Guidelines for New Tellus Members

  • Articles should be at least 500 words in length and should not be more than 1.500 words. Two 1,500 word articles have a greater impact than one 3,000 word article in terms of attracting traffic to the website and building your audience. Readers tend to get annoyed when you go over 1,000 words, and very annoyed when you go over 2,000. When readers become annoyed, they stop reading.
  • Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism is the deliberate use of another person’s copyrighted words in your document without attribution. You have a perfect right to quote from any copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright owner in the course of writing a news article, a review, a scholarly paper, or any other project in which the opinions of the person being quoted are significant. You must give credit where credit is due by putting quotation marks around the quote and citing author, the publication, or both. We have software that checks for plagiarism. If we find that you have submitted plagiarized work as your own, you will be terminated. If we find that more than 10 percent of an article was copied, you will be warned. Three strikes and you’re out.
  • Pornography is not just about images.  Pornography is not okay. Do not images of nudity.There is also such a thing as pornographic writing which is defined as salacious and unnecessary descriptions of sexual acts. Since we don’t publish fiction, this should never come up. However, discussions about pornography are acceptable as long as the decorum of good taste is maintained. Violators will be warned under the three strike rule. (Refer to the article on images for more information on pornographic content.)
  • Libel is a false or defamatory statement made in a published article. The problem with libel is that the burden of proof is on us. We have to prove that the statement was true. The interesting thing about libel is that defending ourselves against libel could cost us a fortune and wreck this enterprise, so make sure you have your facts straight. We will not publish any article that we consider to be libelous. Submitting libelous articles will get you fired. You are also on your own if you are sued for libel. It is perfectly acceptable, however, to publish libelous statements as long as they are in quotes and attributed to a third party.
  • Defamation of Character is the precise term for statements made to deliberately hold another person up to shame, ridicule or embarrassment. This is also a gray area: it is possible to make a factual statement that nevertheless constitutes defamation of character. Satirists often run afoul of this fine distinction. It is difficult to prove, because it requires documentation of the perpetrator’s intent to do harm, but that means it is also difficult to defend against.
  • We do not tolerate hate speech of any kind. Defamatory, provocative or incendiary statements about any individual or group that refers to their gender, sexual preferences, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, or disability will not be published. Anyone making comments of this nature on Tellus articles will be barred from the site.
  • Don’t make shit up. You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Do not invent quotes or attribute fake quotes to real people. Don’t make up fake people. Don’t be Jayson Blair.
  • Professional Courtesy is simply treating people the way you want to be treated and that means being civil. No excessive profanity or hate speech of any kind will be tolerated. If you have a problem with another Tellus member, bring it to us. That’s what we are here for.
  • Do not ask for money. Do not give money to anyone. Report anyone who asks you for money regardless of the reason. You will be contacted by people who will promise to help your articles go viral. They are con artists. Avoid them.
  • Any attempt to conduct any illicit activities through Tellus will be reported to the appropriate authorities. If you have any doubt about whether an activity is permissible, ASK FIRST.

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