Content Standards: Examples of “poorly conceived content”
This is the fourth of a 10-part series explaining Bleacher Report’s Content Standards in depth.
Just as people have differing ideas about what is offensive, opinions can vary about what constitutes poorly conceived content. Bleacher Report defines it in the Content Standards as that which “fails to demonstrate the level of analytical proficiency expected from all members of the Writer Program.”
While some level of subjectivity is necessary, B/R strives to be as objective as possible with some strict categories of submissions that we do not allow.
In the “everything else” section of the Content Standards, here are some further explanations for specific examples of outlawed content.
Stories with this problem generally fall into three sub-categories.
- A grouping of items (top-10 lists, mock drafts, etc.) that merely lists the rankings and offers no written analysis to back up reasoning.
- Implausible scenarios: This can range from impossible trades (Why LeBron James Will Be Traded for Luke Walton) to general ideas that seem inconceivable (Why Alabama Football Will Go 0-12). To clarify, Bleacher Report welcomes different ideas and arguments to the table; it is only the ones that seem to circumvent reality that we must remove.
- Lack of organization/evidence/factual accuracy: A writer may be asked to expand upon his or her thoughts about a subject—or clarify facts—if the argument is deemed particularly weak.
We ask writers to post complete submissions on the site. Posting half an article that finishes on a writer’s personal site only cheapens the user experience, especially considering that writers are free to promote their personal sites at the end of submissions anyway.
A few specific types of content fall under this category.
- Game recaps that take place multiple days after the buzzer sounds. Example: A basic recap written on May 23 about the New York Yankees’ April 19 win over the Minnesota Twins.
- Writing preview articles for events that have already taken place. For example, a preview of that same April 19 Yankees-Twins game would only be viable before the game begins.
- Breaking news or rumor submissions where the news and rumors are already outdated at publication time.
Such articles are subject to removal.
Writers are also prohibited from publishing content on B/R that first appeared elsewhere if that content is deemed untimely.
B/R does welcome “historical” pieces, or even season reviews long after the final buzzer has sounded.
If you published a piece on Bleacher Report already, you can’t publish it again.
If you are using a poem or lyrics, it must be relevant to the piece and not take up the majority or whole of the article. Please don’t submit a poem or song as an entire submission.
You’ve probably seen videos of angry and/or sad sports fans lamenting a team’s loss, or some other sort of heartbreak, in epic fashion.
This is great entertainment in video form, but on paper, it doesn’t really work. All rant-like pieces—or submissions where the syntax and style is generally disjointed or disorganized in a stream-of-consciousness style—will be taken down with the potential for a satisfactory revision.
If we can’t understand what you’re talking about, we can’t leave it up.
One- or Two-Paragraph Blurbs/Short Submissions
While short paragraphs are good, articles that feature syntax with nothing but short, choppy paragraphs throughout may be removed, with the potential of an offer to revise the article to create a more coherent submission.
On that note, articles that are too short and/or lack analytical development may also be taken down.
Breaking news has more of a length leeway than opinion pieces, but the former must be 250 words at absolute minimum.
There is no set word count for opinion submissions, but they should be long enough to properly explain its arguments. While every topic is different, any submission text under 500 words may not be enough to sufficiently support any claims.
One- or two-slide slideshows will be removed. Please try and write a standard article instead.
Lastly, all slides must be 20-plus words, but slide length must be appropriate for the article topic. For example, a slideshow titled “The 10 Best LA Dodgers of All Time” should have slides much longer than 20 words.
Odds and Percentages Prediction Pieces
Note that there is a difference between odds and chances/percentages. Any story promising odds in its headline or elsewhere should employ actual odds (e.g. 10-1) instead of chances/percentages (e.g. “9 percent”). A story using percentages, like from a pie chart, should present itself as such and ensure that “the field” (i.e. all remaining candidates), if applicable, is taken into account when calculating figures so that all percentages are out of 100.
Any articles confusing odds and percentages may be temporarily removed.
If you have something to say, make sure it’s as professionally done as possible.
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Paul Kasabian is Bleacher Report’s Content Moderation Coordinator. He can be reached at