Problem Article Process Overhaul

We received some feedback from our authors through various sources that our problem status emails needed some work so we took a look and found that we had room for improvement.

…So the Editorial Team and I dedicated some intense hours over the last few weeks and re-wrote the problem article emails that are generated to our authors.

Every article that we review receives one of 2 actionable statuses – Approved or Problem status.

Problem status means there is something in that article that did not adhere to one of our Editorial Guidelines, and it must be fixed in order for us to look at it again so an email is generated to better explain what needs to happen.

What we did:

  • Re-wrote each Problem Article status. This means that the guts of every email that is generated from a problem status is now even more specific to the problem so that our authors will understand what we are looking for and what they will need to do to get their article approved. We also offered some examples in these to further explain what we found to be erroneous in the article.
  • Cleaned up what wasn’t needed and removed “repeated” directives. This was fun :)

We took 71 status’ and condensed them into 40 status’ that offer more information more clearly.

We have changed internal processes since the last re-write and we found that the efficiencies that we built internally enabled us to use far less status’ than we had. Removing them will provide the editors with more consistency and our authors with clearer directives.

Because this change affected many structural changes internally, we must roll this out in 4 phases that will be finalized in approximately 10 days.

The end goal is that you’ll spend less time in determining what is wrong with the article and more time doing what you’re good at – Article Writing!

26 Comments »


1
Audrey writes:

Thanks for investing the time to do this. Though it doesn’t happen often, I do get a rejected article once in a while. Knowing EXACTLY what needs to be fixed is great :)

Now…since we’re speaking of rejected articles, one item that I don’t quite understand, one of my articles was rejected because I used my first name in an example I offered.

I did change the name to “Chris” which really had no impact on the article, resubmitted and it was fine.

Maybe that rule could allow us to use our name one time??? Ok…if that opens you up to more spam than you want, I’ll just use the name “Chris” when I’m offering examples of what to say or what not to say.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 9:26 AM

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2

Audrey,

While I don’t know what you’re talking about specifically, I can tell you that a lot of ‘experts’ think they must use their name or their USP or their brand in the first sentence or near the top of their article and this is a red flag that grand-standing (self-promotion) is going on.

Imagine if every expert you meet had to tell you who he or she was and how great they were BEFORE they delivered you any value? That wouldn’t be great.

As for this specific case, I recommend asking our member support team via email WHY specifically we rejected it.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 9:40 AM

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3
Jinger Jarrett writes:

Chris,

To you and your staff, all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Every once in awhile I have an article that goes wrong, and I can’t seem to get it approved to save my life. I try very hard to make sure that my articles are right the first time, but even then, I still have some that are rejected, and it’s not really clear what the problem is.

I really appreciate you and your staff and how hard you have worked to make this a great experience for your authors. When I can’t get it right, believe me, it’s frustrating for me as an author, and I’m sure it’s frustrating for your editors.

I personally will continue to do my best to deliver top notch articles that please my readers and get approved. It benefits both of us.

Sincerely,

Jinger Jarrett

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM

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4
petar writes:

Hi,

I also appreciate your work to be as lenient as possible but not at the expense of quality.
My experience with you has been positive and I thank you.

Petar

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 9:51 AM

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5
Shirley Bass writes:

This will be nice. I’ve had one article that had a dead link, to my surprise. Just one of those things, I guess. I fixed it as soon as I realized what was wrong.

Eekkk, I disliked that notice, but grateful for it at the same time. I now have two working links in my resource box, thanks to EA’s system.

Shirley Bass

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 10:05 AM

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6

“The end goal is that you’ll spend less time in determining what is wrong with the article and more time doing what you’re good at – Article Writing!”

Sounds super-fantabulocious!

Thank You, Chris & Team.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM

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7
David Quimby writes:

I am new to the article world and eager to learn so it sounds like it will be a lot more easier to find my mistake so they can be corrected in a shorter time.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM

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8
S. Williams writes:

Hi,

What about the infamous “general error?”

What is a general error?

Every other article I submit lately gets placed in this category, which tells me to contact support.

I wait 1-3 days and then get it approved without any changes, along with an apology for the misunderstanding and inconvenience.

What is being done to correct this problem?

Thanks!

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 10:54 AM

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9
Jinger Jarrett writes:

David,

I have read a ton on article writing. Articles are the primary way I promote my business because it works better for me than anything else.

In spite of everything I have read and all of the money I have spent to learn to get it just right, some of the best resources are right here at EzineArticles, and they’re free.

You may go here and download what EzineArticles offers. It’s great stuff, and it will help you write good articles from the beginning.

http://www.EzineArticles.com/training/

Good luck in your article writing.

Jinger Jarrett

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM

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10

This is a nice move. Recently I received an email saying my article is in ‘Problem’ due to non-adherence to editorial guidelines. When I look into my account the ‘problem’ category says ‘general error’ and ‘contact us’. I just could not determine what’s the problem. So I sent a mail for being enlightened. And I got the problem specified after one week. In the meantime I deleted the article as the context was gone.

It’ll be great if we come to know the ‘problem’ in the same email. I think that’s what is being planned.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 11:35 AM

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11

S. Williams,

The GENERAL ERROR will continue to exist as it means something happened outside of the problem statuses that are most common.

It can also mean an article is in a gray area where we’re unable to give you a black/white answer in print as to why we aren’t accepting it yet. If there were no gray areas, we’d automate the entire process, but alas there are plenty of gray subjective-call issues.

Something you may not know: Our Editors and QC team are not allowed to communicate directly to our members. This is done on purpose because the complexity of their jobs do not allow them to communicate with consistency with our members.

Instead, only our Members Support Team is allowed to communicate via email with our members. Their jobs are highly political as they have to find a way to help members who are in the gray area to fix or solve the problem without sometimes revealing an internal non-published guideline that isn’t shared publicly on purpose.

I’m sorry that it’s frustrating and especially when it’s our Editors fault (something we’re continuously working on); I’d only ask you to send an email to us asking “what’s up?” so that we can address the specific issue privately.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 11:42 AM

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12
Mel Menzies writes:

Thanks for doing this. I had one particular article which, to have any impact, had a time frame. The fault was mine (I hadn’t read the small print) but the error e-mail I received from you wasn’t specific enough for me to pick up on what I’d done wrong. By the time it had gone back and forth two or three times, I’d lost the moment and, therefore, had to drop the article. So I’m really glad to know this won’t happen again.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM

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13
Audrey writes:

I found the article http://ezinearticles.com/?Following-Up-With-Leads-in-Network-Marketing&id=1436269 it’s from August of 2008.

I actually understand how someone using their own name over and over might come across as self promotion.

No need to write your staff. I changed my name to your name and they accepted it no problem and changing the name had no impact on the article.

If you don’t want to read through, you’ll find your name 3 paragraphs up from the bottom.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM

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14
Jinger Jarrett writes:

Chris,

Thanks for the explanation. As an author I feel bad when the article gets rejected because I feel like I’ve made more work for you.

Understanding the process helps me not make the same mistake. Ultimately, I think we all want the same thing: to get the articles published as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Thanks for all you are doing in this area. Your support is top notch, and I really appreciate it.

Jinger Jarrett

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 2:26 PM

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15
Bruce Point writes:

This is the best improvement that EzineArticles has done to date. I hope this new system will do a better job as the previous system was plain stupid and insulting.

Many times you can not figure out what the problem is. Only way to find out what was really wrong was to contact customer support. What a waste of time.

Customer support has been effective compared to the editorial staff.

Again I truly hope the new system works better.

Bruce Point Partners LLC

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 7:02 PM

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16
Lance Winslow writes:

I have done an exit poll with friends that I have recommended to this site over the years. This problem has been the number one contention and sense of aggravation of those who told me that they left the site. Indeed, I have noted and probably sent in 10 separate explaining this to EzineArticles over the past year. In fact, my once completely loyal status to only EzineArticles is no longer in effect because of this exact issue. I am glad to see that EzineArticles has determined fix this problem, although it probably should have been done a year or more ago. It would have helped EzineArticles with the relationship with their authors and contributors. It’s too bad it took so long, but absolutely wonderful that it is being fixed now.

Comment provided December 11, 2008 at 9:24 PM

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17
Robert writes:

I’m glad your making improvements, but I don’t think all of them have materialized yet.

When I get an article kicked back from an editor, it would be really helpful if they realized I’m not an expert in the Clairvoyance section.

For instance, the other day I received a problem article notice that stated I had violated paragraph 2(f) of the editorial guidelines. I went through the guidelines point by point, and for the life of me, I couldn’t see what the problem was, especially since I’ve used the same two links on one other ezinearticle.

So I wrote back asking specifically what the problem was. When I didn’t hear back, I simply deleted one link, that looked fine to me, that I had used before, and the article sailed right on through.

Today I got a notice on excessive use of keywords, so I changed the keywords, and took time to count each one. 45 minutes later or so, none of my 40 other pending articles has progressed in queue, but I get an email with no explanatory text at all that the article was rejected again. So I deleted it. I have literally thousands of articles ready to queue up, and mindreader is not a role I choose to play.

And I’ll be honest, the thought crossed my mind I might be better served to find a different home for the 2,000 or so articles I haven’t submitted yet.

Chris, you aren’t doing us a favor by publishing us. You aren’t a non-profit. Just please be specific in ways that we can take action on if you have editorial issues.

Comment provided December 17, 2008 at 6:05 PM

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18
Shirley Bass writes:

Robert,

I have to differ with your opinion in regards to whether Chris is doing us a favor or not by publishing our articles. He has the right to reject my articles if he see fit, especially if they do not adhere to EA’s guidelines.

I happen to be prospering because of the articles I write and submit to EzineArticles. I appreciate the fact that most of them remain in Google’s top ten for quite some time, before moving to the top 20 rankings.

I have only one other directory I submit to, where my articles remain in the top ten for a period of time, but they do not remain in that position for the length of time EzineArticles articles do.

I too have had an article rejected because I had a dead link in the resource box. I am not sure what happened when I copy and pasted my link into my HTML code, but it didn’t take long to figure out where the error was. I merely clicked on the links. One of them led to ‘no where land.’

Sorry you are having such a rough time with your articles. As for me, I am appreciative that a publisher of EA’s stature will publish my work.

Shirley Bass

Comment provided December 17, 2008 at 7:36 PM

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19
Robert writes:

Shirley, I appreciate your comments.

Of course, EzineArticles can use whatever standards it wishes, and if it didn’t have what I regard as high standards, I wouldn’t be submitting to them. But neither do I suppose they have a special relationship with AdSense where they don’t get paid for clicks. EzineArticles benefits us. We also benefit them.

I’m not desperate to be published. Eight million people have read my work in print. I’m not used to being addressed in the abrupt tone used in the emails from EzineArticles editors. And I think it would be better if no one was.

And I’m fine with businesses making money, too.

But what I hope I’m telling Christopher Knight is this:

As simple a step as changing the email on link issues from “you are in violation of 2(f)” to a specification as to which part of 2(f) would be a timesaver. This has, as far as I recall, only come up once for me in the last 170 submissions, but if the editor is going to take the time to send an email, why not send an email that makes the needed change easier? Do that and I can live with the tone. Thanks.

Comment provided December 17, 2008 at 7:50 PM

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20
Lance Winslow writes:

Robert is correct in every regard here. Everything he has said is my EXACT Experience. Imagine the frustration at my level of play; i.e. 15,000 units?

If you could have seen me I’d be like that cartoon with steam coming out my ears. It takes a great man like Robert to keep his cool for so long on such an issue. I think people like Robert should recieve an apology actually.

Still, with all that said, I stand with Robert in my belief that EzineArticles is still the best article directory site, which is the reason I did not request to pull my articles off the site either. Think on this.

Comment provided December 18, 2008 at 2:32 AM

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21

Robert,

I’ve reviewed your account history… and I see your point about wanting us to get very specific about which issue our Editors had a problem with.

Here’s the challenge: If we do that, then we’d have to have 300 templated problem article status emails that our Editors could send to you. This would guarantee that our Editors would NOT be consistent with each other… and then we’d have hundreds of authors complaining that we’re not consistent in our review.

From your perspective, you’re saying, hey, why can’t EzineArticles just tell me very specifically what’s wrong so I can quickly fix it rather than play a guessing game.

From our perspective, we are setup to be highly operationally efficient at the expense of a lack of member intimacy… If we reversed that, the system would fall apart and a few hundred members a day would be happy while a few thousand a day would wonder why it’s taking 3-5 weeks to get their article reviewed.

Keep in mind, the Editor is not taking the time to send an email to you. These are automated. The Editor only makes the decision which problem article template to send you and the QC Editor approves or rejects the 1st Editors decision.

Your point is heard. It’s our ongoing goal to figure out how to be as specific as possible while being as consistent as possible…while also struggling to be as fast as possible. These are all in conflict with each other; yet we’re motivated to solve this problem because we want our problem article status system to help attract more articles, not stop them.

Comment provided December 18, 2008 at 6:48 AM

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22
Geoff writes:

Though not yet having been sent a problem status email from you I can only say that if I ever do, the simpler and more to the point it is the better. Thanks for your efforts!

Comment provided December 18, 2008 at 9:34 AM

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23
Robert writes:

What?! You don’t give your editors an hour an article!

Chris, thanks for your comments. I appreciate the fact that both of the times I’ve raised an issue like this you have taken the time to review the record and come back with a thoughtful and timely response.

And as I’m reviewing problem status messages from EzineArticles myself, it occurs to me that sometimes a broken link issue has nothing to with either the link I’ve provided or EzineArticles review. Sometimes the links just don’t load. You have to live with that, and I can, too.

You’ve responded to my concern about key word count before (and almost in real time, as I recall). There must be some way to formulate a more effective heuristic, although I suppose Google is going to have to come up with it.

So onward we go. I have hundreds of articles to run through Copyscape (in case some reader wonders why, sometimes you can’t quote your own copyrighted work, and sometimes you just want to make sure you haven’t mixed in somebody else’s) and give a final read before I submit. Thanks.

Oh, and Geoff, just as long as the message isn’t so to the point one of us doesn’t know what it’s about. Thanks again, and, cheers.

Comment provided December 20, 2008 at 6:34 AM

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24

Robert,

“….sometimes you just want to make sure you haven’t mixed in somebody else’s”

How can you accidentally mix in someone else’s content in your articles?

Comment provided December 20, 2008 at 7:32 AM

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25
Robert writes:

You read, read, read. You read a great take on a topic and great turn of phrase, and a couple years later you sit down to write your own article. You start typing along, and you realize, oops, have to attribute this, or maybe you totally forget. Or you made a note of a quote (something I don’t use for EzineArticles unless I’m quoting myself) and for whatever reason you don’t have or don’t see the quotation marks and your reference (I use footnotes in my notes). This can happen when you’ve converted from one word processing format to another, or saved in rich text, or sent a draft in Word to a print publisher and they’ve sent revisions back from Quark.

Running my own work through Copyscape, I’d say some people totally forget. I aim not to be one of them.

Comment provided December 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM

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26
Robert writes:

By the way, I’ll give you an example from this morning.

Four years ago I wrote a chapter in a book on cholesterol and a story about my experiences in a clinic, my personal experiences working in a clinic, not anybody else’s, got edited out.

I am going through my files, and I see the story, and I think this will make a good ezinearticle.

But I run it through Copyscape and it’s in eight places on the net.

I have no recollection whatsoever of ever using that article anywhere else, and the oldest copy of it on the net isn’t attributed to me, even though it was my personal experience, and it is dated about a year after I wrote it and submitted for print publication. How that article got from my computer to the net (or the acquisition editor’s computer to the net, hmm) is a mystery to me. But that’s not EzineArticles’ problem. It’s just that if you write enough, you need your own additional levels of review, once again, not EzineArticles’ responsibility.

Comment provided December 20, 2008 at 10:15 AM

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