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drinkypoo's Journal: Slashdotters need Help with Story Submissions 7

Journal by drinkypoo

While I am perhaps not the best person to talk about this as I've only had one submission accepted, my recent time spent with the Firehose has demonstrated to me that most people have a hard time crafting an acceptable story submission, in spite of the numerous examples on the front page. The following is just a list of hints and tips that might help someone assemble a story submission that makes sense.

Slashdot, being a news aggregator, is about links. A submission without a link is like a hot dog with no dog. But beyond simply having a link, there is the matter of context. It is never appropriate to have a link whose text consists of "click here", as in Click here to visit Slashdot.org. Nor is it reasonable to link the URL, as in "you can visit Slashdot at http://slashdot.org". If we want to know the URL, we can mouse over the link: "You can read more at Slashdot". Besides general good etiquette, Slashdot gathers all of the links from the submitted story and places them in a sidebar block titled "Related Links". This block makes much more sense when you make descriptive links. The only kind of submission that might not need a link is an Ask Slashdot.

Use the <blockquote> tag sparingly. The entire story submission will be blockquoted anyway.

Watch your spelling and grammar. Few things are more disorienting than a missing word, or one spelled so incorrectly that it could be a different word entirely. Something like half of the story submissions to Slashdot have one or both of these problems.

Pay attention to the length of the subject field. You are only permitted a fixed number of characters for the subject of story submissions (or anything else with a subject line here on Slashdot.) If you're not paying attention, you can easily end up losing characters off of the end of your title.

Make sure you submit into the proper category. "Enlightenment", for example, is not meant in the Zen sense. We're talking about the window manager here, and the icon reflects this fact (although there's not been much news about it lately, so one can't be blamed if they've never seen the icon before.) Think carefully and read the names of all the categories if you're having a hard time deciding.

Don't just copy and paste someone's press release (or part of one) into the submission field. Explain why it's worthy of being called news!

Finally, don't use a story submission as your personal crusade. Slashdot is about discussion. If you want to engage in lengthy discussion, then wait for the story to be approved, and go post a comment. The longer your submission gets, the less likely it is to be approved.

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Slashdotters need Help with Story Submissions

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  • Really interesting article especially for me (nOOb)...
  • I voted you up on Firehose; you make a lot of good points and regardless if some tips story like this has been posted in the past; repetition is a good thing sometime. One thing that I would add is that folks ought to do is review the quality of the links that they include. It bugs me when a link is just to a press release that really doesn't say anything. Just a personal preference. But a nice writeup nonetheless++
  • Is in not allowing comments on mere postings in private JEs- some of these make it to the front page via the firehose without the author's intention to do so, merely because they choose to "publish" instead of "post".
  • Posted here [slashdot.org]:

    When I'm voting on the firehose I look for several things:

    - I usually vote down when people post enormous quotes from TFA in their summary
    - I usually vote down if more than half the summary is a quote from TFA
    - I usually vote down use of ""text text text"". Quote within quote style is important to programmers.
    - I usually vote down if the summary is longer than two paragraphs
    - I usually vote down if line breaks or quoting makes the summary look sloppy
    - I usually vote down when full URL links are
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I usually vote down if the summary reads like an advertisement

      This is the only one I want to comment on. If it reads like an advertisement, but it's short and sweet and shares something of interest to geeks, then I mark the thumbs up anyway, for instance Free GPS Navigation for Mobile Phones is here [slashdot.org]. It's obviously an ad, but they didn't try to hide the fact, and the blurb is short and sweet. I found it personally interesting, so I voted yes.

      • I also like to see gadget ads. I was referring mostly to blogs or software bundles. A couple of weeks ago there was a trend of,"Horky-Morky-Foo is a software suite which allows you to bee-bop-a-doo-wop and, unlike others in its class, can also hymn-a-dimble-dong-ding... blah blah blah" and "There is a recent posting over on Bitty-Batty-Butty-Boo-Blog about Foobar-Lingo-Jangle-Keyword-Buzz-Pfft which covers the recent events surrounding Habba-Hooba-Tambourine-Jiggle".

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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