WashingtonPost.Com Loves Reader Feedback!

Well, sort of. Washingtonpost.com Executive Editor Jim Brady put out a memo detailing a “a new feature that will make it easier for readers of the website to communicate with Post writers via email.”

Hmm…wonder what inspired this…?

    Here’s how it will work:

    Your story appears on washingtonpost.com. A reader can click on your byline and a form will pop up with space to write a comment. This form does not show your email address. The reader fills in his name, email address and message and hits “send.” He gets an automatic response that says the e-mail will be forwarded to you,and thanks for contacting the Post. You get the email.

Great. But what’s the point? Most readers already know how to contact Post staff (the email format is fairly predictable and there’s this list already available).

Seems like there’s four potential explanations:

    1.) They do genuinely want to make it easier for readers to write Posties.
    2.) They want to cut down on the spam that fills Postie inboxes.
    3.) They want to siphon those nasty comments away from their blogs and directly into staffer inboxes, and providing readers with this direct mechanism is a way to do just that.
    4.) Since all of these messages will enter staffers’ inbox with the subject line “Message via washingtonpost.com.”, this will allow reporters to more easily separate their important emails from “those pesky reader responses.”