I’m glad I read this. I submitted one and it went to “pending” purgatory. After that I never submitted another one even though I had several in mind. Knowing that it could be just a volume thing and not necessarily something they disliked about the place entry I’ll now try again with another one.
I just thought to share some of my own views about this topic. I’ve been a member for about 5 years already and AO has gone through a big development. Years ago it was actually possible to follow the recent activity and users could get a view of new submissions through this. And, well, some of the submissions were truly weird but not in a good sense. One that I still remember – somebody wanted her house to be added because she had UFO-s coming over every other night. So I see that the editors have to go through a lot of stuff and maintain a focus in all the submissions. When I started to contribute my first submission was published in the next morning. Some of my submissions have been pending for a year or so and eventually been published anyway. I think it is not reasonable to expect all the submissions to go through in an instant and there is no need to be frustrated when not much has happened after couple of days, but people surely tend to be impatient. After all, from my point of view I see that it is “my submission vs the editors”, but from the editors’ point of view it is “them vs every kind of submissions from rest of the world”.
PS, of course I think that all my submissions are worthy to to be included in the Atlas, even couple of the old submissions that by now have received a rejection note. It would definitely help if the process of submitting gets some update. For example, if my submission got rejected but I could actually update it and still think it is worthy to add, should I create it anew or work more with the initial one? Another issue that may arise is providing sources and additional information. For example I’ve visited Russia for many times and submitted some places from my trips. But it is darn difficult to find additional information over the internet for most of the places there that are provided in English. So, should I include the links to sources that are in Russian (or whatever other local language) and you just try to figure it out via Google translate?
One other thing that I think needs attention is the keywords. It seems that these are made up on the go. In this way some of the older entries could actually fit well with some new keywords but the search function wouldn’t find them because the old entries are not linked to new and suitable keywords later. Please correct if I’m wrong in this.
Thanks for the feedback Bacon, and I’m sorry to hear that you had such a disappointing experience on your first effort at adding a place. While I can’t speak directly to the place entry itself (please feel free to message the database editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to follow-up on your specific submission), it may be true that it was simply a victim of a workflow issue, although there are a number of reasons why submissions might not be published. In any event, I really appreciate your patience, and for giving our place submissions another shot. The feedback about our database submission process that we’ve received in the forums has been extremely helpful, and we’re working to make a number of changes across the board that should make the process more clear and satisfying. In the meantime, thanks again for joining us in the forums, and continuing to be a part of the Atlas Obscura Community (even when it’s frustrating).
Thanks for the thoughtful post, @ahvenas. First off, I really appreciate your continued support and activity on Atlas Obscura. I’ve personally watched you adding terrific places to the database over the years, and I’m really glad that you’ve joined us in the forums.
In terms of submissions that we choose not to publish to the larger database, if you want to work to improve those submissions and resubmit them, for the time being, you should simply work within the original entry, and notify the editors at email@example.com that you’d like them to take another look. This part of the process is one that might change as we evolve the submission process, but for now that’s the best way to do it.
There’s no need to worry about your sources being in English, so long as they are still accurate and reliable.
You also bring up a good point about how keywords work on the site. Our thinking on tags and keywords has changed and shifted a number of times over the years, and while we have made attempts to unify their usage, there is still a lot of work to be done to make them most useful and efficient. It’s a large and complicated project, but a known issue.
I appreciate your continued patience and understanding while we work to improve the experience of submitting places and foods to our database. The upcoming changes to our submission processes should alleviate many of the pains of having a submitted place simply lay in pending status. Hopefully the forums are already helping to dispel any sense of “my submission vs the editors.” We very much want you to be as excited about using the Atlas as we are about seeing your entires (which is very excited). I hope this helps, and thanks again for taking the time to give us such detailed and useful feedback.
If I may make a suggestion, but in regards to the possible disconnect of what you guys want to see in the Atlas Obscura database versus what people think the database should have, why not start a thread and ask what kind of places we think belong on Atlas Obscura and why? What does Atlas Obscura mean to us, and what do we get out of it and what could we get out of it that we don’t now?
Hey @lampbane, thanks for the suggestion! While it’s always been true that our editors are the final arbiters of what gets published to the Atlas, and sometimes they may not agree with our users on what is a good candidate, I’m not sure that there is a huge general disconnect in those two viewpoints. That being said, we always want to hear what types of things our users would like to see on the site, and what it means to you. Since our users can add what they think is a good place at any time, we are lucky enough to see what they would like to go on into the database every day, just by looking at their place entries. In terms of hear what you would like to get out of the site, I encourage you to leave any ideas or requests for improvements that you have in this thread:
This might also be a good discussion for adding places and foods you would like to see appear on the Atlas:
I hope this helps, and thanks again for reaching out!
This thread is full of wonderous places I’d like to visit, please share more of your refused entries
At this point I would like to thank the editors for their work and always correcting my poor english! Until now all the places I suggested got accepted (except one: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/hushaus, which might be indeed a bit boring). Generally, I really spend a lot of effort on each entry, read some literature, and try to provide a good story and makes the place “speak”. I appreciate the high “quality” of atlas obscura entries and think, that the editors do a good job, since the site does not get spammed too much with commercial or mainstream places.
Now both the old one and the new one have been published, the suggestion helped. I feel more a member of the odd sight seer community now.
And for the record, I look at this site for visit ideas every time I go some place new.
I’m glad we could help! And I’m happy to have you as part of our community!
IMO the forums really helped, articles get published more quickly and the places@email became more responsive after people here pointed out issues with that.
I’ve submitted ~20 places to the atlas this week after my Warsaw trip and @Kerry_Wolfe was very helpful in ‘prejudging’ the first load. I can now assume that most of them will be published at some point and that does take away a lot of frustrations with waiting. So thanks AO team!
I also personally think its great to develop the under-represented cities a bit and letting them go from ~10 spots to ~30.
I think its kind of weird that this is the only thread that’s remotely active in all the forums.
Theres been a suggestion of us posting about refused places, lets make that another thread (you know what, ill do that right now?)
Theres also been one about improvements to the site. Eric should start that one, perhaps
I agree. IMO we need more threads that help you get feedback / assistance on unpublished places. Maybe writing tips, etc. I tried to make one too, but no replies yet.
I just noticed that some entries now say ‘sorry, but we have decided not to publish this entry’.
Will there be more feedback at some point or will it just be ‘no’? And does that mean that no matter how much you update, it will never be published?
And some other entries are still ‘pending review’, even old ones. What’s the difference with those? Not rejected but not accepted? The ones that are pending publication have no message.
It’s all a bit confusing sorry!
One of my older entries that got refused is https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/giacometti-hall Don’t know the reason why it was refused. But still a great place to visit, beautiful interior decoration and not something so well known about Zürich (just my opinion). Difficult to get pictures about this place though because photography is not allowed.
The Angry Birds things looks awesome.
I was thinking of adding this one, it’s the oldest swimming pool in Reykjavik and it has this 1930s art deco glamour to it. But I’m not sure if it would pass a test. I think I can sell it, I’ve been there and I think it’s a treat:
wrong topic? But yea I think that the pool should make it.
Hey again @CoolCrab. Apologies for the continued confusion. As we’re trying to transition to a more communicative and clear system, we’re rolling out changes including the “not published” and “pending” status disclaimers. For now, those are in place to give users a clear idea of the status of their submission. We’re working on further features that will allow us to communicate more detailed reasons directly with more emails to our users. This email and notification process is in development and should roll out soon. In the meantime, as ever, I encourage you to reach out to our database editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any detailed questions or comments about specific place pages.
In regards to the idea you and other users (including @SunnyDandthePurpleSt) have suggested about posting rejected or pending places in the forums for other users to review, I think that’s a fine idea, but I want to set some expectations so that such discussions don’t lead to further confusion or frustration. As it stands, we do not have a direct process for reviewing changes or edits to specific submissions from our forum comments. However, any edits made to the place pages will be reviewed by our editors, and handled as normal. The forum space is here primarily to facilitate discussion between our users, and while our editors and staff are here in the discussions, for the time being, direct communication with them via email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org is still the most efficient way to get more information about your submissions.
Our forum space is still very new and we are actively working on how to make it most useful for our readers. In the future, there may be a more direct link between the submissions process and our forum discussions but for the time being, the database editors are the best source of information regarding our place and food pages.
I hope this helps clear things up, and again I apologize for any confusion you’ve experienced. Thanks again for the continued feedback, and let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
My thread wasnt because i wanted to help ppl get those places published. I just thought itd lead to fun discussion
Awesome to hear thanks! To be fair I’m already super happy that you guys work so hard on feedback and site improvement. Looking forward to the updates.
Ah, sorry. Didn’t mean to rope you in unnecessarily.