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In reference to the discussion here, I'm posting a letter I sent to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Please post suggestions as to how it should be improved below. Each post should address a single issue; post multiple answers if you have multiple issues. Our goal is to create a form letter for advertising the site, as much as that is possible.

Hello <person> -

I saw your name on the chronicle website, and I wanted to bring your attention to a new internet resource available for academics that I think may be of interest to your readers. The website is:

https://academia.stackexchange.com/

Briefly, the site allows academics of all backgrounds and experience levels to interact in a group settings, asking questions and sharing experiences and field-specific knowledge with each other. If you're familiar with the website stackoverflow.com, this site follows their model, with users being able to vote up interesting, relevant, and informative questions. The most interesting aspect of the site is how easy and intuitive it is.

I'm currently working on the site as a volunteer administrator (I'm not affiliated with the site in any way other than as a volunteer). I encourage you to check it out, and if you have any questions feel free to email me. Thanks -

Sincerely,
<me>

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  • I like the fact that you mention explicitly that we are volunteer, and that basically we don't make any direct benefit out it (apart from the benefit of sharing knowledge :)). – user102 Apr 30 '12 at 8:22
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Maybe I can share the letter I sent out:

I am [sender], a [job title] at [institution]. I am now also one of the moderators of the new Academia site at Stack Exchange, a series of sites dedicated to providing "crowd-sourced" information to users in a Q-and-A format. The focus of our board is questions related to academia in general: admissions, job hiring, advisor-advisee relationships, and more.

Some examples of recent questions:

  • Why don't people publish failures?
  • How to improve technical writing
  • Is web presence important for researchers?
  • When is it appropriate to decline a review request?

You can see more on the board's website: http://academia.stackexchange.com.

I and the other moderators would be happy to answer any further questions about the board, and would appreciate any opportunity to increase the visibility of the board.

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    I think it's a good idea to put some examples of questions. Did you pick them randomly, or do you think it's a good capture of the site? – user102 Apr 30 '12 at 8:25
  • I picked a random cross-sampling of questions that I also felt fit the themes of the group. If I had to pick them again now, I'd probably pick a different set. I'd also pick five or six instead of four. – aeismail May 1 '12 at 8:41
  • I think this is a pretty good template. My only suggestions is that the final sentence mentions "other moderators" but doesn't list any way to get in touch with them. Do you think it would help to include a link to the site meta with the text "ask questions about the site here"? – eykanal May 4 '12 at 13:41
  • It wouldn't hurt. We could also sign an email with the team's public emails if we think that would also be useful. – aeismail May 8 '12 at 9:13

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