Trashed Articles

Every week, we end up deleting a few hundred articles (it’s gotten better because we used to have to delete almost a thousand per week) that were either too spammy or completely missed the mark and ignored a dozen or more of our posted editorial guidelines. I think our site must be having a greater impact and additional care is being taken to read our 5-6 page editorial guidelines before submissions than in the past (and we thank you for that!)…

I’m contemplating today if we should create a new status for an article called “Trashed Article” or something like that — that would stay inactive in our system as long as the author had a membership account in good standing with us.

This would impact 3% or so of our members…

We already have a rejection status code, called PROBLEM ARTICLES… and these are articles that can be fixed because they only missed the mark by a little bit.

What I don’t want, is for an author to waste their time logging in to their account to discover we rejected one of their articles and put it in the TRASHED ARTICLES bin …only to find that they then edited it and resubmitted the trashed article without any improvements… even if we found a way to communicate within our system as to the specific reason why we trashed it.

You must know that if we trash an article, it’s only because we believe the article has not only missed the mark, but they completely missed the whole point of the game all together.

About 97% of the articles we trash are done when we blow away an entire account.

This “Trashed Articles” concept is purely for the 3% or so of members who are in good standing but just didn’t send in an article that even remotely met our editorial guidelines.

The real internal reason for this Trashed Article system is so that we can have some internal accountability when an article gets trashed by an editor…so a quality control Managing Editor can swoop in and view the article that was trashed rather than it being gone forever (as it is now). An author would then be able to see why we trashed their article.

What are your thoughts on this?

4 Comments »


1
Lance Winslow writes:

Well you seem like a trust worthy type, so this is probably fair. However it is somewhat censorship-ish in a way. So one might get upset when you decide a topic or critique article is too controversial for publication. However knowing the average reader, it is hard to say if anything is too trashy for their blood, just look at the throw away tabloids? Selling 25 million per week. Too much sales in an article makes it useless and upsets the reader when they click in and find it is too salesy, it is as if their time has been wasted. Hopefully they do not hold that against us other authors on the site, by boycotting the site in their minds while surfing or deciding this is not the right place to find material at all, thus everyone is damaged. Although have you considered that crappy articles make people leave and as they do they might hit on a Google Word ad on the side of the page, where as you will benefit, the trashy article writer will not and everyone wins while free markets and consumer taste rule over the regulation of morality? Thoughts, only thoughts, interesting subject.

Comment provided May 12, 2005 at 8:33 PM

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2

Lance,

It’s really not about censorship — You must understand that we reject articles that are screwed up mechanically, usually not because we disagree with the topic.

I can think of about 3-4 articles we rejected in the past 8 months that you could legitimately call censorship. The rest that are rejected are because they put a dozen active links in the article or sold too hard.

The handful we rejected were because they spewed hatred towards another race or towards another country. It’s ok to attack someone’s opinion but it’s not ok to attack someone or someone’s race directly. There are a few others that are just too sick to mention but they are listed in the editorial guidelines as content we don’t accept.

I’m with you on the concept that controversial subjects mean more money for us but our name brand also tags along with every article — so extra care is given to who we associate with. They say, you’re judged by the company you keep. :-)

Comment provided May 13, 2005 at 7:02 AM

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3
Lance Winslow writes:

Boy, I’ll tell you I could not agree more. After traveling around our country and seeing the perceived hatred, even hatred of people you have never even met. It seems silly. Although the US is much better than other parts of the World. After all my travels, I made this statement:

“Common Decency should be granted, Tolerance can be required, respect must be earned and the regulation of morality can never exist in a free society.”

Lance Winslow, Sept. 2003

You are right to not allow such things, also they could easily be borderline “Hate Crime” or cause lawsuits with the writer, in this case you are probably saving them from themselves and thus making the world a better place all the way around while they think on it. It appears the Internet and its abilty to hide identity allows humans to act out instead of think.

Comment provided May 13, 2005 at 5:29 PM

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4
Sandi Valentine writes:

As a writer who is always trying to improve — I would appreciate knowing why one of my articles had been trashed. I would definitely follow your suggestions, make the necessary corrections and resubmit. However, if you aren’t able to provide the reason(s) it landed in the trash bin, I don’t think the “trashed articles bin” would be necessary. On the other hand, your guidelines are very specific and easy to follow and if someone is submitting articles that don’t even remotely meet your guidelines, I think they deserve to be trashed.

Comment provided July 3, 2005 at 6:40 PM

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