Misc.: Attributing reader letters

July 20, 2006: Issue 148

In letters and Q&A columns, identify people who wrote the submissions as completely as possible. Our preference is to use name, city, and state. Just a name or just a city and state will also suffice. (Sometimes location is more important than the writer’s nameā€”in a gardening question that refers to specific climate concerns, for instance.) Whichever identification you choose, be consistent throughout the issue.

In some cases, such as a letter that refers to the writer’s health problems, identifying that person might not be appropriate. When there’s a compelling reason to do so, end the letter with “Name withheld by request.”

Do not use “via e-mail” in place of a location. E-mail correspondence has become so common that this attribution is meaningless. If the writer did not include her location in the original letter, verify it before publication.

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