Opening and closing the feedback loop MAR 13 2003
I receive great email from the people that read my site. Lots of links to interesting sites, books, music, articles, etc. People connecting what I write about with what they are thinking or reading. Thoughtful questions from enthusiastic beginners about setting up weblogs, getting into design, or making their own font. Contributions that add the depth and breadth of experience to my shallow, narrow observations. I get very little bad email.
As the traffic to this site has steadily increased over the past few years, my ability to keep up with my email has decreased. I've gone from answering all of my email almost immediately to answering all of it eventually to answering most of it eventually to now answering only some of it eventually. I could easily spend 2-3 hours a day answering my email, which, for a variety of good reasons, I don't want to do.
Now, I don't want to get less email, but I do want to set expections for people when contacting me so no one gets offended or upset when I don't respond right away or even not at all. To that end, I'm toying with replacing the email link on every page of the site with a link to a "contact me" page that lets people know all this.
I'm having a bit of trouble writing this contact page. On the one hand, I don't want to discourage people from writing with a lot of rules and warnings, but on the other hand, I want to set expectations and give people guidelines for getting in touch with me in the best way possible...remaining open while exerting some control so that the situation is manageable for everyone.
Any thoughts on this? Have you seen an approach to this type of problem on another site? Or is this just a natural trade-off that you just have to deal with?