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SoylentNews is people

posted by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @04:01AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Call-to-Action! dept.

All of the trend lines on this site are positive except one: story submissions. After an initial surge, they have been gradually declining despite users and page views climbing. Tonight the submission queue ran dry. Janrinok and I could go scrounging, as we sometimes do, but this needs to be addressed.

We have around four thousand registered users, and who knows how may AC's reading along. We can do better.

I challenge each of you to submit stories on a regular basis, at whatever frequency you find comfortable. Really, if even half of us submitted a story once a week, we would have more than we could ever use. Once a day, once a week, once a month, whatever you can handle, send it in.

Bookmark this link: http://soylentnews.org/submit.pl - use it. Give us so many stories that we can select the cream of the crop and stun you with how amazing our community is. Make it happen.

I'm going to leave this story on top for a while, and see what is waiting for us when I get to work in the morning. Wow me, please.

This is our news site. There are others like it, but this one is ours. Its success is in your hands.

[UPDATE: We have received, in less than 12 hours, more submissions than we had the whole rest of the weekend. THANK YOU SO MUCH, and please, keep them coming. Even one story a month matters. Let the party re-commence. :) ]

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Introducing The Nagger 36 comments
Assuming everything went well with our upgrade (and thus we're running the new and shiny slashcode 14.04), you might have noticed a new bar at the top of the page which looks like this: "SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 13 submissions in the queue."

This is our cue to the community that the queue is running low, and acts as a request to "please submit your stories if you want to keep the flow of news coming." We've previously had to run stories asking for submissions, so this will prevent us from having to spam the index for help. A lot of you left good comments in the previous "need stories" post, so I'm going to take take a moment and address that.
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SlySmiles on Monday March 24 2014, @04:58AM

    by SlySmiles (3841) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:58AM (#20082)

    Plenty of articles and no comments. Slow down the posting of news until there is more of a discussion.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @06:00AM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @06:00AM (#20101) Journal

      Personally I don't ration myself to a certain number of comments per day. It's more about the interest that the stories have for me, and my perceived ability to contribute something useful.

      Of course, people only have so much free time in the day, so the inverse relationship you are implying between story frequency and comments-per-story has at least an element of truth.

      But I think a far bigger factor affecting comments-per-story is simply the number of users. (Even that's not a simple relationship, because on the old site the number of users was sufficiently high that I less often felt I had anything useful to say that hadn't already been said - but I don't think Soylent is near that point yet.)

       
      Clearly there's a wide range of views [soylentnews.org] about story frequency. I don't necessarily object to slightly reducing it, but I still think that more submissions would be good, to make life easier for the editors.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Sir Finkus on Monday March 24 2014, @06:25AM

        by Sir Finkus (192) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:25AM (#20113) Journal

        Same here, I haven't seen many stories in the past few days I've felt qualified to comment on. That said, I think we have pretty decent engagement considering the size of the community. There's only around 4k registered users here last I checked.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by black6host on Monday March 24 2014, @06:39AM

          by black6host (3827) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:39AM (#20117) Journal

          I believe it's a bit easier to comment, if you will, at the other site. The threads branch off so much that you can usually find something you can comment on. That is lacking here. The stories are good, but unless you know of the subject matter what can you say? I'd say get some submissions that were more general in nature that could be discussed from many different angles. Open up the ability to comment.

          • (Score: 3) by mrbluze on Monday March 24 2014, @08:23AM

            by mrbluze (49) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:23AM (#20134) Journal

            We are planning improvements to the commenting system, rest assured. Overriding matters have delayed this somewhat, but we are onto it.

            --
            Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
          • (Score: 1) by mmarujo on Tuesday March 25 2014, @09:47AM

            by mmarujo (347) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 25 2014, @09:47AM (#20885)

            Agree, but that does not make it better, in fact I believe it is only worse. In the Dark Days (the green site), every story had many more comment, but half of them were some MS/Apple/Google/Sony/etc. bashing, whether or not it had any relevance to the subject matter.

            Now, the stories have less comments, but they are not endless repetitions to be filtered out.

            • (Score: 1) by black6host on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:56PM

              by black6host (3827) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:56PM (#21019) Journal

              I agree that many comments does not necessarily lead to a good experience. But many times comments would branch off the topic of the submission into interesting topics in their own right. And the comments to those could be good as well.

              It's amazing how much I've learned how little I know by reading and/or commenting. :)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tizan on Monday March 24 2014, @01:44PM

        by tizan (3245) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:44PM (#20214)

        This is my place when i am bored at work to check what is happening.
        So whether people comment or not is unrelated to catching my attention.

        So as the user base increase so will comments...and it comes with its negatives
        as large number of comments are useful..and also large number of them
        will be useless and pointless.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday March 24 2014, @06:14AM

      by c0lo (156) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:14AM (#20106) Journal

      Plenty of articles and no comments. Slow down the posting of news until there is more of a discussion.

      Mmmhhh... maybe it's just an effect of "karma points inflation"?

      I mean, if I can't post and moderate and I choose to moderate for 10 points, suddenly I can't comment in at least about 3-4 articles. So:

      1. too small number of comments...
      2. thus possible increased chances for over-moderated comments,...
      3. leading into a new round of too-many karma points being awarded?

      I don't know, I have no visibility over the "karma economy", but I noticed lately I tend to let some of my "moderation rounds" just go to waste just to be able to post some comments.

      What about the following experiment: tweak the SN karma module to limit max karma awarded for posting comments at 5, decrease the chances for "karma awards by comments" and award more points for story submission.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by linsane on Monday March 24 2014, @08:21AM

        by linsane (633) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:21AM (#20133)

        Concur - the moderation balance thing could do with a review. Also as there are so few trolls to down-mod, points are only required (at the moment) for constructive modding

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Monday March 24 2014, @12:30PM

        by zocalo (302) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:30PM (#20176)
        Yeah, I have more mod points that I know what to do with too, but I figured everyone else must be in the same situation. That led me to conclude that it's better to commment where I feel I can contribute and let the mod points expire rather than focus on moderation. More comments is supposed to put more mod points in the field, so it should all work out in the end.
        --
        UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by weeds on Monday March 24 2014, @01:06PM

        by weeds (611) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:06PM (#20191) Journal

        Also concur. I seem to be flush with mod points and then there is the conflict as to whether I should use my mod points or make comments. Also as a responsible member of the community, I try to post when I think my comment might add to the discussion. (keeps me out of plenty :)
        As mentioned above, I don't know how the mod point algorithm works, but I do know that changes have been made to it for SoylentNews owing to size. I would suggest dishing mod points out not only based on the quality and number of comments, but the number of accepted submissions as well. Or maybe "bonus" mod points for submissions. And another thing... I know this has been discussed and may even be on the list, but there is no feedback for submissions. A rejected submission can be a powerful demotivator. "someone beat you to it and it's in the queue", "or, it will be out later" is a lot easier to take than "rejected". For general knowledge, story postings are not necessarily posted as soon as they come in, but may be scheduled out to keep a more constant flow of articles for everyone around the world (and the night owls.) Finally, we should publicize the IRC more. It's hard to build a community on the occasional story post. IRC (http://chat.sylnt.us/)provides for dialog (that's really social) and that's where I found out I was beaten to the punch on my post.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 24 2014, @01:30PM

          by c0lo (156) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:30PM (#20202) Journal

          A rejected submission can be a powerful demotivator.

          I'm surely not the SN dweller with the highest number of submissions, but I still have more than 10 approved on their own and 3 "merged" with others'.
          Now, this is the context for the actual message of this commemt: my first submission on SN was rejected; luckily, I read the submission guidelines [soylentnews.org] shortly after and I'm yet to have another rejected (not that I expect that will never happen).

          BTW: my direct experience seems to indicate there is a karma award for an accepted submission - can't say how much though, I topped my karma about 3 weeks ago and I'd need to troll to go back a little and be able to determine how much for a successful submission. Or... maybe... better ask the editors?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 1) by pjbgravely on Monday March 24 2014, @04:02PM

            by pjbgravely (1681) <pjbgravelyNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:02PM (#20298) Homepage
            I received 3 karma for a submission. I used to submit in the other place but when they were rejected in 30 seconds I knew they weren't even reading them and gave up. I haven't tried since the fire-hose but I have seen stories there voted up and not published and voted down stories get the front page.
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by bart9h on Monday March 24 2014, @02:20PM

        by bart9h (767) on Monday March 24 2014, @02:20PM (#20239)

        I think comments and moderation should be excluded only from the same thread, not the same story.

        Please explain why I'm wrong.

      • (Score: 1) by kbahey on Monday March 24 2014, @04:44PM

        by kbahey (1147) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:44PM (#20317) Homepage

        I fully agree.

        Moderation points are given too frequently, and there are too many of them, and they expire too soon.

        Change the mod points to 5 instead of 10, make them last one day or two days instead of the few hours now, and grant them to the same person every few days, not every day.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Monday March 24 2014, @08:16AM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @08:16AM (#20131) Journal

      I disagree with this. I much prefer to have a dozen articles to glance over, read and then comment on the ones that I am interested in - even if there aren't too many comments already. Don't get me wrong, I do like reading comments - but if it is a choice between many articles, few comments - and few articles bunch of comments, I will take the former.

      Having said that, I generally submit an article as soon as I find one that is interesting. The weekend was however quite slow - but I still got three submissions published from Friday. Just had a rather busy weekend and there wasn't too much happening on the news sites I frequent.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mmcmonster on Monday March 24 2014, @09:58AM

      by mmcmonster (401) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:58AM (#20146)

      Absolutely. Too many stories with only a handful of comments each.

      With thousands of page views, I think the main problem is people are waiting for others to comment first. Either that or the topics are so esoteric that the population doesn't feel comfortable commenting at all.

      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Monday March 24 2014, @04:26PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @04:26PM (#20308)

        I agree. I think it's because ./ had enough people in each domain/area that you had to be pretty knowledgeable of the topic to comment. There was a lot of off-topic stuff really. Criticism of editing, speeling, and the grammars could be a quarter of the comments. It may just take a while for people to come out of their shells enough to comment on things they aren't experts on.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by evilviper on Monday March 24 2014, @11:33AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:33AM (#20159) Homepage Journal

      Plenty of articles and no comments. Slow down the posting of news until there is more of a discussion.

      Seconded. The level of submissions is only a problem if you assume we MUST have a certain number of stories every day. Instead, I'd go the exact opposite direction, and reject much of the junk that is getting to the front-page. The stories I submitted about a week ago were posted on Saturday & Sunday, and got almost no comments/discussion at all.

      Secondly, I decided to stop submitting stories, due to technical issues with SN. Specifically, I was only seeing a fraction of the stories that were actually on the home-page, while logged-in, and nobody has said anything about how many other users may be affected by this bug (and not even know it). What's the point of submitting a bunch of stories, when a possibly-significant percentage of the user-base may not be able to even SEE THEM? Hence my .sig. See bug #78:

      http://github.com/SoylentNews/slashcode/issues/78 [github.com]

      And finally, in my brief experience submitting, I see a notable trend from the editors to accept "tech news" but to reject hard-science type stories, which is discouraging, and the opposite direction of where I'd like to see SN going. I know /. is worse, these days, but in the early days, it was much more "hard" topics, and less rumor mill, product announcement, and political flamebait. If SN is just going to head that same direction, all over again, why bother?

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @12:06PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @12:06PM (#20165)

        "I see a notable trend from the editors to accept "tech news" but to reject hard-science type stories"

        I'll second that. An intentional aversion to primary sources.

        Want some stories? Autopost anything that hits astrobites or Aaronson's quantum blog. Could troll arxiv.org all day and post interesting papers.

        Generally speaking, we're not stupid here. We don't need a simple clearly written paper to be misinterpreted by a BBC journalist trying to rewrite it for the general 3rd grade public. Yes astrobites is a re-interpretation but its not a journalist reinterpretation. You want to talk about Rosetta, well just talk about the Rosetta probe, don't need a BBC journalist's permission to do so. There's many other examples of "requiring" a journalist's "permission" to discuss the news.

        Soooooo how bout that

        http://astrobites.org/2014/03/24/examining-martian -water-with-hydrogen-isotopes/ [astrobites.org]

        Basically hydrogen isotope ratio on Mars varies because the light isotopes blow out of the atmosphere. There's a pretty interesting section on error analysis, where UV light and other sources of water screw up the ratio. But there "should be" a heck of a lot more water on Mars than there seems to be, which is interesting. So either there's a lot of water we haven't found, or somethings making it disappear that we haven't figured out.

        I'd have to think a bit about how this applies to any terraforming ideas. Or even just colonization. Or did they just screw up on the analysis? One thing I didn't like about KSR's scifi trilogy was the portrayal of a terraformed Mars having an ocean and being green. Its looking a lot more like a terraformed mars would look a lot like saudi arabia or perhaps a cold desert.

        • (Score: 1) by bill_mcgonigle on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:06PM

          by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:06PM (#20982)

          I'd love to see submissions of papers, if the submitter takes the time to write a decent summary. It should at least cover the abstract, clarify any terms not well-known to non-specialists and point out any interesting bits that aren't in the abstract.

          That would be a great service, maybe even a story category that some non-genereal-community members might choose look at exclusively with an RSS feed.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:27PM

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:27PM (#21035)

            astrobites, but not for astronomy.

            If anyone knows of something like astrobites for CS that would be very interesting.

            In my infinite spare time I've occasionally considered shamelessly copying the astrobites "business model" for other scientific fields.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @01:12PM

        by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @01:12PM (#20194)

        We seriously have not had the opportunity to be be very choosy about subject matter, sources, and the like. (There are more than a couple stories this week I'd have rejected if the submission bin had more than six stories at the time.) Trends like you are describing are coming not from the editors, but from submissions. While I welcome critique, submission and commenting are the most powerful thing members can do to steer the tone of this site.

        I believe the bug you mention was worked on (fixed?) over the weekend.

        • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday March 24 2014, @03:19PM

          by evilviper (1760) on Monday March 24 2014, @03:19PM (#20282) Homepage Journal

          We seriously have not had the opportunity to be be very choosy about subject matter, sources, and the like.

          I can only reiterate the points I've already made...

          There's nothing forcing you to post X stories per day. Comment-count on stories indicates there's FAR too many on the weekends...

          Half my submissions were rejected. Not that I'm not offended, but that doesn't exactly scream a desperate deficits of stories to me. The pattern seems to indicate an aversion to sciency stories, and it seems I'm not the only submitter that has seen this.

          While I welcome critique, submission and commenting are the most powerful thing members can do to steer the tone of this site.

          Well then, it seems like members are telling you that you're posting too many stories, and as this story and your reply indicate, some editors here are unwilling to listen and accept that.

          I believe the bug you mention was worked on (fixed?) over the weekend.

          I thought as much, as I saw a notable (but not complete) improvement since the maintenance. But it does defeat the purpose of bug tracking systems if nobody is bothering to update them...

          --
          Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
          • (Score: 2) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @03:44PM

            by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @03:44PM (#20289)

            "Well then, it seems like members are telling you that you're posting too many stories, and as this story and your reply indicate, some editors here are unwilling to listen and accept that."

            As far as that goes, what we're getting is a lot of conflicting messages owing to different priorities and tastes, as you can see here when we had a community discussion specifically on this matter. [soylentnews.org] Our current posture emerged directly from that discussion. Some members want a more restrained pace, others want us to push things out as quickly as we're able. I don't think there's a single right answer that's best all the time.

          • (Score: 2) by cwix on Monday March 24 2014, @05:05PM

            by cwix (873) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:05PM (#20333)

            I disagree. I think the comment count issue more lies in the fact that many of us do not feel qualified to give useful and insightful commentary on subjects we do not understand. I have found a good many of interesting articles, but I just don't feel like I can comment on something that far out of my field of expertise without making myself look like an ass.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Lagg on Monday March 24 2014, @05:03AM

    by Lagg (105) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:03AM (#20083) Homepage Journal
    Hilariously, even though you say there is a slowdown of submissions after my initial 4 I've actually been hard pressed to find stuff that isn't already submitted. Granted I don't exactly follow that many news sources.
    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Fluffeh on Monday March 24 2014, @08:57AM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @08:57AM (#20139) Journal

      This is where it is important to get a critical mass of readers who are also submitters. The vast majority of us will likely read a few common websites - but each of us may well follow a particular site that no-one else does. If we get THOSE readers to submit interesting stories, we will get that great balance of "common" as well as "niche" websites being submitted - and as a result grow so much greater for it.

      I would challenge the folks who HAVEN'T submitted a single article to find something out of the way that they are interested in - that we might well also be interested in - and submit it.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by jorl17 on Monday March 24 2014, @05:07AM

    by jorl17 (3747) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:07AM (#20085)
    All the way to say its*

    Nah, seriously, I submit when I can :)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Monday March 24 2014, @05:15AM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:15AM (#20087) Journal

    Did we/you ever get around to developing a set of editorial guidelines?

    What kind of stories do we want?

    What should a good story include?

    Can the Editors be relied on to fix spelling and grammar?

    And, what causes a story to be rejected? What do the Eds really hate?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @05:26AM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @05:26AM (#20092)
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by pogostix on Monday March 24 2014, @05:40AM

        by pogostix (1696) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:40AM (#20095)

        I have a submission that shows as accepted but I don't think it was ever published.

        Is it in a queue? Or do editors change their mind about publishing sometimes?

        Or... is there a bug that is causing submissions to get lost?!

        • (Score: 1) by Sir Finkus on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM

          by Sir Finkus (192) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM (#20108) Journal

          My impression (based on lurking in irc) is that accepted articles go into a queue and are published at a semi-regular interval.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @06:34AM

          by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @06:34AM (#20114)

          That is odd. I can find your submitted story, and it shows accepted, but isn't in the feed. We'll look into it.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @09:22AM

            by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:22AM (#20141) Journal

            I also have a story that is accepted but I haven't seen it on the site yet. My assumption had been that it was queued until Monday.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @12:58PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @12:58PM (#20188)

        Unfortunately this doesn't contain content guidelines much beyond typographical, and some aspects like "Use primary sources wherever possible." are actively discriminated against rather than being actual guidelines, like its a parody, or a very theoretical goal.

  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @05:23AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @05:23AM (#20089)

    This is my news site! There are many others like it but this one is mine! Without me, my news site is useless! Without my news site, I am useless!

    I've been paying attention since this launched and just stayed AC like I've always done on Slashdot. I would love to see this thrive though, so I'll do my best to contribute what little I feel like I can. I'll see if I can recruit some friends into this too. They're still primarily using Slashdot, but I think this place may pique their interest a little more if I can encourage them to get more involved.

    Oh and fuck beta.

    • (Score: 1) by oodaloop on Monday March 24 2014, @10:42AM

      by oodaloop (1982) <{jkaminoff} {at} {zoho.com}> on Monday March 24 2014, @10:42AM (#20156)

      Soylent News, without my submissions, is useless. Without my daily news, I am useless. I must submit my submissions true. I must submit better than slashdot who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will...

      I was wondering how many lentils would recognize the Rifleman's Creed, but I guess there at least a few who watched Full Metal Jacket.

      --
      Many Bothans died to bring you this comment.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by similar_name on Monday March 24 2014, @05:24AM

    by similar_name (71) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:24AM (#20090)
    I submitted articles in the beginning. Until they sat there for days. Sorry to say, but SN did this one to themselves. You discouraged a lot of submitters by doing that. It was even voiced that you were discouraging us from submitting stories. I'll submit stories if editors will either publish or reject them in a timely manner.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @05:44AM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @05:44AM (#20096)

      Since around week three, we have been adjusting story pace in response to the number of stories submitted. Over 25 - we post as fast as we can manage, 15-25 - about every ninety minutes, less than 15 - we ration carefully so as to not run dry.

      The more stories submitted, the faster we move them.

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday March 24 2014, @12:35PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:35PM (#20180)

        I occasionally run across something I think people would find interesting, but don't have time to write up an article. Should I just submit a link and leave the rest to the editors?

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Xenex on Monday March 24 2014, @05:36AM

    by Xenex (564) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:36AM (#20094)

    But if you ever reject my submissions, I'll just stop submitting!

    I jest, but constant rejection stopped me submitting stories on Slashdot a decade ago. Some simple feedback - even just a few words - for rejected submissions would be a fantastic guide and help improve quality of future submissions.

    --
    I am from the future.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM (#20109) Journal

      but constant rejection stopped me submitting stories on Slashdot a decade ago. Some simple feedback - even just a few words - for rejected submissions would be a fantastic guide and help improve quality of future submissions

      I know the feeling of constant rejection from another aspect of my life :)

       
      But seriously, I do agree a submission feedback process would be a nice-to-have, but we should bear in mind it would place at least some extra burden on the editors. "How do I word this feedback politely ...". Or "This submission from Open4D just doesn't quite feel right, but I can't put my finger on it. I'd rather accept the other one on the same issue from Anonymous Coward. Oh, but Open4D has a 3-digit user ID and I don't want to offend him with a dodgy feedback comment, so it's easier just to take his one."

      And once there was feedback, some people would then want a 'right of reply' to the feedback. A slippery slope? Actually, I broadly reject slippery slope type arguments, but the point is this move wouldn't bring us as much closer to perfection as we might hope. Maybe it's better just to go with a 'firehose' type system? The discussion at the story frequency poll [soylentnews.org] covered that kind of thing too.

      • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @09:27AM

        by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:27AM (#20142) Journal

        I think instead of having something typed in, just a selection of common rejection types to choose from would be better.

        • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:19PM

          by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:19PM (#23223) Journal

          I think instead of having something typed in, just a selection of common rejection types to choose from would be better.

          Agreed. As long as it's optional for the editor, it can't do any/much harm. (And for all I know the editors might want it mandatory.)

           

           
          I note that currently the submission page [soylentnews.org] has this wording:

          Note: grousing about rejected submissions is Offtopic and usually gets moderated that way. It happens, don't take it personally.

          Maybe there'd need to be something similar talking about the rejection reasons.

          • "Just because your submission was first, doesn't mean we're going to take it. We don't mean to offend by calling it a duplicate."
          • "We know we sometimes post stories that stray quite far from our core subject matter. But in this case we just decided yours didn't quite fit. We don't mean to offend by calling it off topic."
          • etc.

           

           
          Anyway, FWIW, this is now an issue on GIT: https://github.com/SoylentNews/slashcode/issues/10 2 [github.com]

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @10:08AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @10:08AM (#20149) Journal

      I understand your views on feedback regarding submissions - in fact, you'll find that we all share them. But that poses a few problems. Firstly, the current software isn't geared up to provide such feedback and, having recognised this, we have a task in hand to modify the software to make it do what we all want. The priority however, is to ensure that the site is stable and secure. We recently became aware of a potential security vulnerability in the site and, to protect both the site and your user data, we have put a lot of effort into fixing this problem. The bright guys who keep this site up and running are working very hard to do just that. When we are on top of it we can start looking at implementing the changes that we have already identified.

      Secondly, if you feel that the editors' job is a fairly laid-back affair with a low workload I need to dispel that myth. Because of the lack of stories - I have to divide my 6 hours of work on the site each day into editing, submitting stories myself to make up the shortfall, and trying to provide feedback where I have managed to identify an alternative means of communication. If you can catch me on #editorial then I will be happy to explain why I have had to refuse a story. Most submitters do not tell us how to contact them (there is a field for this on the submissions page) and all I can do is hope that they appear on IRC asking for a reason.

      Thirdly, many stories are rejected for reasons outside the submitter's control i.e. it's not your fault! As an example, if we get 2 stories at the same time on the same topic we can merge them together but if the second arrives after the first has been queued for release it can cause major problems. Too late can often be a matter of only an hour or so. Submitting prompt submissions on breaking news is a good way of increasing your chances of your story being released. If your own area of interest is not one normally discussed on this site but still meets the requirements of being of interest to technically minded individuals or particularly thought provoking then provide a story on it. You may find that there is more interest in that topic than you initially imagined there would be. But don't take it personally if your story doesn't make it. Quite a few of mine haven't either!

      Fourthly, please do follow LaminatorX's suggestion above: read the submission guidelines [soylentnews.org]. You can see the ideal layout from the stories that we have already released. With that combination you significantly increase you chances of success.

  • (Score: 1) by pogostix on Monday March 24 2014, @05:47AM

    by pogostix (1696) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:47AM (#20097)

    /. should be a source for stories.

    They stole our data mine story today.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by gonz on Monday March 24 2014, @06:01AM

    by gonz (1173) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:01AM (#20103)

    I joined Soylent news during the Slashdot boycott, and was eagerly following the progress updates from the dev team... but then they just stopped, leaving a bunch of unanswered questions.

    - Has development tapered off? Did everyone go back to Slashdot?

    - Who's running the site, and what's the larger mission? The "About" page has only a brief blurb, a link to an update from over a month ago, and then a bunch of generic boilerplate about Slashcode.

    - The (all-important) FAQ is more boilerplate, and doesn't say anything about the Soylent News project

    - The "Found a bug?" development tracker link goes to a broken page

    - The sidebars are boilerplate like "You should update your organisation template and put some links here linking back to your site." C'mon, these are *easy* fixes!

    - Early on it was stated that users would be able to bring over their karma and account names from Slashdot -- is that still happening?

    - It was also stated that a non-profit would be formed -- is that still the plan?

    You want contributors, you need to act like a going concern. From the perspective of someone who just stops in periodically and doesn't follow every posting in detail, it's all buzzard calls and tumbleweed around here.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19AM (#20111)

      Development and status stories have been in the main story feed and NCommander's journal. Development is active and ongoing.

      The delay in the FAQ update can be laid squarely at my feet, I'm afraid, for which I apologize. There has been a perfect storm of sick family, short-handedness at my day job, and making up for inactive editors that have all been eating the time I wanted to devote to the FAQ. All of those distractions are being resolved, and the FAQ update should arrive this week.

      • (Score: 1) by gonz on Monday March 24 2014, @06:53AM

        by gonz (1173) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:53AM (#20120)

        > Development and status stories have been in the main story feed and NCommander's journal.

        Okay, but how is the casual visitor supposed to find that? Soylent News will succeed or fail on audience counts, most of whom will start out as once-a-week or once-a-month observers. They don't have time to read most of the articles (which, let's face it, are a tiny fraction of what Slashdot offers). The draw isn't the articles anyway, it's the vision and the adventure of watching a site being born. So a little packaging would go a long way, is all I'm sayin'.

        And thanks for your hard work. I like the concept of Soylent News and hope it succeeds, but give it to me in English, professor!

        • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Monday March 24 2014, @12:33PM

          by bucc5062 (699) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:33PM (#20178)

          I seconded this thought. While airing all the dirty laundry was maybe a bit much drama (though it helped in understanding), what I missed was a somewhat weekly "report" of how the site is doing. Are we growing, fading slow, holding steady? I hate to sound wonky and all, but performance numbers can help motivate people, especially if presented, not as "ra ra" corporate speak or white washed negative numbers, but just facts for people to process.

          That is something /. did not do, air the numbers and I would like it if SN did.

          The other thought I'd agree to regarding submissions is one made about responding to content. I love hard science. Reading about the gravity wave finding was amazing, reading about some specific "things" is cool, but unless I am directly in the knowledge pool, what is there to say? I did with the Gravity wave and discovered I Was waaaaaayyyyyy off in my thinking and only got a couple of bruises. Showing how little one knows is not always good on the web.

          It is easier to comment on topics that are more opinion based, more impacting on day to day lives and I see that in the comment numbers (like this thread). I applaud the editors for trying to find a balance between the two for it cannot be easy keeping the interest of a broad spectrum of members.

          Well, I lost my thought so I'll end with, I'll consider submitting a story (one I am curious as t o SN viewpoints), but up front, it is not purely science or completely technical, but if the foundation is ignored, it encompasses both.

          --
          The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @06:37AM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @06:37AM (#20116) Journal

      I agree that being aware of what's happening gives people more confidence to spend their time contributing. And sometimes, I haven't really felt I've known what's going on.

      That was for the lack of trying. I know if I'd jumped onto IRC or had a look around the wiki I could have found out more.

      But it's probably in Soylent's own interest to have the "About" page [soylentnews.org] let us easily access some constantly updated status information. Perhaps it should link to a page on the wiki for that purpose, which has links to recent posted status updates, plus additional info to fill in any gaps? It probably should also have an easy link to the IRC details and the Git Hub issues list [github.com] (again, perhaps all via the wiki).

       
      My usual disclaimer is that this is not a complaint. I know I personally would be good at organizing the kinds of things I described above, if only I were to volunteer my time and get on with it. But that's not going to happen in the near future, so I'd just like to thank everyone who is giving up their time.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @07:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @07:21AM (#20122)

      What does boilerplate mean in that context?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 24 2014, @12:33PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:33PM (#20179)

        What does boilerplate mean in that context?

        Standard text that can be reused with little or no alteration.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by omoc on Monday March 24 2014, @08:11AM

    by omoc (39) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:11AM (#20129)

    It would be more fun to submit stories if we can vote on those stories submitted. Also, I think the much bigger problem are comments. I've rarely seen any story with >30 comments in the past days and the average may be 10 (very subjective impression)?

    Reading comments on /. is a joy in comparison to what we have here. What's the name I'm looking for "D2"?

    In addition, moderation sucks (sorry). On /. I get 5 mod points every couple of days that *stay* for a couple of days. Here I get 10, spend 2 and when I visit the site the next time the remaining 8 are gone. Maybe it's just me or I do something wrong (?), but on /. moderation is fun for me, here moderation is an annoyance.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @10:25AM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @10:25AM (#20153) Journal

      In addition, moderation sucks (sorry). On /. I get 5 mod points every couple of days that *stay* for a couple of days. Here I get 10, spend 2 and when I visit the site the next time the remaining 8 are gone. Maybe it's just me or I do something wrong (?), but on /. moderation is fun for me, here moderation is an annoyance.

      They expire after 4 hours, AFAICT.

      I think there's a view that mod points should ideally not be saved up for use on the moderator's favourite stories. (And therefore perhaps a view that any Soylent user should be capable of moderating comments on the majority of stories, so they can dive right in and use up their points straight away?)

      I know the expiry of points is tough psychologically, because it feels like you've wasted them. But actually the system can be (and I suspect already is) designed so that the overall amount of moderation happening is fairly constant, even on days when a higher proportion than normal of users failed to use their points.

      So don't worry. I don't think anything bad happens if your mod points expire. The electrons are recycled :)

      Some URLs:

      http://soylentnews.org/moderation.shtml [soylentnews.org]

      http://soylentnews.org/~NCommander/journal/36 [soylentnews.org]

       
      I expect one could spend a lifetime discussing & reworking the moderation system.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by omoc on Monday March 24 2014, @04:00PM

        by omoc (39) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:00PM (#20297)

        > "I expect one could spend a lifetime discussing & reworking the moderation system."

        I think it took /. quite long to get it right, and their current system feels just about right. In addition to the previous points, it's also just inconvenient to spend the points on static html. I rarely get any points here anyway, but when I do I don't even use them.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @08:32AM

    by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:32AM (#20136) Journal

    What is the minimum required for a story submission? I have submitted 16 in total, most of which I wrote on a phone or tablet, and it takes a fair bit to format correctly on a touchscreen. If I just submit a link, a brief description and a relevant quote without markup (maybe blockquote for the quote) would that be enough for an editor to clean-up the summary and use the link in a hyperlink properly? (Quick aside: the submission form is a little awkward to use on a mobile device; if there was an email address we could use to submit a story that would be handy)

    How "fresh" do we want stories to be? If I find something interesting from a month or so ago, is that still a possible candidate so long as it is not time sensitive (and hasn't already been posted)?

    As an aside, most of the stories I see posted on the site in the last few days are from two editors, is this what is actually happening, or have I messed up a setting somewhere and am hiding stories from other editors by mistake?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @12:54PM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @12:54PM (#20186)

      As far as specific formatting goes, the editors can handle that, as we have to do a bit of hands-on de-slashdot-ifying on the output from the submission process already. "A link, a brief description and a relevant quote without markup (maybe blockquote for the quote)" is great. If you've got more to say, by all means feel free (up to a point), but what you described is enough (and more than we've gotten in many cases).

      • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @01:33PM

        by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:33PM (#20204) Journal

        I don't suppose it is possible to allow longer titles? Some stories I have submitted are pointing to a research paper and tend to want to use long words - I can only fit in so many with the current limit. I think editors have a longer limit to work with, is this true? Can I put a longer title as the first line of the submission if it didn't all fit in the actual title box?

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:51AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:51AM (#20755) Homepage

        I have noticed that the 'feel' of the stories is different from Slashdot.

        For one thing, here we don't seem to have the snark, nor the leading question used as a tagline. This is not a complaint. :)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @12:59PM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @12:59PM (#20189)

      Oh, and to your other questions (sorry, haven't had my coffee yet):

      Current is better than not, but interesting is still interesting. If something is from a month ago but hasn't been all over the press and seems worth discussing, feel free to submit.

      You are not experiencing a problem. Only Janrinok and I have been active this week. We will be adding new editors this week to address this staffing shortfall.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @08:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @08:45AM (#20137)

    It's not encouraging to submit more. We need a system to tell people why their stuff got rejected. If that even happened or perhaps the story was swallowed by the void as it was an OK submission even if I say so myself. Not great but still OK. (I was on Sweet Home 3D if somebody wants to investigate its fate.)

    I propose (we don't reject too much at this stage and) if a story does get rejected, it will get moved to rejected queue and will get a statement why it was found lacking.

    The beatings will continue until moral improves might not be the best approach.

  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:47AM (#20144)

    Seriously, you complain about not having enough submissions, yet people here say theirs have been rejected. Then we have multiple stories about Climate Change within several days. Stop picking stories that fit your agenda and you won't have a problem.

    • (Score: 2) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @01:03PM

      by LaminatorX (14) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {xrotanimal}> on Monday March 24 2014, @01:03PM (#20190)

      Frankly, submission volume has been low to the point that we've been accepting almost everything. If a topic has come up more than once ( climate, Turkey vs Twitter)it's because there have been ongoing submissions on the subject, not because we're promoting an agenda.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @02:49PM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @02:49PM (#20258) Journal

      I also commented [soylentnews.org] about an excess of Climate Change stories. But whereas I conceded that "each of the 3 stories had a different editor", you jump right in and accuse them of "picking stories that fit [their] agenda".

      This agenda you have identified is clearly well-orchestrated across multiple editors, with lots of tech news and the occasional Overselling Climate Change [soylentnews.org] story thrown in keep people off the scent. But no-one's fooling you!

      Or maybe you're the one with the agenda, trying to twist a call for more submissions into your own little whinge.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Magic Oddball on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16AM

    by Magic Oddball (3847) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16AM (#20152) Journal

    Regarding the lack of submissions, you might consider making a post to clarify that that you'll welcome good stories snagged from Slashdot, Pipedot, etc. just like you would from any other source. I know that I'd seriously hesitate before cross-posting anything otherwise for fear of being told off, even though I know some of us don't bother with the other sites.

    Regarding the comments, this is a controversial opinion, but I think that you could safely change things temporarily so we can comment and moderate in the same discussion, then change them back in the future if it becomes an issue. I think it wouldn't be harmful because discussions here are civilized, the stories generally aren't the sort to provoke fights, the majority of users here actively want Soylent to thrive, and 5 points isn't really enough to do much damage. (Also, the rule is so easily circumvented by posting AC or under a second account that it's effectively forum DRM: it only hinders the honest people, not anyone likely to cause trouble.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @03:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @03:06PM (#20270)

      > stories snagged from Slashdot

      So four-year old dupes are ok?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @10:36AM

    by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:36AM (#20154) Journal

    Do you think it would help if more topics were added to the drop down list? I think "Games" and "Social" could be added, maybe "Health". "Privacy" might be separate enough to "Security" that it can use its own topic. There are probably a couple of other topics that could be added that would be relevant.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by KritonK on Monday March 24 2014, @10:44AM

    by KritonK (465) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:44AM (#20157)

    ...to find news to submit, when my main source of news is SN!

    Even so, in the brief time that SN has been up, I have submitted two stories more than I've ever submitted to the other site. (Yes, two stories in total!)

    In addition to SN, I also skim through the other site, since there is little overlap between it and SN. However, I would assume that, having read about something in that site, it automatically disqualifies me from submitting it here.

  • (Score: 1) by microtodd on Monday March 24 2014, @12:18PM

    by microtodd (1866) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:18PM (#20171) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. I don't really surf anywhere other than Soylent. Just some blogs. And after reading the submission guidlines on the wiki page....two sources, reputable, etc. Nothing I read would be applicable.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @12:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @12:29PM (#20175)

    Once a week.
    Please.

    But then, the Pipedot poll is amusing...

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 24 2014, @12:30PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:30PM (#20177)

    I just thought I would share the RSS/atom feeds I use to find relevant stories. I do not claim these are definitive or comprehensive. I'm just trying to start an exchange of ideas.

    The trouble is, finding a story that looks superficially Soylent-worthy takes a lot less time than does writing a good summary that tamps down the hype and spin we typically see in media stories. So I see a lot of headlines that I let slide because I don't have time to do them justice, or they are overplayed topics I don't want to see here (climate change, anyone?).

    So, my feeds:

    There are many others I could imagine subscribing to, such as Science News [sciencenews.org], Scientific American [scientificamerican.com], or Physics Today [aip.org], but I can't spend _all_ day reading the science press. I think you get the idea.

    Does anyone else have promising sources for Soylent material he/she would like to share?

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @02:13PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @02:13PM (#20230) Journal
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by randmcnatt on Monday March 24 2014, @03:19PM

      by randmcnatt (671) on Monday March 24 2014, @03:19PM (#20281)
      It looks like e-releases [ereleases.com] would be happy to keep us knee-deep in news releases centered on the subjects we are most interested in, along with other PR firms, like http://www.pr.com/ [pr.com], Google News [googlenewssubmit.com] and the big guy in the room, http://www.prwire.com/ [prwire.com].

      These days much, if not most "journalism" comes from news releases, including SN stories, sometimes rewritten or addended, but just as often presented as-is.

      The releases might be available as RSS, but may need to be fed to a central address (like inputs@soylentnews.com) and doled out to volunteers for vetting.

      I'm not sure of the protocol for becoming a "target".
      --
      The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
  • (Score: 2, Troll) by nitehawk214 on Monday March 24 2014, @04:32PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:32PM (#20311)

    Seeing "Hugh Pickens style" clickbait posts from Papas Fritas has soured me on visiting this site further. We need some real submissions so we can avoid having useless folks like him clog up the site.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Maow on Monday March 24 2014, @08:30PM

      by Maow (8) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:30PM (#20521) Homepage

      Seeing "Hugh Pickens style" clickbait posts from Papas Fritas has soured me on visiting this site further. We need some real submissions so we can avoid having useless folks like him clog up the site.

      Seeing as how SN is hurting for submissions (per this story's topic), I think it's time to realize that SN needs a Hugh Pickens type of member.

      He is a frequent submitter, writes up lengthy and well sourced submissions, and I don't see how his stuff was click-bait, other than if one takes that term to mean "something interesting that I want to click on to read more".

      I never really saw the problem with Hugh Pickens that some people did (do?) - he was a valuable member. Much more so than I am, for instance.

      Having said that, I haven't been to the other site since the slashcott so haven't seen any of his submissions for months.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:54AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:54AM (#20760) Homepage

        Yeah, I don't really mind either. Or care, for that matter. If something interests me, great. If it doesn't, I know where the down-arrow key is.

  • (Score: 1) by egp on Monday March 24 2014, @11:31PM

    by egp (3606) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:31PM (#20637)

    One suggestion that might encourage more submissions is better feedback on what makes a good submission. I submitted one that was rejected and I got no feedback regarding the reason, so I'm left wondering about the criteria, and inclined not to try again until I understand what failed before.

    • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Sunday April 06 2014, @02:57PM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Sunday April 06 2014, @02:57PM (#27073) Homepage

      A coded solution to this is in the pipeline, for now if you include an email address *along with the actual submission" we (editors) are trying to include a reason if a story is rejected.

      --
      (Score:1^½, Radical)