FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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Creating a Bio-- How and Why

Creating a Bio-- How and Why
This FAQ was created by the OEN senior editor team

At OpEdNEws.com, we expect content submitters and regular commenters to have a worthy Bio. If you fail to produce one and submit content or make more than a few comments, your bio could and probably will be flagged for improvement. At that point, your posting to OEN will be put on hold until you submit a new bio. That bio will go into a queue where editors will assess it to be sure it meets the criteria we describe below.

After readers read a writer's article, diary or poll, they check the writer's bio next. Readers want to know something about the writer.  If your bio is snippy, silly, purposely mysterious, not-forthcoming, etc, that can diminish the authenticity of your writing for readers.  

If you want to be heard and want to be taken seriously as a writer, a well constructed, truthful andthoughtful bio is essential.

Providing a worthy bio is also essential to being a credible, respected, transparent member of the OpEdNews.com community, and provides a number of important benefits.

1) it connects you more to the community by telling others about you
2) it shows you have the courage of your convictions
3) it gives credibility to your writing
4) it puts your writing in context
5) it establishes you as a sincere writer who others will take seriously
6) it provides you with a body of work, a writing portfolio attributed to you
7) it shows you operate with transparency

Anonymous writing, or using a pseudonym, is much less credible to most readers because there is no accountable "person" behind the words. No one is backing up what is written.

You don't have to be an expert, or a survivor , or to have experienced what you are writing about, but if you do have any professional credentials, it's good thing to include them in your bio.

Do you bring a unique perspective to your writing? Tell readers about it in your bio.

Have you done some kind of activism? Tell us.

Are you a member of any advocacy or activist or other organizations? Tell us.

Do you have an expertise, or a degree in political science, marine biology, business or psychology or computer science? Tell us so we understand your perspective better, and get to know the source of the information we are reading.

Now, if you want to maintain some anonymity or discretion, don't tell us who you work for, or don'tsay what town you live in. But tell us something pertinent about you, for example that you are aparent and a teacher. Or not. You can talk about your hobbies, the issues you care about, accomplishments in your life, experiences you have had, things you know, things you want to do. You can have fun with it, but do respect the other members and try not to be snarky or cynical.

Dos and Don'ts
  • You cannot include your email address in your bio. Readers can contact your through the OEN messaging system.
  • You MAY include links to your website, preferably embedded in text. You MAY include links to books you've written.
  • You may not use your bio as an ad or a free link to a commercial site. If your bio does not explain the context for the link to your website we will consider your registration and bio to be spam and ban you from the site. If you list more than one website, be certain to show why they are relevant to you and to membership in this site.
  • Bios should be more than one sentence long.
  • Do not provide a trivial, silly or uninformative bio as this will limit your credibility, and will lead to flagging, and a request for a more serious submission. Bios such as "I am a patriotic American" provide readers with no information whatsoever.
  • We do not aggressively police author names, but if you use the name of a famous person likeTom Jefferson, we won't allow it unless you send us an image of a photo ID proving it is your real name. We encourage you to use your real name. You never know when a major mediaorganization may contact you. Our writers have been featured in NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, BBC and more.


Be Courageous
We live in oppressive times, and standing up to it publicly and openly helps end oppression more than publicly hiding from it.  If the Internet is to become a more legitimate news and information source, it needs a legitimate writer base. OEN is a legitimate news and opinion site.  Folks can have their own websites and be "FRANKENSTEIN" if they want, but if they're going to publish on a "news" site, they need to stand behind their own identity and be respectful of readers and step out beyond their opinions. If we're going to be courageous and credible, we need to be transparent. That means no articles authored by FRANKENSTEIN.

Everyone can come up with reasons why it might be easier for them in a number of ways to have their opinions published anonymously. However, that is not the only issue. There are issues of transparency, journalistic integrity and honesty, legitimacy and standing up for one's convictions. What would the world be like if everything that was published was anonymous? Would anyone be comfortable with even a significant percentage of reporters being anonymous?

We realize that there may be a variety of legitimate reasons for hiding one's identity. We struggle with many of those issues ourselves and are happy to discuss specific concerns and strategize about how to best address them on an individual basis

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