Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Or how to get featured
Published on April 28, 2004 By Draginol In Blogging

This issue occasionally comes up and will almost certainly come up again in the future. That is, how does one go about getting something they've written on the home page of JoeUser.com.

There is no simple answer to this. Instead, the best I can do is provide some general tips on two basic things: a) How the feature system works and How to make a good article.

How the feature system works today

Right now JoeUser.com hasn't even officially been launched. We've been tidying up features here and there and figuring out things like the revenue model so that the site will be self-sustaining.

The way the featured article system is designed to work in the future is that articles that get a lot of points via "insightful" or "interesting". ratings in a short amount of time will automatically get featured. Each user has their own access level. There are 9 of them between Citizen (1) and Admin (9). The higher the access you have, the more points your "insightful" rating gives. As time goes on, users will move up the ladder in access. Access increases are given by admins. Users like Bakerstreet, Stevenadlous, Jeblackstar and others have already moved up from citizen to "Power user" (1 to 2). Eventually there will be enough users with high access that the aforementioned system will be able to be put into place.

In the meantime, articles are featured by me manually. I don't make any claims of objectivity. I feature articles based on what I think other people will find interesting. The goal, after all, is to attract more people to the site. Based on the phenomenal growth of this site it seems to be working reasonably well so far.

Good writing suggestions

Each day dozens of new articles get written. I don't have time to read them all. So here are some quick tips:

  • Make titles that are descriptive. Many articles get passed by because they have titles like "Thoughts" or "Another day" or whatever. The first step to getting featured is getting someone who can feature your article to choose it in the first place to read which means having an article title that is descriptive.
  • Use the sub-header. If you want to have a clever article title that isn't descriptive, then use the sub-header to describe what the article is about.
  • Write about something specific. Lots of articles I read here meander all over the place and it's not clear what they're supposed to be about. Remember, you can always write several different blog entries rather than have one giant one each day.
  • Formatting. I can't tell you how many times I've read something really good only to balk at featuring it because it was unreadable. Wacky font choices and other poor formatting choices can make something visually difficult to read.
  • Paragraphs. Paragraphs are your friend. Use them. It's amazing how many people will write a single gigantic article. Doesn't matter how good it is, break up your article every few sentences based on context.
  • Don't alienate the featurer. This is the one place where bias does play a role. There are people who write things that are so far out there that I tend to just not read what they write. You may be certain that the media is "government controlled" or that "Bush was behind 9/11" or that the "Democrats are putting drugs in the water." Feel free to write about whatever you want. But I reserve the right to not visit blogs that routinely write what seems crazy to me. Sorry, there's just too much to go through and I would agree that we're all poorer off by not checking in occasionally to see if something more mainstream has popped in there.
  • Same as above but in terms of personally attacking me. I'm amazed at the energy some people put into their blogs in attacking me personally. To what end? We're providing you with a free blog. Sure, some of my articles may offend you. They are, afterall, designed to be provocative. I turn up the "gamma" when I write in an effort to make the article more interesting. But the sheer volume of people who write blogs that insult me personally is not constructive. I just end up not reading those blogs which again, because of the way the featuring system works, means those articles won't get featured. Sorry, I'm human. I don't like to read people calling me the Gastapo commander or a "liberal freak" or a "right wing kook" anymore than anyone else does so I avoid those sites. 

So there are some basic tips. I try to spend a few minutes each evening looking for things to feature. The more stuff other peopel write, the less stuff I have to write.

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Apr 28, 2004
Thank you Brad. I may try and put some of those tips to use. I probably won't do too well, but I'll try anyway.

A while back I made a few articles asking you for help and it seemed as if you weren't interested in helping me. I tried to get others' opinions but all I got was... Well, nothing. I think it took you about a week, at best, for you to respond to them. I didn't think the title seemed bashing or anything like that so could you explain why you didn't respond to them?

I know you have now but it's the thought that you took so long to reply. If I see my name in a title, I'm at least going to check out what the title says. Do you understand what I'm saying? Well, I hope so, because if not than I just wasted 3 minutes on nothing.

Capt. over and out!
on Apr 28, 2004

One problem I know of is people contacitng me via email. I get (and I am not exagerrating) somewhere between 600 to 900 email per day. Most of that is spam, but that still leaves a good 100 to 150 per day that I have to read and answer. I tend to just forward JoeUser stuff to support since I just can't afford to spend time on that.

You have an interesting blog site. Like most blogs, your articles are about thoughts and interests of your daily life. Which is good. That's the whole point of a blog. But they're not really things that would be of interest to other people as a general truth. They're things that would interest your friends and family for sure.

Being featured on the home page isn't some big honor or anything. In fact, from a points point of view, it isn't even that great because you only get 1/10th of a point (you share the point with the other 10 articles on the page).  The best that can be said is that more people (a lot more) will read what you write. The question is, is that really the goal? How many people do you want to know your feelings about cheese or what you did in Canada?

on Apr 28, 2004
Good post. I suppose I should insult you about something so I don't appear to be worshipping you (if you know what I'm talking about) so let's see... you forgot one of the "d"s in stevendadelous - or however he writes it. Either way, there's an extra "d"... I think.

Could you write an update on what you have in mind for things like "kudos" (you were thinking before about some sort of an award for the 100th blog, 10,000th point, etc), how user levels will increase, etc? My e-mail attempts have been thus far unsuccessful (for all the obvious reasons), and I have a feeling that others would be interested as well. Thanks.

~Buddha
on Apr 29, 2004
The question is, is that really the goal? How many people do you want to know your feelings about cheese or what you did in Canada?


You have no idea. I would love for more people to see what I have to say about cheese and llamas. I'd especially like for people to know what I did in Canadia (that's what we call it around here ).

Thanks for the info though, anyways.

how user levels will increase, etc?


Yes, please inform us?

Capt. over and out!
on Apr 29, 2004
Interesting article Brad. In my short time here I have been "fortunate" (I don't really know what word to use) to have a couple articles appear on the front page. And it is almost humorous how little the points from those affect your overall score. I suppose I usually try to follow those suggestions anyway just out of default, but I also suppose making it to the front page isn't really my "goal". So I will keep writing the silly sort of stuff I write now.

Good read nonetheless.
on Apr 29, 2004
So I will keep writing the silly sort of stuff I write now.


I don't think that what you write is silly.

on Apr 29, 2004
Why thank you dharmagrl. You are very kind.
on Apr 29, 2004
Thanks Brad. This helps. I'll go and edit some things and see what I come up with. I think these are just good points for greater lucidity.
on Apr 29, 2004
I knew those Democrats were putting drugs in the water!



Seriosuly, good article. Many people feel overwhelemed or what have you and your article gives alot of good advice. Thanks!
on Apr 29, 2004
I still can't see my penis!
on Jan 24, 2006
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on Jan 24, 2006
Good read.
on Jan 24, 2006
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on Feb 02, 2006
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on Feb 16, 2006
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