The Return of "Short Answer" Posts: Monday, Feb 4

Hello new patrons! Hello classic patrons!

As most of you know, I like to spend a day now and again - usually a Friday, but in this case a Monday -  attempting to answer short questions about many topics. Since I keep the question mailbox separate from Patreon and PayPal in an effort to preserve privacy and maintain good boundaries, these short answer posts are one way I can reward and prioritize the people who fund the site. 

In an attempt to solve some privacy and logistical issues, this month I'm testing out a new way for submitting questions for the short answer posts. Instead of leaving your questions as comments below, I'd like people to use a simple form hosted by JotForm.com. Here's a screenshot FYI, and I'll put the live link to this week's version at the end of the post. Stay tuned for some important info first.  

Privacy!

  • By popular request, you can now ask me things without anyone associating the question with your name or handle on Patreon or Wordpress. 
  • The form itself requires some sort of name and email address (handy if you'd like me to be able to contact you to clarify something about a question), but it's up to you if you supply real or recognizable info. 
  • When you submit the form, it creates an encrypted submission file on JotForm's site and sends me an (also encrypted) email. I can easily extract your question from that and delete the rest.
  • You won't have to create a login or password at JotForm to submit a question, so if you're ever asked for this (or financial info, or anything that seems off), abort! 
  • I've tested the form pretty thoroughly from a few email addresses to see what would happen. So far, submitting a sample question form didn't result in me getting subscribed to any lists or generate an uptick in spam. 
  • I plan to delete short answer submissions regularly. In addition, over the next week or so I'm going to clean out past short-questions-posted-as-Patreon-comments.
  • If I missed anything, or if you run into glitches or concerns about privacy using the service, please tell me! 

Process!

  • One thing I'm excited about is the opportunity to test and automate some features to help keep this very manageable for me. This round, the form will close after the first 15 questions and allows 1 submission per person. I'll adjust that up or down throughout the year as we go. 
  • Please use the form and only the form this round, even if you don't mind having your questions show up for everyone. One of the stumbling blocks I was having before was that Patreon's interface sometimes failed to display or update things consistently, so I'd think I was all done and not realize that 9 more things came in, or we'd lose stuff altogether. I want to see if this is more reliable & organized on my end. 
  • I'm still planning to answer at least some Twitter questions from non-patrons, but I'm most likely skipping that this week to focus on testing the new form.
  • Before each planned Short Answer session, I'll make a post like this and provide the link to the current form. I'll give $10/month+ patrons a generous head start, ideally a day or two, and then open it up to all patrons until we hit the limit or the deadline.
  • My target for these posts is 1-2/month for the rest of 2019.

Everybody still with me? Good! 

  • The question submission form for the Monday, Feb. 4 post is live at this link
  • Patrons in the $10/month and above tiers have first dibs starting now.
  • Everybody has access starting Sunday, 2/3 from 11:00 a.m. CST until I start writing at 11:00 a.m. Monday, 2/4 or until we hit 15 questions, whichever comes first.
  • We're on the honor system. Please respect the 1 question/person limit and please don't share the form link. We're an honorable bunch, so I'm not incredibly worried about it, but better to spell it out.
  • I'd still prefer not to cover abuse, sexual violence, or "how do I deal with another person's scary politics" in this short format, thanks for understanding. These topics are well-covered in the archives. 

Thanks for helping me test all of this out! If it works out the way I think it will, we're gonna have a lot of fun this year.



Captain awkward released this post 3 days early for patrons.   Become a patron