An ever-increasing number of new hounds are posting with only their first names. The problem with identifying yourself as "Mike" or "Steve" or "Pam" is that we have literally tens of thousands of users. So in addition to confusing the heck out of everyone, you're making yourself effectively anonymous.
Which is a shame! The cool thing about this community is that it really IS a community, and we'll never get to know you, your taste and your predilections, if you use a generic, non-distinctive nametag. We ask that you use both first and last name, or a nickname, or any distinctive means of self-identification that will allow us all to get to know you. Be creative! Be witty! But, at very least, please be something other than "Tom".
We also encourage posters to include their email addresses. It allows message board moderators to get in touch should there be technical or other problems with postings, and you'll likely be pleasantly surprised by the intelligence and generosity of users who contact you via email (perhaps to offer a care package of those cookies you can't find where you are!).
Yes, the email address you post may be the target of some "spam", but this hasn't been a major problem in the past, and you can fight spam by using a different email address for public online discussion. Use a second AOL screen name, a secondary mailbox from your ISP, hotmail/yahoo, etc.
PLEASE: any comments, questions, or issues with the above should be addressed to our Site Talk message board. We pardon this interruption, but hope to keep this board chowcentric (except for the occasional Note From The Management!).
PS--Please, regulars, help me out with this. If you spot a new "Dave" or "Linda", please welcome them and politely recite this spiel. If single-name posters include their email address, that's a better signifier (though, come to think of it, if they change email address, they'll also lose their identity here).
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