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How to Treat Volunteer Editors

First, the good news. OpEdNews now has over 7000 members. This email goes to you if you've written an article for OpEdNews within the last year. We've had a great relationship with 99.97% of our writers. But we've had two lately who have been problematic. One was nasty and threatened harm and the other was excessively nagging and annoying-- inappropriately so.

I'm writing this email to lay out a request and some rules.

Here's why.

OpEdNews just lost one of our most dedicated editors. The editor just went through being barraged by four emails hassling her to fix a link that wasn't working on an article that never should have been posted in the first place, since it was just a puff promotion for a movie.

The writer submitted the link wrong and it wasn't working, and then contacted me and the volunteer editor, asking us both to work on it. Then, when the volunteer deleted the article, since it was just a link, anyway, literally-- just a sentence saying to go to the link and the link-- nothing else, the writer kept hassling and complaining.

I want to make it clear to all our wonderful writers that volunteer editors are very precious. It takes at least ten people who express interest in volunteering to get one actual working volunteer.

This is the second time in two weeks that something like this has happened.

Ninety nine point nine seven percent of you are superb, respectful and appreciative for our editors. A tiny handful, literally, less than one percent, are abusive. So far, only men have been this way-- to female editors.

Here's my request. Treat our editors with love and appreciation. Never abuse them, never harass or hassle them. Never ever call them names or email unpleasantly to them.

I want to be very clear on this. There will be zero tolerance for any mistreatment of editors. Any time an editor feels the need to contact me because of inappropriate or unwanted or unwarranted messages from writers will be deemed cause to ban the writer from posting on the site for one month for a first offense, three months for a second offense, and in perpetuity for a third, last offense.

I fear that this notification will offend some of you. I don't intend it to. I am hoping you will see that this is a necessary step to take to protect our editors. Any writer who hassled an editor of a mainstream magazine or publications would surely be cut off and any and all of our professional writers realize this. This is not an extreme measure. It is a firm, tough measure which I hope will never have to be used again. But if it does offend you, or concern you, be assured, this is not at all about censorship, which might be an issue raised. It is about civility, community and honoring the volunteers who do the work selflessly.

Bottom line, if an editor does something you don't like, contact me. I'm not going to quit and I'll listen to your problem, your complaint and try to resolve it. Generally, though, if an editor rejects an article, with a reason, consider it rejected, unless the reason is a request for editing and revision. If you don't agree with the revision suggestions, consider it rejected and send it somewhere else.

We value your sharing of content on OpEdNews, and we know that unlike most websites, we DO give feedback and responses when we reject articles. There is no tolerance for people who complain about rejections. Any writer with any amount of professionalism knows this to be true. But at OpEdNews, we genuinely happily welcome non-professional writers and really love to see great writing come in from them. That said, we expect them to act professionally.

Sorry to get preachy and authoritarian with you, but we've lost two editors because of one asshole who cursed out and threatened a woman and one impatient writer who couldn't wait for me to get back to his third email. That said, we could use more volunteers. Keep in mind that most of the work of volunteers is working with great people all over the world-- but that of a tough skin is necessary in being an editor who rejects the work of others.

Thanks for Your Forbearance, And all you do.

Rob Kall

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