Thursday, August 23, 2007

Helium Follow-Up

Helium logoOK, after my initial foray into the world of Helium -- an online repository for writers and publishers of articles -- I must say that I am intrigued. I'm still not entirely happy with the site, given its somewhat limited editing capabilities. Perhaps that will be addressed in the future.

What I do like is the community rating system.

When I submitted my article the other night, it was to a topic which had nine other articles already under it's rubric. At the time, I was rated 6 out of 10. Apparently it gave me the benefit of the doubt that I was in the middle of the pack as far as writing quality. The site then presents pairs of articles to those who volunteer to rate them. Each person is asked to read both articles and indicate which they think is better. Obviously, the one which is deemed to be superior rises in rank, while the lesser article drops lower.

The system presents articles from random titles, so an author can't go in and easily game the system to push their own article higher.

When I checked back today, my article had risen to 2 of 10 (not bad!). Out of curiosity, I checked out some of the articles to see to what kind of quality I was being compared. The article at #1, was quite well written. It was short and succinct and its author used a list structure which made everything quite clear and readable. I certainly didn't mind coming in second to that.

Then I looked at the lower end of the range. For every good quality that #1 possessed, #10 seemed to decide to do the opposite. It was long, unfocused and rambling. The author chose to use poor grammar and "creative" spelling. Where the first was authoritative, the last was amateurish. In checking with the other pieces, each seemed to be positioned about where I would expect them if I were to try to arrange them myself.

I guess the upshot for me is that Helium is not only yet another article submission site, but it also acts as a fairly impartial judge of ones writing style in the marketplace of ideas.

So, have you checked out any article submission sites?

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