I have a question to ask on the main site, and I want to ask on the meta first. My concern is that I may need to put links to my works, which can be perceived as hidden advertisement or making the question too narrow (individual factors). I'm not sure how to address that. Maybe you can ask me questions and I will answer. And if it's fine to put links, then I think having tracking links are fine too?

Below is my draft:

I want to email to a professor to ask for his feedback on my work, and to know if he wants to recruit new grad student. Because I have many links and bullets to provide, I'm not sure if this is too much for the first contact? The professor is Edward Slingerland, and the field is cognitive science of religion. For a quick overview, here is his TEDx Talk: Trying Not to Try: the Power of Spontaneity.

Here is my draft:

Subject: Inquiry from potential graduate applicant

Dear Prof. Slingerland,

To introduce myself, my name is Nhat, from Vietnam. I am writing this letter to ask if you take any new student this year, or if you can introduce a suitable professor for me.

My research interest is about how to connect Eastern philosophy with linguistics and psychology in one framework. My observations are explained in this article: Connections between cognitive linguistics, cognitive psychology, Buddhism and Daoism. In summary:

  • Communication cannot go anywhere because the partakers aren't aware that they are talking at a polysemy
  • Tacit knowledge makes an obvious thing ineffable. Metaphors can help express it
  • Understanding wuwei as "non-doing" can nurture psychological issues
  • There are lots of negations in Daodejing and Middle Way
  • Yinyang is best understood with double negation

The article is well-received in Daoism community. Accompanying with it is a proposed framework to illustrate and visualize Buddhist concepts like sunyata, nirvana, dharma, the transformations, transcendences and distortions of perspectives, and discuss it various applications: A theory of perspective. I hope you will find it interesting as well.

Thank you for your reading. I hope this letter finds you well.

  • All discussion about the content of the e-mail has been moved to chat.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Mar 17, 2019 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


From what I can piece together, you want to know if your draft email is good. That is not a good fit for AC.SE. If instead you want to know if an initial contact email to a professor can include links (and possibly links to your work, and possibly tracking links at that), that is a great question for AC.SE. That said, it does not require the draft email.

  • Yes, I want to ask whether it has too many links or not. But I'm not sure why the draft email should be excluded. Like this very question, I have to provide the draft question, or you will say something like "without further context my guess is...". It is basically about as specific as possible, as written in How do I ask a good question?
    – Ooker
    Mar 16, 2019 at 10:04

I agree with StrongBad that the question should about the problems of links, not whether the draft is good or not. But I'm not sure if including a draft is bad too. From Buffy's answer, it's evident that having it is useful for both the askers and answerers. Even StrongBad answers this question mainly based on the information on the draft. So I think there is no problem with having it at all.

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