I spend a great deal of my time fielding reports about miscategorized articles and seeds. In addition, I spend a portion of each day looking for miscategorized articles and seeds within the various category modules and pages. What I've noticed over the last couple of months is that miscategorization, incorrectly chosen news types, and inappropriate tags has become a bit of an epidemic.
So much so, that it has become necessary to simply take these miscategorized articles and seeds down and send a notice to the user. There is simply not enough time to contact each user, ask that the item be fixed, and follow up to see if it's been done. And repeat offenders have been and will continue to receive suspensions.
I don't want that to happen to you. I also want every item posted to Newsvine to be properly categorized. Yeah, it's the right thing to do. Why? Because it means that other users--the people you want reading your stuff, will be able to find it easier. It also means that you won't be pissing people off by trying to shove everything you write and seed into their face.
So, let's talk about what proper categorization is, and how to achieve it.
Means of Categorization
There are three means of categorization on Newsvine: Categories, Tags and Groups
When you post an article or seed, you need to choose the correct category. These are pretty straightforward. To see what they are, look up above in that silver-gray bar beneath the main Newsvine header. The main categories are shown. There are more to be found by clicking "More."
Go here to see more information about the Not News category.
The two categories that are most often chosen incorrectly are US News and World News (coming in a close third is Technology), so let's talk about those.
US News should be chosen when the news item you are seeding or writing about is about something that happened or is happening within the United States, be it an Event or an Opinion (we'll talk about News Types in a minute). However, this does not include EVERYTHING that has ever happened, is happening, or might eventually happen on US soil. For instance, if I wrote an article about the merry band of cardinals that greet me each morning in my back yard when I take my dog out and have my morning cigarette, it would not be US News, even though it does happen every day here in the United States.
World News should be chosen when the news item you are seeding or writing about is something that happened or is happening in the rest of the world outside of the United States, be it an Event or an Opinion.
Just because you believe the item SHOULD be of interest to everyone in the United States, or to everyone in the entire WORLD, doesn't mean that it's actually US or World News.
There are only three to choose from: Event, Opinion or Other.
An Event is something that happened or is happening.
An Opinion is your opinion about an event, or, if it's a seed, the opinion of someone else.
If it's not an Event or an Opinion, it's Other.
Groups allow us to further categorize items that might be of interest to users of Newsvine. Different groups allow different levels of appropriateness. Some are incredibly specific (like Metavine, for instance, which allows only articles that are specifically about Newsvine itself, or Newsvine Photographers, which has very clear guidelines for what is appropriate for the group). Some are more broad and will let you dump pretty much any fargone thing into the group that you like.
I won't derail here on my feelings on the subject (short and sweet--I think groups should ALL be subject/content-specific). But suffice it to say, that you should only post something to a group if that particular item is allowed by the group's posting guidelines.
So yeah, don't post a political item to Firefox Users.
Tags allow for more specific categorization than is allowed by categories. In addition, adding appropriate tags to your articles and seeds will help search engines provide your article or seed to appear in search results to the world at large. You know--all those people out there who aren't on Newsvine.
You know who abuses tags? The same kinds of people who abuse sweet and cute and little defenseless animals like baby bunnies. Also, spammers. Spammers will add tags to the garbage they are posting to the internet in order to sell cheap, knockoff crap made by small children in China, and they will choose those tags from whatever "popular" stuff is going on in the world. So, to sell a knockoff Coach purse or Manolo Blahniks or Ed Hardy t-shirts, they will add "Lady-Gaga" and "Justin-Bieber" and "Lindsay-Lohan" as tags, because a whole lot of people are searching the internet for those terms.
You know what this does? It FUCKS UP THE INTERNET.
Say you were watching the Grammy Awards last night, and you, though you've been previously critical of Lady Gaga because she is a bit of an attention whore and wears dresses made of raw meat and shoes that no human can actually walk in, you were incredibly moved by her seriously amazing performance (I mean, really! Fame whorishness aside, this woman is incredibly entertaining!), so you decided to pop over to Google to see what you could find out about her, because you wanted to find some little nugget that would help you to understand where she's coming from, and maybe why she chose to show up on the red carpet in some kind of alien pod, and why she had weird pointy things coming out of her forehead.
However, your hopes were quickly dashed, because you were greeted with a gazillion results that were trying to sell you knockoff Ed Hardy jeans. Which you don't want. Also, I'd venture to guess that Lady Gaga wouldn't be seen dead in anything Ed Hardy.
So, choose your tags appropriately.
Add the names of the people mentioned in your article or seed. Perhaps the location of the event you're describing, or was described in your seed. The political party you're writing or seeding about.
But don't go overboard. Don't fuck up the internet, and Newsvine.
What the Code of Honor has to say about all this
It's in #3:
Headlines should be supported by the information presented in the article/seed, rather than used primarily as a means to draw attention. Chosen news types and tags should be accurate and informative - not used to provoke or make a statement. More +
- The ability to categorize content, including clipping, is a privilege that carries with it a responsibility. Inappropriate or malicious use of news types, tags and clipping is prohibited.
- Until additional News Types are supported, indicate the nature of your article/seed in the headline, when appropriate, following the form: "[Type]: [Headline]". This standard applies to the following non-exhaustive list of News Types: Satire, Rumor, Poetry, Comic/Illustration, Review
Violating anything in #3 can get you suspended and eventually banned. And all of it is easily avoidable.
See something that's miscategorized?
Report it. Please. You can take the easy route and click the "!" at the top of the article or seed and choose "Miscategorized/Off-Topic." Or, take a moment to click the "Report Bug" button in the top right or the "Contact Us" link at the very bottom, choose "Report Spam or a Malicious User" and include a link to the article/seed and the reason why you're reporting it.
I have a certain stock of phrases I type out so frequently that I don't even have to think about them. One of them is: Newsvine is a user-driven and generated news-discussion website.
That doesn't just refer to the fact that Newsvine users post the stuff (or, most of it) that's discussed here. It also refers to the fact that moderation staff relies on users to report behavior that violates the Code of Honor and User Agreement. Newsvine staff needs your help to make Newsvine a better place.
A word about inappropriate reporting: Don't do it. The system might take the article/seed down, but if it was report inappropriately, it will be put back up, and you'll lose your reporting privileges and get a note on your account, and it will be taken into consideration if and when a decision needs to be made whether or not to ban you.
In conclusion, this is a long article about a very simple thing. Proper categorization helps keep Newsvine, and the internet at large, organized. It helps to ensure that your articles and seeds are seen by the people that are interested in reading and commenting on them, which is what you actually want.