How It Is

Mailbag: Why Don’t You Tell People How To Contact You?

When you ask for help, consider how you ask. If you’d pay for the result, start with that.

My contact form scares off people. It’s supposed to. So this was asked of me at GeekGirlCon:

Your card doesn’t have your email. Why do you make it so hard to contact you?

It’s not that I don’t want to have people ask me for more information about my site, or a class I gave. I love that. I’m happy to answer those. I tell people ‘Go to and use the contact form.’ Sometimes I’ll reply personally, sometimes I post on the blog, sometimes both. But yes, if we’ve met in person and you have a question, it’s okay to ping me.

But I hide my contact form behind a couple ‘are you sure?’ layers because people are weird and unreasonable.

People contact me for the one thing I don’t offer, and that’s consultant work.

People want to get free help on very complex problems.

People want to be friends.

Okay that last one is nice, but if I meet you once, we’re going to be acquaintances unless we hit it off like gangbusters… And at that point, I probably gave you my email and phone number and said “When you come to X, we have to do coffee!” It happens!

But if you’re trying to ask a long question about how to write code to do a very complex thing, consider this. Would you otherwise pay someone to do it? Would you, if you were asked by someone, ask for payment? If yes, don’t just drop me a ‘hey can you help?’ Don’t drop anyone that question. Shoot them a polite message, asking if they can help you with a project. Offer to pay. And ask if they’re busy, can they please direct you somewhere?

And do check out [] – Because yes, I keep a list.

One reply on “Mailbag: Why Don’t You Tell People How To Contact You?”

Hello Half-Elf,

You are one of the most giving people I have seen on the web, and there are many. I can’t believe the time people invest in going to forums and trying to help people.

It seems you have invested countless hours in answering questions that people could have themselves invested a few more hours in to find their answers.

When I have a question, especially the obscure ones, I Google and Google and sift through all the forums, and help pages I can find. I usually see the answer sooner or later. Many times from yourself, Half-Elf, and that is how I “know” you.

For all you questioners out there, and probably most do not read your blog, I am better for the searching and finding of the answer myself.

Just wanted you to know, thanks so much.

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