Starting a new discussion: how to give your topic the best chance of being selected
Thanks for your interest in starting a new discussion topic.
When you submit your topic it is not published automatically but is stored with all the others until the moderators have had chance to look at them all and decide which ones to post.
Sometimes this happens within a couple of hours, sometimes it may take a few days: it varies, depending on the number of topics submitted, moderator availability, etc. We won’t write and let you know if your topic hasn’t been selected, but generally speaking, if it hasn’t appeared within 3-4 days, you should probably assume it isn’t going to.
If this happens in your case, don’t worry: most days we receive about 5 times as many submissions as we are able to publish, so only a relatively small proportion of the total will make it through.
There are a few things you can do to increase the chances of your topic being selected:
- Most importantly, please check first to see whether we already have a thread on this topic, or have recently had one. If we have, please submit your thoughts as a comment on one of those instead.
- Ensure your topic is in keeping with the purpose of this website, which is the promotion of reason and science.
- Like anyone else, we like articles which capture our interest early on. Try to make sure there is something fresh and original in your submission: something that is likely to trigger interesting discussion. Avoid rehashing topics that have been done to death unless you have something genuinely fresh to bring to them.
- Please don't use the Discussions section for submitting news stories to the site. You can do that by emailing the URL of the news story to email@example.com Even if your submission is really intended for the Discussions section, and not News, please don't just submit a link on its own but write something to explain what it’s about, why it’s of interest, something to get the discussion started. If linking to a text somewhere else, include the text in your submission.
- Try to make sure it’s written properly. We don’t mind tidying up the odd spelling or grammar mistake, but if your submission is full of them, it is likely to be rejected. But don’t worry if English is not your first language or there is some other reason why this is difficult for you – let us know at the start of your topic (don’t worry, we’ll remove that bit before we publish your discussion), and we’ll obviously be sympathetic.
- Similarly, try to make sure that the point you are trying to make is expressed clearly, so it is immediately obvious what you are trying to say. Breaking it up into appropriate paragraphs also helps.
- Make sure you have included references and sources where appropriate. Don’t ask users to comment on hearsay.
- Don’t include comments which could be considered defamatory.
- Don’t post questions that you could find answers to yourself by doing a simple Google search or by doing some elementary reading.
- Don’t include any form of advertising, whether it is for a commercial service or your personal blog.
Although we cannot guarantee that any submission will be selected, if you follow these guidelines you will definitely be in with a better chance.
One final thing: we reserve the right to edit your submission, to correct spelling or grammar mistakes, or to improve the clarity of it. We may also change the subject line to make the topic clearer. We will not, however, intentionally change your meaning or the point you are trying to make.
"Creator comments" is a place for you to enter notes as to why you think this discussion topic should be posted. This is not visible to readers and is only seen by the moderators.