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Submission Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions

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News Guidelines

Archaic

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What makes a story newsworthy for Bulbagarden?
That question is both easy and difficult to answer. Easy in that the intended scope is probably a lot wider than you'd think, harder in that there's absolutely going to be instances where we need to decide things on a case-by-case basis. Most news stories on Bulbagarden will fall into one of the following broad category areas.
  • Anime
  • Manga
  • Merchandise
  • Mobile Games
  • TCG
  • Video Games
That list should not be considered exhaustive however, and there's plenty of examples of stories we've published which don't cleanly fit into any of those. For example:
Below, I've outlined the rules of thumb that our staff team use in trying to determine if something is newsworthy. If you've looked at these and you're still uncertain about if the story you're writing would be newsworthy, please don't hesitate to reach out to us either in this thread, or via the Bulbagarden Discord, and we'll help you out.

Essential Factors:
  • The focus of the story must be related to either
    • Pokémon
    • Companies involved with the Pokémon franchise (Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Niantic, etc)
    • Nintendo console hardware
  • Stories should have either
    • Broad relevance to the Pokémon fandom
    • Specific relevance to a particular subsection / community of the Pokémon fandom
    • Be human interest stories relating to the Pokémon franchise in some way (typically through the activities of the person who is the focus of that story)
  • Human interest stories should involve either
    • people who have worked on the Pokémon franchise
    • prominent Pokémon fans (e.g. tournament winners, streamers, content creators, influencers, fansite owners, Bulbagarden staff members)
    • VIPs and celebrities
Common concerns and edge-cases:
What if my story relates to something happening only in one country, or a single region, city or town?
This is probably the most common edge-case that we need to deal with, in part due to the sheer amount of Pokémon merchandise that only gets an official release in Japan. As a rule of thumb, anything on the level of a whole country is almost certainly fine.
The two factors we're most concerned with here are:
  • How many people does the story impact?
  • How many people might be interested in the story, even if they're not directly impacted by it?
Typically, it's that second point which makes the difference. For example, an announcement about a TCG tournament being held at a small town card shop probably isn't going to have wide interest. A story about a small town card shop losing several highly valuable TCG cards in a robbery however is more likely to attract interest.

What if the story is fairly short? (e.g. only a single paragraph in length)
A story being short is not a disqualifying factor in and of itself. What we're most concerned about is that there's sufficient content and detail to make the story interesting. For example, a story about a new in-game Mystery Gift distribution doesn't necessarily need a lot of detail, but the length does get bulked out a little by the inclusion of screenshots, and an explanation of how to claim the code for people who might not be familiar with the process. Stories about new content and updates in Pokémon mobile games such as Pokémon Cafe ReMix are also commonly quite short.
If you're worried that your story is too short, and you're not sure how you might expand it, don't hesitate to submit it as is so that our editors can take a look at it. If it only needs minor touch ups, we'll be happy to do those for you ourselves, and we can always contact you if there's something we need more information about.

What are appropriate sources?
In most cases, the source your story should be citing is the original source. To be clear, the original source is not the first website to report on a particular story, or where you yourself first read or learned about the story, but rather the actual source of the news. Typically, this might be something like a press release, or a tweet by an official account. For merchandise news, it might be the page about that particular piece of merchandise on the manufacturer's own website. As a general rule of thumb, fansites are not original sources, and should not be cited as sources when an official source exists.

What if my source isn't in English?
There's no problems whatsoever with using non-English sources for stories. In particular with stories about Japan exclusive merchandise, we'd prefer you link to the original Japanese sources rather than an English language source. We do ask however that you include any non-English sources using a Google Translate link. While our team includes people proficient in a number of different languages, including Japanese, having the Google Translate link will make it easier for your story to be looked over by the first available editor.

When is it okay to not cite a source?
You may not need to cite a source if:
  • You are the source (e.g. your own original reporting of an event that you were physically at)
  • The source is itself embedded into the body of the article (e.g. an announcement made on Twitter, where you've embedded the original tweet itself into the story)
 
Image Use Guidelines

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Images needed for news stories and articles
At minimum, your submission should include:
  • 1 cover image, which will be shown on the Bulbagarden front page together with the article blurb
  • 1 or more images included alongside the article text
For shorter articles, it's not unusual that the cover image itself would be the sole image included alongside the article text.
Please note that the first image you attach to the submission is always the cover image. If you have multiple images in your article, please make sure to upload that image on its own before you upload any other images.

Filename and formatting conventions (including image size and placement
As a general rule of thumb, these sorts of issues aren't ones that you really need to worry about, as this should be part of the normal work done by our editors. If you want to make their job a little easier, here's a few things you can do:
  • For preference, we try to use PNG images where possible, with JPG images as a fallback
  • We typically rename most images to follow a format of PREFIX_DESCRIPTION
  • The first image in an article is always aligned to the right, with images then alternating between each side of the article
  • If there is a need to show a large collection of images, include these in a table at the end of the article
  • Images in the article body will be resized down to no more than 500px in width, and might go down to as small as 200px in width in the case of images placed together in a row (such as in a table)

What kinds of images can I use?
Technical requirements
All images included in news stories and articles must be either uploaded through the Xenforo attachments system, or linked from the Bulbagarden Archives image repository. Absolutely no images hotlinked from external sites will be accepted.
Images uploaded through the Xenforo attachments system must be in either GIF, JPG, or PNG formats. The system will accept images up to 2 megabytes in size, however smaller file sizes are preferred, especially if your story will have a lot of images. If your story needs more images than the attachment limit, please contact a Bulbanews editor for assistance.

Copyright requirements
To avoid potential copyright issues, we ask that you limit included images to:
  • Images from official sources, such as those included with press releases, store promotional images, logos, etc
  • Images sourced from Bulbapedia and the Bulbagarden Archives, which have already been checked for appropriate copyrights
Images should NEVER be sourced from other fansites - always look for the original sources. If you're uncertain about if an image is appropriate to include, or what the original source of an image might be, please don't hesitate to ask editors for assistance.
To make things easier on the editors, please make sure that the "Sources"box at the bottom of your post includes URLs for where the images can be found online (i.e. the page the image is on, not a direct link to the image itself).
 
Opinion Pieces, One-shots, and Columns

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Over the years, one of the ways that Bulbagarden has tried to differentiate itself from other Pokémon fansites covering news has been through long-form content pieces. Regardless of what kind of long-form content you might be interested in writing, there's really only one guideline that applies to all of them, namely that the focus of the piece must be related in some way to either:
  • The Pokémon franchise and/or fandom
  • Companies involved with the Pokémon franchise (Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Niantic, etc)
  • Nintendo console hardware
To be clear, there's quite a wide latitude given to content within that guideline, so if you're not sure about if something would qualify or not, please just ask. Also, while that guideline sets the minimum qualifying standard, satisfying that standard alone doesn't mean that an idea will be accepted. Having said that, if you can fit your idea within that guideline (even if you have to squint a little), and it's content that you'd like to write, then we're at least interested in hearing your ideas.

Opinion Pieces
Opinion Pieces are articles that solely represent the opinion of its author, and which expressly do NOT represent or communicate an official position of Bulbagarden. Opinion Pieces are typically pieces of persuasive writing, however speculation articles could also be classified as Opinion Pieces.
The decision to publish any given Opinion Piece rests with the Bulbanews Editoral Board.

The main criteria we judge Opinion Piece submissions on are (in order of importance):
  • Topicality - As a minimum standard, is the topic of the opinion piece something that is relevant to community discussion, either in the sense of contributing to ongoing discussions in the fandom, or being a catalyst to start a discussion around a current and contemporary issue.
  • Interest - Beyond just being topical, is the piece itself interesting to read? We don't want to publish pieces that are effectively just going to be a writer screaming into the void with nobody taking notice.
  • Basis - While an opinion piece represents the opinions of the writer, those opinions should be informed opinions, with the author able to explain their rationale and reasoning. If factual errors are identified during the drafting and editorial process, these should be resolved prior to publication.
  • Communication - This may come as a surprise to some, but the quality of the writing actually isn't our primary concern when it comes to Opinion Piece submissions. While it's certainly a lot easier for us to move ahead with a piece that's already well written on the first submission, many writing issues can be smoothed out in drafting and editing, and we're happy to work with you to help improve opinion piece submissions prior to publication.
As a general rule of thumb, we would expect most Opinion Pieces to be a minimum of 500 words, which is roughly the length of a single page of single line spaced text at 11 or 12 point font. In practice, the majority of Opinion Pieces will likely fall between 800 to 1200 words in length. While there is no absolute limit on the length of an Opinion Pieces, the longer a piece is the more likely we are to ask that you break it down into a set of smaller articles.

While submitting an Opinion Piece does not come with any long term commitment for follow-up from the author, we may request the author submit revisions to their article in the event that factual errors are discovered after publication. As Opinion Pieces represent the opinion of the writers, the Bulbanews editors will not themselves make alterations to an Opinion Piece to correct factual errors. In the event an author is not able or willing to make necessary revisions to correct factual errors, the Bulbanews editors will at minimum add a note to the article highlighting and acknowledging these errors. In the most serious instances, where we feel the errors invalidate the point that the author was trying to make, the editors may decide to retract an article outright.

One-shot articles:
One-shot articles are pieces of expository and/or narrative writing which seek to inform a reader about a particular topic or issue. While they may include some of the author's opinion and/or serve as a call to action to get people discussing a particular issue, they are explicitly not persuasive pieces (which would be categorized as an Opinion Piece). Articles of investigative journalism, retrospectives, and reviews and previews, would all be examples of different types of One-shot articles.
The decision to publish any given one-shot rests with the Editoral Board.

One-shot articles are judged on a similar basis to Opinion Pieces, though the order of importance of the criteria differs:
  • Interest - Simply put, is the One-shot interesting to read?
  • Basis - As expository writing, it's important that the author able to explain their rationale and reasoning for any statements or claims made in a One-shot. If factual errors are identified during the drafting and editorial process, these must be resolved prior to publication.
  • Communication - Again, while it's certainly a lot easier for us to move ahead with a piece that's already well written on the first submission, many writing issues can be smoothed out in drafting and editing, and we're happy to work with you to help improve opinion piece submissions prior to publication.
  • Topicality - Unlike Opinion Pieces, there's no requirement that a One-shot article need to contribute to any sort of ongoing discussion. It certainly helps an article's chances of being accepted if we think it can contribute to community discussions and activity however.
As a general rule of thumb, we would expect most One-shots to be a minimum of 500 words, which is roughly the length of a single page of single line spaced text at 11 or 12 point font. In practice, the majority of One-shots will likely fall between 800 to 1200 words in length. While there is no absolute limit on the length of a One-shot, the longer a piece is the more likely we are to ask that you break it down into a set of smaller articles.

While submitting a One-shots does not come with any long term commitment for follow-up from the author, we may request the author submit revisions to their article in the event that factual errors are discovered after publication. In the event an author is not able or willing to make necessary revisions to correct factual errors, Bulbanews editors themselves may make alterations to a One-shot to correct factual errors, and will at minimum add a note to the article highlighting and acknowledging these errors. In the most serious instances, where we feel the errors invalidate the point that the author was trying to make, the editors may decide to retract an article outright.

Columns:
Columns are pretty much simply Opinion Pieces and Articles that aren't just a one shot, but which run in a multi-part series over time. The base criteria aren't all that different, however there are additional requirements before we'll give the green light. As a rule of thumb, we will not be labelling anything as a Column that doesn't come from Bulbagarden Staff. Having said that, if a regular user had been publishing a series of Opinion Pieces or One-shot articles that would otherwise qualify as a column, we might retroactively label it a column if we then recruited them to the staff.

Examples:
The following examples are intended only to demonstrate the breadth and depth of topics that might be covered in long form writing. Please note that older articules from before 2021 might not be up to the standards that would lead to publication today.

Opinion Pieces:
Opinion Pieces from 2021 and later:
Opinion Pieces from prior to 2021:

One-Shot Articles:
One-shots from 2021 and later:
One-shots from prior to 2021:
 
General Questions

Archaic

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Who is allowed to submit a news article?
We will accept submissions from anyone with a valid Bulbagarden Forums account. Guests will be able to read all these guidelines, but may not submit until they have completed registration.

How often does Bulbanews update?
New articles are published as they are written and edited. As a general rule of thumb, submissions will generally spend no more than 12 hours in queue, and may be published as soon as 5 minutes after submission depending on editor availability.

Do you have a manual of style?
We do, but you don't need to worry about that for your submissions. Our editors will fix anything that needs fixing up to fit in with our style. Otherwise, if you feel you need a guide, we'd suggest simply taking a look at some of our past articles within a similar topic area.

Why was my article not published?
Bulbanews reserves the right not to publish articles that are submitted. This may happen for a variety of reasons, including because we've already reported on the story, because we were already in the process of editing an article for publication on that story, because the submission isn't relevant to our readership, or because of serious issues with spelling and/or grammar that made things too difficult for our editors to clean up. If you feel your article has been rejected unjustly, you should first discuss things with the editor who rejected the article. If you still have concerns, you can then talk with a member of the Bulbanews Board of Editors.
In any cases where we decline to publish a submission for poor spelling and/or grammar, but where this did bring a story to our attention that we would not have been aware of otherwise, the submitting user would receive a hat-tip credit in the final published article on the story, and would be awarded the Bulbanews Tipster badge if they didn't have it already.

What happens when multiple people submit the same story?
As a general rule of thumb, if and when multiple users submit the same story, we'll end up publishing the most complete article submission. In other words, we'll publish the submission that needs the least editorial attention before it can be published. In the event we have multiple submissions that need no editorial attention and could simply be published as-is, we'd look to give preference to the earlier submission.
We would make sure to give a hat-tip credit in the published article to all users whose submissions weren't published for this reason, as well as awarding them the Bulbanews Tipster badge if they didn't have it already.
 
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