Why Hasn't My Place/Food Submission Been Published?



Atlas Obscura receives new place and food page suggestions each day. We endeavor to deal with each of them as quickly as possible, however, due to the sheer volume of suggestions we receive, and the varying degree of completion and quality they come to us in, getting a place page published can take some time.

If you’ve submitted a place page, and have questions about its status, you’ve come to the right place. Please check out the following tips and suggestions, and if you still have questions about a specific place page you submitted, send a message to the editors at places@atlasobscura.com.

If you’ve submitted a place or food that has yet to be published, here are some things to consider:

  • All place contributions are reviewed by our editors, and the more complete your entry is, the greater the chance it will be published quickly. Submissions with at least one good photo (either your own, original work or a copyright-free image), and a detailed description (in your own words!) will almost always take precedence over less complete entries.

  • Places and foods that are a strong fit with Atlas Obscura’s mission are also given priority. We’re interested in uncovering the most unusual, extraordinary, secret, or otherwise amazing places in the world. They don’t need to be in far away, exotic locations, but they must have an element of the hidden and a sense of wonder.

  • To help speed along the publication process, you can edit and add to your submission at any time. You can find the entry on your user profile under the “Places Added” tab, then simply click “Edit This Place.”

All this being said, we are enthusiastic, but not perfect. Sometimes things fall through the cracks, or our communication about your place entry might not be as clear as we would like. We are constantly working to make the database submission process easier and more user-friendly, and your feedback and questions on where we might be falling short, are much appreciated.

Again, if you still have questions, we encourage you to send a message to places@atlasobscura.com, or comment below. All of your messages will be read and responded to as quickly as possible.

We hope this helps answer your questions, and thank you again for adding a place or food and helping make our database all the more wondrous.

On the radar

If I have a place I submitted but didn’t make it through review and/or changed my mind, is there an option to remove it so that it’s not in pending limbo forever?


Great question! Currently the only way to delete an unpublished place is to send us a message requesting that it be deleted. While we’re always sad to see a potential place entry go, we’ll of course take it down immediately. Allowing signed-in users the ability to delete their own unpublished places is a feature that I think we’d like to add to the database, and we’ll be discussing it with the development team.


I’m glad this is being discussed. This has been a source of frustration for my partner and I. We love AO and would like to contribute to the community but when we have tried adding places none have them have been published.
I’ve tried 3 times: the first post I understood it not being published, I didn’t have original photos and the spot is significant but only to the rural community I am from; but the second post I had photos, it is road trip Americana, historic and off the beaten path, I was confused when that one didn’t make the cut; and then the third time I tried was a post about the burning ghats of Varanasi, where 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year, public cremations happen on the banks of the Ganges, how is that not an AO site. Then I thought maybe it’s my writing. My writing isn’t the best by any means, but I’ve edited posts where I’ve rewritten pretty much the whole thing and those go through, so my writing was satisfactory in those cases.
I’m really busy with work and life and would love to contribute but I’ve stopped trying because my time is too valuable to write up a site or food and then not know if it was ever seen or if it was rejected and not knowing why.
Also I liked it when in the beginning of AO foods you could submit suggestions, a lot of my food suggestions where written up and published. Can we have a place for this again, maybe in the community forum where people can leave suggestions of places and food but don’t have the time to write it up themselves?


I’m really sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with submitting a place to the Atlas, and I appreciate you taking the time to come into the forums and let us know about it. We certainly want to respect your time and effort, and I apologize if that didn’t seem like the case here. While I can’t immediately speak to the places you entered, I’m going to bring your feedback to the attention of the Places team who can check them out. In terms of simply adding a tip, as in the early days of Gastro Obscura, you can also do that when entering a place by simply including just the basic information about the place. In any event, thanks again for your patience and willingness to keep being an active part of our community, despite your frustrations!


Hi Eric,
Thanks for your response. I understand you guys have a lot to filter through and we don’t all have the same idea of what an AO site is. At some point it would be nice if there was more clarity on the process; for instance, instead of always showing as pending review, once it’s been reviewed have a second status of reviewed but not published because of a, b, or c.
Anyways like I said before I love AO and have enjoyed seeing it evolve and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
P.S. One more thing about places, why are “speakeasies” a thing on AO? They are so trendy. There’s practically one on every block now.


We absolutely understand and agree about the need for more clarity in the place/food submission and approval process, and we’re currently discussing some improvement options similar to what you suggest. Although it will take some time to actually implement them. In the meantime, thanks again for your patience and support while we “evolve!” As to speakeasies, I hate to say that we were into them before they were cool, buuuuuuut…


Re: speakeasies, I’ve always wondered if y’all would ever remove a place because it’s no longer obscure. There have been some places in the Atlas that I’m like “really???” lol

(Although you could argue that by making more places known, we’re reducing their obscurity but we don’t want y’all to take down the website or do away with jobs!)

But on that note, I agree with the comment about having a reason for why a place didn’t get pushed through would be helpful. I can see why leaving things in limbo might avoid a debate because there is some subjectivity to what inspires wonder but more transparency would be so very appreciated.


This is an interesting topic and here are my €0.02:

First of all I agree with @icatsstaci that it would be nice with some more information on the status of a place once it has been sent. This and the possibility to delete a place, just like @shatomica suggested, would make handling places a lot easier from a user perspective.

Most of the places I have submitted have been published but the ones that haven’t seem a little arbitrary to me. One was denied because it’s an annual event rather than a place but at the same time Atlas Obscura is full of events and another one was added just the other day. I hope you’ll let them stay in the atlas because I have discovered a few wonderful ones thanks to this page. I see that there might be problems with a “place” that is not permanently there but just as you handle places with an unknown location I’m sure that there are ways to handle events as well. What I’m hoping for really is a calendar… :slight_smile:

Another place I have submitted was denied because it’s not open to the public. This might just be that I didn’t communicate that there are occasional events there and that it is possible to visit on appointment (because the atlas is full of those as well). I just wrote the owner a message on Facebook and he was more than happy to show me around. I see why places that are always accessible to the public are less problematic but at the same time I think an obscure place should go into the atlas, on that merit alone, if it is possible to visit. I see it as a challenge to get into those places that are not open for everyone to visit all the time at the same time as I find it extremely frustrating to try to get to them. :slight_smile:

Last, but definitely not least, is a place that was rejected because it was a mural that would be on display for up to a year. I know for a fact that there are temporary exhibitions and even one-time events in the atlas. Although I think the latter is not suitable for the atlas I have no problems with installations etc. that are planned for maybe six months or a year if they are obscure enough. At least this way it’s possible to discover them and go see them before they’re gone.

Bottom line I think clarifying what is accepted and not would be good as well as clarifying the approval process that you have already mentioned. Right now none of the places I mentioned above are really covered by what’s in the FAQ under things to avoid when adding places.


I got some places in stockholm that I’d like to get up.

Added today so maybe I should complain about this just yet, but for completion. :slight_smile:

@hrnick might be interested in helping these be polished up. They kind of cover the same issues he mentions. @Kerry_Wolfe had some objections about the LEGO telescope because it wasn’t accessible to all, but the same is true for all other lego telescopes. You can see them during open days and upon request if you know who to ask. IMO these kind of places are very much part of the AO experience, where you get into places that you would never think of when being a normal tourist. :slight_smile: The larger solar telescope is also quite unique, especially in a place like Stockholm.


Generally we don’t take published places or foods out of the database unless there is a direct reason or request, although we have other mechanisms that help surface the more Atlas-y submissions. Regarding speakeasies specifically, as with all commercial places, we look at them on a case-to-case basis, and decide from there. Wonder is always going to be a bit subjective, and what you might find mundane or too well known, may still be mind-blowing to others, and that’s true even within the Atlas staff. Overall, we are always trying to curate the most impressive places and fuel a little surprise and curiosity, and react to how that might change within a specific entry.

To your second point, transparency with our users is one of our main goals as we try to grow and improve the database and submission process. As our user base has grown we’ve definitely encountered some areas (as we’re discussing here!) where we’re not as clear as we’d like to be, but we’re working on making the experience better. Clearer communication about the status of submissions is a big part of those discussions.


Hey @hrnick! These are all good points and I apologize for any frustration you’ve experienced. Since our database is curated by editors, w/ each submission considered on its own, there are going to be instances where it seems as though some similar things were approved while some, similar things were not. As part of our general moves to improve communication and process, we are trying to be more clear in situations such as the ones you listed. And as always, if you have any questions about why a specific place wasn’t approved, please send it to places@atlasobscura.com.

When it comes to temporary places and art installations, as a general rule, they are automatically not a good fit for the database. That being said, sometimes some of them are approved for various reasons (including that we didn’t realize that they weren’t permanent!). And really, all places are temporary in the fullness of time, so we’re also looking at ways to better identify places that no longer exist, which might allow for us to expand our acceptance of temporary places. I hope this helps, and thank you again for the feedback!


Well it is a mural on a wall that is usually painted once or twice every year so there was no end date set really. I guess that’s the nature of most murals and there are a number of them in the atlas as well. But sure, this could very soon lead us into philosophical discussions about life, existence, mortality and how everything perishes sooner or later. :slight_smile:


We have definitely had those philosophical discussions about database places.


Thanks for the information! I really appreciate y’all taking the time to talk to community members directly in these forums—it’s definitely been helpful to get that peek behind the curtains!


We really appreciate the questions and feedback! We can’t make Atlas Obscura work without you guys, so I’m really glad we can finally start making moves to improve communication, and letting people into the process a bit more. Thanks again!


Yes I think that its great how you guys are developing the site and working on transparency.

Maybe a PM with a short pro/con /will it ever be published message could help. For example one of your colleagues found that the toilet had been sold from the location that I described. Something that I had no idea had happened even after some googling. So you guys clearly do the research and think about it, and I think that communicating it would help a lot. :slight_smile:

Also small side note, email correspondence with the atlas crew is not super streamlined. I’ve emailed a few time and I’d say that I get a reply ~20% of the time or after ~6 weeks if I bump the email weekly. (This can be demotivating) This place is much more active and I love it! And 2 places are set to be published so it works too. :slight_smile:


Also. here is an old one that I would love to get out.


I’m sorry to hear about your struggles to get in touch with us. We’re definitely working to be more responsive and communicative, and as always, I thank you for your patience in every instance. Hopefully the forums are just one step in the right direction, and we can continue to improve as we grow!


I just want to give kudos to the editor who prepared my Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument submission. It’s so well constructed in its final form that I’m simply appreciative to have been a part of the submission.