The Argonaut’s “Letters to the Editor” page is one of the most popular features in our paper. It’s a chance for the public to comment on stories we’ve published or to give their individual opinions on local issues. It is truly interactive.

If you have considered writing to us but are not sure how to go about it, here are some tips for getting your letter published in The Argonaut.

First of all, we ask that your letter contain your first and last name, your address (not a post office box) and your phone number. Liveaboards may substitute a slip number for an address. Of course, if your letter is used, be assured that only your name and city or community will be published.

Your letter must be legible. Please type your letter or print clearly. We need to be absolutely sure of what you are trying to say. Letters are accepted by mail, e-mail, fax or just about any other way you want to deliver it to us.

Please keep your letter short and to the point — 300 words or less on a single topic is best. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

Sometimes we receive many letters on the same topic and some weeks we don’t receive any. If your letter takes a new slant on an oft-discussed topic, it has a greater chance of publication.

Keep it local. And what is local for The Argonaut? Anything that happens in or specifically concerns the communities of Santa Monica, Venice, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Westchester and the LAX area.

But, for example, although global warming does affect all of us, The Argonaut does not consider that a specifically local topic.

Occasionally a photo will help make your point. We welcome your photos. The easiest way to submit a photo is to e-mail your letter and attach the photo in the “jpg” format. You may also mail us a print if you like.

If a topic has your feathers ruffled, please remember that letters are more credible and more effective at making your point when the facts are stated calmly. If you find yourself using multiple exclamation points and capitalizing entire words, maybe its time to sit back and take a breath before you send your letter.

Letters airing personal disputes will not be used. Sorry, but most of our readers don’t care that the dry cleaner lost the brass button from your favorite jacket. In general, complaints about local businesses will not be published. We do not have any means of verifying your allegations and, for all we know, the business may have complaints about you too.

Please keep it courteous. Letters that personally attack a private or public individual will not run. You can be critical about a politician’s actions, but don’t bother calling them names.

Will my letter run this week? The answer is maybe. We just can’t be sure until the last news story is placed and The Argonaut is on its way to the printer. After all, space may be needed for a late-breaking news story. And you wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?

So let’s hear from you soon. Our readers want to know what you think about the issues that affect our area.

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