Next Generation Problem Article System

The problem: An author will send in an article with 2 or 3 distinctly different problems that need resolution before we can accept their article. The first editor rejects the article for problem #1; author fixes it, the second editor rejects it for problem #2; author fixes it, the third editor rejects it for problem #3; author fixes it and a week to 10 days has passed before we are finally able to accept the article (meanwhile the author is frustrated over the process).

The solution: We have databased the dozens of article problem templates so that our editors can check multiple problems that are wrong with an article – and this generates a custom templated email to our member that explains each problem and how to correct it in ONE single email rather than 2-3 emails back and forth.

We choose (3) to be the maximum number of problems that we can notify a member about his or her article because…well, if an article has 4 or more problems, we probably will not be able to accept it.

This was a complex system to setup and we will be tweaking the custom generated messages for another couple of weeks so that even though it is a custom generated email; it should sound as if it was a personal email sent on behalf of the reviewing editor.

The plan is to improve on this new system by expanding the detail of our problem status so more articles can be accepted and fewer “general” problem messages are sent.


Murray Johnson writes:

Good for you, Chris. It’s about time.

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 3:04 PM


austin writes:

Always great stuff Chris! Thx. Do show the problem articles, circle the area that needs attention so we can learn from an example? Or couild you take one of yours and show what would it would look like done incorrectly? Thx

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 8:32 PM


Dan Snyder writes:


Can you please post your list of possible errors because I’m curious. I am trying to imagine how someone could have more than 3 errors in a 300 word article.

Do you run stats on whether people actually use the preview feature after they input their article copy?

Maybe after a certain number of consecutive errors you can “suggest” that a writer get more help. Such as the product available in the right-hand column with your picture on it.

I got a lot of help by taking a course from Jeff Herring. And that was after I read a dozens of articles that are already freely available on this web site.

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 11:10 PM




At the moment, we don’t plan on releasing a list of all problem status codes or templated emails, but we will continue to release common problems found to help newbie authors avoid common mistakes.

Here are 3 very typical article problems that we would flag an article for:

1) affiliate link violation
2) self serving active link in first sentence
3) author name mis-match with bio box.

Also, popular problems include excessive HTML bloat, keyword abuse, invalid html code or images or javascript included, excess active links, invalid reprint rights conflict, lack of quality content, and we haven’t even begun to talk about spelling/grammar or punctuation errors.

Here’s some interesting stats on the 10,052 articles that are in a problem status holding queue today:

16.9% of all problems that we flag an article for are because of an excess of self-promotion or the advertising to content ratio is too high.

14.6% are from too much self promotion of a particular product.

That means 31.5% of all problem articles are because the content doesn’t meet the basic tenet that the article body must be a GIVE with the resource box being the TAKE, concept.

9.9% are for grammar/spelling and most likely punctuation errors made by ESL authors.

7.6% of all problem articles are for affiliate link violation.

6.6% are press releases wrongly submitted.

6.3% of the time the author name in the by-line does not match the resource box. I can’t believe we have 635 articles in this problem status at the moment.

and it goes on….

Keep in mind that when we flag an article as being a PROBLEM, that is a GOOD sign because it means we did not REJECT it completely. When we indicate that an article is a problem, it means that we think there is a chance that the article could be rewritten to become acceptable with a little author effort.

Comment provided June 29, 2007 at 2:13 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Complexity, drive bureaucracy and decreases efficiency and creates chaos? Is this the beginning of the end? Remember that strength comes from efficiency and simplicity, it is the only reasonable strategy.

I wish the authors would do better to stop the abusiveness saving you time from creating more rules, more complexity and costing you more labor. Chris you have worked too hard along with your team to endure this level of hardship.

Comment provided June 29, 2007 at 4:47 PM


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