Guidelines for Opinion Pieces

The Inquirer welcomes your commentaries. Following are several, straight-from-the-hip suggestions to keep in mind when submitting a commentary to us.

Style:

Please don't send policy statements. They're abstract, boring, predictable and written in grey, official, bathwater prose. Academic prose is inappropriate, as well.

What we look for: well-written, thought-provoking essays on all sorts of topics. We want vigorous, clear argumentation within the confines of the short essay -- the voices of well-informed and opinionated citizens speaking to others in the widest possible forum.

We like lively, humane discussions of the issues. It's best if these discussions are vivid and concrete (arising from specific experiences and circumstances), and if they surprise or challenge us.

We try to get all points of view on our pages. Argue as strongly as you please, but we treat one another with respect.

Normally, we will not publish pieces attempting to respond to previous essays. If you wish to do that, please e-mail your thoughts to inquirer.letters@phillynews.com.

About editing:

Be ready to be edited. Our first concern is to preserve the essential voice, style, and viewpoint of each author, but sometimes we have to stick a 150-line essay (we talk about essay lengths in lines) into a 125-line space. Space wins every time.

We look forward to reading your essays.