FAQs

An open letter is a published letter of protest or appeal usually addressed to an individual or a specific group but intended for the general public. Traditionally, open letters were provided to the public through newspapers, often in the form of a letter to the editor. Today, open letters are published on blogs, on the websites of newspapers, television networks and radio news stations and on websites affiliated with particular groups or issues.

There are a variety of reasons one would choose the form of an open letter, including: To state the author's position on a particular issue or cause; as an attempt to open up or end a wider dialogue around an issue; to criticize a person or organization's actions; as an attempt to focus broad attention on the letter's recipient, prompting them to some action; or for humor value.

An open letter's impact is based on its reach and the support it gets from other people. And OpenLetter gives you an effective and easy-to-use platform to reach a global audience. Make your voice heard. Find out who's listening.

OpenLetter is a totally FREE site. It costs nothing to register for OpenLetter. And it costs nothing to write open letters and be part of the OpenLetter community.

You can browse or search the site to find open letters on issues you feel passionate about. To find open letters you can:

What's Happening Right Now is a real-time feed that presents all the latest activity on OpenLetter. The feed is updated anytime a user creates, endorses, opposes, comments on or responds to an open letter or anytime a user replies to a posted Comment.

You can view any of the open letters, endorsements, oppositions, comments and replies from the What's Happening Right Now feed by clicking on their titles.

Signing up for OpenLetter is fast, easy and free. Just click the Sign-Up link (located at the top right of the site) and fill in all the fields on the Sign Up page.

When you've finished filling in all the fields on the Sign Up page, just click the Sign Up button and we will send an email to the address you provided. Clicking on the confirmation link in the email will complete the sign up process.

You're now ready to sign in and get started on OpenLetter!

To sign in to OpenLetter, click the Sign-In link (located at the top right of the site).

Please make sure that you are using the correct login (email address) and password (if you have forgotten your password click here). Second, you may need to check your cookie settings. Make sure cookies are enabled in your preferred browser.

If you've forgotten your password, you can easily create a new one.

My Open Letter is your personal home on OpenLetter. At your My Open Letter page you can view and edit your profile, view your open letters and get recommendations for open letters you may find interesting.

In addition, your My Open Letter page also features listings of the Recent Posts, Most Endorsed, and Most Opposed lists.

You can upload images/photos in the jpeg, gif or png file format. Go to your My Open Letter page and under the Profile Tab:

Go to your My Open Letter page and under the Profile Tab:

You can also link your OpenLetter Profile to your Facebook profile. This will integrate the two sites so when you publish an open letter - or endorse, oppose and/or comment on an open letter - it will be posted simultaneously to OpenLetter and your Facebook Wall.

You can create an open letter without being a registered user, but to publish it you must sign up. As an unregistered user, when you try to post an open letter, you will be prompted to register (the registration form will appear).

Just fill in the registration form, enter the letters as they appear in the Captcha box (grey image box) and click the Sign Up button. (if you need help with any part of the registration see “How do I sign up for OpenLetter?”) Your open letter will be published after you go through the sign-up process.

To begin authoring an open letter, click “Write A Letter” in the main navigation menu. Creating an open letter is a quick and easy 3 step process.

Step 1: entering the Open Letter Info.
  • Title: Enter the title of your open letter. Often, open letters are titled “An Open Letter to …,” but you can create whatever title you feel accurately presents your issue/cause and inspires the reader to want to learn more.
  • Topic: Inputting a topic (e.g. Global Warming, Corruption in the State Legislature) is optional, but it can help clarify your message or succinctly state your point/issue/cause.
  • Tags: Adding tags are optional, but they can help to make it easier for users to search for/find your letter.
  • Category and Subcategory: You can enter a category or subcategory for your open letter or choose one from the Category and Subcategory lists.
  • The Category and Subcategory fields feature auto-complete functionality, which means that you'll be presented with a list of category or subcategory suggestions based on each letter you type. So, for example, if you start to type “P-O-L…” into the Category field you might see a list of categories that includes Polar Ice Caps, Politics, Political Asylum, Pollution, etc.
  • Write a Letter: You can type your open letter into the Write a Letter field or cut and paste it from a document.
  • You can edit and format your open letter using the rich-text (WYSIWYG) editor at the bottom of the Write a Letter field. This allows you to select a font, apply basic styles like bold and italics, add colors, insert links, upload images and more.
  • Signature Block:By default, OpenLetter adds a signature block to the end of your open letter. The signature block is: “Sincerely, [Full Name].”
  • If you would like to include your own signature block in your open letter (e.g., using a different closing and/or your user name), type your signature into the Write a Letter field and click the “Disable default closing signature block” box.
  • Upload Photo or Video: You can upload an image, photo or video to accompany your open letter. Photos or videos can make your open letter stand out. (See How do I upload an image/photo or video to my open letter?)

Once you have entered your open letter and all related info, click the Next button to proceed to Step 2 of the process.

Step 2: Enter the Author & Recipient Info.
  • Open Letter To: Enter the name of the person, organization, group, etc. that the open letter is addressed to.
  • Recipient's Organization: If the recipient is an individual, you can enter the name of their organization, company, association, etc.
  • Recipient's Email Address and Mailing Address: You also have the option of including the recipient's email address and mailing address. If you add the recipient's email address, they will receive an email notification when you publish your open letter. The email notification will include a link to your open letter.
  • City, State and Zip Code: Enter the recipient's city, select the state from the drop-down menu and input the zip code.
  • Anonymize my Name, User Name and Email Address: When authoring an open letter, you can choose to have your user name, full name and/or email address appear in the heading and signature of your open letter or to remain anonymous (none of your profile info will appear in the heading and signature of the open letter).
  • The default setting is for an open letter author to be anonymous.
  • Just uncheck any or all of the boxes to allow your user name, full name and/or email address to appear in the heading and signature of your open letter.

When you have finished with the author and recipient information, click the Next button to proceed to Step 3 of the process.

Step 3: Select the Open Letter Settings.
  • Allow Endorsement, Opposition, and Comments: You can select whether or not allow users to Endorse, Oppose and/or Comment on your open letter.
  • The default setting is to allow users to Endorse, Oppose and/or Comment on your open letter. But, you can uncheck any or all of the options to prevent users from endorsing, opposing or commenting on your open letter.
  • Allow Embedding: This option adds the Embed button to your open letters, which enables you to post them on other websites. (see “How do I Embed an open letter?”)
  • Terms of Services: To publish your open letter you must agree to OpenLetter's Terms of Services. Click the box to indicate you have read and agree with the Terms of Services.
  • Check the box to indicate you have read and agree with the Terms of Services.
  • Publish: When you are ready to post your open letter, click the Publish button. Once your letter is posted to the site:
  • Depending on your settings, users can Comment on your open letter and choose to Endorse or Oppose it.
  • You can Edit your open letter (see “How do I edit an open letter?”).
  • You can Embed your open letter. (see “How do I Embed an open letter?”).
  • Preview: Before publishing your open letter, you can click the Preview button to check your open letter for any errors and omissions, review your settings and see how your open letter will displayed. After previewing your open letter:
  • If you would like to continue editing your open letter click the Edit Letter button.
  • If you are now ready to post your open letter, click the Publish button.
  • Save a Draft: If you'd like to make changes to and/or publish your open letter at a later date, you can save it. This way you can return to the open letter at any time to make any changes/edits/additions and publish it whenever you are ready (see “How do I edit an open letter?”)
  • Click the Save a Draft button and your open letter will be saved to your My Open Letter page.
  • Click the Open Letters tab, then click the “My Drafts” link to view your saved drafts.

Click Write A Letter in the main navigation menu.

Go to your My Open Letter page.

When you're finished editing your open letter, click the Save Changes button.

Embedding your open letter is simple and allows you to post and promote your letter to another website.

Go to your My Open Letter page.

Go to your My Open Letter page.

When you're finished editing your draft:

OpenLetter allows you to make your voice heard by endorsing or opposing open letters on issues you feel passionate about. You must be a registered user to Endorse or Oppose a letter.

As an unregistered user, when you try to Endorse or Oppose an open letter, you will be prompted to register (the registration form will appear). Just fill in the registration form, enter the letters as they appear in the Captcha box (grey image box) and click the Sign Up button. (if you need help with any part of the registration, see “How do I sign up for OpenLetter?”) Your endorsement or opposition will be published after you finish the sign-up process.

After posting your endorsement or opposition, you have the option to withdraw it. Go to an open letter's page:

OpenLetter makes it easy to build a community around your issue/cause/concern and use the power of many voices to effect change. You can join that community by adding your voice. By commenting on an open letter, you can open up a dialog or join the conversation already taking place.

You must be a registered user to Comment on an open letter. As an unregistered user, when you try to post a Comment, you will be prompted to register (the registration form will appear). Just fill in the registration form, enter the letters as they appear in the Captcha box (grey image box) and click the Sign Up button. (if you need help with any part of the registration, see “How do I sign up for OpenLetter?”) Your Comment will be published after you finish the sign-up process.

To add a comment:

You can also reply to any posted comments.

If you are the intended recipient of an open letter you can Respond to that letter. You cannot anonymize your Response. Your published Response will contain your full name and user name in the heading.

You don't have to sign up on OpenLetter to create an Response, but you must be a registered user to publish it. As an unregistered user, when you try to post a Response, you will be prompted to register (the registration form will appear). Just fill in the registration form, enter the letters as they appear in the Captcha box (grey image box) and click the Sign Up button. (if you need help with any part of the registration, see “How do I sign up for OpenLetter?”)) Your Response will be published after you finish the sign-up process.

To create an Response:

You can only Respond to an open letter once. Once you create a Response and publish it, when you return to the open letter's page the button next to the Recipient name will change to Edit Response.

Go to the page of the open letter you responded to.

Go to your My Open Letter page.

The number of Responses an open letter received appears in the header of the open letter, under the Date. You can click on the Responses link to view the list of Responses. Click on the title of an Response to view the individual response.

In addition, when you search for open letters, you'll find the number of Responses an open letter received in the bottom left corner of each search result. Click on the Responses link in the search result to view the list of Responses (which appear in folded results below the search result). Click on the title of an Response to view the individual response.

When viewing an Response, you can post a Comment. To post a comment to an Response:

In your open letter's Comments section, you can opt to hide any Endorsements, Oppositions and/or Comments you receive. Just click the Hide Endorsements, Hide Oppositions and/or Hide Comments links at the top of the Comments section and any Endorsements, Oppositions and/or Comments will no longer be visible to users.

The more people an open letter can reach the more influence it can have. OpenLetter gives you the tools to share your open letter with a global audience and garner support for your cause/issue. There are several ways you can share and promote your open letter.

Embed your open letter:

Share your open letter:

Promote your open letter through Facebook Connect:

OpenLetter enables you to integrate your OpenLetter profile with your Facebook profile, giving you the power to promote your open letters virally. This allows you greatly extend the reach of your open letter and garner collective support and open up a wider dialogue for your cause/issue/concern.

You can simultaneously publish your open letters - and your endorsements, oppositions and comments - to OpenLetter and your Facebook Wall. Posting your open letter on your Facebook Wall enables all of your friends to view and share it, as well as endorse, oppose and comment on it. And all of your friends' endorsements, oppositions and comments will be posted on their Facebook Walls for all their friends to see.

When you're signed in to OpenLetter with your Facebook login info, each time you author and publish an open letter it will also immediately get posted to your Facebook Wall and your friends Facebook News Feeds. Now all your friends can view the open letter on Facebook by just clicking the title.

In addition, friends can endorse, oppose and/or comment on an open letter in Facebook the same way they would on the OpenLetter site. (see “How do I Endorse or Oppose an open letter?” and “How do I Comment on an open letter?”) Their endorsement, opposition and/or comment will be posted to their Facebook Wall and to the open letter's page on OpenLetter.

You must be a registered member of OpenLetter (and signed in to the site) to Endorse, Oppose and/or Comment on an open letter from Facebook. But you can register for and sign in to OpenLetter right from Facebook.

If you'd like to introduce OpenLetter to your friends, family and colleagues you can share the website link with them via email as well as across Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

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