SteemNews.Online: One Agenda - The Truth Without Bias * Challenges and Solutions *

SteemNews.Online (@steemnews.online) is Steemit’s answer to the disinformation, misinformation, propaganda and brainwashing that has become the standard of modern journalism. With the help of Steemit journalists and curators, SteemNews.Online will provide timely, informative and accurate information on current events.

Our first week of attempting to dial things in provided several challenges and, as you can see, resulted in at least one significant change.

One Significant Change

In case you weren’t there for round one, we got new digs. The original name was Steemit News. Pretty terrific name, isn’t it?
Well, there were two main concerns, both of which we should have foreseen, but were probably too excited about getting things going. The two concerns were:

  1. It’s not Steemit Inc - By adopting the name we could promote the illusion that we’re an official Steemit Inc project.
  2. Trademark Infringement - Steemit is a trademark name. As such, it’s inappropriate for any effort that isn’t an official Steemit Inc project to bear the name.

To be clear, we weren’t contacted by Steemit Inc. This was a move we pursued proactively in order to avoid any concerns later on. It’s far easier to fix at this stage than after we gain momentum.

Good Journalism is Hard to Find

Steemit has a lot of great writers. Topics and styles vary widely. That’s good.
A lot of people write about news without reporting. The tendency is to do one of three things:

  • A link and possibly an image and/or short comment about what it’s about (#newslink)

  • Discuss an event with personal perspective as part of the article. This is more of an OpEd (which we do feature from time to time - see below under “Opinion”)

  • #til articles. These are great and very helpful, but not generally suitable for a news publication. Some of the articles actually would be great for SteemNews.Online, if they focused on the facts rather than the TIL aspect of it. Maybe we should include a #til section?
    We do have a couple of members who’ve been producing pretty consistently

WordPress Doesn’t Like Steemit’s Markdown

This is causing a few headaches.
There is a plugin we’re using to convert, but some of the code simply doesn’t get changed in the process. This includes images showing up at times while at other times only the urls show up. This may be related to hotlinking, but so far we haven’t nailed it down.
Other problems seem to arise when html is mixed with markdown code, especially when in the middle of the article.

Hotlinking is a Thing, But Not a Good Thing

Hotlinking is when you take the image address from Pixabay or one of the other sites and simply post it in Steemit. For some reason, it works. But it’s not supposed to. Many sites have implemented code that’s supposed to keep it from working.
If you want your article to readily post on another site, this might cause problems. It’s one of the issues we’re facing. A nice looking post turns to words and urls on our site because of hotlinking.
We don’t think there’s a solution on our end. Rather, it’ll require a change on the authors’ side. Perhaps Steemit’s code will eventually honor the policy of these other sites. But, for now, it just is what it is - all part of the learning curve.

Opinion (OpEd)

Our effort to find good news articles is resulting in a realization that we have a ton of opinion pieces on Steemit. Therefore, we’ve opened an opinion section on the site, which will get fed with anything that has #opinion as a tag, at least for now.

Tags Are Great, Except When They Aren’t

Over the past week+ we’ve been watching the #news as well as the #steemitnews tags for good material to feature. But sometimes great news articles don’t include the #news tag.
We’re used to just using whatever tags we want, which is fine for us here. But when folks are narrowing it down topically, we’re sort of all over the map, except for a few specific tags.
When trying to set the feeds into some sort of order, without having to tag each article individually, it can become tough to dial things in. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for your articles, if you would like to see them on SteemNews.Online.

Try to Put the Tags in Some Sort of Hierarchical Order

If you use a location, use a continent tag too. For instance, if you’re article is about Brazil, include #southamerica before #brazil (or #brasil, if you prefer). Try using the broadest tag first, with the narrowest one last, unless compelled to do otherwise for some reason.

#news first

If it’s a news piece, start with #news, then add other tags accordingly.

#newslink first

If it’s just a link without comment, or with a short comment and perhaps an image, this is the best choice.

#steemnews first

This is what we’re looking for. These are articles that we’ll read carefully and feature in the main section of the site, in addition to upvoting and resteeming.

Current Category Menu

  1. #steemnews (This is our featured section and only published in this section manually)
  2. #news (Secondary section - feeds automatically)
  3. #newslink (A third section that’s less noticeable - feeds automatically)
  4. We are considering adding an #opinion section here, if enough opinion articles start coming through. Currently, though there is a TON of opinion on Steemit, the tag is rarely used.

Current Tag Menu

  1. World
    a. Africa
    b. Asia
    c. Europe
    d. North America
    e. Oceania
    f. South America
  2. Science
  3. Technology
  4. Health
  5. Money
  6. Cryptocurrency
  7. Opinion

Using tags strategically can go a long way toward getting your articles noticed by those interested in the particular topic. While this may not mean a great deal for the initial payout, it could help with the subsequent payout and get you more followers.

SPAM!!

We got our first spam on the new site this week. It was an exciting moment of affirmation!

Featured Articles

These have a prominent spot on the site and will only include those resteemed by the @steemnews.online account. Beginning soon, SteemNews.Online will be monitoring only articles that include the #steemnews tag. If you want to be included, please begin using it right away, but...

For #steemnews curation and publication, we’re only looking for particularly excellent content. So, while the website will include all #news and #newslink articles, the focus and attention will be on featuring excellent and insightful content.

So we have three levels of participation:

  • Include the #newslink tag - This is for short-form articles that only have a few words plus a link to the source. It can be as short as the title and just a link in the content or as long as a couple of paragraphs of commentary. Please don’t use this link if you are including more than a couple of paragraphs though.
  • Include the #news tag - This is already a very popular tag, so there’s not much more to it. This can include the short-form content such as #newslink, but will only be featured in one or the other section. Duplicate content will not be posted in both sections. The system is currently random in regard to the order it receives articles, so if you use both tags, it could end up in either.
  • Include the #steemnews tag - These articles will be reviewed by SteemNews.Online editors for content, grammar, layout and other traits that characterize professional journalism.

If we notice abuse of these tags (spamming, blatant promotion, etc) or content that is undesirable for our readership, we'll put a block on that account being able to have content reposted on the website.

What we’re looking for

  • Include the #steemnews tag
  • Relevant informative articles
  • Original content - Obviously sources can be quoted and you may post your articles wherever you desire. But if Cheetah catches it, most likely we’ll pass it over.
  • Excellent use of English (other languages will hopefully be included soon) - The best articles are those where nobody notices the grammar. Of course, there are exceptions when one is making a specific point or there’s a creative aspect to it. But grammatical mistakes stand out to readers, diluting their perception of the quality of the content.
  • Spelling accuracy - A misspelled word can be overlooked once in awhile, but with modern editing programs such as Word or even Google Docs, every questionable word gets highlighted anyway. Please take the time to get this right if you're using the #steemnews tag.
  • No profanity - This isn’t censoring so much as setting a standard. Generally, except in quotations, profanity is superfluous. This includes shorthand, such as WTF, OMG, etc. The use of these isn’t helpful to insightful and well written content.
  • No short-form - If you can say all you need in just a few sentences, please settle for the #newslink or other short-form tag.
  • TIL or similar content will not be considered - Feel free to use the #news tag for those though, if you consider them newsworthy.
  • Newslink, SteemNews or similar shouldn't be in the title
  • The article must “conclude” - That doesn’t mean you have to write a conclusion. It means that it needs to finish filling in the details rather than simply saying something along the lines of, “For the rest of the story, go to this www.link.com”. Please feel free to post a list of sources so readers can investigate further if they want, but don’t make it necessary for the reader to research more for a sense of closure. That’s fine for short-form and #newslink, but is lazy for journalism.

NOTE: There are exceptions, but exceptions are EXCEPTIONAL.

It is our anticipation that the #steemnews tag will become very popular, especially as our readership grows. This will create what we hope is an ever-growing workload. With this in mind, we’ll be implementing a few policies to help us use our time and resources wisely. Two specific steps will be taken to help us in this endeavor.

Featured Authors

If you become a regular contributor and earn the trust of SteemNews.Online, we will provide you with the ability to post content directly to the site without our curation and you will have your own profile on the site. You will also have access to the SteemNews.Online private channel so we can collaborate.

Muted Authors

On the other side of the coin, if a user’s content continues to be passed over on account of the same reasons, we will likely mute that user so as to not waste time.

Editing Advice

One last point - If you use the #steemnews tag, we will assume that you are drawing our attention and therefore open to critique. If we see your content is almost good enough, or if it’s even good enough but could use some improvements, we may comment to point out some things to make it better.

If you desire to have your own column, please let us know in the comments.
We'll contact you to discuss your idea.

What to expect in the future

  • A logo contest (Watch this space, same time next week!)
  • The website to be ready for regular viewing
  • An integrated Discord channel on the site.
  • Newsletter services

What you can do now

As with so many efforts to expand and build upon the Steemit community, this is a bootstrapped effort. Your support of @steemnews.online is invaluable.

  • LOGO - Start working on a logo, if you’re so inclined. We’ll outline the details on Dec 19. All liquid Steem from this post and all posts between now and the reward will go toward the logo contest. Let’s see how valuable we can make it!
  • Journalism - Work on your journalism skills, if becoming a contributor interests you.
  • Curation, contribution and promotion - If you already have good journalism skills, please start using the #steemnews tag so we can curate, resteem and publish your content on the new site. We will be monitoring it immediately.

Thank you for reading and your encouragement in this endeavor. With your help, we look forward to making SteemNews.Online a valuable news resource.

Your editors,

SteemNews.Online

LOGO GOES HERE!!

Images: Pixabay and GIPHY
This post prescheduled using Ladder.net

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