Feditorial: Interactive Features on Our Web Site Enhance Two-Way Communication

William Poole

Before I became president of the St. Louis Fed, I spent many years in academia. I loved the exchange of ideas and the various debates I had with my colleagues and students.

Since my arrival at the St. Louis Fed in 1998, I've had the opportunity to continue discussing economic issues not only with monetary policy-makers across the globe, but also with you, our Eighth District bankers. You know what I think because my speeches have always appeared on our web site. Now it's your turn to take an active role in these discussions.

Over the years, I've personally answered letters commenting on my speeches and Regional Economist articles. To extend the dialog, we began publishing letters to the Regional Economist editor earlier this year. Economists love a good debate; so, we publish as many letters as we can even if they do not agree with our position. We do not censor. But when we publish opposing views, we also provide a clear explanation for why we advocate our particular view by clarifying the rationale for our position.

As we complete this calendar year, I am pleased to announce that we will be introducing two other interactive features to our web site: simple polls and online chat.

Although our polls will not be scientific, they will serve more than entertainment purposes. We want to gather your thoughts about the current economic issues and trends we write about in our publications. Here's an example of a poll we might create. All of us are aware of the recent increase in oil prices. In an article on the economics of oil consumption or mass-transit usage, we could place a poll asking you how the increase in retail gasoline prices is affecting your budgets or travel plans.

We also plan to introduce some form of online chat during 2005. Our plan is to sponsor invitation-only chat sessions at which our staff will discuss various regulatory issues, new products and services, and other topics of interest.

These are just a few of the ways we are facilitating two-way communication via our web site. We'd love to know what you think.


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