Writing Articles for TheServerSide.com

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News: Writing Articles for TheServerSide.com

  1. Writing Articles for TheServerSide.com (24 messages)

    Writing articles for TSS is a lot like writing anything else, with the main differences being that you have fewer limitations, and thus even more chances to lose your audience. There's really no limit on the topics TSS considers for publication. TSS has traditionally looked for more advanced topics, but there's a need for information on all programmer's levels. TSS' demographics cover the entire spectrum of experience, and occasionally there are very simple issues of which that even more experienced programmers don't seem to be aware. When you write an article, it's being written for posterity. Thus, write it as well as you can. You want to be very clear, and you want to make sure you're not assuming things on the part of your audience. Don't say things in passing. Be specific. Your audience doesn't have the time or interest to try to figure out what you meant. Trying to be fancy will only make you less effective as a writer. There's no issue with having a personality or a style in your writing, but if the dominant feature in your writing is your style (and not the content itself) then you're going to lose your audience. Losing your audience is a bad thing. The first sentence in your article is by far the most important. It needs to communicate why a given article should be read. If that one sentence is not effective, your article will start off with a smaller audience, because you will lose readers immediately. The first sentence in each paragraph is also important. On the web, readers tend to scan more than read. If you put the topic sentence after the first sentence in the paragraph, chances are good that the readers will not reach it. They will have moved on to the next paragraph, or perhaps they will have stopped reading altogether. It is all right if the subject of a paragraph cannot be completed in one sentence, but the topic sentence should be enough to communicate what the paragraph means. If the reader wants more explanation, the rest of the paragraph exists to provide it. Short sentences are good. Long sentences are fun to write, and they are often quite natural for authors, but they are not efficient for web readers to scan. Don't use emphasis techniques like bold or italics any more than you absolutely need. If you feel that bold is necessary to make your point, then it's likely that your sentence or paragraph is organized poorly. Highlights like bold or italics draw the eye, long after the bold text is read, and the highlights actually lower comprehension. Code samples are great, and usually required, but make them clear and complete. References to third party sources are all right, but the readers are best served by full code. Boilerplate code, like accessors and mutators, can be ignored with a comment, but it could be more effective if you used properties directly for simplicity. Remember that writing an article is still writing. The writing process rarely lends itself to single drafts. It can happen, but it's rare, and usually not effective. For efficiency and good writing style, follow a set of simple tips:
    • Make an outline.
    • If the first sentence of a given paragraph isn't enough to understand what the paragraph is about, rewrite the paragraph.
    • Make sure the article matches your premise! If the subject of the article is "Object Databases and Efficiency," don't spend half your text discussing the failures of relational databases. Talk about object databases and efficiency instead.
    • Make sure your spelling is correct.
    • If you use a word processor that provides grammar checking, you should allow it to suggest changes. Check your reading level, Flesch scores, and other data. The average reader wants to read at a sixth-grade level. If you consistently score much higher, your article will be hard to read. On the web, 'hard to read' usually means 'unread.' (This document received a Flesch-Kincaid grade level score of 7.8, for example.)
    • Have people read your draft, and listen to every suggestion they offer. Don't offer it only to experts; offer it to willing newbies, too. It's all right to decide not to use suggestions, but your readers are going to think of those suggestions as well. Constructive criticism is good, especially if it's received before the article is published.
    • Avoid parentheticals like the plague (the plague is bad, no matter which plague it is.) If you have to use parentheticals, go ahead, but try hard to not overuse them. (They're hard to read, and break the flow of text. Plus, they're annoying.)
    TSS accepts articles in nearly any known format. You can use MS Word, OpenOffice.org, HTML, PDF, ASCII text, anything. Please, no EBCDIC. The preferred formats are Word, HTML, and OpenOffice.org, because the conversion process for publication is far easier. A news post is associated with every article. It's not required on your part to do anything here, as a contributing author, but it's very helpful if you try to write a summary for your article to go on the front page. Every author should also have a bio. A bio is a short block of text saying what you want people to know about you. It's not required, of course, but it's nice to have. Send article submissions to jottinger at techtarget dot com. Note that this address has aggressive spam filters, and even so, a lot of irrelevant content gets through. If your submission doesn't get a reply, assume it's a mistake on the part of the editor and send a nasty email. It's not expected that you manage the publication process, but it always helps to have the author be aggressive about being published. Hopefully, this has shed some light on the publication requirements for TheServerSide for you.

    Threaded Messages (24)

  2. Why?[ Go to top ]

    Why would someone write an article for TSS when they could simply post it on their own personal website or blog? Theoretically an article on TSS would receive more traffic, but it's fairly common for TSS to post news items linking to blogs or articles posted elsewhere so if someone managed to be linked to it would have the same effect.
  3. Re: Why?[ Go to top ]

    Why would someone write an article for TSS when they could simply post it on their own personal website or blog?

    Theoretically an article on TSS would receive more traffic, but it's fairly common for TSS to post news items linking to blogs or articles posted elsewhere so if someone managed to be linked to it would have the same effect.
    Perfectly fair question. Visibility is important, when it comes to information. Having a central location for stuff is necessary, when it comes to the web - the success of Google is an example of that. But TSS links to things, whether it's hosted on TSS or not, as you've pointed out. You could always post it to your own blog; feel free to do so! TSS definitely links to things found interesting. But... note that if it's on your blog, TSS might not find it. TSS *definitely* finds content on its own site. In addition, stuff posted on a blog is usually less "professional" than stuff hosted on a site like TSS; a blog doesn't go through editorial review or commentary, and that actually comes through for readers, too. So the benefits: readership, notoriety, editorial review. Those may not be worth much to you, in the world of new media. That's fine, but TSS obviously is of the opinion that those are valuable contributions. Plus, you never know: you might get paid. :)
  4. Plus, you never know: you might get paid. :)
    Why do you smile? If money puts smile on your face, it does so on everybody else too. If money makes you happy, go work for yourself or for someone else than TechTarget. What are your options, flat ass Joseph? Leave TSS.
  5. Plus, you never know: you might get paid. :)

    Why do you smile? If money puts smile on your face, it does so on everybody else too. If money makes you happy, go work for yourself or for someone else than TechTarget. What are your options, flat ass Joseph? Leave TSS.
    Pardon me? I smiled (well, used the smiley emoticon) because I thought it was a good thing. Money is a means to an end, and hey, I need it as much as you do. What makes you think that money "makes me happy" and that working for myself or someone other than TechTarget is the solution? Why should I leave TSS? I mean, I know there're some people who want me to for various reasons, but "flat ass Joseph?" What I was saying was that being paid was a possibility when you write for TSS. Is there a problem with that?
  6. Your two consecutinve sentences are:
    I need money as much as you do.
    What makes you think that money "makes me happy"
    What is that? Pure confusion in your mind? You don't have to leave TSS if you don't have to. But, if you continue to be with TechTarget, your income is always limited no matter how hard and fast you write. You can pour your heart, blood and sweat in getting up early for TechTarget, checking TSS servers and availability, taking care of your regular 8-hr work and checking for new messages continuously and replying to them in time - but YOU WILL NEVER BE PAID WORTH ENOUGH FOR YOUR EFFORTS FOR TECHTARGET. Period. What are your options really, flat ass Joseph? Why you waste your talent for TechTarget? Think about it, really.
  7. You're right: two consecutive sentences, "I need money as much as you do," and "what makes you think money makes me happy?" Logically, need and happiness are two different things. I need oxygen. Oxygen doesn't make me happy. As far as what my options are... perhaps you should consider a few things. I'm not operationally responsible for the TSS servers. I don't wake up and check whether they're online or not. If they're not, I'll usually know, and tell operations, but that's not my primary responsibility. As far as whether I'm paid enough for my efforts... well, thank you, I'll forward that to the people who determine my pay. :) But my goals for being on TSS aren't purely financial. Money doesn't make me happy, and a large part of what I do on TSS *does* make me happy. The reward isn't financial only. Besides, where would you rather have me waste my talent?
  8. I'll forward that to the people who determine my pay.
    Can you show this same sentence to your Mom or to your dear wife? It will put tears to their eyes. As long as your are programmed in your mind that somebody else determines your pay, you are never signing in front of your check but signing always in the back. That way, you are really never in control of your life. I know, people get carried away by the recognition they get. You get a lot of recognition at TSS. But how much of that recognition really puts you in control of your life? You are young and you have a whole lot of life in front of you. I am sure, you don't want to get used by TechTarget for the rest of your life, do you? I never said you don't make enough money, I said you don't get paid enough for your efforts. Your income is limited and sadly, there are other people who are making decisions for you - which car you buy, what insurance you get, which house you and your wife live in, which days of the year you can be away etc; whereas owners of TechTarget never have those questions. Even if they are away for a month, TSS will still run everyday.
    I'll forward that to the people who determine my pay.

  9. I'll forward that to the people who determine my pay.

    Can you show this same sentence to your Mom or to your dear wife? It will put tears to their eyes. As long as your are programmed in your mind that somebody else determines your pay, you are never signing in front of your check but signing always in the back. That way, you are really never in control of your life. I know, people get carried away by the recognition they get. You get a lot of recognition at TSS. But how much of that recognition really puts you in control of your life? You are young and you have a whole lot of life in front of you. I am sure, you don't want to get used by TechTarget for the rest of your life, do you? I never said you don't make enough money, I said you don't get paid enough for your efforts. Your income is limited and sadly, there are other people who are making decisions for you - which car you buy, what insurance you get, which house you and your wife live in, which days of the year you can be away etc; whereas owners of TechTarget never have those questions. Even if they are away for a month, TSS will still run everyday.

    I'll forward that to the people who determine my pay.
    I think these are really, really tasteless comments. Offering unsolicited personal advice is extremely rude private conversations, much less on a public forum.
  10. Erik Engbrecht is hit hard.[ Go to top ]

    Erik Engbrecht is hit hard by the comments in my message earlier. Truth is always bitter. There is nothing private between me and Joseph - if you are working for someone, those comments are equally applicable to a Erik Engbrecht as well. As long as your are programmed in your mind that somebody else determines your pay, you are never signing in front of your check but signing always in the back. Period.
  11. Sound good[ Go to top ]

    As long as your are programmed in your mind that somebody else determines your pay, you are never signing in front of your check but signing always in the back.
    Hmmm...always receiving money, never paying it out. Sounds good to me.
  12. I actually don't understand. The facts: 1. Gotya has a problem with a smiley. 2. Gotya has a problem with somebody else's salary and talent 3. Joseph is very polite. 4. I have the opportunity to read this. Don't like it, though. The post is about writing articles. So these lines slip a little bit from the theme. And are not polite. Not all is about money. This was about articles. So I started to read, until someone called Gotya wrote about money. Really don't understand. William
  13. Re: Why?[ Go to top ]

    If you read the posts on TSS, you will notice that the most ones are based on blog entries and refer to them. TSS is a good news aggregator for the Java world.
  14. Readiness for Submission[ Go to top ]

    How well formed should articles be prior to submitting them to TSS?
    There's really no limit on the topics TSS considers for publication. TSS has traditionally looked for more advanced topics, but there's a need for information on all programmer's levels. TSS' demographics cover the entire spectrum of experience, and occasionally there are very simple issues of which that even more experienced programmers don't seem to be aware.
    That's rather vague guidance for something as important as topic. What happens when someone puts a bunch of effort into an article only to be told the topic doesn't fit? I'd like to make a couple suggestions: 1. Create a "desired article" list so potential authors could find topics on which to write. The community should help build it. 2. Mine blogs for potential articles. You are right that blogs tend to be a lot less professional than articles, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be treated as outlines drafts.
  15. Re: Readiness for Submission[ Go to top ]

    How well formed should articles be prior to submitting them to TSS?
    Well, it's probably wise to contact us regarding a topic before writing too much.
    There's really no limit on the topics TSS considers for publication. TSS has traditionally looked for more advanced topics, but there's a need for information on all programmer's levels. TSS' demographics cover the entire spectrum of experience, and occasionally there are very simple issues of which that even more experienced programmers don't seem to be aware.
    That's rather vague guidance for something as important as topic. What happens when someone puts a bunch of effort into an article only to be told the topic doesn't fit?
    Well, hopefully, one doesn't put a ton of effort into it before that point. As far as being broad... you're right. It is very broad. That said, this is TheServerSide.com; our topic area is also very broad. I'm not sure how to limit the topics appropriately without being unfair.
    I'd like to make a couple suggestions: 1. Create a "desired article" list so potential authors could find topics on which to write. The community should help build it. 2. Mine blogs for potential articles. You are right that blogs tend to be a lot less professional than articles, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be treated as outlines drafts.
    Sure. We do mine blogs, of course, and I'm more than happy to participate in #1.
  16. Re: Readiness for Submission[ Go to top ]

    Sure. We do mine blogs, of course, and I'm more than happy to participate in #1.
    I would replace "participate" with "facilitate." After all, it should be clearly posted on TSS.
  17. Re: Readiness for Submission[ Go to top ]

    Sure. We do mine blogs, of course, and I'm more than happy to participate in #1.


    I would replace "participate" with "facilitate." After all, it should be clearly posted on TSS.
    See the value of having an editor? :)
  18. Re: Readiness for Submission[ Go to top ]

    See the value of having an editor? :)
    I think there would be tremendous value in creating what I'll call a "community driven online magazine." IMHO the rise of "social media" has severely drained the supply of thoroughly reviewed, in-depth, quality content.
  19. cool application[ Go to top ]

    Such an application would also be usefull for usergroups: "Presentations, I would like to attend"... Another feature could be, that someone offers to be a reviewer for an article, if he feels not yet fit to write the article, but knows a bit about it... Gruss Alexander
  20. Product/Release Announcements[ Go to top ]

    What are TSS’s rules for product/release announcements?
  21. Re: Product/Release Announcements[ Go to top ]

    What are TSS’s rules for product/release announcements?
    There are no hard and fast rules. If it's interesting, post why. Last week or so I wrote up some tips on writing news posts on TSS.
  22. TSS is for paying customers only?[ Go to top ]

    I must assume TSS is for paying customers only, as I see several product/release announcements, but I never see mine (jPersist/jWebApp). And I have submitted several release announcements that have been ignored.
  23. Re: TSS is for paying customers only?[ Go to top ]

    I must assume TSS is for paying customers only, as I see several product/release announcements, but I never see mine (jPersist/jWebApp). And I have submitted several release announcements that have been ignored.
    Nope. I replied in personal email, asking for more detail than you'd originally posted, since I wanted your announcement to be more effective. I got no response, but I did see another (duplicate, not as effective as it could be) post. Would you like me to post your newspost as is? Or would you like me to take the time necessary to learn how to inform potential readers of what your project does? Or would you like to act on the email that I sent you, which referred to the postings I put on TSS on how to make an effective newspost? Sorry for any snarkiness; it's not intended.
  24. I'm very sorry![ Go to top ]

    Hi Joseph, The snarkiness is my just due. I realize now that I signed up with my spam account and never saw your emails. I do appologize.
  25. Didn't get reply yet..[ Go to top ]

    Hi I sent my article to jottinger at techtarget dot com. But didn't get response yet. Where should I check for the confirmation?