In light of the HP sellout and the exciting new influx of members that resulted, we relaxed a few of our editorial policies to make the transition to The Planet as smooth as possible. Our editorial policies mainly address which articles appear on the front page but in this article you’ll find information that will be helpful in posting your articles.
a. Front Page Articles
Our front page represents The Planet to the public so it is important to us that articles on our front page look complete and present meaningful issues that reflect the concern, passion and substance of the site and its community.
Posts on any and all topics are welcome though when they are primarily relaying a news article, dealing with a less accessible topic or of a more personal nature (not as issue-oriented), instead of being published on the front page, they may be published in Speakers Corner (more on Speaker’s Corner below).
Posts should be used when you have something of length to express. A brief POV or sharing news that’s just a few paragraphs should be expressed as a comment, on a pertinent thread or if none exists, in Morning Blog in the mornings or Time Out for Off Topic afterward. If a post is submitted that is quite brief, it will likely be converted into a comment and placed on MB or TO/OT.
b. Publishing Posts
Our editorial guidelines are that all articles need to have a graphic at the top of the article, a Featured Image selected, an excerpt, appropriate categories selected and tags added. We invite all members to apply these to their own articles since it will allow us to publish them quicker (and relieve our workload a bit). Your articles are always welcome but will have to wait for publication until we have a chance to add all of these elements to your article first (instructions on doing all of these appear below).
We do and will allow some members who consistently prepare their articles in full, the ability to directly publish them. We have to limit this number though so there aren’t too many articles published on any one particular day, allowing each article to get a fair amount of attention.
Some articles will be selected to be featured, in the slider at the top and/or staying at the top of the page. We try to spread that around a bit but it’s generally more topic driven or selections are made to provide a wider variety of topics.
Titles of articles are subject to change, if they are not descriptive enough of the subject matter, it will diminish the possibilities of an article being discovered on search engines. Graphics too may be changed if there is a copyright concern or if they are inappropriate.
c. Speakers Corner
As mentioned above, this category is for articles which are not as issue-oriented or aimed at a wider audience. Again, all articles are very welcome, whether they are about the Middle East or about one’s love of Golden Retrievers (guilty as charged) but the more personal, shorter, or less issue-related they are, the more likely they will be to appear under Speakers Corner.
Articles published in Speakers Corner don’t appear on the front page but are fully publicized to our membership, through email notification and appearing in the Recent Posts widget in the right sidebar of each page. Speakers Corner is a popular destination on The Planet, in fact, two of our main features, Morning Blog and Time Out for O/T appeared there until getting their own Speakers Corner categories recently. So if your article is published there, it will typically receive as many or more responses as some Front Page articles.
d. Off Topic Comments
We are not terribly strict about this but out of respect for the time and energy our members invest in their articles, we try to keep discussions on topic for that article. Jokes and brief diversions are usually fine but if we feel that one or more comments are pulling discussion way off track, we will move such comments to Time Out for O/T where that discussion is welcome to continue. So, if you posted an OT comment on a thread and it isn’t where you left it, you’ll know where to find it.
Here now are some tips on fully preparing your article:
How to Prepare Your Article For Publication:
1. Adding Images and Featured Image
(If you want to use an image that’s on your computer, skip to Step b.)
a. Find an image on the web that isn’t copyrighted (http://search.creativecommons.org/ is a great source). Download it to your computer.
b. When you are adding a New Post in your Dashboard, click at the very beginning of your article so the cursor appears there then click the first icon above the menu of the Post box (in the red circle):
Click the “Select File” button on the box that pops up and choose the file or files you want to upload.
c. Once the image has fully uploaded, a box will display with all the details about that image. Scroll to the bottom of that box, click “Use as Featured Image” then once it finishes processing that, choose a location (Left/Center/Right) and size desired then click the “Insert into post” button and you’re done!
If you’ve forgotten to add the Featured Image, just scroll down on your Add New Post page and look to the bottom of the right hand column, you’ll see a Featured Image widget, click the “Set featured Image” link then follow the instructions above to upload an image or use your Gallery (images you’ve already uploaded for that post) to choose and select a Featured Image.
2. Adding an Excerpt
Add a brief description or intro to your article in the Excerpt box just below the Post box.
3. Adding Categories
Scroll through the available categories and check as many as are appropriate. Please note that the News and Politics category is always selected initially so if this is not appropriate, please remove the check in its box.
4. Adding Tags
If you have the Visual mode set for your post (there are two tabs in the upper right corner of your post composition box, Visual and HTML), Tags will automatically be suggested for you in the Post Tags widget in the right hand column. All you need do is click on Apply All link and they will be added to your post. Click the “x” on any undesired tags to remove them.
We’re thrilled to have such a diverse community, creating such a variety of insightful, intriguing and enjoyable articles. Thanks so much for all of your support and making The Planet what it is.