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If I keep publishing technical content in my blog which I think it would be appropriated here in Lobsters, would it be okay to submit it all as stories here? What if I do it in quick bursts? What if I space it for longer? How long should the spacing be, daily, weekly, monthly? Would the content be well received by the community with the bias that I produced it on my own, and would it be different if a friend (i.e. not author) submitted it?

I haven’t actually submitted stories of my own blog yet, but I’ve wondered about this, and https://lobste.rs/s/hiyj9i/cryptography_interface_design_is#c_ctqtnh has made me wonder about this again. (Note that I have nothing against that submission in particular, I actually quite enjoy reading the author’s posts. It’s the comment that prompted me to ask this.)


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    My rules of thumb: if a third of your submissions are your own stuff, you’re fine. You can go higher if you’re also commenting on other people’s submissions. If your non-authored submissions are low quality or clearly filler, that’s suspicious.

    If you’re only posting your own stuff and it’s high quality, that’s poor etiquette. If you’re only posting your own stuff and it’s low quality, that’s spam. If your stuff is low quality but you’re also submitting other stories and commenting, that’s fine.

    As for rate, I think daily is too high. Weekly is good for diverse writing. If all your authored posts are on the same topic, then monthly is better. Also, show and ask posts should be monthly.

    rants should be less than half your authored stories, if that. Probably less.

    All of these are personal opinions.

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      I don’t think looking at just submissions is a good to identify if you’re still promoting too much.

      If you actively involved in the community by commenting, submit your own (relevant, on topic) blog posts, and don’t submit other people’s stuff, that seems fine.

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        Yeah you’re right, that’s ok too.

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          I am pleased to see this comment. I don’t read super widely – I get basically all my reading material from Lobsters, and when I’m done catching up I close tab and get back to work, so it’s rare I have a good non-authored submission. But I do like to write posts and submit them when on-topic.

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          Mostly agree, though I would modify that engagement doesn’t have to be posting articles or writing comments. My engagement is probably 80% upvoting the articles I found most interesting/enlightening and the comments that have already said what I want to say (often better than I could). I think that helps keep the noise level down. I don’t mind if that makes me look quiet – I prefer that. And I would consider that behavior in a poster of high-quality self-written articles to be “good engagement” too.

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            Agree very much with this, and it (along with @calvin’s suggested heuristic) is kind of where I stand.

            The reason that I think it’s important to keep a mix favored in terms of external content–for blogs anyways–is that there is a difference in intent and outcome between “I post stuff, regardless of source, that might enrich other Lobsters” and “I post my stuff, because I want to get it in front of other Lobsters”.

            Eventually, you’ll see people start to sneak in their own product placement or brand building–and don’t be mistaken, there is a good deal of incentive for people to build personal brands.

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              Eventually, you’ll see people start to sneak in their own product placement or brand building–and don’t be mistaken, there is a good deal of incentive for people to build personal brands.

              Eventually? I’ll have you know I’ve been brand building since day one!

              (The trick is to make “enriching the community” part of your brand)

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            I think if your articles generally get upvoted and/or lead to good conversation, it’s a good sign they’re appropriate for Lobste.rs. I appreciated several such stories and I think they’re an integral part to this community. They mostly get posted shortly after being written, though; submitting an entire backlog of blog posts doesn’t sound like it would do well.

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              I think this should be the guideline and nothing else. Voting is the system that was designed to evaluate how well content fits here. Adding requirements only inhibits people from participating, because then they have to do other things as a chore (post content from other domains, make more comments on other submissions, etc) before they can post. On top of that, the quality of those contributions will probably be lower and they will degenerate the conversation too.

              To take it to the extreme: let’s say I post an article from my own blog each day for a month and each one of them gains a massive amounts of upvotes, why should that not be allowed? The community clearly likes it. If, on the other hand, I post three articles in a year and all three fail to collect votes and only generate negative comments, then that is an indication that the content is not appropriate for this site and it is too much, even at that rate.

              Now, the voting system might not be perfect, but if that is the case/the problem, let’s figure out a way to improve that.

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                I think this should be the guideline and nothing else. Voting is the system that was designed to evaluate how well content fits here.

                Hear freaking hear!

                The OP mentions soatok’s blog and someone commenting that they flagged it as spam because “they keep posting their blog over and over”, but if you look at soatok’s submissions you see {50, 104, 96, 113, …} point stories. That’s someone posting objectively good material as judged by the community. I’ve upvoted every one of their posts after I’ve read them because they are well-written, informative, and taught me quite a bit about an area where I lack expertise.

                Hillel has chimed in with his opinion above, but I disagree in part

                If you’re only posting your own stuff and it’s high quality, that’s poor etiquette

                I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a writer posting their own high-quality content as often as they please. I’d read Hillel’s blog posts on TLA+ every day if he’d post them that often. I’d probably upvote them as well because they are always top-notch, and are able to make a very technical subject accessible to me.

                This really isn’t and shouldn’t be a hard discussion: the 25 articles on the New page right now range from 1 hour ago to 2 days ago. You aren’t going to be lost in the noise, but you are also unlikely to take over the whole page. Just post. You’ll get feedback and will be able to adjust.

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                  I should probably elaborate on what I mean by “poor etiquette”. It’s okay for a person to only post their own, high quality stuff… I just think it’s impolite. In the same way that adding too many tags or not removing authors from submission titles is “impolite”.

                  The way I see it, lobsters is both a link aggregator and a community. I’ve made friends and enemies here. Posting only your own stuff doesn’t enrich the community in the same way posting your own stuff and commenting and posting other people’s stuff does. It’s toxic to the community if your stuff is spam, but you’re not doing anything wrong if your content is also high-quality. It’s just impolite.

                  I think it’s awesome and really affirming that you’d be willing to read my blog posts if I posted them every day, but I think that would be impolite to the community at large. I won’t deny I get a huge rush whenever I see something I write go viral. But I also care a lot about the health of the community, so it’s important to me that I’m regularly commenting and submitting stories that aren’t mine.

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                You are mistaken. The upvotes alone are not a sufficient metric. All articles from https://drewdevault.com/ were always upvoted and not posted by their author and yet the domain and the author were banned arbitrarily at a whim of the admin. The upvotes alone and the fact that the community enjoys it are not a sign that a content will not be removed and that the author will not be banned.

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                  That domain and author weren’t banned simply excessive self promotion though, which is what we’re talking about. It’s perfectly reasonably to believe that upvotes are a sufficient metric for one issue and insufficient for another.

                  It’s also the case that the author frequently had comments with highly negative scores.

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                    There certainly is a difference between banning someone’s account because you don’t like their comments on this website (for whatever reason) and banning the entire domain just because you don’t like that person. I certainly liked the articles posted there.

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                  I’d rather not lean on upvotes so heavily. There’s a pretty large amount of “ideological spam” that gets posted here to peddle software ideology that gets upvoted because people resonate with it in a knee-jerk, ideological kind of way. This sort of content adds nothing to the site other than more “yes me too!!!” content. Upvote oriented moderation atop the existing no-downvotes (instead, flags) and the strict invite tree will just turn this place into a stuffy circlejerk. Just my personal opinion of course.

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                  If you’re writing and trying to sort out tech stuff, you can write and post every day as far as I care. I probably won’t upvote most of it, but that’s what the voting system is for, right?

                  You know how poor writers get to be good writers? By writing a lot, editing, and listening to feedback. This fucked up thing we do where we expect people to post WSJ articles but not their rants about Javascript is way whack. You write it, you think it’s something I might want, submit it. Otherwise what the fuck am I on here for? I can read the same 20 mainstream news/tech articles anywhere.

                  If you’re saying you’re writing something technical but in reality are trying to sell me timeshares? And then you still keep posting daily? Ok, fine. We might have a problem here. But I want and expect a lot of self-publishing and knowledgeable comments. That’s why I’m here.

                  Sorry for the rant.

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                    My rule of thumb is you can submit even mostly your own blog if:

                    • It’s on-topic and absolutely not content marketing/hellthread material
                    • You engage with the site; it’s not write-only for you… (vote, comment, etc.)
                    • …even outside comments to your own posts.
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                      I feel like it’s hard to say in general, especially when it comes to “spacing” (obviously someone posting a new submission of their own every day would be too much, and nobody would notice if this happens yearly). My guideline for this has been to check how involved a user is in the rest of the community, and see if they only come here to dump their own articles for the sake of exposure, or if they contribute otherwise.

                      I remember that pushcx once posted some statistics on which user posted submissions from which domain, and there was some suggestion like limiting this percentage to a certain point. So I can’t say for sure what the moderation will do.

                      Another point I’d like to bring up again, at the risk of being banned, is the general hiding of domains, not just tags. I feel that this would be a good way to counteract this precise issue, because a spammer might use popular tags to avoid people from filtering out their stories, but when they start getting annoying, users can independently start ignoring their domains, thus making the spamming less attractive (at least for logged-in readers).

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                        Such an automated system to limit the submissions for a domain, or any other heuristics, could be tricky to balance. Probably it’s best left to the community through reports. Though I don’t know if other’s methodology for reporting is as thorough as yours.

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                          One argument I can think of that would be in favour of such heuristics, would be that there is no real harm in having a timeout on when you can post an article from a domain again. Will anything really change is you have to wait a day or two?

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                            I think ewintr’s comment here puts it nicely: artificial limitations might degrade the overall experience with dumb workarounds.

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                              That is true, for most complex heuristics a pathological counter-example can be found that breaks its assumptions.

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                        Clicking through to your profile and skim reading a few entries from your blog, IMO lobsters would have loved to have seen all the tech posts there. A bunch of them would likely have been upvoted heavily.

                        Obviously this isn’t the right forum for things like a guide to WorldEdit, but say “Python Ctypes And Windows”, “An Introduction To Asyncio” and the memory scanning thing would all be 100% on topic.

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                          Thank you! That’s nice to hear. I was purposedly holding off from posting the Writing our own Cheat Engine series because I would like to publish it as a show once it’s complete :)

                          I did not even think about posting the others; I tend to be far too hard on myself when it comes to quality on the things I produce… Maybe you could submit them if you liked them though.

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                            would like to publish it as a show once it’s complete :)

                            Good plan: part 1 probably wouldn’t have done well here if posted before at least part 2 was also written up. But I think it’s happily above the bar now. ^^

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                          Thanks for asking this, it’s been on my mind too. And the responses have been great; varied in opinion which is always good to learn from, but what I’m taking from it is that yes, the voting system is there for a reason and to be used. Personally, if it’s an interesting article, especially one that dives into something just for the sake of it, then I am going to enjoy it regardless of whether it was the article’s author that posted it or not. Get that content in front of my eyes, please!

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                            For what it’s worth, unless you authored more than half of your submitted stories, you won’t be labelled a heavy self promoter: https://github.com/lobsters/lobsters/blob/9c0e2c03e2c14a2fba39298e76258cc460f6f003/app/models/user.rb#L478

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                              IIUC, that also includes ask stories. Shouldn’t those be excluded from “heavy self promotion”?

                              Also, what is this function used for? Moderation?

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                                Also, what is this function used for? Moderation?

                                As far as I can see, it’s only a flag shown to moderators, but until one of those chimes in, that ratio is the closest thing to an authoritative answer for what the administration considers acceptable.

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                              I post a lot of my own stuff here if it fits into any of the tags, but I also try to submit a fair amount of content I pull from other RSS feeds that I think would fit. I need to get back to tech posts though; my last two were moderated out.

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                                If the content fits one of the existing categories and you are sharing your knowledge or opinion about a given technical topic, I would say you not only could but also should keep submitting your content (as everyone else in this community).

                                I saw many comments mentioning “high quality” vs “low quality”, that shouldn’t matter. It is the voting system’s job to bring up the good content and hide the weaker articles.