T Nation

For TC: Article Submission


#1

TC:

Just a few questions that I was curious about, and that I thought others may be interested in:

1) Have you ever printed an article that you KNEW was going to be a "hit"; and it just bombed; or one that you had mariginal feelings about, posted it anyway, and it WAS a "hit" with the readers?

2) In the world of the Internet, how do you judge whether an article is well received or not? Hits? Personal e-mails from members? Other?

3) Have you ever said "Damn...that's one I should have never printed"!

4) Do articles have to go through legal scrutiny; or have you and Tim just developed a "feel" (with experience) about what will and will not past legal scrutiny?

5) As one considering an article or two, what do you look for in a good article?

Thanks!

Mufasa


#2

  1. Never ran one that I really liked that turned out to be a flop, but the opposite has happened--where one I thought was just okay turned out to be a hit.

  2. As far as how to judge whether it's a hit, it's a combination of responses and hits, but usually never just one or the other.

For instance, an article may generate a lot of hits just because of a provocative title, or because of the track record of the author. Number of responses is usually a good barometer, but sometimes a good article doesn't elicit a lot of conroversy or a lot of questions.

Either the conclusions drawn by the author were ones that everyone agreed on, or it was written so well that it answered any questions a reader might have had.

Consequently, it doesn't get a lot of emails or responses.

I guess I just know an article's successful when it happens.

  1. Have I ever said, "Damn, I shouldn't have run that one"? Sometimes, and it's usually one that proposes an outlandish dietary principle. I might have run it to get some controversy and discussion going, but sometimes, a lot of readers take it to heart and start practicing the guidelines espoused in the article and Chris and I have to spend the next two years "mopping up."

Case in point: The Warrior Diet.

  1. Do Tim and I worry about legal stuff? Sometimes I'll read something that's worrisome and ask Tim, "Think we'll get sued?" Then we'll both start laughing and run it anyhow.

  2. What do I look for in a good article? Content, content, content. An ideal article gets the reader to try a new routine, a new movement, a new diet, or a new supplement. A good article reaches some sort of conclusion. It's easy to write what I call "book reports," where the author simply writes about a topic without coming to a conclusion.

Those kinds of articles are a dime a dozen. Those kinds of writers are a dime a dozen.

If a reader takes the time to read through an article, he expects "paydirt" at the end. In other words, he's got to take home some useful information. As such, I want our writers to make deductive leaps based on the evidence. It's their job to interpret data and give the reader a solid conclusion.

That conclusion may eventually turn out to be wrong, but it's better than lacking the courage or imagination to make and defend a stance.

And then there are the "feature" articles where the reader expects to be entertained. Those don't have to teach the reader anything at all, but they should provide a diversion.

I've always wanted the site to be a blend of hard core, unique information, blended with entertainment, i.e. "infotainment."

Hopefully, we're not too far off the mark.


#3

Great stuff, TC!

Thanks!

As I was reading your reply, I thought about something else. I'm sure that new and novice writers need to be edited, and sometimes even require re-writes.

But for the major (and regular) contributors to the site...do you ever have to say "Sorry...try again..." ?

Mufasa


#4

I went back and read this "Warrior Diet" thing...

There certainly were some HUGE leaps with some of the authors assumptions.

Did the author mention that the average "Ancient Warrior" was:

a) Most likely small, mal-nourished and suffered from parasites and infectious disease?

b) Most liklely never made it out of his 20's (if he was lucky).

c) Was FAR from looking like "Arnold" in "Conan" or some "Doom" Barbarian?

I may have missed those points...

Here is the link (if you choose to post it again, TC!):

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459242

Mufasa


#5

Yeah, I like your response to #4 TC. Good for you (although I'm sure some of the lawsuits can be painful)! That's one of the key reasons I'm at this site--the ability to leap out and do something that could piss people off by dragging them out of their comfort zones. Not to mention, it's just plain funny when people get up tight.

Keep up the good work.


#6

I think to get sued (for liabel/slander) you have to say something about a person or company, or, I suppose product; this has to be stated as a fact and is beliveable enough to damage the person's reputation, and this has to be proven that the fact is false by the person.
The person also has to be known enogh so that it damages their reputaion, and the fact has to be said enough to spread it around to a number of people.

If you state it as an opinion tho, I don't think u can sue for liabel.


#7

As we're on the subject anyway, I have a couple of questions because I'm doing the Warrior Diet ...

I'll go now.


#8

it is my opinion that Nomancer is a skinny Nancy boy.


#9

Sure, even best-selling authors get feedback from trusted editors (I'm not saying I'm necessarily trusted, but you get the idea).


#10

The major problem caused by Ori's article was that it espoused going hungry all day and then pigging out at night.

That's the mess we had to repeatedly mop up for a couple of years afterwards.

And no, he didn't mention those things that you brought up.


#11

Nomancer, you're interpreting the world as it's SUPPOSED to be.

In truth, you can sue anyone for anything. You wouldn't belive some of the things we've been sued for.

We made fun of someone's advertising and got sued. We pointed out that the "before" model in an ad for a weight loss product was pregnant and not overweight from eating, and that her "after" picture merely showed her post-pregnancy self. (I knew the model.)

I'd love to tell you some more horror tales, but some of them are still dragging through the courts.

Sometimes, a company attempts to punish a smaller company by suing them for something petty. While the big company has deep pockets and it can keep a lawsuit going for years, the smaller company practicallly goes out of business trying to pay legal bills, even though the small company was in the right.

That happened to us often in the beginning.

Welcome to the wonderful world of business!


#12

TC:

You bring up an important point...

I don't think that a lot of people realize how much time, resources/money and often "emotional capital" one has to use just to DEFEND a lawsuit, (whether it is frivolous or not).

I've often wished that in some way (I'm no legal scholar, so what I wish for may be somewhat nieve)...but I've often wished that we had some kind of "legal filter" that would cut down on all the "garbage" suits. (Isn't it most, if not all, of the European countries that require you to pay if you lose a suit?)

Anyway, back to the topic!

One other question:

A lot of the articles on the site have amazing graphs, charts, illustrations, etc. Are these provided by the graphics guys, or does "The Nation" just have a computer/graphics sauvy group of contributors?

Thanks for the information, T!

Mufasa


#13

Just a "bump" for TC on that last question!

(Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions T!)

Mufasa


#14


Wait a minute!

That was a BORING "bump"...

TC would probably like THIS "bump" better!

LOL!

Mufasa


#15

YOW!

Now THAT'S how you get my attention!

Oh yeah, graphics. We have a helluva' graphics department, and they contribute to articles as necessary.

However, a good percentage of the charts and such come, as you gleaned, from the authors themselves.

So in answer to your question, there's plenty of talent all over the place.


#16

At least in Austria and Germany you pay your lawyer, the other parties lawyer and some, if not all, costs of the court in a civil case if you lose.

After that you also pay the damages you were sued for.

The real difference is though, that legal systems that are descendants of roman /tribal german law or the code napoleon do not know "punitive damages".

"Punitive damages" are a speciality of the anglo-american law system and is the main reason for "frivolous" law suits in America, at least as far as I can tell.