I realize the title seems a little ominous. But don’t worry, it’s nothing bad! In fact, it might be quite good!
You see, Canadian Atheist gets a lot of mail. A lot of mail. And a lot of messages on social media, too.
A lot of it is spam of course, and even a lot of what gets through the spam filters is spam-ish, in that it’s usually not stuff of any interest to us. For example, we get a lot of press releases from various places for things like new discoveries, new publications, and so on. Some of it is crankery, but some is from legitimate sources; we just got on some mailing lists at some point and I can’t be arsed to take us off. We also get a ton of messages from people offering search engine optimization services, or web design or marketing advice (though those have really dropped off since we started using reCAPTCHA).
But quite a bit of the mail we receive is legitimate: from actual readers. Sometimes they just want to say we’re doing a good job. But sometimes they have questions or concerns.
For the past few months I’ve been working quietly to bring some sort of order to the chaos, because too many junk messages were getting through, and too many legitimate messages were getting flagged as junk. It’s an ongoing battle, but I’m already starting to see quite a bit of improvement.
The problem is that we are getting a lot of legitimate messages that Canadian Atheist is just not equipped to handle. Even though I want to help, we just don’t have the resources. I want to change that. But I need help to do it.
So, I am asking our readership for help.
We get a lot of requests to review media like books, and even films. Some of them are major releases from big-name studios or publishing houses… but a lot of them are new writers just starting out, or independent filmmakers, or people self-publishing. It’s particularly those people I’d like to help out.
I’ve asked before for film reviewers and got some interest (but, as yet, no reviews). But I want to widen the net to not just film reviewers, but also book reviewers.
Even if you are not personally interested in doing reviews, if you know someone who is, help us get in touch with them.
Note that you won’t need to do your reviews on Canadian Atheist specifically. If you already have a website where you do reviews, you may do your reviews there. We will arrange to send you the review requests sent to CA, and when you publish the review (and inform us), we will link to them from CA.
You may consider this a quid pro quo arrangement if you like, or “everyone wins”. You’ll be helping us by giving us more content for CA. You’ll be helping our readers by allowing us to offer them more information, like reviews for things they might not otherwise hear about. You’ll be helping the authors/filmmakers/gamemakers by getting their book/film/game more publicity. And you’ll be getting a free boost to both your content and readership by getting access to things to review that you might not otherwise, and by getting more readers coming to your site via CA.
Authorized immigration representatives
One of the more common requests we get is for help with immigration. Atheists in countries where atheists are persecuted frequently come to us asking for help or advice on immigrating to Canada. Right now we can do no better than redirecting them to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada or their local Canadian embassy. It would be nice if we could direct them to an authorized immigration or citizenship representative.
If you are not an authorized immigration or citizenship representative, but you know someone who is, help us get in touch with them.
If you would like to offer services via a firm, that’s fine too. However we will require an actual point of contact in the firm that we can talk to if need be; a firm’s general inquiries contact information alone will not suffice (though that will be what we pass on, if you wish).
Note that we will have to confirm that you are indeed an authorized immigration or citizenship representative before we will refer anyone to you. We can do referrals either by redirecting the interested party to you, or by merely forwarding to you the information that was sent to us.
Another thing we get a lot of requests for is legal information. Naturally, we refuse to give any right now, for obvious reasons. And we have no intention of giving any in the future. However, when people contact us looking for legal advice, it would be nice if we could at least redirect them to someone who can help.
The kinds of legal information requests we get vary, but are generally cases where someone feels their rights as an atheist/humanist/freethinker have been violated, and are looking for options. These are usually the types of things that could be brought to the local human rights commission/tribunal (if necessary). However, we also get other types of legal requests, like how one goes about setting up a non-profit or charity.
If you would like to offer services via a firm, that’s fine. However we will require an actual point of contact in the firm that we can talk to if need be; a firm’s general inquiries contact information alone will not suffice (though that will be what we pass on, if you wish).
Of course, we will have to confirm that you really are able to offer the legal services you want to provide. We can do referrals either by redirecting the interested party to you, or by merely forwarding to you the information that was sent to us.
… and any other services
As I said, we get a lot of requests for help, information, or services, and it would be nice if we could provide some referrals better than Google.
Of course, be reasonable. Obviously no one’s coming to Canadian Atheist looking for plumbing services. Canadian Atheist isn’t the Yellow Pages… but it is the place some people come to for certain types of requests when they don’t know where else to go. If you offer one of those kinds of services, then please do contact us.
Atheist, secularist, humanist, and freethought groups and organizations
A very frequent request we get is for information about how to become more active in the atheist community. Often the request is for information about organizations or community groups within specific areas, like Vancouver or the GTA.
It is very hard to find up-to-date lists of active secular, humanist, atheist, or freethought (SHAFT) organizations, especially at the local level. I have a few resources, but I’d like to see more.
There are a lot of nonbelievers out there looking for a way to get involved. And sometimes they’re just looking for a community to join. Let us know about yours, and we might be able to help it grow.
But don’t feel left out!
What if you offer a service that people aren’t likely to come to Canadian Atheist looking for information for? I mentioned plumbing above, for example – people aren’t likely to come to CA looking for a godless plumber. Does that mean there’s nothing we can do to help you out?
Well, maybe we can.
What I’m going to do is open up the comments on this post to anyone who wants to advertise any service, anywhere in Canada. Normally, of course, it would be rude to spam your business in the comment section of a blog… but here, in the comments on this post, I’m giving you the green light.
So if you run a business – any business, offering any types of products or services – and you’d like a free chance to advertise specifically targeting Canadian atheists… here it is. Tell our readers where you are, what you offer, and how to contact you.
Technical notes: Canadian Atheist runs spam blocking software, for obvious reasons, and we can’t turn it off for a single post. Naturally, for this post I won’t be spam-canning advertisements… that’s kinda the point… but the software is automated and intelligent, and it completely obliterates anything that it thinks is spam before I even get a chance to approve/deny it. That means that you need to be careful to format your comment so it doesn’t look like spam. I would suggest including only one link – whether to a web page or email; two max (though that’s risky). I would also suggest that you don’t just give your business’s contact information, but rather include a brief write-up of why you’re reaching out to Canadian atheists specifically, or why your service will be particularly good for Canadian atheists, so the content will be detected as more relevant to Canadian Atheist. Also, the longer after the post was made, the higher the chance of something being determined to be spam, so if you’re trying to leave a comment a month after the post went up, it might not get through (but if this works out, maybe I’ll do it again in future). In any case, if your comment just isn’t getting through, you can use the contact form to let me know, and if necessary I’ll post your ad myself.
So yes, let me say it again: If you want to offer your services to Canadian atheists, here’s your golden opportunity. On this post, and this post only, you are welcome to post an advertisement for your business, no matter what that business is, no matter where it is in Canada. And who knows, maybe someone may need a plumber in the future, and remember there was a fellow atheist plumber who left an ad here.
So, to wrap up: If you offer any services that you think people might be contacting us for, contact us and let us know so that we can refer them to you. If you offer any services – whether people might be looking for them here or not – and you’d like to let Canadian atheists know about them, leave a comment telling us about it.