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Demandstudiossucks.com • View topic - Change the approach to technical articles guidelines
Page 1 of 2

Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:09 pm
by The Batman
Dear DMS:

You have a serious flaw in the guidelines for approaching technical articles. It is a flaw that CEs can exploit for an easy $3.50. You have three options for approaching these titles, supposedly listed in order of preference:

1) Describe how to do it with software the user already has. This makes sense; it's obvious why this is the best choice.

2) Tell the reader three products that can accomplish the task giving basic information about them. This also makes sense. It's a great win for you. If the title is "How to Convert AVI to MPG," any writer can easily pick three freeware programs the reader can use. Since three programs have just been mentioned without specific instructions, the reader will be inclined to click on the ads because they will be for other products that can be used to do the job. Brilliant. You can also spin off three other titles: "How to Convert AVI to MPG with product X," "How to Convert AVI to MPG with product Y," and "How to Convert AVI to MPG with product Z." These titles can be listed in the related articles giving readers yet another chance to click on an ad. It's a good deal for everyone.

3) Tell the reader in three separate sections how to complete the task with three products. This is where things fall apart. What sane writer is going to skip over the preferred option 2 to write the much more involved and time-consuming option 3? Since the directive is to use free programs whenever possible and free programs are not often well documented, this often will require the writer to download all three programs and figure them out. Why would anyone do that for $15? For some things there are not 3 free programs, so the writer would actually have to purchase the software to write the title. Who's going to do that?

Here's where the CE comes in to play. You have a few CEs who will see an article written under option 2 and send a rewrite request back demanding an option 3 article. The CE will not make any other changes to the article. It makes no sense for a writer to attempt the rewrite because option 3 is time-consuming, so it will be abandoned. Congratulations, you've just let that CE effectively steal $3.50. The writer cannot take the rewrite to the help desk; what the CE is asking doesn't need clarification. And, the help desk reflexively sides with CEs most of the time, even when the CE is obviously trying to pull a fast one. If the options are listed in order of preference, why let CE get away with overruling your stated preference?

I suggest you remove option 3 altogether. It serves no purpose other than to let a few CEs game the system. You are correct that the title "How to build a website" is not "How to build a website with product X." Keep in mind, it's also not "How to build a website with product x, y or z."

Other options include restating option 3 so that is available only in those rare circumstances when the steps to accomplish the task with each program are simple, short and obvious; and, figuring them out will not cost the writer money or more then a couple of minutes. The final option is to make the people working the help desk aware that the CE is attempting to exploit the system and slap them down appropriately when a writer complains (errrr....asks for clarification).

As it stands now, the first writer will abandon the article. Another writer will pick it up and see that it needs to be an option 2 article. It will go to another CE who will see that option 2 is appropriate and approve it. This leaves the first CE with an easy $3.50. This loophole should be plugged.

Sincerely,
The Batman

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:20 pm
by D.H.
The Guidelines do state that the options are preferred in order from one to three, as numbered.

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:20 pm
by Hancock
No need to change it...Just get rid of this guideline because it is pointless.

Thank you, Batman. This "approach" is a waste of time and makes no sense. Option 3 is just more work for writers especially me since I only write technical articles. I unclaimed so many articles because I couldn't find acceptable references even though I can download the programs myself and write the steps. I did Option 2 the other day and you explained exactly what happened to me. CE didn't change a thing in the article and told me to tell the reader how to do it. The same article was on eHow, but I spinned it my way. That CE got an easy 3.50 from me because I wasn't going to write Option 3. It was an easy article, but no, I wasn't going to write the same article twice. First and only time doing Option 2. I told one of my friends this 2 weeks ago about tech articles and used an analogy.

If I am going to order pizza, I want Domino's and my friend would say why not Papa John's and Pizza Hut? No, I want Domino's because it is my favorite pizza and I prefer it. No one is going to 3 different gas stations just to get gas. This guideline puts more work on the writers, period. The new title clarification guidelines make this more apparent. "How to Cook Tacos," you have to have three different methods to do this. They need to eliminate this. I swear, I unclaimed so many articles because one program was just enough and I had to find 2 more. It is time consuming and a slap in the face of readers and a slap in my face. I wish they would eliminate this bullshit.

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:01 am
by jekhyl
I used to love cooking articles because they are fun and allow for a little creativity. But the idea that you have to come up with 3 ways to cook something takes the fun out of it.

If I have a title like "How to Cook Foie Gras." I'm going to pick my favorite, or the way that sounds most appetizing to me. By doing so, I am more likely to imbue some life into the article because I'm writing about something that interests me.

But, they have proven time and again that they don't want interesting or lively. They want "unique" content that encourages people to click. Unfortunately, they've fallen the same "more=better" trap, where they think multiple options is the same as unique information.

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:45 am
by The Batman

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:36 am
by queenoffckall

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:04 pm
by CE_ClueBat
Don't forget when you do option 2 and the CE writes back that "you still need to give a blow by blow article" :roll:

When titles are scarce, I start doing option 2 because it's all I can do, but it fucking sucks. It's a toss up if you get a shitty CE.

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:16 pm
by marsha

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:56 pm
by jekhyl

Re: Change the approach to technical articles guidelines

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 5:54 pm
by justanotherwriter
The trouble with option 2 is that it will make Ehow and w/e other site they post this shit on to be even shittier and looked down upon more by visitors.

That will hurt them post Panda.

That's what the tech beta people have been saying to them for a couple weeks now.

Fucking idiots.

And yeah, option 3 is also retarded.