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Re-igniting the publishing engine

Posted by Gaiiden, in GDNet 22 January 2011 · 329 views

Let's talk about how to submit articles, how they are reviewed and ultimately how they are published on the site.

But first, a few notes:

  • The Feedback tab has been shrunk and shoved down the page, but it's still the best and easiest way to report issues to the site besides going straight to the Problem Tracker. Either way, keep sending stuff in!
  • If you don't have a specific issue, and just want to banter about the site design, express opinions and share thoughts, the layout feedback thread is still open and I check it regularly.
  • I've just today anointed our 50th moderator - all bow to swiftcoder - Lord of the Alternative Game Libraries forum. May he live long and prosper!
  • While I am featuring this journal entry on the main page today, tomorrow will begin regular daily cycling of featured journal posts to the front page from the rest of the community. So step up your game people! Journal posts will remain featured at the top of the Journal Land main page for three days.
Publishing with GDNet - the old model

In the past, articles that wanted to be published on the site were submitted via email or a web form that would place them before me. I would take these drafts/outline/completed works and accept or reject them simply on the basis of being a proper fit for the website (i.e. an article on game development and not on gaming). Then I would assign the article to an editor on the Editorial Review Board. These editors would review the article for technical accuracy and work with the author to resolve any problems with code, sources, or wording of techniques. Then the article would return to me and I would do a final copy edit to catch any grammar mistakes that came from the technical review. Finally the final draft would be signed off on by the author and I would publish it as a featured article on the main page.

This whole process was very internal and kept the submitted work out of the public eye for weeks or months at a time. With the new website I want to try and do things a little differently and leverage the collective knowledge of the community to help produce quality, long-lasting articles for our archives.

Publishing with GDNet - the new model

So lets start at the beginning - you have an idea for an article. Or you even have a completed draft. Perhaps you already have the article totally done and published on your blog. So those are the three main scenarios. Here are your options:

  • Send in an email - you can writers@gamedev.net"]email me[/email] with your article or idea for an initial review.
  • Post it for peer review - you can make a topic in the Article Proposals and Requests forum, including in the main body the outline or draft of your article for the community to look over and approve (ultimately it will end here anyways - more on that later).
  • Request a link - if your article is already hosted on your blog, we can simply link to it so that it appears in our Resources listing and takes people straight to your website. Note, however, that we do not feature Front Page articles as links.
If you decide to have the article hosted here on the website rather than linked to on your external blog (note that I am not referring to Developer Journals here), then regardless of whether you send it in via email or post it in the forum that is where the article is eventually going to end up. Sending in via email might just save you the trouble of creating a forum topic, or let me give you additional guidance on the content before you post it up - either way it is a step that is not required of you.

Once your article content is up in the forum, the GDNet community will be able to descend upon it and offer their feedback. You will also be assigned an editor from the Editorial Review Board who will be in charge of technical review of your article as well as helping you integrate any useful feedback you receive from the community in response to your posting. The topic will be pinned to the forum so people can see it is under review.

Editing your article is as simple as editing the original topic that you created. Throughout the editing process it is important to keep in mind that the formatting you use will be exactly the same as the formatting that will appear when the article is finally published to the front page.

Once the editor is happy with the content, I'll do my copy edit pass and then the article will be scheduled to be posted on to the main page. When posting, the system will take the content that is in the main topic body and translate that directly over to the article system. Once there the we can continue to make edits as needed as time passes to keep the article up to date. The original thread in the forum will be closed.

This week I'm going to be working with the ERB on getting some of the back-logged articles in the old system from Nov-Dec 2010 up into the forum for processing so we can get some of those published by the end of the month. As that goes on, hopefully people with ideas or interests will start submitting topics as well to the forum. I expect there will be some retooling as this process is actually carried our for the first time - any updates I will post here.

For additional publishing tips and information, please see the Article Proposals and Requests forum FAQ.

Does this mean that the community also takes up the process of an initial editor in order to flesh out and debate the content of an article before it even hits the editorial process. Sounds kinda cool to have the content fleshed out by the community before it ever hits the front page.

Would be an improvement from the previous process. That alway took way too long.
Glad to hear there's progress!

The articles section has an ADD ARTICLE button on it. I don't see this in your post. Should it be used? If not, i suggest removing the button. If so, please explain what to do with it.

I already submitted an article via the button, complete with teaser paragraph and front page image. :blink: Should it be reposted to the articles forum? (It's already been reviewed and edited many times over the years. It's not a newly written piece, but is an unpublished piece.)

The articles section has an ADD ARTICLE button on it. I don't see this in your post. Should it be used? If not, i suggest removing the button. If so, please explain what to do with it.

Yea that's a good point - I forgot about that. I'll have to see about getting it removed or at least make it link to the forum posting page or something...
You might consider having the content that is submitted via the ADD ARTICLE button go directly to the forum instead. Then you can work with what is already provided by the system instead of working against it. Perhaps there is some way to display articles that are in limbo for community review instead of using the forums (?)

I'm saying this because the whole submission process via the ADD ARTICLE button was very smooth and i'm sure it is already nicely integrated with the whole publishing pipeline. Seems a shame to totally ignore it.