“So bring on the rebelsCity Of Stars & Audition by John Legend
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays.”
Well thank you! Getting contributions from loads of people all over and around the Commons is a big part of what we’re trying to do.
Please note that by sending us your contribution you are confirming that you have read, understood, and followed these guidelines, and consent to our using your work. You take responsibility and ownership for your contribution.
We look forward to seeing what you’ve got for us…
These guidelines were last updated 20 March 2021.
We don’t automatically accept contributions
We don’t accept everything we receive. Your contribution might:
- Not be the sort of thing we’re looking for (see later).
- Repeat a contribution we’ve already used without adding to it.
- Have a shaky argument or use unsafe data or sources.
- Need more work.
- Or otherwise not follow these guidelines.
We might ask you for revisions – we want to be able to share your contribution with other people. If we do, we’ll give you all the help we can.
Please submit only one thing at a time, so we can give you general feedback on your work if we need to.
The way we do things
You’re writing for our website, and our website reflects our values.
We’re inclusive, respectful, and kind. We’re about facts and evidence. We want the greatest number of local people to get the greatest amount of benefit from what we publish, which means being accessible in how we present things and in what we present.
Our ideal is that all of the thousands of people living locally, whether they’re in Amberley or Aston Down, very knowledgeable or completely new to this, will get something from everything they see here that they want to share and talk about.
Please read our official bit to find out more about our values.
What we’re looking for
Briefly, we’re after things that will help the people living in the communities around the Commons around Minchinhampton live sustainable, habitat-respecting, carbon-neutral lives.
There’s more detail about that in our official bit and all around our website.
We’re not looking for experienced contributors, just for local people with something to say to other people living locally. We might be the first place you’ve ever shared your work with other people, and that’s great.
We don’t have any fixed ideas over how a contribution has to look: pictures, poems, thoughts, experiences, research, how-to advice – it’s all good if it’s helpful.
We don’t do advertising
We try to be objective, we won’t accept contributions that are aimed at their author’s direct or indirect personal gain (eg supporting funders, clients or employers, friends and family).
Your contribution’s ready to publish
You’re able to promise us that there aren’t any things meaning we shouldn’t accept your contribution:
- You’re 16 or over, otherwise an appropriate parent or guardian needs to get involved.
- All contributors are acknowledged in as far as they want to be, and consent to its publication, including indirect contributors such as interviewees.
- You have all the permission you need to use or produce your own version of any copyrighted material (eg long quotes, images, music).
- There’s no conscious bias in your contribution.
- Your contribution doesn’t encourage the breaking of a law or ethical code.
- There’s no unresolved dispute around your contribution.
- Your contribution contains no lies, manipulation, defamation or other attack.
We’re not bothered if you’ve sent your contribution to other people as well. If they have an issue with that (some do), it’s for you to resolve, not us. We’re non-exclusive and accept your work in good faith.
You have the right to withdraw your work from our website, and an obligation to correct it if you discover it contains mistakes, please see our privacy and data policy. This is the internet. We will moderate comments on your work in as far as we can, but cannot guarantee they will all be friendly.
Sending in your contribution
We accept contributions only by email. Please start your your email subject line with ‘CONTRIB’.
Please send your contribution as a single email attachment. Bundle all of the files that you’re sending into a single .zip file. Put all of your text in one document, and send your pictures as separate files, with names that indicate the order they come in, eg ‘1-holly’, ‘2-ivy’, ‘3-graph of growth rates’.
We should confirm we’ve had your contribution within a couple of days, if you don’t hear from us, please get in touch.
All communication between us about your contribution is confidential and private unless we both consent otherwise.
For our own private records, we’ll need your name and a correspondence email address (plus the details of anyone like a parent who’s helping you). For the website, we’d like a name that we can use that will help people know when they’re looking at your work. This doesn’t need to be your real name, but needs to be distinctive.
It can be useful to have keywords that’ll help people find your contribution when they’re searching. Please suggest a maximum of six for us to use.
Don’t worry about design or editing
Design is automatically taken care of by our website. Just be obvious about what’s a heading, what’s a paragraph, and which words you want emphasised.
We want your contribution to be in good, lively, easy-to-read English. We’re not trying to get every contribution sounding the same. We’ll tell you if we have issues with the way you write.
You may suggest links to other parts of the web. Please ensure any links you use are passive (do not automatically work), correct, and lead to safe and all-ages appropriate websites.
Sometimes it helps to show the sources you’ve used in producing your work. List them alphabetically by author in an endnote under the title ‘Sources used’ in this format: Who, When, What, Where, How do I find it?
For example: Heidi Kwai, 2014, Graph of honey production in ‘Going organic’, Hive Quarterly, www.hive-quart-mag
We’re aiming for a maximum length of about 800 words. Write compactly, no padding. If you have something longer, we may want to spread it out over several pages or make it into a series. If you have something shorter than 200 words, we may want to combine it with something else. It all depends on exactly what it is you want to do.
Provide your words as a single Word document (.doc, .docx), Word-compatible document (eg LibreOffice, .odf), pdf, or plain text file (.txt). Make sure that any ‘track changes’ options are switched off, and all comments have been dealt with.
Use a short, catchy and obvious title. Start with a sentence or two that will make an inviting trailer for the rest of your piece (that eg we can use on a contents page or in social media). Make sure your heading levels are clear, and the sections are obvious (separate them with a hashtag, #).
Our website program doesn’t have a maths editor, so please keep any equations simple.
Only use tables to support a point you’re making. Treat tables as pictures. Make sure they’re easy to read and understand, and consider whether the information might be better presented as something more visual, like a chart.
Put any extra bits or asides into a note to go at the end, no footnotes. Acknowledgments can go here.
Please submit pictures either as .jpg or .png files. The Windows Snip&Sketch tool can be used to make a .jpg of what you see on your device screen.
You can use as many pictures as you like, as long as the pictures have a point to them. Put a placeholder in your text file indicating where they ought to go and giving a caption, eg ‘(2-ivy goes near here CAPTION…)’.
Every picture needs a caption explaining what’s in it for people using reading software. Captions should not refer to colour or patterns.
Pictures need to look good and be easy to read on screens as small as a phone. No faint or delicate lines or lettering. No borders. They need to be understandable in black and white. Pictures need to be a reasonably high resolution, at least 300dpi.
Pictures need to be self-contained – if they need a key to be understood, that should be included in the picture.
You’re welcome to submit animations, movie files, sound files, data-sets or any additional kind of information, but talk to us about it first to see if it’s a thing we can use.
No money is involved
We neither charge nor pay for contributions to our website.