Issue: March 2008
FROM THE EDITOR: In Your Humble Opinion

At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, I shall ask you this: Do you ever wonder, with all the opinion polls and surveys and focus groups going about these days, why nobody ever asks for your opinion? Well, I do. And I mean that both ways. I do wonder why nobody ever asks for my opinion, and I do ask for your opinion. That is, we at Chesapeake Bay Magazine ask for it.

About this time every year we put together a nice little postage-paid questionnaire and send it to 5,000 randomly selected readers--or, put another way, to about one out of every seven subscriber households. The survey asks you to name your favorite cruising rivers, gunkholes, marinas, restaurants, ports of call, waterside events, etc. And of course many of you are kind enough to do just that, name all your favorite things, and we publish the results in our Best of the Bay feature every June.

But perhaps you're like me--you're one of those people who never gets chosen for such things. Perhaps you grumble to yourself that if they send the darn thing to 5,000 households, and have done so for about 150 years, maybe eventually one of them would make it to your house, and you'd finally be able to look at those survey results in the June issue and know that in some small way you might have influenced the outcome, like maybe it was your vote that put Jimmy Jack's Crab Shack and Drive-Thru Tax Counselling into the top 10 crabhouses. But no, that never happens.

Well, cheer up, Bunky. Your troubles are over. This year we're going high-tech. This year we're putting the survey on our website (www.chesapeakeboating.net) and inviting all of our readers to participate. Of course we'll continue to send out the paper surveys, because we remain deeply mistrustful of this newfangled internet thingamabob (it's a series of tubes, we've heard). We feel safer also having a paper ballot . . . as a backup, just in case things get all Diebold on us.

That really shouldn't happen, though, because for now we're keeping it on the low-tech side of high-tech. If you want to take part in the survey, all you have to do is go to our website and click on the "Best of the Bay Survey" doodad. When the new page appears you'll have a choice of either printing out the survey and filling it out by hand, then mailing or faxing it to us; or downloading an interactive PDF, which you can fill out right on the computer and then send to us as an e-mail attachment. The only difference between the mailed version and the online version is that the latter will ask you to include your name and subscription number.

Finally, there is this important disclaimer: Given the pace of change in technology these days, there's a chance that everything I've written here of a technical nature will be hopelessly out of date by the time this issue reaches you. If that happens, I welcome your comments, however harsh. Indeed, I've always gotten a perverse kick out of letters that begin with the words "Dear idiot."

See what I mean about asking for your opinion? I do that.