As I was compiling my admittedly self-indulgent 10-year history of Locus Online
a week or so ago, I noticed in particular how busy the letter pages of the site were back in the late '90s, and how infrequent they've become the past few years. It takes something as provocative as Marleen Barr's letter about Virginia Tech to incite barely a half-dozen responses -- mostly confirming the rule of thumb that, whatever the issue, those who respond are generally those expressing the most negative reactions; the vast majority who approve, or don't care one way or the other, aren't those who bother to write.
As for why there are fewer letters in recent years -- I can only imagine it is because there are so many more outlets for opinions on the web now than 8 or 10 years ago -- message boards, blogs... and our own features format of recent months, powered by Blogger, that lets reader submit comments without sending e-mails.
I've been checking and re-arranging links on the Links Portal
page in recent days. I've already re-sorted the blog listings by last name (rather than first), and I'm part way through checking all the e-zine and magazine links. I've decided to sort those listings by type within each group -- news, fiction, reviews -- doing away with the N/F/R tags in front of each entry. Most sites are one or another, and where sites are prominent in multiple types, they can be listed under each. Hope to have the updated list posted by this weekend. There's also a major update to the authors' links page underway, combining those with the interview index, major awards index entries, and major reviews index entries. I may need a Venn diagram to keep track of the overlaps. Or combine absolutely everything into a single links list...