Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I really like it when I get multiple questions, and would like to encourage this practice. I was afraid it had gone out of style, but I was happy to see it in the 12/18/09 column.
First, please be aware that the column is written for the READER and for newspaper syndication, so there’s a limited length. Some topics fill that column length; others are short enough that there can be a second (usually short) question. So, it partly depends on the topic and the length of the answer.
Also, Cecil dislikes doing two questions per column because it’s more work for him; and Ed Zotti and those who do fact-checking certainly dislike it, since it’s more work for them.
And, frankly, it makes it harder to search the Archives unless the second question is also mentioned in the title (which it wasn’t always.)
That’s too bad. I’d just prefer to get more than one Cecil original a week. And I like the idea of getting both a full explanation of one question and a brief answer for another. I also picture there being a lot of questions that don’t warrant a longer answer, but are interesting nonetheless.
I also assumed that Cecil had a few extra short questions saved back to use whenever the column ran short. I didn’t think about it taking extra work.
Big T, Cecil and I spoke this last week about this, and with luck there should be more 2-question columns this coming year than last year.
There are lots of questions that are interesting but won’t fill a column (or even part of a column.) When I answer the mail, I often suggest to the writer of such a question to come here to the Message Boards and post. It’s not Cecil answering, but they will usually get an answer.
Dex, you answer the mail? Cool!
Have you ever thought about posting a “ask the guy who answers Cecil’s mailbag” thread? How about a general behind the scenes at the straight dope? That could be a fun read.