I’ve posted a forum suggestion for Ask The Editors, but whilst I wait on the decision on that, I thought I might just ask some semi-serious questions here, and also invite others to do the same, on the off-chance the editors have the time to respond.
My first question is: when you receive a story submission, even though they are submitted anonymously, do you ever have a good idea who they might be from?
Secondly, who is Title Writer Guy? Or is there more than one TWG? Is TWG like The Stig, a mysterious and anonymous masked punster who lurks in the back of the office and only approached when needed, lest you be attacked by wordplay?
as long as they don’t have the guy whose titles were WAY too long
Regarding story submissions, we get so many different submissions from so many different people that it’s almost impossible to make any sort of guesses as to who wrote them. We can often work out where they’re from or where the story took place, though.
As for the titles, that task is split between the editing team. Generally, whoever formats the story and makes it all pretty (making the dialogue tags bold, italicizing the asides, etc.) puts a title on it. Once in a great, great while, if we’re just totally stuck, we’ll ask a coworker for an idea. I do love your The Stig idea! But we tried it, and the helmet was too hot.
The extra-long titles were an experiment we tried for a while, but all of you lovely readers and commenters made it quite clear how you felt about them! So we took that into consideration when writing subsequent titles.
Titles, in my opinion, work best when they are short and to the point. Kinda like puns (Which titles can of course be puns)… if they are too long, they just become a retelling of the story.
Yeah, we tried to do a hybrid of news-article style titles to engage viewers on social media, yet still retain the witty/punny elements, but it didn’t work out. The fact that it’s three years later and we still get comments about it shows that it definitely didn’t work
At least you know it made an impression
So does a hammer against a car door.
Is there any way that we can have an option to give you an email so we know if/when our story is posted?
That’s an excellent question! I mostly handle stories after they’ve already been processed out of the emails and such, so I have no idea if something like that is plausible or not. @KillerTomato might be able to shed some light on this, though!
While there are some legal and data security concerns it is something we’ve definitely looked into. Every request for this or something like this is noted, so it helps us when you mention it!
I was wondering how do you choose which stories to accept?
I am wondering why you include the US cities in the stories, but not usually cities in foreign countries? (At least Dutch cities aren’t mentioned, it only states: The Netherlands).
Most of the time, we’re just operating with the information we’re given. Also, our tag database was simply growing so large that we had to cut back on the names of towns and cities in our stories, just for logistical purposes. Our general rule of thumb is that if it’s a pretty major place that many/most people will have heard of, we’ll include that city in the tags. For example, San Francisco, California; Glasgow, Scotland; Tel Aviv, Israel.
This is bearing in mind that our staff is mostly American and English; we may miss some of the major towns because we haven’t heard of them before!
Something else just occurred to me! Another reason that we don’t always include town names is that, for example, if a writer says they work at the burger joint in Malin, Oregon, for example, it’s very easy to figure out where that is, and maybe even who submitted the story. Malin’s population is about 800, and there is only one burger joint in the town. On the other hand, if you work at a burger joint in San Francisco, that could be one of hundreds of establishments! It keeps everyone safer and more anonymous.
We have basic guidelines on the help section (Help – Funny & True Stories | NotAlwaysRight.com) but I’m happy to elaborate a little here.
The first thing we look for is humor. While we cover a HUGE range of storytelling styles, we’re here to mainly entertain and bringing the funny is a great way to ensure your story is published.
We understand that many readers like details and world-building to either set the tone or add credibility to the sometimes crazy things happening in the stories, but if the story is too long or takes too long to get going, or the ending isn’t strong enough to justify the lengthy setup then this can hinder a storys chances of making it to the main feed.
There are a LOT of decisions we make to decide if a story makes it, and we don’t always get it right, but the short answer is: Funny, Good Ending, Not Too Long!
I recall that in the past, there were some attempts to post funny fake stories on April 1st, with more or less success (Zombie stories vs. Star Wars, respectively). Did you ultimately decide to drop them?
What I’d like to ask is, can there be a tag for stories about people leaving a job (resignation and termination)? Those are usually my favorite kind of stories, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m sure many of us find reading such stories to be a cathartic experience. Populating the tag would be a chore, but it certainly would make them easier to find.
One reason I ask is because when I search for “quit,” it also includes results for “quite,” and it can be “quite” annoying to sift through such a high-yield search result.
Of course, searching for “quitting” narrows it down, but I doubt I’m getting all the results (most people leaving a job say “I quit!” more often than “I am quitting”).
At least termination stories are currently easy enough to find. Searching for “fired” covers that adequately (well, maybe I’d also get a few stories about a certain cooking method, but that’s a lot easier to manage).
I was curious if you ever remove posts by request? Like, I know every so often something will get flagged for spam or offensive reasons and get removed, but if the original poster reached out and asked to take something down, do you do it?
I like this tag idea! The editorial team will discuss it soon. Thanks for the suggestion!
@KillerTomato might be able to give a better answer for this one than I could.