Guidelines

Last Updated: September 24th, 2015

This is a living document that will continue to change and grow and as a user of this site you agree to all the guidelines set here at the time of first use and any changes that may arise thereafter.

We wish we didn’t have to create a guidelines page at all as we like to keep things simple, loose, open-minded, and open-ended, but we’re only human and a little guidance is necessary every now and then to keep things healthy, organized, and consistent.

Goal

Everyone is welcome, regardless of writing proficiency.

The Omniverse welcomes the full spectrum of possible writing categories, genres, and styles.

The Omniverse is somewhat of an experiment. The spirit of The Omniverse is entirely about the words and the meaning behind them, not how well they’re structured. In fact, we do not wish to impose certain writing conventions on anyone or even ourselves. We’re more interested in free-flowing writing styles that reveal your voice, regardless of whether they break convention.

No one is perfect or truly an expert in anything and we all continue learning every single day. While continuing to improve one’s skills in writing is nice, we’re more interested in learning about different ideas and perspectives. The Omniverse is open to anyone that wants to publish something, not just professional writers. If that goes against the grain of what you would consider a respectable place for you to publish your works, we understand that The Omniverse isn’t right for everyone and that’s okay.

In a nutshell, the intention of The Omniverse is to be a personal notepad of endless ideas and anecdotes about the world around us, not a professional news publication. If you disagree with, dislike, or even hate the methods and philosophies of The Omniverse, we respect those opinions and welcome criticism, as this too, is also part of the spirit behind our goal.

Ethical Guidelines

We’re not into censorship. We believe even those that hold values and beliefs opposite of our own should have a voice, within reason. We’re not cool with cruelty for the sake of cruelty for example.

While we try and remain unbiased to all subject matter when it comes to honoring and protecting the free speech of those on The Omniverse, even with content that might be intense or unpopular or offensive for some, we’re not okay with content that personally attacks individuals or that contains or promotes illegal activity.

Every author of The Omniverse owns the copyright to and is solely responsible for the content they create on theomniverse.org. We’re only responsible for protecting or removing that content if we’re to find a problem with it or to receive a complaint about it. Content posted in the wrong area or that doesn’t follow the guidelines or that we’re otherwise forced to remove by a third party is of course always subject to removal.

We ask that you please not post duplicate content. Articles you publish to The Omniverse should be original and unique. What we mean by duplicate content is the same article copied and pasted to multiple places online. This behavior is considered spamming. If you want to share your writing on The Omniverse with others, we encourage you to link to it from your blog, social media profiles, etc. — Learn More

You always retain complete control of your work. We have no data retention policies. It is your responsibility to always keep local backups of your work should you or The Omniverse ever decide to remove the content for any reason. If you choose to move items to the trash yourself, but do not fully delete them directly after, they will be permanently deleted automatically after 30 days.

While you may delete your content at any time, please only publish content to The Omniverse if you have the good faith intention of doing so permanently. While it’s only natural that later on you may decide you want to move a piece to your own blog or a different site, do not create content on The Omniverse with the intention of it only being temporary. Not only is this unfair to us and readers causing numerous issues, if you’re found to be doing this on purpose often for contests and giveaways, you may be banned for abusive behavior.

Support & Feedback

You can always get direct and private support for any issue by simply emailing us.

If on the other hand, you would prefer to get support or share feedback publicly for community involvement, you can post to the forum.

How NOT to seek support or share feedback.

Never abuse the posts area for support, discussion, or feedback regarding issues or complaints or even praises of The Omniverse. This will not help you get support any quicker and will result in the content being removed or moved to the forum which may only slow down the support process.

Please do not use social media for support or feedback. While it might be convenient, social media is neither appropriate nor adequate to resolve or discuss such issues in an organized or timely fashion.

Technical Guidelines

We don’t ask for a lot. We’ll never be so strict as to try and dictate our own opinion on something as silly and trivial as this. Other than the few technical guidelines below that we ask you to follow for a reasonably consistent and organized experience across The Omniverse, we’ll never mess with the DNA, the heart, or the soul of your words and the way you choose to emphasis, punctuate, and ultimately bind all your thoughts together.

Name

You do not have to use your real name; you may use a pen name. However, it is important that you use a valid email address.

Profile

At the bottom of every piece of writing you publish on The Omniverse is a section about you: the author. This info (name, avatar, bio, website URL, social profiles) is controlled under your profile. You set your avatar by associating the same email you use for The Omniverse on Gravatar. Be sure to use full URLs (not just usernames — this means including the http:// or https://) for your social profiles or the links will be broken.

Titles & Tags

Please use title case for both titles and tags.

Bad: I saw something strange at the store today
Good: I Saw Something Strange at the Store Today

Select a Category

You may only select one category. Please do your best to select the most relevant category for your articles. If there is no category available that’s fitting for your content you may use the category “Other” or request a new category be added here. We may re-categorize your articles if a new better-fitting category has been created or if a more relevant one already exists.

Categories Explained

Fiction — Only fictional content.
Poetry — Only fictional or nonfictional content in the style of poetry.
Creative Nonfiction — Only nonfictional content in a creative style, that for example might be in story form and confuse some readers who are looking for informational articles on various topics.
Nonfiction — All other categories are for nonfiction articles only.

Paragraphs

This is probably the number one way in which writing differs in the digital format from print. Instead of indenting a paragraph, the best way to separate paragraphs is with a blank line. Also, smaller paragraphs are much easier to read online.

Pagination

When working with really long pieces, you can help readers save their spot by breaking them up into multiple pages by using this tag where you wish the current page to break into a new one:

<!--nextpage-->

Word

Microsoft Word is a very useful tool, but not great for creating web-based content. Try to avoid pasting into the online editor directly from Word. This creates numerous spacing and broken character issues. Instead, write directly in the online post editor and then paste to Word to check your work.

Image Specs

960px wide or more (for full-width images)
1920px wide or more (for full-width retina-ready images)

Please avoid messy filenames.

Bad: 883498938_DSC_DEC_12_2009.JPEG
Good: new-snow.jpg

Hotlinking

Hotlinking is not allowed on The Omniverse, period. This means to embed images in your articles from external sites. All images should be uploaded directly to theomniverse.org.

Attribution

Please check the copyrights of third party content, especially images that you use in your articles. Most allow you to use freely so long as you credit the creator/photographer, some don’t allow use of any kind, and some allow you to do whatever you like without attribution. Just be sure you understand which and respect the original creator/photographer accordingly.

Copyright

When viewing your articles, in the footer of the page, you’ll find your copyright notice:

Article © Your Display Name.

Your display name is set in your profile under “Display name publicly as”. This is separate from your username. This is useful so that you can display your real name or pen name however you like at anytime, regardless of the original username you signed up with.

Editing Published Articles

Once you’ve published an article it’s gone live on the site and has been syndicated to social media. Unless you’ve decided to completely delete the article, please make sure to not put it back into draft mode just to edit it as this will result in the article disappearing from view and readers will see an error. You may edit your older articles as much as you like, just be sure to update the live article, not change its published status.

Quality

We do not intend on being too heavy-handed in editing user-submitted content ourselves for spelling and grammar errors, but we will often make adjustments for design, spacing, and formatting issues and other corrections. Additionally, we will leave suggestions for improvement on your articles for you to make yourself. These are only recommendations, not requirements (unless otherwise noted). Your articles run no risk of being removed if you choose not to make the improvements.

The recommendations will come in the form of sticky notes on your articles, only visible when logged in. If you agree with the recommendations, simply make the corrections. If you disagree with the recommendations, simply ignore them. In either case the note will be removed after about a day or so (you can email us and request a note be removed if you find it has been left on your article for an extended period of time).

We’ll say it again and again, we don’t care how “good” of a writer you are. There’s no judgment on The Omniverse. We don’t care very much about conventional writing rules. We care more about people and what they have to say. We care about heart. We can all improve our writing skills together. If we have suggestions for one another it will be done so thoughtfully and politely and it will always be secondary to the meaning behind the words.

Bannable Offenses

Rudeness
Plagiarism
Duplicate Content
Spamming
Scamming

Accounts which have 0 posts will be considered inactive/fake and removed after 90 days.

Of course, it’s not possible to list every single imaginable variable for potential offenses. A lot of keeping The Omniverse honest, fair, and safe relies on the community (its writers and readers) to have good sense and for ourselves to deal with behavior we find to be abusive or disruptive on a case-by-case basis.

Help us protect The Omniverse.

You can report any article by simply leaving a comment on it. You may do so anonymously, but always keep in mind that there’s no reason to be rude. Just make a quick and simple comment: “Possible spam.”, “Possible duplicate content.”, etc. and we’ll receive an email notification and investigate further.

Allowed (in the right context)

+ Profanity — We’re not prejudice against words. Words are innocent. They only change depending on the speaker’s intended tone and connotation.
+ Nudity — While we cannot allow pornography (even if we wanted to), nudity does not automatically equate to porn.
+ Self-promotion — We don’t consider self-promotion to be immediately wrong or spammy. We encourage you to link to your website, social media profiles etc. already by filling out your profile. The occasional in-article promotional or affiliate link, so long as done tastefully and if the content is otherwise useful/substantial, will be allowed. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Final Note

The absolute, number one, hard-and-fast rule of The Omniverse is to be polite.

We all make mistakes and we welcome making mistakes here on The Omniverse. We consider it a good thing, as there’s no better way to learn than by making mistakes. If you’re found to be breaking the guidelines, as long as you have a good attitude and are willing to work with us to make sure you’re using The Omniverse correctly, you will always be welcome and have another chance.

What will not be tolerated is behavior that indicates you think you’re better or smarter than someone if you find a mistake in their writing and putting them down for it as opposed to politely offering them your advice altruistically. This behavior is rude and unbecoming and ironically, putting others down is only a sign of weakness in you, not those who you would bad-mouth.

The internet and the world around us has become fueled by apathy and one-upmanship. Worst of all, these modes of behavior have become hip, even rewarded for their “cleverness”. The Omniverse will not become just another outlet for this purpose.

We’ll always do our best to solve any problems that arise in order to make The Omniverse enjoyable for everyone. However, as we all know — you can please some of the people, all of the time, and all of the people, some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people, all of the time.

Tolerance is about accepting those who are different from us, not those who harm us.

Thank you.