You are a Tough Moderator!

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 8th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1wlbb13v/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Unsure whether this comment amounted to a compliment or a criticism, but one thing is certain - people need an element of toughness in order to succeed at the things they do in life and this applies as much to writing here on Wikinut as it would to share trading if that were your forte.

A Tough Moderator?

Being asked to moderate articles submitted for publication on Wikinut was an incredible honour and I have been doing it for some time now, yet some time ago I saw a comment about being a tough moderator, well that is something I had never given any thought about.

Before addressing Wikinut and moderation of articles it is important that writers turn the clock back twenty years and imagine that they were submitting their piece to a local newspaper for publication, well think about that challenge for a little while and understand that the editor may reject your submission for one of many reasons (and it is likely you would never be told the reason for the rejection), using good spelling and good grammar would be among the primary reasons for not accepting your submission. Truth is there are many articles published on Wikinut that would never have been published through the traditional news media those years ago, but the site provides more than traditional news categories.

Any writer who wants to submit pieces for publication anywhere today should actually be asking the question "what value does my submission provide?" because there is a persuasive argument that the majority of articles published on the web provide little or no value, put together a poor piece that has bad spelling, ill-formed English or poor grammar, is only 150 words in length and skims the subject at hand and there is every reason why any site should reject such submissions, in this regard it is important to be tough, the moderator who rejects this poor quality material benefits the site as a whole.

One thing a moderator cannot do is edit any submission, life may be a little simpler if we could.

Do you Check your Submission?

Having discussed the overall quality of submissions with a couple of Wikinut writers over the last few weeks they share the opinion that Wikinut should not blindly publish everything that is submitted (assuming it is not copied, libellous, or racist - which are agreed would count as reasons for automatic rejection) because the moderator has to consider the standing of the site and in fact some were critical of the Wikinut policy that encourages new writers to publish even-though their use of the English language was very poor. We do have many writers come from parts of the world where English is not their first language and it is recognised that every assistance should be afforded them in the hope they will improve.

BUT the truth is there are many writers whose mother tongue is English and they regularly submit poorly worded articles, that a ten year old may construct better, this is a problem, it clearly indicates that writers are being slap-dash in their need to publish that they almost seem to publish their initial notes rather than a well thought through piece. Editing and testing is vital because it allows you to ensure you have chosen your words well and that your sentences indeed make sense, and in turn your paragraphs provide a point and substantiate that point through the sentence structure.

When editing it is important to adopt a critical stance, you should be asking questions like:

  • Is the spelling and grammar correct?
  • Does it read well?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Is it concise?
  • Does it give the necessary details?
  • How powerful are the page tags?
  • Will it be found on Google?

It is clear that many writers throw the words together into Wikinut and never spend any time editing their post, in reality this stage should take as long as it did to write in the first place, with on-line submissions, wherever they are made, it is the writers responsibility to act as the editor, graphic artist, and think like a publisher as well.

We all make Mistakes

Whether your overall command of the English language is excellent, just OK, or you are a beginner it is true that all people make mistakes, from simple typos to using the wrong word in the wrong context. Having once written an opening sentence that every time I read it said precisely what I desired it to say and when it was submitted the moderator at the time rejected the item telling me that the opening sentence made no sense. Of course something of that nature would spoil a reader's understanding of the article so it is best rejected being an easy fix for the writer to make once someone else points out the error.

Wait before Submitting the Piece?

A recent comment by one member of the Wikinut community showed that they used pen on paper in order to complete the creative part of their writing, once complete they would leave it aside till the next day at which time they would read their original item and then if they felt it worthy they would transcribe it onto the computer ensuring they spent the time editing and preparing their piece for publication. I may not use pen and paper, but generally I build my ideas using Evernote before they get anywhere near a Wikinut submission page.

It is best to avoid the temptation to dash to publish. Journalists must do this because they have deadlines to meet, but they also have editors and other support staff to help check their words and check their facts. On-line writers do not have this luxury, they must check their own facts and edit their own work, so following this logic it is correct that the moderator be tough and reject those submissions that are not up to the minimum standard.

The Moderator's role on Wikinut

It is the role of the moderator to ensure that pieces submitted for publication on Wikinut are up to the standards. The moderation system is designed to grade submissions on a scale of:

  • Not of sufficient quality for publication
  • Poor
  • Good
  • Excellent

When something is considered not of sufficient quality an any category then this means a rejection and the majority of rejections come about because:

  • The work is plagiarised or copied
  • The quality of English is not sufficient for publication
  • The work is too short for publication, except in the case of poetry

Be sure that you understand that even if you break down your article into sections and add pictures (or even a video) you will not get a star page if the English used is poor, there are spelling or grammar errors, in the main body, Page Summary, or Page Title.

Tough Moderator?

Perhaps I am tough! Perhaps it is best I am tough, tough on those who think it is easy to dash off a submission and be done with it, tough on those who think that all manner of rubbish ought to be published, tough on those who refuse to improve. To publish on Wikinut the standards should be clear, we are tough but fair. Tough on those who produce poor quality material but at the same time fair to those that understand and play by the rules.

About a year ago I received a note from a writer complaining that I had allowed a piece to be published from a new writer that was peppered with errant use of the English language and his point was the submission should never have been published, I agreed with everything said and still do however Wikinut wants to encourage new members of the community to get published.

It is a fine line between "Poor" and "Not of sufficient quality for publication".

Image Credits

  • Defensive stance by self-defender.net
  • Focus on Quality by Peter Giblett
  • All things considered by Peter Giblett
  • The Wikinut Logo
  • Finger wagging by teawithlemon.com

Peter Giblett's recent works

Peter B. Giblett has recently penned the following pieces on Wikinut:

Do you have any thoughts? Truth is most people do and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your wisdom, insight and knowledge about anything you wish. You could add a comment to any article, or perhaps you need to do something more, in which case you could join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing.

Tags

Bad Grammar, Bad Spelling, Edit, Leave It Aside, Moderate Articles, Moderation, Next Day, Play By The Rules, Poor English, Poorly Worded Articles, Quality Submissions, Reject Your Submission, Slap-Dash, Throw Words Together, Tough, Wikinut, Wikinut Community

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Fantastic article Peter.

People should see here, how Peter has done a lot of work, this page EARNED a STAR!

I am so tired of people writing to complain/ask "Why didn't my page get a star?". Did you do as much work as Peter did here? Or did you crank out the minimum?

There are many things here that have stars that probably did not deserve them, I know a couple of my own articles have stars and I feel they should not, and sure there may be some that should have had a star but don't. Oh well.

We do NOT click a button that says "Give Star" that is not how it works.

If every article had a star what would be the point?

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Peter, thanks for sharing this article. I saw myself at times in your suggestions. I've often wondered if I should write on paper before I go any further. Each site I've submitted articles for has different rules. I've learned from all of them. One of the most important things I've learned is not to keep submitting articles just to have an abundance of articles published. I try to take my time and think about what people would be interested in. I know I have a tendency to make my comments too long and I'm working on that. I think as moderators you are all doing a terrific job. I certainly couldn't do it and I know it's not easy.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Learning is the point here, when we are novices we know nothing and it shows clearly and unless we learn that is precisely the level of expertise we stay at. Writing should give us many lessons.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Peter, I totally agree with you.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
9th Jan 2015 (#)

The star system obviously is just not working as it should be- and that is very, very disappointing... sooo ...better just to do away with stars...What do you all think?

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author avatar Utah Jay
9th Jan 2015 (#)

I had a stroke in 2002. I had to teach myself how to write again. I still have a big problem with spelling, math, computers and puzzles, but I am still a very competitive man and I was going crazy trying to understand the star system. I write poetry, mostly and sometimes I would get a star for a long piece without pictures or using the tool bar for effect. Other times with the same type of poem, one that won a pile of $$$ in a contest and no star. I was confused and I complained. That was a good day because the system was explained to me in some detail which made all the difference. Now that I know the way the system works I can pretty much know when my page will or will not get a star and yet there are times when no star comes. So I will ask the moderator what I missed, because it is so unbelievably hard for me to see my work. For example, if I type the word 'witch', but mean 'which' I can't see it. In my mind it is what I meant. My mind just will not work like that anymore, so I ask. The one thing I do know is that you guys who are doing the moderation work very hard for very little, just like we do, and it warms my heart to know that you would do that for us...All I can say to each of you, is Thank You...Will talk later.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Poetry and star pages is a complex subject and not easily covered in a comment, to attain a star requires longer pieces, bold, italics, many sections, many pictures and even a video.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Jay, Sorry also meant to say that the impact of a stroke is tough and I appreciate your your continued efforts.

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author avatar viewgreen
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Awesome article and it's very useful information. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

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author avatar Retired
9th Jan 2015 (#)

I like "Sumbitting" - it's a word that should definitely exist even if it does not already! (trust a former proofreader to spot that!)

On the question of stars, I have noticed that it is easier to get stars from some moderators than others. This suggests that the four of you don't necessarily always follow the same rules - do you have a comment on that?

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

That is a good question John and is best answered by taking an example from everyday life why is one judge seen as a hanging judge while another is seen as giving community service? They both use the same laws, it is a matter of interpretation.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Jan 2015 (#)

I appreciate your points Peter. Often I visit wikinut and try to read some articles. When I find poor English and mistakes of grammar and spelling I am put off. I spend an hour or so but find a few articles worth reading and commenting. Unless I comment on their articles, the writers don't read my pieces. I'm prepared for that. I'm no big shakes as a writer, but I can't stand poor English. The writers must pay heed to your advice.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

GV, you are right that articles having mistakes in them are difficult to read and what is worse as I use reading software those errors are abundantly clear to me, because the software hiccups every time it finds an error.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
9th Jan 2015 (#)

I had a message from Steve in which he thought that LINKS counted as "Advanced Formatting" but I have never considered them as such. I think that is part of the difference.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

I have never counted links as advanced formatting either, but that gives me an issue when an article that is poorly formatted, but includes a video - I have to select "advanced" when I don't feel it is.

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author avatar Val Mills
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Excellent advice here. I'm a pencil (not pen) and paper person when it comes to planning a piece, but not as oven for the writing. I also write notes and ideas in a journal, that helps in putting something together. By the way, can I be cheeky and suggest you check the spelling of the subtitle in the paragraph relating to Checking Your Submissions :-) in case you haven't already noticed it!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

You see what happens when you change the word at the last second.

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author avatar spirited
9th Jan 2015 (#)

Rejection initially hurts us of course. Our pride is dinted.

In the end though if we can reach past the hurt, we can only become better writers by giving it another shot and by implementing the suggestions offered to us by the moderator.

Thanks for being "tough" Peter.

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author avatar spirited
9th Jan 2015 (#)

"Do you Check you Submission?'

Funny how a typo appears in this very line. Even the best of us let such things slip through like this at times.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Jan 2015 (#)

One of the problems is that the Section Title does not have spell check available in it and I changed the word at the last moment.

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author avatar Carol Roach
10th Jan 2015 (#)

Excellent piece. In university my favorite professor was the one every one else hated. Why because I learned something from him. He didn't pull any punches and when I got an A in his class I knew I deserved it.

I also suffer from dyslexia and when misspelled words apear in my work which I proof read and edited, yet still appear it is because I honestly didn't see the error and I am then very frustrated with myself because I want to produce my best work, not just any old assembly line garbage

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Jan 2015 (#)

Dyslexia is tough - I am also a sufferer, as is my son.

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author avatar snerfu
10th Jan 2015 (#)

I am thankful to the moderators for the effort they put in. And well, if the dog does not bark, then what matters it if it wags its tail? It is a great new year and there are many more articles to put out.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Jan 2015 (#)

Incisive article, thanks Peter for the clear elucidation. I put my best foot forward whether it it is posting articles or commenting. I realize some do much more like you have done especially in this post.

I try also to meet the criteria for getting stars though I have not embedded videos yet as they may not be relevant to what I write. Awarding Stars are positive as they prove a motivation - otherwise the overall quality can go south if all are treated same as one can "submit" to poor quality by posting in a manner - off with his head (post)! I certainly would like to swim in clean waters and I thank the moderators for doing a "thankless" job as my class teacher used to admonish us. I can never imagine being in their shoes to answer to those demanding stars and I have never done that; frankly I have a take - they just forgot! siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Jan 2015 (#)

Siva, I am not big on videos either, I normally add them when they were the inspiration behind the article, not just because they gain extra points. I do understand why a star motivates, but it should have little effect on the earnings potential.

I do get the occasional mail asking why their article did not gain a star, but it is impossible to answer because I probably moderated more than a dozen articles and don't recall their one specifically.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
11th Jan 2015 (#)

I have had my share of rejections from news organizations for well written and researched pieces from news organizations - you do have to develop a tough skin about rejections, it is not personal it simply does not match their needs at that time. Good language usage is the crux of being well read.

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author avatar Ptrikha
12th Jan 2015 (#)

Sometimes, even well written articles are rejected because of certain criterias that the publishers have, and it could be difficult for everyone to satisfy those.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Jan 2015 (#)

That is true - a journalist told me he was once refused because he was one week early, the next week it was headline news.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Jan 2015 (#)

Thank you Grant, welcome back. It is indeed tough to be rejected, but there is always a lesson to learn.

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author avatar Ptrikha
12th Jan 2015 (#)

Very valid and I believe it was this toughness that helped me to improve on Wikinut. Still Wikinut is fairer than sites like Triond, whose criteria of a good and "Publishable" article are so vague and difficult to understand that one might think of leaving in frustration. I submitte dreasonably good articles on Triond in 2012, and never could make out why they were not published? And my guess was they were on topics which Americans might find difficult to understand.

Anyways, moderation on Wikinut is very balanced. In fact, once I got a star rating on an article on which I was not hopeful of getting one:)

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Jan 2015 (#)

All goes to prove that efforts do get rewarded.

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author avatar Ptrikha
15th Jan 2015 (#)

Also, I refurbish some of my articles when I get time, and in one case, I re-wrote a just so-so article into a good one, and got star rating.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Jan 2015 (#)

Refurbishing is a good idea, once you know what the site's needs are. There are some writers that seem to re-submit unchanged material, presumably in the hope of gaining a star.

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author avatar Jenny Heart
12th Jan 2015 (#)

Thank you for commenting on my latest article. Great information here

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author avatar Jenny Heart
14th Jan 2015 (#)

Great article but i did write for a site that recently close down but there was someone to edit each and every article so it can be done if he could find and assistant to help him.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Jan 2015 (#)

The important role of the editor has sadly been lost in the mad-dash for web publication.

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author avatar Charlie Kuchinsky
14th Jan 2015 (#)

Great piece of work. The points are true. I DO edit my work but sometimes I don't see the error. Instead, I see what I expect to see instead. That always frustrates me, especially if I've read the thing over and over a bunch of times and still missed something. Still, your reminders are right on target and excellently presented.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Jan 2015 (#)

It is amazing how our mind plays tricks on us.

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author avatar tootsieharveystories
27th Jan 2015 (#)

I see nothing wrong with being a tough moderator...sometimes when we write we can't see many errors in our work and need a fresh eye to point out errors and inconsistencies...

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Jan 2015 (#)

&tootsieharveynovels - How I wish you would tell that to the people that refuse to read their rejection notices.

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