Writer's Corner - Elitist for sure, but honesty and a cold hard look at reality.

Discussion in 'Announcements and Feedback' started by Martin Eden Mercury, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    I am an op-ed contributer on the USMESSAGEBOARD.COM website. I take my role here, and the responsibility that comes with it very seriously. Two months ago, the Administrator cereal_killer put out a call for submissions for aspiring contributors. It is my opinion that as the process played out, it appears to have confused and soured some members on what was a pretty worthy goal. In my opinion, that goal was to empower members in reaching a wider audience, while increasing the visibility of USMB itself. USMB has members who have periodically wondered aloud how to attract flesh blood to the melting-pot that is USMB.

    We all know from experience that message boards come and go. But, my observations lead me to believe, that people who inhabit and thrive on message boards are people who are attached to, and ultimately loyal to the practices of online engagement and involvement. And what better engagement and involvement is there than to be an op-ed contributer - a writer? Elitist for sure, but honesty and a cold hard look at reality will tell you that many people prefer to stay in the background, or to contribute in ways that do not demand much attention, dedication, and passion. Not everybody is, wants to, or even can be a writer. So cereal_killer's call in my opinion, was to the ego and vanity of a particular type of individual. Are you that individual? Because if you are, I ask you to review exactly what it was that ck was appealing to and asking for.

    ck asked for writers who were up the challenge of writing an op-ed devoid of inflammatory and/or insulting language. I'm no innocent. I know most anything can and will be viewed as inflammatory by somebody out there; but there are agreed upon community standards in the public arena: a consensus if you will. If you or I were political operatives or candidates, I would hope we would want to be held to some sort of standard.

    Now of course we all see people across the political spectrum, who violate those standards. They exist, and they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Interesting enough is the fact that because of our own partisan stances, we may even cheer or bemoan the violation at times. That's human nature, and the beast that is partisan politics. But I believe most all of us could agree; we would like to see some content and opinion that is neither inflammatory or wrapped up in insulting language meant to inflame. Having a writer's op-ed board that resembles the inflammatory content in most threads here, and taking those threads and giving them some sort of a higher privilege -- what would be the point? The Writer's Corner is a good idea waiting to be exploited by a few writers out there.

    I believe ck wisely suggested aspiring contributors 'pick their favorite online rag, and check out their op-ed's, and get a taste' for what USMB is looking for. He also wrote that to "keep things balanced we will be looking for 3 or 6 writers in total. One or two from each party (Republican, Democrat and Libertarian/Independent). Yes Libertarian and Independent are two different parties, but in the spirit of this endeavor we will apply the KISS principle."

    The search criteria as it evolved, expanded to seeking writers separate of any political party affiliation. It included an appeal for writers that could represent views across the ideological spectrum within America. Right now we have two writers on the op-ed team. We need a few more in order to flesh-out our team.

    Opinions? Constructive criticisms?

    Mem
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  2. Compost
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    Compost Gold Member

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    I doubt that many people here think that an op ed forum here is a bad idea. It just seems to me that most serious writers are not eager to participate simply because serious writing takes time, far more time than remarking on threads. In short, unpaid gigs such as this are for those who have the extra time to craft an op ed without concern for the time/money factor. Such people exist, surely, they just haven't all shown up yet.
     
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  3. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    There's nothing more exasperating than crappy editors.

    Just saying. I submitted a good piece and was told that because of a couple of grating assertions it was a liability risk to print as it was hahahaha. I've actually written more adamant stuff for real publications so, meh. I consequently saw multiple productions by people I've never heard of that were not as well written and every bit as a liability risk (that is to say, not a risk at all..).

    So much for that. If you don't understand the nature of OP/ED, you can't write yourself, and you are otherwise clueless about liability..then you (I'm using a collective you, not a personal one) have no business editing OPs. Or moderating, as far as that goes.

    Per usual, usmb set the rules, and then had no idea how to follow them. Yeah, you're going to chase away every decent writer in existence. Nobody worthwhile will put out any effort to write a piece just to have hacks censure it and beg to get their paws on it so they can take credit...after telling the real writer it's just not very good.

    Good writers don't fall for that shit.
     
  4. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    Thank you for the reply Ms. Compost. I have been lurking and monitoring threads and posts for weeks now, trying to get a handle on what actually transpires on USMB. My observations lead me to believe there are more than just a few members here for whom time is not an issue. If money were a concern, I would think people would be out making money. I stated earlier that I believed "people who inhabit and thrive on message boards are people who are attached to, and ultimately loyal to the practices of online engagement and involvement." and this is where the appeal to ego comes in.

    again, thank you
    Mem
     
  5. Compost
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    Compost Gold Member

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    Well, Mr. Mercury, in your lurking, you probably read a post or two of mine. If I was the ego driven creature you seek, I might be insulted. Thank you for your response. Best of luck in your search for op edders.
     
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  6. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    Thank you for such an exquisite example of inflammatory and/or insulting language in a post Ms. koshergrl. To address a point you made, there are many real publications out there that forbid such writing as they have standards. Standards neither you nor I may agree with, but then again, obviously neither you nor I have been invited to write at such publications.

    I wonder if you would be open to listing some of the publications, which published pieces you submitted? It would help us out a great deal to actually know what you consider real publications. I am not asking you to reveal what you wrote, only where what you claim to have written was published.

    again, thank you Ms. koshergrl
    Mem
     
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  7. Martin Eden Mercury
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    Martin Eden Mercury VIP Member Op-ed Contributor

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    I am left wondering if there is anybody out there who will submit a piece to me, if I asked for any? I evidently intend to get my paws on something so well written, it can be published in real publications. I need something I can censure and take credit for? Not one of you during this holiday season of charity and giving, who will step up to the plate and hit a home run? Okay. Maybe humor will work?

    Opinions? Constructive criticisms?

    Mem
     
  8. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    Yes. Post Op Eds that have more content; I've read as good or better in my hometown suburban newspaper by high school freshman journalism students. By more content I mean article length essays that demonstrate real research and knowledge of an issue rather than just a couple of short paragraphs with generalities and homilies and the like. Book reviews would also work well in this format, probably better than just small opinion pieces.

    At this point, I'm sure Koshergirl would indeed be preferable, even on issues I likely don't agree with her on, as the material presented wouldn't be so bland and written in newspaper reporting style, i.e. aimed at 6th graders.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  9. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    Thank you for providing a perfect example of why nobody worth reading is going to submit anything to you.
     
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  10. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    I'm a whiz at AP writing...and I'm a whiz at OP writing, too.
    I wrote an essay that landed me a full ride renewable scholarship. That was 28 years ago. I worked for a paper where 10 stories a week...plus OP contributions, weekly columns, series work, special edition work, and helping the copy editor at crunch time...was the job description.

    So I think it's funny when these little dweebs whine around for *suggestions*..then sneer when they get them. I told them that their OP/ED column was going to go nowhere because they don't know what they're doing. You can see it with the moderators, and you can see it in this thread. And I was right.
     

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