Who can participate?

Anyone over the age of 17 can participate and add content to the web site once they are registered.  If we can work out the issues of allowing younger writers to submit we will do so and announce it here.

You do not have to register with us to read content, in fact we want as many people to share content as possible.  To post an article or post a like for an article you must register with us.  Otherwise, just enjoy the thoughts and discussions.

How do I prepare content for submission?

There are several ways to prepare an article for submission.  For us straightforward is always easiest and we use Microsoft WORD as our platform.  Documents are easily composed in WORD and usually people have the spellcheck turned on as a default.  But WORD also has a grammar checker which is often disabled.

Grammar checking can be turned on by following these instructions from Microsoft.  WORD Grammar and Spelling

WORD is a worldwide standard for document formatting and if you use another word processing program that can save content in a WORD format that also works.  We will accept articles in either DOCX or DOC format which will cover current and prior versions of WORD.  WORD is also available for both Windows and Mac PC’s.  Other WORD formatted formats such as DOCM and DOCB are not accepted since these can contain macros.

Although less desirable, we will take written submissions in Adobe PDF format.

There are other programs that purport to create WORD and Adobe Acrobat formatted documents, but we cannot guarantee that compatibility on our side.

What about images?

We do not accept images as a part of a submission.  We will add one of our choosing to help draw the reader’s attention to the article.  Prior to posting your article we will return a draft that includes notes on any concerns on content with a suggested image.  We choose images that are in keeping with our overall content theme and that we feel are representative of the discussion.  You have the option to recommend that we delay publishing an article if the recommended image is not to your liking.

How does one participate?

Anyone over the age of 17 can participate and add content to the web site.  All one needs is access to a computer and the internet, and a desire to communicate.  We know of few if any who do not have internet access at this point, so that should not be a limiting factor.

WORD documents can be submitted to by clicking this link and attaching your WORD submission.  You can also submit content by going to the Submission link in the menu, filling out the form, and attaching your WORD document.

We are considering opening this forum up to younger participants, but there are issues to work through first.

Do you accept mail-in submissions?

We do not accept mail-in submissions because the cost of handling them is just too high.  These would need to be transcribed and checked for spelling, grammar, and other parameters.  The purpose of this exercise it to have the participants prepare and submit content that they believe is free from spelling errors, grammatically correct, and fairly conveys the point they are seeking to make.

What is excluded?

Our objective here is to encourage good, intelligent, grammatically correct content.  This is an exercise in how good one can do, not how low one can go.  Because we will have young readers everyone is asked to keep the conversation to a level you would want your own children to read.  We are not speaking of the depth of thought but the vocabulary.

There are times when quotations contain objectionable material, and we only ask that it be properly sited as a quote and kept to a minimum.  There are some commonsense rules that govern our collective deportment as a society.  When we feel these are violated, we will raise our hand.

One cannot advocate for illegal or immoral behaviors as defined in the law.  For example, we would not accept an article advocating widespread use of illegal drugs, or a call for civil disobedience, or illegal activities as defined by Federal, State, or Local governments.  There are numerous social platforms where you can have those discussions and debates.  The decision to reject an article for publication will be explained to the submitter, but when we reject one on those grounds our decision is final.

We believe that if you are conveying a serious thought or concept, and the only way you can do so is to garner attention through profanity, you do not really have anything worth reading.

How long does an article need to be?

Our own experience is that newspapers often limit submissions to about 350 words.  This is a struggle for complex issues, but it does make one choose their words with care.  We are imposing a range of at least 250 words and no more than 1,500 words.  Why?

For complex issues such as finance or technology more words are needed to fully explain the writer’s point.  But if an article goes above 1,500 words, we believe we are reaching the limits of the reader’s attention span.

Below 250 words we might argue that one is not much over the point-counterpoint scenario we are seeking to avoid.  Few of us can make brief, impactful statements like Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in only 237 words.

What information do you store on me personally?

We will store the absolute minimum of information needed to accomplish our mission.  Some of these are obvious, some perhaps not so obvious.

We store your first and last name, State of residence, email address, and age range (Boomer, Gen-X, etc.).  Over time we will associate submitted articles with your ID so that we can provide search capabilities within the site and some brief analysis.

We also use an email service to facilitate the sending of news emails.  They store First and Last Name, and email address only.  You do not have to sign up with us and become a member to receive email notifications.

We do not sell information, period!

What about security?

We maintain security on the web site in accordance with normal best practices.  Since the web site is open for all to read there can be no content theft protection.  This is a common issue on the Internet and we, like you, would hope that anyone who finds the content helpful will cite the article as the original source.  

No article carries the author’s name, only your requested avatar.  The exception to this policy is a request by the author to identify them or an article where the author’s identity is integral to the story.  An example would be writing about a public figure as a sibling or descendent (a descendant of President Jefferson writing as a descendent and where identification adds validity to the topic).

Do you use bots to screen content or interact with submitters?

No, we are real people with no interest in bots.  If in the future, we use bots to screen on-line submissions for profanity that change will be noted here.  We do use the spelling and grammar capabilities within Microsoft WORD and the additional EDITOR software.

We cannot prevent the use of bots from search engines such as Bing, Google, and the like.  The writer should keep in mind that once something hits the internet it can be there for a long time.  We are neither unique nor protected in this connected world.

What is your review process?

Once received every submission is reviewed using Microsoft WORD.  We use this as a platform to easily catch errors, and we encourage everyone to do the same.  This reduces conflicts in reviews and speeds up the process.  We also process all submissions through Microsoft EDITOR which provides a second level of check against plagiarism.  On the Internet statements or information are repeated so many times that the source is lost.  To the degree possible this provides a rapid search for us off the same terms if they have been published.

Every submission is reviewed, and it is our goal to provide you with a response no later than 48 hours after the document is received.  If we decide that a document is inappropriate, we will note why, and the author can decide if they would like to make changes and resubmit.

If the 48-hour turnaround time becomes an issue it will be announced on the web site on the landing page.

Is there a fee for participation?

There is no fee for participation, only a requirement that you register to submit content.