Commons Search has a very powerful article submission user interface. It's the way we want you to submit your article submissions. Our website has many capabilities you don't see on any other site. The article submission "page" enables you and us to make most effective use of those capabilities. If you can't use it, please explain why.
To learn about how to become a writer for Commons Search and to use the article submission page, please click here.
Submit your article to us first and give us a 24, 48 or 72 hour exclusive and if we think it's good enough, we'll:
-process it in the queue giving it a priority over non-exclusive submissions
-headline it considering the exclusivity a strong factor in headline position
-prioritize using it for the subject heading of our newsletter mailing
-forward it to our large list (400+) of other web and print news sites and newsletter emailers. Some usually pick up the original articles we send out.
For all contributors:
You MUST be 16 years of age, or over. No exceptions.
When you register, please include a brief bio, written in the third person. (Joe Smith is a writer and community activist living in Mongolia.)
Readers (and we) want to know who you are, where you are from. We require a bio if you post articles, diaries, polls or comments. This is a community. If you don't like it, or find it too invasive of your privacy, find another place. Here, we expect a bio that is not just a sentence describing your opinion or a link to your website. Please tell what you do and where you are from. Make the bio at least 20 words.
We don't pay for articles at this time, but we do like to forward our authors' work to other media, to get the greatest exposure for your ideas. If we get a submission from you, we will assume that you've read and agree to these writer's guidelines and that you give us permission to send the articles out and that you are allowing reprinting based on creative commons terms.
If your submission is accepted, we will publish it on our webpages and it may be sent in our newsletter. We will respect whatever name byline you choose to write under, short of misrepresenting yourself as another person, but it must be a name, not a handle. Commenters may use handles, but article submitters must use a real name or an authorized pseudonym. We allow you to retain reprint rights, but we retain the right to publish your articles and images you include in them that are yours in collections in books or other websites, and, for images, in other articles on this site. And our policy, based on Creative Commons, is to give permission to other sites to reprint articles submitted by the author directly to this site-- either as an original article or a crosspost. We do not assume that we have the right to give permission for reprinting of articles we have reprinted, which are usually described as such at the top or bottom of the article.
We happily accept simultaneous submissions and reprint/re-publish submissions. If your article is posted on your personal blog, we will still consider it exclusive if you submit it to Opednews as well.
Please only submit one article and one diary a day. We'll overlook the occasional two in a day, but we really prefer you hold to one a day. More than two and we start thinking you're overdoing it. More than four and it starts to look like a dump of all your old stuff, or worse, spam. We do enable delayed publishing. No problem submitting multiple quicklinks to articles that are not yours or on your site-- only one a day if they are yours.
If you submit an article for first publication, we often send it to other media outlets. These articles are also often syndicated in our news boxes, which the programming code has been downloaded by over 600 websites.
In the publishing world, it is customarily the editor's prerogative to select the title for articles, and even books. Part of the role of the Editorial team is to come up with strong, reader-grabbing titles.
Submitting an article to Commons Search signifies your agreement to allow title changes. Of course, the formatting, font style and size, colors, etc. are set by Commons Search. But we ask that you use 10 point verdana font for your submissions, with minimal use of capitalization, bolding and italicization. And please keep use of colors to a minimum. We filter out most other formatting so our look is uniform for all our articles.
Commons Search publishes over 1000 articles a month. We do it with the help of a dedicated team of volunteer editors who deserve appreciation, honor and respect for their work (consider becoming a volunteer.)
You agree, by submitting your article, diary, or other content, to Commons Search or any other related sites, not to sue or litigate against Commons Search or other related sites for any reason having to do with the content you submit or Commons Search's use of it. You agree that once you submit your content to Commons Search, Commons Search may edit it and publish it. Editors spend their time to help make content more readable and clear. It is not acceptable to retract content that is submitted. This means that it is not Commons Search policy to delete articles, once published, though we retain the prerogative to do so at any time. If you submit an article, it may be published as a diary, rather than an article. Editors post content you submit as diaries for several reasons:
-too short to be an article
-more chatty and personal than an article
-not well written enough to be published as an article, but not that bad that it can't be posted as a diary.
Diaries are mapped to be crawled as blogs by Google.
If your article is rejected, you are not permitted to resubmit it, unless it has been rejected because it needs revision. If it is rejected with a message not to resubmit it as an article, diary, poll or comment, and you go ahead and re-submit it or post it as a diary, this is cause for losing access privileges to Commons Search.
We also offer the option to post content as quicklinks, events and tweets. Please check our FAQ to see more about them-- how to post them and rules for posting.
You authorize Commons Search to share anything you create for the FAQ or help sections with other populum sites.
It is appropriate to politely email an editor who has rejected an article to ask questions. It is inappropriate to complain or attack an editor for rejecting your content. Any complaints about rejected articles that are considered abusive to the editor will be considered cause for banning from the site.It is not acceptable to attack the publisher or fellow writers on the site in content you submit to the site. Any emails sent to OEN editors will be considered for publication on the site.
For more details on our policies, read our FAQs. By becoming a member, you agree to follow the policies and rules stated in the FAQs.
We also do not want to publish your complaints or reports of purported mistreatment or "inappropriate" actions or policies by other related media sites. These actions will be seriously considered to be cause for banning from the site. The site operators and editorial team reserve the right to engage in such criticism, but members may not use this site to attack other sites or media. This is not the same as media criticism. Discussing media policy is one thing. Attacking other sites is another and the editorial team will use their discretion in determining what is what.
Don't Get Mad
Continued attacks after banning will be considered reason to remove, at the publisher's prerogative, all content written by the banned writer, from the site. The appropriate way to deal with criticism is back channel email. Fortunately with over 90,000 registered members, and over 12 million visitors, we've only had to deal with a very small handful of angry banned people.
Disagreement is totally acceptable, regarding ideas, issues, behaviors, statements. Ad hominem personal attacks are not acceptable. The management of the website is the final arbiter of these issues.
We do not always notify contributors of publication, although we do this as much as possible. Usually we publish within 24-48 hours.
The views expressed on Commons Search or its Daily Email Newsletter and comments section of this website are the sole responsibility of the author (s) and do not reflect the views of the webmaster or the transmitter.
Please check the Commons Search FAQ for answers and solutions, before you email for help. You can also click on the site contents tab, on the navigation bar, at the top of the website, to access the link to the FAQ. That's where you'll find the website directory. It's worth spending some time familiarizing yourself with the site's content, how we organize it and our policies. While you're at it, try out the tag cloud control panel, an innovation unique to Commons Search
Promoting other sites on Commons Search
Using Commons Search to promote other sites may be cause for loss of posting privileges and banning. This may simply entail creating a bio that is strictly or primarily made up of commercial links, or it may involve posting a link to another site in a comment. The editorial staff will make that determination. Asking for donations or orders is also not permitted.
Site membership is a privilege. Violation of site rules and policies can be a cause for loss of all privileges-- of free or paid premium membership. You agree to forfeit these privileges if the site determines that you have violated rules or policies. Also, you agree to check guidelines and FAQs and to any changes periodically made in the guidelines. You will be notified when you log in that changes have been made.
For Less Experienced Writers who Hope To be Published.
-We love to work with new writers. Understand that this takes time and we won't guarantee your work will be published. Assume it will be edited, with some changes made to improve clarity and readability.
We expect you to use a spell checker and to read your article out loud, so you detect grammatical errors and spelling errors that are not picked up by spell check software.
Articles that are just opinion are fine, but they are even stronger when facts and background are included. An OpEd piece pegged to some hard news or a real "quote" is more likely to be a winner. That said, don't hesitate if you've written a great piece with just opinion.
A good article includes stories that illustrate points, that grab the reader, touch her heart, rouse emotions... you get the idea. The best articles rouse you so much they are hard to finish because you want to rush out and DO SOMETHING!
-Ideal article length is 500-900 words. We'll take longer, but we really want you to edit your material. A good guideline is you should cut at least 20% off a first draft. Please do not send us first drafts. Writing is part pulling up the ideas from inside of you, and then-- editing. You need to do both. Your writing will read better and you will have more readers FINISH your articles. If you submit an article longer than 1000 words, expect it to take considerably longer to be processed in the queue.
You need to edit, edit, edit. Believe me. I do. I re-read my articles and cut them. Very often, I cut out the first few paragraphs, because it takes a few to build up steam. Then, I have to re-write a beginning. Think of it like this. When you start writing, you are doing a data dump from your head and heart. Then, when you are finished, you are about halfway finished the article, maybe less. The rest of the work is editing. The hardest part is cutting the words you love that don't make the article better.
Unlike other websites, as long as you submit your articles through our article submission user interface, we will respond to your submissions. It can take as long as a week and as short as a few hours to respond to your submission. We sometimess see 50-70 new article submissions a day. If your article has a time deadline-- like a holiday it refers to, or an event that happened yesterday that you refer to as yesterday, there's a field in the article submission system for you to put that date, which will call it to our editors' attention.
Don't abuse this system. And try NOT to refer to the day that something happened as today or yesterday, since that may make your article too old sooner than necessary. Articles that are too old are subject to rejection for being too old. Don't send us July 4th articles on July 5th and preferably not on the evening of July 4th. Don't send us a commentary on a news angle that was the talk of the news two weeks ago that is off the radar now.
Some tips for new writers:
Use some facts-- info from the news reported in other places, for example. This is a strong way to get your article headlined and to get yourself noticed as a more serious, more professional writer. And embed a link to the source.
Sources and links, when you are making claims, are essential.
Use a relevant quotation.
Let your feelings show.
Use an anecdote or two from your life
Edit before you send it in. That means, after you've finished writing the first draft, read it out loud. Then chop out 10-25 percent and tighten up the writing. Make sure it reads well out loud and don't trust your spell checker. It won't pick up wrong words.
Here are some tips I sent to one writer that are worth including on this page.
Understand that there are several stages in writing. The first is to get the stuff out (of your brain, heart, soul.) You do that well-- you're a river of thoughts typed out.
But that's just part one. Next, you have to dig through the stuff that has poured out of your subconscious and pick the best stuff, the most important messages, ideas, etc.
Then, you edit. Take the cream you've skimmed off and start over with it. This time, think through what the message is that your Op-Ed is trying to get across.
Try outlining or at least listing what you want to include in your article. Use mindmapping
Here's a URL where you can download some free software:
And here are a few links for how to do a mind map. I can't tell you how useful these have been to me since I learned how to use them in the late seventies. My kids have all been taught about them in school too.
Once you get started with Commons Search, keep in mind, this is not a passive, one way media site, like a magazine or newspaper. We're a community, and when people comment on your article, you're expected to respond to their comments. This is fun!! Even better, you'll learn more and make new friends all over the world.
Once you've posted your article and it goes live, you'll want to make sure that as many people as possible read the article. There are social networking icons on your article that make it easy for you to submit to reddit.com, stumbleupon.com and other sites that help get the word out. At the least, please submit your article to reddit.com and hopefully stumbleupon.com. We've seen articles reach an extra 50,000 people this way.
For further help on writing, check out the Commons Search FAQs.
If you ever have questions, suggestions or just want to connect, don't hesitate to drop me an email.
Rob Kall rob@commonsSearch.com
Additions to Author Guidelines,by Managing editor John Moffet and former Senior editor Frank Ranelli:
Authors who are serious about their work should consider borrowing or purchasing a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, now in its 15th edition. This is the essential writing tool for writers, editors, and publishers. If you have a question about virtually anything to do with writing or editing, you will find the answer in the Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago press).
In general, authors should pay careful attention to the following factors both when writing their work, and when editing it.
1. Clarity; is the article written clearly and concisely?
2. Quality: are the arguments logical and well reasoned?
3. Content; does the subject matter have value? Is it well referenced?
4. Style; does the writing style fit the content?
8. Presentation; is the article laid out well and carefully edited?
9. Value; does the article make an important point that has not been overdone?
10. Fluency; does the writing flow smoothly?
In addition to the above points authors should be keenly aware of the length of their articles. People have limited time to read articles, and the longer the articles are, the more likely it is people will never get through the entire article. Try not to repeat yourself excessively and strive to use as few words as possible to clearly make your points. Don't beat a dead horse.
Before even beginning to write an article, authors should use the search function and check the directory and tags at OEN to determine if similar articles have already been posted.
Other questions you should ask yourself as an author include, am I making an important new point, or offering an important new perspective? Have I laid out a logical argument that is easy to follow? Did I stick to the point or the issue, or am I wandering off track? Am I offering readers suggestions for actions or remedies, rather than just pointing out a problem without offering any potential solutions? Can I make this article more interesting by putting it into a wider perspective?
If your article is rejected for editing it means that the editor likes your article but feels that it needs additional work. Please follow the editor's suggestions carefully before resubmitting your work. Editors are here to help writers polish their work so that it will be more effective. Publishing good writing is a collaborative effort.