business news in context, analysis with attitude

No emails this morning, I’m afraid. Yesterday I spent more than two hours in the dentist chair, which would not be so bad except for the fact that I am deathly afraid of the dentist. I happen to have a really good one, but the phobia persists ... I require massive amounts of medication and then an enormous dose of nitrous oxide just to be able to sit in the chair. This is going to be an ongoing problem, since I have two more such sessions scheduled for the next month or so. (I trace this phobia back to earlier treatments by one dentist named Goldman and another named Stein, both of whom, I’m convinced, are somehow related to a fellow named Szell.) So I was not in great shape to be reading emails yesterday afternoon...

That said, I did want to address a question raised by an MNB user earlier this week. It concerned the emails run in this section and why certain readers are identified and others are not - this person questioned whether the practice was somehow exploitive. (I’m not sure how, but let me go on...)

I’ve explained my policy a number of times over the past decade, but sometimes it is worth doing so again, especially in view of the fact that MNB gets between 50 and 75 new subscribers every week (and sometimes many more than that).

I have always had two basic reasons for not using a name.  One is that the person asks me not to.  The other is that when I read the letter, I worry that if it runs with their name, it might somehow harm their career. That’s how I make the decision. Very simple.

Some people write about their employers and/or customers without asking for anonymity, but I've always thought it is part of my job to protect people from themselves sometimes.  It doesn't do me - or my audience - any good if their participation on MNB gets them fired.

In all my years of doing this, I have only twice used names that people asked me not to use … something that I feel terrible about, and a mistake I am vigilant about not making again. I get hundreds of emails each day, and so it is not always an easy task.

My overall goal is simple. MNB is designed to be a forum where people can share their ideas, opinions and feelings on a wide variety of subjects - industry and business issues for the most part, but also movies, religion, politics, even sex from time to time. I want people to feel like they can trust that MNB will be used as a responsible forum for civil, illuminating, provocative and even entertaining discussion. That’s why I read every email, moderate every discussion, and make editorial choices about which emails will appear based on both content and whether they use the reader’s time well.

I hope you’ll trust me to keep making these decisions.
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