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Submission Guidelines



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Well, you guys apparently asked for it. This is going to be an outline of what will be expected out of all submissions. It might seem obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things are often the easiest missed. I'll also specify here what I'd like, but isn't absolutely necessary, to make editorials run a little smoother and how I go around with my updates, so that it's all clear, simple and hopefully moves along with little argument, heartache, depression and explosive aggravation.

These submission guidelines aren't static however. If certain things turn out not to suit the submitters, or other things pop up, provided that they're within reason, e-mail me and if it's suitable, I'll put it in. If anything gets changed, I'll notify you on the main page when it happens.

You not quite sure, or need clarification on any of this? Just e-mail me and I'll be happy to answer your questions. It beats having people confused.

Mistress Nightshadow




Submission Guidelines


1. Proofread your work. That means spelling and grammar.

I won't accept anything which I can't make sense of from one end to another, I'll ask you to clarify and correct it before I'll accept it. Sure, since Australian English is quite different from American English, which is different again from the many other varieties of English, there will be minor differences, but there's no reason why I can't understand any of them. The odd spelling mistake, the accidental misuse of the apostrophe, the odd grammar mistake isn't going to end the world for your editorial, but it would be nice if it wasn't there, for peace of mind if nothing else. If I don't catch mistakes which make it unreadable or add ambiguous meanings (unless it's a pun or deliberate), I'm fairly confident that you'll get your point across.

Just one note: Never trust just your spell or grammar checker. It'll sometimes suggest things which are technically incorrect for grammar or just plain confusing, and won't pick up certain types of spelling mistakes. That's why I have a dictionary sitting next to my table and a few friends for, to double check what you write.


2. I want a name and e-mail address to go with your submission.

Believe it or not, I got one editorial which had a bad e-mail address attached to it, and that was just my second day. This is for several reasons... The first being that I can refer to you as a person, rather than just a 'Dear nobody'. The second is because if I do anything to it, such as correct a few spelling mistakes, rewording or cleaning up a HTML submission, I want you to know about it, and I want your permission for the changes, so you don't take me to court or something drastic. The third is the fact that people want to talk to you about your work. There's no point submitting the greatest editorial I've ever seen, then when someone wants to talk about it, they get a e-mail address invalid error message or something. It's odd to say the least.

If you're worried about spam, hate mail or the odd mail bomb, open up an account at Yahoo, Angelfire, Hotmail or about fifty other free e-mail places and use that as your address for all editorials... although I've never seen anything of the sort personally.

Oh, as an additional note, I really don't need ICQ, AIM, phone numbers or addresses, just an e-mail address. I'm sure that it'll do just fine for any communication we need.


3. Check your facts. Every single one of them.

I won't be accepting anything which has massive factual or logical flaws which I can pick up. Apart from the fact that you'll look plain stupid when people spot those mistakes, it also leads to misleading arguments and myths. Passing on your opinion as fact can confuse people to say the least, and that's the most common mistake.

I got Googleshng, Aegis, Paws and every other RPGamer here to ask all sorts of questions about RPGs (and about North American specifics) I might not even have heard of, and I tend to ask questions the moment I'm slightly unsure about it. If it's a personal interpretation, just make it clear that it's your opinion.

There's no such thing as 'everybody says' or anything like that, particularly when it comes to interpretation or preferences. There's always going to be a fair number of people who can dispute that. Trust me, I tend to be one of them.


4. There are only certain formats I will accept for submissions.

There is a major reason why I have to restrict file formats... this is because I tend to work on my updates almost anywhere I can get my hands on a keyboard, a net connection and a few hours, and I go around a lot. Because I have a certain program at home which I can open certain types of documents, doesn't mean I will be able to look at it when I'm at say... at an internet cafe or at a relative's place just to name two places I could be. Don't worry though, they're all fairly simple.

The formats I will accept are:

  • In the e-mail you send me, with or without any HTML tags you want in the editorial.
  • As a .txt attachment to the e-mail you sent me.
  • As a self constructed HTML file which shows how the editorial itself (not the page) is displayed. (eg. e-mail, links, emphasised words with italics, bold, underline, etc.)
  • A fully constructed HTML document using the official RPGamer Editorialist Template which can be found on the main page or by clicking here for a .txt version or here for a zipped up one.

If you end up sending me something I can't work with, such as a .doc, .wps or .wks file or something really obscure like a rare unix word processor file, I'll mail you back, telling you that I won't be able to accept it, and most of the time I can give instructions on how to convert it into something I can use, or I'll suggest other methods of submission.

Just a note here: Whatever you do, NEVER use Microsoft Word to write a HTML document, even if you're using the template. It plays around with the HTML, (as well as insert Microsoft IE specific HTML) to the point of insanity. I tend to do it very simply with Notepad, but I'm sure there's other programs out there which do it much better than Word. I certainly hope so anyway.

And another thing. Try to avoid the use of < and > in your editorials. I doubt you'd use them, but it can play around with the HTML, creating undesired results.

5. There needs to be a point. Make it fairly clear.

It's obvious, why else would you be writing an editorial? But sometimes it's not clear what a writer is trying to get at, not because of spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, but because of unclear expression. Sure, it might be clear to the writer, but the writer has the advantage of knowing exactly what he or she is talking about, and not all readers have the writer's knowledge. A way to avoid this is to get others to read it over, and check if they get what you said.

If I find that I can't figure out what the point is, or if it's very much blurred, I'll e-mail you, asking questions on it, and most of the time suggest ways to make your editorial more understandable to the readers out there.

6. Remember when writing that you're dealing with other people.

I'm sure that's common curtesy, treating other people with a little respect. Sure, poking a little satricial fun is all well and good if you want to prove a point, but you don't really have to call the other guy a $%*@^*# bastard because he didn't quite agree with you on certain areas to get a point across well. Although this is a forum for expressing opinion, it would be nice if everyone played nice, instead of me having to fish out people in bloody fist fights, and patch up broken arms and legs. Would you like to be called something unwarranted and close to home just because you decided to put your interpetation of a certain matter up? I'm sure all of you wouldn't, so why do the same?

I'll also note here I find that snide remarks, name calling and all out personal assaults tend to reflect badly on an editorialist. I'm all sure that we can do more than enough by painting satricial representations of our opponent's arguments (or what we're attacking) and generally debating others out, rather than resort to calling the other guy a #%@&#$ up b%*##%$ (excuse the language)... aren't we?

Anyway, at the end of the day we're all here for the last rule, not to take things personally and start causing so much heartache and distress, it makes all those moving death scenes in RPGs seem comical, almost laughable.

7. Enjoy writing editorials!

It really doesn't need to be said, but at the end of the day, it's really going to suck if you force yourself to write something you don't particularly want to. Just because some people can write regularly (Well, I guess I could be in there.) doesn't mean you have to, and the fact that forced editorials tend to be strained and somewhat... boring? It's not a competition to see who can write the most editorials people, you do it because you want to. (It's not like I can enforce it, but it should be said.)




Well, that should cover the basic rules which will run Editorials. Now I'd like to add a few things that could prove to be handy, although if you can't do it for whatever reason, it's not going to cause the death of the universe.


Things which would make my updating easier.


1. For those who can HTML well, why not add your tags in, or if you think you can do it, use the HTML Template which is provided at the main page of every Editorials update? Just saves me a little time doing the HTML and gives me more time to work on some of the Editorials Projects.

2. If it's a rebuttal, is there any chance you could give me the name of the original article, the approximate date, the author and (if it's not at RPGamer) what website it's located at, or even better, provide the location of the editorial in question (regardless where it is)? It doesn't matter if it's not from this site, just tell me where and I'll do the rest.

3. If there's anything objectionable in the editorial (such as swearing), or something that people might not want to see (spoilers for example), could you make a mention of it in the title or tell me in advance? It will save me a lot of trouble (I won't open that article when my much younger relatives are around) and to warn readers (or their parents) that there IS potentially objective material in there, or material they might not want to read. Not everyone who visits RPGamer is a early teen or later (I know three personally) and some don't particularly like reading some sorts of material, or want to know certain things about a game.




That's all the things I can ask of you to make my life easier at this point. Now, so that I don't all get you fretting every day until update day about what I could possibly do to your work, I'm going to outline how I will manage submissions. Call it my contract if you will.


How I'll manage submissions:


1. Regardless if I will accept it or not in its current form, or there are issues concerning it, I will e-mail you before the update to tell you exactly what's happening with it. If you send something, and you don't hear anything about it before the update comes up, I want to know about it immediately... that means there's probably something wrong, most likely at my end. However, I won't be able to place an editorial into an update if you end up posting it just before I update. I'm not quite that fast.

2. I won't post more than 8 editorials per update, to give a fair coverage to all. I will start narrowing it down to 8 or less according to these rules:

  • My own editorials if I write any. I'm not going to be biased and give myself preference, period.
  • More than 5 editorials on the one topic (or multiple similar topics), be it related in content, rebuttals related by topic, or both. Chances are I'd make that a separate update, most likely that week I get them.
I will allow 10 as a upper cap if I can't adjust the number according to these rules. In any case, I'll discuss it with you, so don't worry about me suddenly annexing yours to be scheduled next week.

3. Each update will have an interval of at least a week (seven days), although admittedly it could be a couple of days early or late depending on circumstances, regardless of what I receive. This is to give all the editorials a chance to be read by RPGamer's visitors.

4. If permission is not given to alter the document in certain ways, and I find small things I can fix, improve or look better, I'll post back the edited form to you and ask for permission. I don't want to edit something and accidently give the wrong message, and have an author after me over it.

5. Any changes that are made to the guidelines, layout or anything else will be mentioned on the main page first. Just so you don't suddenly get lost.




That's about it. Anything else you think I need to mention or add? Send it to nightshadow@rpgamer.com