tip I get starts out by saying "You've probably heard this a dozen times already," or "you probably know all about this, but...." Sometimes I have, and do, but most times I haven't, and don't.
...But either way, please don't worry about that. With the majority of readers' tips, I only get one. And I don't mind getting duplicates. It doesn't bother me at all. Don't let it bother you. I'd rather get one tip ten times than risk not hearing about something at all.
By the way, if it says "thanks to..." under my byline at the end of the post, the name is that of the first reader who sent me the tip, not everyone who did. So if you sent me a tip but a different person is mentioned, please include yourself in the thanks!
2. YOU CAUGHT A TYPO, MISTAKE, OR FACTUAL ERROR IN A POST
You are the best. I seldom reply individually, but thanks.
3. YOUR COMMENT WAS NOT PUBLISHED
If your comment was not published, here's what might have happened:
• It could be awaiting moderation. Comments are moderated, meaning that I read them all over, do triage on the most dire typos, contact the commenter for clarification if need be, check and clean up included links, select choice ones for use as "Featured Comments," etc., before posting them. This takes time. I also must eat, sleep, shop for groceries, etc., and cannot be sitting at the computer every minute of every day (although there are days when it feels like we're approaching that). So if you left a comment and you don't see it, the first thing to do is wait a bit. Chances are it will be along.
• I do sometimes miss comments in the publishing workflow, for various complicated reasons. In these (rare) cases, the delay might be even longer, although I usually do catch the omissions eventually.
• You could have a business name or description (for example, "BuyCheapNikes") as your commenter name or "handle." I don't allow this.
• It could have been routed to the spam folder. The secret alorithms that determine which incoming messages are designated as spam are unknown to me; but if your comment was particularly long or contained a lot of links...well, that's a bad thing.
I used to try to scan the spam folder to find any real ones that got through, but I just don't have enough time any more. The volume of spam is relentless, and it piles up very quickly. There have been times when I've scanned through a thousand spam comments without seeing one real one. I hate losing good comments, but I also hate skimming page after page of spam until my eyes cross.
• It could be on the second page. When the volume of comments is particularly high, they are continued on a second page. The link is (naturally) at the bottom of the first page. Historically, it's been the case that some people miss this.
• It could have not come through. With some comments, a Capcha box will appear below the editing box. Not always. Lots of readers miss this when they're writing comments. If there was a Capcha box under your comment and you didn't see it, you might have hit "send" but the comment never got sent.
• I might have disallowed that particular comment. In that case, I will usually contact the commenter. However, I cannot contact commenters who do not leave their email addresses in the comment field. So if your comment hasn't appeared because it was disallowed, it's possible you might have gotten an explanation if it was possible.
Moderating comments is never an easy task, and it's usually a judgement call, but sometimes the reason is covered in our Comment Guidelines. I hate disallowing comments, for the simple reason that I hate it when my own comments are disallowed on other forums I participate on. So I try not to do it too often. But, on the other hand, if I feel what you're written violates the Guidelines or the spirit of the site, or doesn't contribute to the discussion...well, it happens.
I regret that I don't have time to get into involved email exchanges about the finer points of contentious comments.
• You might be banned. Very few people are banned (fewer than five), but comments from those few get deleted without review. I don't see them.
• You might have missed it. It's not unknown for people to contact me saying "where the heck is my comment?" when it's right there, published and viewable on the site. If you don't find your comment, the first thing to do might be to take another look.
4. YOU WANT ME TO LOOK AT YOUR PICTURES
At one point, I was getting as many as a hundred requests a week to look at pictures—review portfolios, critique work, post work, etc. When I can, I do follow links and look at the work, for anything from thirty seconds up to half a day. (Neither are typical; both have happened.) But I can only rarely respond. The reason is the same as the reason why I can't have 100 phone conversations every week: because if I did, I'd never get anything else done. It would fill all of my available time and then some.
Probably the most regrettable occurrence is when a TOP reader takes the time to send me a thoughtful email about something that is indeed interesting—personal history, thoughts on photography or cameras, events in a photographic community I'm not aware of, or any one of a thousand other things. I always read these communiqués with care and interest, but I seldom reply in detail. My half of the conversation is published on TOP; much as I'd like to have individual conversations with everyone, again, it's something that would fill all the available hours of my day if I let it. But if I can get away with this very inadequate blanket comment, thank you.
5. YOU WANT TO PROPOSE SOMEBODY FOR OUR RANDOM EXCELLENCE FEATURE
Great; by all means. I'll take a look if I can. Please note, though, that as a matter of policy, I never allow people to propose themselves for "Random Excellence." I've never made a single exception to this. The reason should be obvious: once that door got opened, I'd be flooded.
6. YOU'RE A PR AGENT AND YOU WANT ME TO PUBLICIZE YOUR CLIENT'S PRODUCT/EVENT/CAUSE/APP/EXHIBIT/BOOK ETC.
By all means send me the press release, but please don't nag. If I don't respond, it's usually because I don't have a place for your item or don't feel it's right for TOP. Nothing personal.
For those who can't understand why I won't do them just that one little favor, consider this: we publish an average of 2.5 posts a day. We get an average of four press releases a day.
7. YOU WANT ME TO JOIN A NETWORK/FRIEND YOU ON FACEBOOK
I don't join networks, generally. I'm just not much of a joiner.
As far as Facebook is concerned, yes, I'm on Facebook, but I hardly ever use it (I really don't know how it works, to be honest). I do think of my readers as friends, but so far I've tried hard to limit my Facebook friends to people I know in person: relatives, old school chums, that sort of thing. Please don't be offended if I don't respond to a Facebook friend request—it just ain't my thing, is all.
I hope to start a "Friends of TOP" Facebook page sometime, but it's currently #256 on a To-Do List that's got 12,000 items on it. Every day, seven things on the list get done and eight new things are added to it.
8. YOU WANT TO SEND ME A GIFT
Well, bless you, but please check with me first.
9. YOU WANT ME TO ANSWER A QUESTION
I'm happy to answer questions...if I know the answer. If I don't know the answer, then I'd just be doing the research for you. If one of us needs to go do research to answer your question, I think it's fair that that person should be you.
STILL WANT TO CONTACT TOP?
Here's my email address:
mcjohnston at mac dot com.