Blog Reviewer Manual

As a Blog Reviewer you’ll be helping to make sure that content syndicated through The Motley Fool Blog Network is clean, clear, logical, and Foolish. Although this content is not formally edited, readers still rely on the quality of the information, and it still represents the Fool – that’s our logo on every post. Your job is to make sure that each post that you choose to syndicate to our partners makes us proud.

Grammatical errors. Random jumps in logic. Drive-by tickers. Misspelled words (especially Warren Buffett (there are two t’s)). It’s when it should be its and its when it should be it’s. These are your enemies. Thousands of readers are waiting to pounce on these errors, write scathing comments on the post (often in ALL CAPS!!!), and undermine the substance of the content. Even if everything else is correct, if a blog post about Procter & Gamble spells the name of the company wrong (it’s an e, not an o), the reader has no reason to believe anything else in the post is accurate. You are there to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Your role as a Blog Reviewer breaks into two main parts: editing content and deciding whether to approve, reject, or require edits.

Copyediting

Many articles, especially those from newer bloggers, will have issues that need to be corrected before syndication. As a Blog Reviewer, we need you to clean up grammatical and spelling errors, fix typos, and otherwise polish posts prior to syndication.

That said, you must not edit a post for content. If you make substantive edits to a post, you run the risk of changing a blogger’s meaning and making it look like they said something they didn’t. Additionally, we encourage our Blog Reviewer to spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes on each post, which doesn’t really allow time for crafting a subpar contribution into beautiful prose.

A good rule of thumb is that it is OK to remove small portions of a blog to improve clarity, but it is never OK to add anything to a post other than punctuation and ticker symbols (even when doing so would certainly improve it). Which leads us to the second part of your role…

Syndication

In general, you should syndicate posts that are well written, have a Foolish tone, and are relevant to a Foolish audience. Things to look for in a good syndicated article:

  • Presentation and support of unique opinions
  • Original analysis
  • A clear, clean, conversational voice
  • Relevant and material tickering (no drive-bys)

If you feel a post lacks those elements, you have a choice: let the internal Blog Network team know there are gaps or reject. If there are holes, unclear paragraphs, or drive-by tickers (rule of thumb: each company should have a couple sentences of analysis about it in order to justify a ticker), and you think they can be fixed relatively easily, let the Blog Network team know at blog@fool.com and they will work with the blogger to get it ready for syndication. If it’s just a mess, you should decline to syndicate (the nice way of saying rejecting). Some things that would classify as reasons for rejection:

  • Poorly formed logic
  • UnFoolish tone
  • Unclear language throughout (remember, you’re not a co-author; if there is a language barrier, your job is not to translate)
  • Appearing to rely on confidential inside information or making claims that the writer clearly cannot support with publicly available information
  • Obviously incorrect facts
    • A good example is a post that claims Apple is a micro-cap company. You don’t want to syndicate that.

Remember you are not a fact checker, and (as our legal department is quick to point out) objective truth may or may not even exist. So please don’t try and determine if a particular post is objectively true, as it will take a long time and probably be unsuccessful.

Post Removal and Plagiarism

If for any reason you come across a complaint about a post after it has been syndicated (factual errors, potential plagiarism, misspelling of Buffett), please inform our internal team at blog@fool.com.

If at any point you are unclear about your decision of whether to syndicate, the appropriate tone to use when leaving notes for a blogger, or anything else to do with your role as Blog Reviewer, don’t hesitate to ask the head of the Blog Network.

 

 


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