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


Please don’t be less strict! If we lose the obscure part we might as well remove Obscura from the name and turn this page into… an atlas really.

I was actually about to create a separate thread on this topic when it came up here. In my opinion keeping the added places obscure is important and I see places added to the atlas now and then that I don’t think should be there really. Over the years I’ve decided not to submit places because I don’t find them obscure enough but in the end they have showed up anyway which to me sort of devalues the atlas in the long run. I’m aware that it’s my own personal opinion and that others might see it differently.

Of course there’s the aspect of people in other parts of the world finding something more obscure than locals but I don’t think the solution is to be less strict. Actually I’m pretty sure that I would have found the Vasa Museum here in Stockholm a lot more cool and obscure even if it’s touristy if I wasn’t Swedish.

Sorry if there’s an underlying tone of frustration in this post, it’s because I love this page and care about it. :slight_smile:



While I apologize for any frustration you feel about our curation process, I’m happy to see your passion for improving Atlas Obscura. This issue of how “strict” we are with the places is very wide, and is under near constant discussion here, as we try to balance the task of highlighting curious places for the widest possible audience of people, while still maintaining the eye for wonder that makes us special. Since it involves a level of subjectivity, our curation standards will likely be constantly tweaked and shifted for as long as Atlas Obscura is around. However as we are able to develop and implement new tools and actions for our readers, we will better be able to surface those places and foods that speak most strongly to each individual. One person’s wonder might be another person’s local shop, and we’re trying to communicate all of that effectively. in the meantime, thanks again for continuing to add places, and maintaining a strong curatorial drive of your own. Thank you again for the great feedback!

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Well, I’ve been told to send them an e-mail, what I did, but they do not even bother to answer, or even give a life sign, and that was weeks ago.
If they only answer to ‘escalations’ made by you from people complaining through the forum, they will keep going with the poor communication, and you’ll get more work the forum becoming the ‘what is the status from my submission’ medium. They will not learn. Escalation through the forum should be very exceptional and not the norm, they need to take ownership.
Again, AtlasObscura being a user generated content site, if this team does not understand the criticality of their tasks, it is a bad sign…

Enzo Rhode-Hagen

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This is the discussion I’ve been waiting for! Thank you @EricGrundhauser for answering users’ inquiries and for providing this space to talk about a part of AO that can be very frustrating.

I agree that it’d be great if there was a way of removing permanently pending/rejected submissions. Otherwise, two things that I’ve had two things that I submitted months ago that have remained in pending limbo…


I can understand a decision to not add this to the Atlas on the grounds that Hergé is world-renowned and that the museum is well-known, but I’m not completely convinced. It’s an out-of-the-way place in a small university town and, aside from the Tintin treasures, the museum is quite unusual in that its a work of art in itself. I can also - as always! - accept reasoning on bad writing grounds!

As for the other one…


This one surprises me because Juliet’s Balcony - the most popular tourist attraction in Verona - is on the site. Juliet’s Tomb is certainly more obscure and strikes me as a worthy point of interest for travellers who may not be aware of it. (There’s also a Museum of Frescoes there in addition to the Shakespearean myth-making.) On a semi-related note, it is surprising that Verona doesn’t have more sites listed, and I added this to try and do something small to rectify that.

Regardless of these individual entries, I love AO and have been meaning to get back to contributing after a few months of not being able to. Knowing that there’s the possibility of even more transparency in the process enthuses me even more!



What I tend to do when I edit places and want to send the editors a message is to add that message in the beginning of the description separated by angle brackets. One example could be:

“<Address was in Cyrillic, just nudged the pin to update it>”

I do this because I guess my edits are not always that obvious.

Could you maybe do that when editing places just to make it possible for users to know the status of their places? I think “<Lacking pictures>”, “<Not obscure enough>”, “<More sources neede>” or any other message would make users feel that they get feedback even though they have to look at their added places themselves. They would know what to do to correct it, you could use the current infrastructure without any development and I don’t think it wouldn’t be a lot of extra work while a place is edited anyway.

There’s my €0.02 again. :slight_smile:

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Finally got to editing this place that I started last year. Trying out the ‘key item’ method of focussing on a cool part of a location rather than the whole place.

I also added a secret street sign

The coldest place on earth

and a very old (400-is yo) ordinance datum.

Oh and added a local drink.

Any feedback on these and of course publishing would be great. :slight_smile:

P.S. I’ve been in contact with @Kerry_Wolfe and that works great, but emailing the places team doesnt seem to work at all. I’m very happy with the personal correspondence, but like @Enzo_RhodeHagen said its a bit weird and inefficient to do it this way. I personally don’t mind, but i’m afraid of driving Eric and Kerry mad with my constant messages.

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One of the places I have uploaded (the medieval walls of Avila , Spain ) has been accepted apparently for a little over a week but hasn’t yet been published which is a bit frustrating.

I know it sounds a bit ridiculous but I was hoping to reach my target of 50 places added before the new year and at 48 currently I am only shy of two places.




I was wondering, do you travel a lot or do you somehow look random places up and publish them? Very impressed by the amount and quality!

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Good question. In the past few months I’ve only been traveling in the UK but was living in and will continue to live in Brazil (in the new year), and lived for almost a decade in Mexico and a number of months in Spain.

A lot of my posts are written about places I’ve visited from my teenage years and through my 20’s that stick in my memory for some reason or another. So when I write its often a case of thinking back to travels and recalling what was special about them. I find that its quite cathartic in my current stage of life to revisit my past travels and of course to encourage others to go out and see the world too.

I have a couple of rules I stick to when I write. Basically my rule is never to write about a place I have never visited nor about a place that I’m not fond of and also that the location should always be related to the country where its located and its history and culture even the shocking or dark aspects.



Ah cool. I try to also only publish places I’ve been too and made pictures of.
I have some exceptions for science locations, but those are rare.



The problem with pictures in my case is that in the past I rarely took pictures. Those that I did , I just dont feel are of decent quality or convey the ambience of a place well enough , so I just tend to use wikicommons images.

Which science locations out of curiosity ?

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Thanks again for submitting all the great places, @CoolCrab! In terms of correspondence about your submissions, while we explore and develop more efficient, programmatic processes to make communication easier, direct correspondence is our best option. We know the submissions and approval process can be frustrating, but Kerry, myself, and the rest of our small database team are working hard to make improvements, and keep you informed at the same time. It really is important to us that our community feels that their contributions are respected. Given the number of submissions we receive, it can be especially difficult for us to process large numbers of submissions from a single user, which can unfortunately make things frustrating for our most dedicated members. We’re well aware of this issue, and appreciate your patience while we try to address your submissions, and the larger communication issue. Thanks again for bringing your concerns to our attention, and for sticking with us while we try to make improvements. I look forward to more efficient communication in the new year!



Second submission in a row that got rejected (I assume), don’t understand what went wrong this time. Maybe cause is somewhat related to a well known place? This leads me to believe something changed drastically in the publication rules/standards. Sorry if it sounds like I’m ranting, but I went from five places published to two in a row rejected. Guess I’ll have to think really hard about what to publish next.



I’m really sorry to hear that some of your entries have not been addressed. It doesn’t look like they have been rejected, but are still awaiting review. I’ll alert our database team and have them take a look. I apologize for the delay and any frustration it might have caused. You certainly don’t sound like you’re ranting. The submission approval process can be frustrating, and we are working hard to make some changes that will improve the experience. In the meantime, I thank you for your continued patience. Please do keep letting us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

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In that case I suppose my first submissions being published must have been pure luck, thought the submissions were evaluated in the order they were received.



They generally are. My experience bis that if they get picked up it happens within a day or two otherwise they have been looked over and lost in limbo. In that case you should contact the team or post them here and then they usually get publisherd. I only got 1 rejection until now (out of 60) but still have about 10 pending.

It’s a weird system but it works and they work hard to keep up. :slight_smile: Also if you post the link to your place here it becomes a nice box that people can click and potentially edit or forward to the editors. It helps me at least!

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Thanks for the tips, currently I’m working on a new entry I believe fits perfectly on the atlas. After is done I will post the links here if nothing new happens.

Update: Seems like one of my submissions is being edited, my thanks to the editor.

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Hey Eric,

I am getting some mixed signals and wanted to post it here as it seems relevant for the rest of the submitters. I was under the impression that this thread is for status updates and attention drawing to yet unpublished places that can for any amount of reasons fall under the radar of the places team. People here seem to very much appreciate that as, atleast for me, it is a major improvement in how my places are handled.
However, @Kerry_Wolfe told me that we should only use the places@ email to ask for status updates and not post here or message editors personally. Even though many people here complained about the places email not being very responsive.
Now I accepted that and sent them an email with @Nikki_Vargas replying that I should message her personally.

So don’t see this negatively please, you are all great and clearly passionate and hardworking people. But I am completely lost as to what the policies are now with asking for status updates on places. I am ok with any of the above options or combinations thereof but it would be great to have a set path to go.

I completely understand that you guys work hard and can’t publish everything immediately nor want to talk to everyone personally all the time. I do not mind waiting weeks or months for my places to go up, but I would very much appreciate to be able to ask for status updates every now and then. If a place is set to be published ‘some day in the future’ I’ll be happy because I don’t have to touch it. Maybe it needs more work or maybe it’s not fitting for the atlas. I have a reasonable list of places hat I want to add, but it’s just hard to keep going if so.many places are still pending with status unknown.

A personal solution for me would be for someone to go through all my unpublished places and tell me which ones need work and which ones are ‘on the list’. That way I can edit whatever needs work and focus on new spots. And maybe we could delete the ones that won’t work.
On a larger scale I think that you need some kind of feedback system, even if it’s a button that is gray (not seen), green(will be published one day, no need to touch it), yellow( needs more work, turns gray after edit) and red (not fitting for atlas)
I think that this would help a lot and people could post here for deeper feedback.

Sorry for the rant!



Hey CoolCrab,
Sorry for any confusion—I’ll send you a DM so we can help clarify things.

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The way archive.org does it is pretty neat. When you make a submission to LMA (live music archive) you get a link to the item that you submitted as it would appear in final form, but before the item goes public (the link is published on the site).