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Gamasutra Blog Guidelines - Updated and open for discussion
by Christian Nutt on 05/20/13 02:39:00 pm   Editor Blog   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Note: This may not be the most updated version of the guidelines. For the current version of the guidelines, always check this link

In my role at Gamasutra I have taken over stewardship of the blog section -- working with developers to get the best posts, helping to answer questions about the system, etc. To that end I wrote and I posted a new version of the blog guidelines, but I wanted to share them on the blogs (logical!) and also open up the floor for discussion of this information. You'll find the new guidelines reproduced in full below. If you're a blog contributor or a blog reader, give them a read. If you have a comment or a question, leave it for me on this post, and I (or editor-in-chief Kris Graft, quite possibly) will answer it. 

Thanks!

-- 

In 2009, Gamasutra introduced its blog section to give developers a more direct way to contribute to the site. While we've always welcomed external contributions -- and in fact they are the beating heart of the site, and what makes it a site both for and by game developers -- we wanted to give you a more direct route to getting your thoughts and your work onto Gamasutra.

Now, we're making blogs the centerpiece of the website.

If you want to get started blogging, it's easy! Just click here to begin. But please read these guidelines first.

Every day, Gamasutra's editorial team selects the best blogs and promotes them on the front page of the site. Now, you'll always find blogs at the top of our front page. In many cases, these developer-contributed blogs are the most popular content on the site, sparking deep discussion and being read just as widely as anything else we publish.

Gamasutra has ceased accepting feature submissions. This means that all developer-contributed content is now routed through our blogs.

What does this mean? It means that you have direct control over when and how you publish your content on Gamasutra. If you feel you'd like feedback on your ideas or your writing, great -- you can reach out to Christian Nutt, as you always have. If you don't need the assistance, however, you have the freedom to publish as soon as you're ready.

What are we looking for?

We want blogs that speak to your peers -- no matter what kind of game you're working on, and no matter your discipline: art, sound, design, programming, community management, QA, production, business, and beyond.

When writing, think about what information you would most like to read. Drawing on your experience, what would you most like to share? Something thought-provoking, practical, or inspirational -- if it meets any of those criteria, it's welcome on Gamasutra. We want to see the same depth of content we've always featured on Gamasutra: pieces that show and share expertise.

As we've already said, the best blogs are selected daily by our editorial staff and featured on the front page alongside Gamasutra other content, and promoted across our extremely popular social media feeds.

While any number of topics can be popular on Gamasutra, here are some surefire hits: postmortems, tutorials in specific techniques (any discipline), digital download sales data and other practical business writing, and deep design analyses or meaningful critique and technique.

Here are some examples of our best performing and best quality blogs:

Story-telling as Problem Solving: Defender's Quest by Lars Doucet

Dustforce sales figures by Terence Lee

Muddy Steam - Before and After Greenlight by Jools Watsham

Guild Wars 2 Economy Review by Ramin Shokrizade

Skyrim's Modular Approach to Level Design by Joel Burgess

The single most useful advice I can give for making any game better... feedback by Lee Perry

Pixelles Postmortem: How to Increase Game Creator Diversity NOW by Tanya Short

Guidelines

The original guidelines we introduced alongside the blogs section have served us well, and we'll reiterate them here with almost no revision:

1. Gamasutra Blogs are intended solely for articles about game development by and for game developers. That means everyone from members of triple-A studios to indie developers, garage creators, and students -- as long as all your posts are about the art and business of making games.

2. Feel free to repost content from your own personal blog, and note that Gamasutra makes no claim to ownership of user-submitted materials. We just want to highlight great writing about game-making. That said, you may not post material you did not write, or that you do not have full permission to reprint. Also, please no teaser-link posts -- reprint your blog post in its entirety. Feel free to link back to your site, however.

3. While the Gamasutra staff will be monitoring content posted to the blogs, please refrain from posting inappropriate content that will later be removed. Use your best judgment, and please steer clear of pornographic images or excessive profanity; the line should be pretty clear in most cases! In addition, we would ask that your blog does not wholly advertise products or services at the exclusivity of anything else. Our goal is absolutely not to modify or censor material, but illegal or highly objectionable content will be necessarily excised.

4. Feel free to format your posts, but don't make them too visually outrageous -- too many colors and font sizes will just make things harder to read! Also, please note that your images should be no more than 610 pixels wide.

Again, to get started on your Gamasutra blog, click here and start posting.


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Comments


Lars Doucet
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Quite a bombshell that you're no longer taking feature submissions! Amazing that blogs have become a big enough deal in their own right.

EDIT: Removed "would be good to hilight what's changed."

Christian Nutt
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In a sense, nothing has changed but our preferred mechanism for contributions, but it does feel like a major change, doesn't it?

Lars Doucet
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Does this mean the "feature" slot will be filled by a regular blog article that seems interesting and popular to the editors?

Christian Nutt
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You can expect to see some changes to the front page design as get further into this transition.

Kris Graft
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Just to reiterate what Christian is saying, please do expect to continue to see long-form, in-depth stories on Gamasutra. We had actually reduced the number of stories we've been running in the "Features" slot over the past months, and for external contributors pitching feature-length pieces, we've been directing them to blogs. So we've been getting feature-style content, but now it's presented as a reader-written blog. For you, this just means a more direct line to other game developers, and Christian's role is becoming more about curation.

We still do have regular Gamasutra staffers and contributors, of course, to bring you original journalism, analysis, etc. We're already seeing a great result with our new blogging initiative, and I think it's just going to get better!

Craig Stern
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Would you say that this is related to UBM's move to remove most paid positions from IndieGames.com? From my position as a developer, it's obviously better for me to have my content more prominently featured, but at the same time, I am deeply uncomfortable with the move toward not compensating professional journalists and games writers. Writing is not an easy job by any means, and I don't especially like the idea of participating in a system that devalues their hard work. Can you comment on this, Christian?

Kris Graft
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As people who make their living writing, we're also deeply uncomfortable with not compensating pro journalists and games writers. That's exactly why we do not approach them to blog on Gamasutra for free -- we were quite explicit about this internally when reconfiguring for a blog focus. Of course, if you're a freelance writer, for example, and want to blog on Gamasutra (a few have done this on their own initiative), that's totally up to you. Additionally, we do not own the content you bring over.

Internally, we've compared the feel and purpose of the blog section to GDC: It's a place where game developers can talk to one another directly, exchange ideas, and get informed, get empowered, and get inspired.

Nick Harris
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I'd appreciate some clarification on the third guideline. I would like to write a series of articles, but fear that I will find it too awkward to do so if I can't compare my project to other games. Is mentioning, or critiquing other games advertising? Is comparing them to my own and naming it, primarily for ease of reference, also advertising? It is not my intention to seek to promote something that is still years away from release, yet I feel inhibited to discuss even tenuously related topics in total isolation from their intended practical context.

Let me know if it is inappropriate for a hobbyist autodidact art school dropout working in a converted garage to contribute more to this site than the posts I have made in the comments of other people's blogs.

Kris Graft
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What you describe is not advertising. Trust me, you KNOW when a blog is meant to advertise. It's written like an advertorial and talking up a product with the clear, sole intention of commercial gain. If you look through our blogs, you'll see that people talk about their own games, and others' games, in-depth. It sounds like what you're doing would be a-ok.

By all means, talk about your game, share what you learned from it for the benefit of others, and even talk about other games out there in a way that's useful to your peers.

Christian Nutt
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Just to reiterate this because it is important: we absolutely want to see you speak VERY specifically about the games you are working on and explore the issues in their development.

As the guideline says "to the exclusivity of all else" -- this is when a post says "this is my game: go download it," roughly. And if you ever have any questions about what you are considering writing about, you can absolutely email me and ask. My contact info is above.

Steve Fulton
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Kris, you said "Additionally, we do not own the content you bring over", but your TOS appears to be far-reaching and contradicts this statement. The part about all technology in the "Universe" is especially interesting, as is the "create derivative works" portion. Are you saying, people don't give-up their own license, while granting UBM a license to do whatever they want with it?

(from the TOS):

"Finally, you specifically grant to UBM LLC and its affiliates and service providers (or warrant that the owner of such content grants to UBM LLC and its affiliates and service providers) a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, nonexclusive right and license, sublicensable through multiple tiers, to:
use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display all Postings submitted by you or through your account, in whole or in part; use, in whole or in part, your name, likeness, photograph, voice, company name, screen name, e-mail address and/or other identifying information submitted by you as part of or in connection with such Postings ("Image"), and reproduce, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display materials containing the same; and incorporate the Postings and the Image in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed throughout the *universe*, and reproduce, publish, display and otherwise distribute the same."

Kris Graft
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Hey Steve, good catch. That link is going to the wrong place (UBM Corp's legal site). Here are Gamasutra's TOS: http://www.gamasutra.com/static2/terms_of_service.html

"You retain all rights to material posted on your homepage and in your weblog and comments, and may post copyright or other notices to that effect. We reserve the right to remove any content from the Gamasutra site, with or without cause."

We'll get that link fixed!

Christian Nutt
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I just added a NEW rule to the guidelines:

5. All blog accounts must be individual accounts. We do not allow company accounts. Further, each blog post must be posted by its author, under his or her name. In cases where multiple authors contribute to one post, one should post and credit the others within the post's body.


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