One topic that has repeatedly come up around here on RBR is the practice of us creating new fanshot / fanpost when a reader has already written a fanshot / fanpost of their own on a particular topic. It has been an issue around here for a while, so I imagine it is time that we at least formulate some sort of loose policy about the practice.
Now, with that in mind, it goes without saying that we appreciate all of the reader content here at RBR, and we love when our readership actively participates here on the blog. Moreover, from a reader's perspective, I can certainly see how you would want to get at least some recognition for being the first to post news about a particular subject. And besides, if nothing else, it makes life easier on us. It's certainly a practice that we would like to encourage.
On the other hand, though, I hope that you all understand that we have quality standards that we must meet. The writers here have devoted a massive amount of their free time the past several years to getting RBR to where it is today, and it's not a lofty status that we are going to let fall by the wayside as a result of sloppy work. Whatever goes up on the front page of RBR has our names on it -- regardless of whether or not it is our work product -- and thus it must be able to meet a pretty high standard.
Furthermore, there is a practical interest in play. While reader participation is at an all-time high, the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of our readership does not comment, and probably a clear majority of it is not even a registered member of the site. RBR has grown exponentially since I came on board two and a half years ago and we have reached a point to where we get thousands and thousands of readers each day. We hope to continue that growth even further as we move forward, and once again we must keep high editorial standards in order to do that. Simply put, we cannot allow sloppy work on the front page just to give credit to a member here.
All in all, we've got several competing interests in play here, and we need to try to balance those interests as well as possible. We need to find a way to give readers credit for posting content all the while keeping quality standards high. So, with all that in mind, here is what I propose: Let us establish two generic forms for how to post things that you want to be bumped up to the main page.
For news stories, browse the article that you want to post and find the one quote that gets to the point of what you want to post. Don't post the whole thing or make it excessively long, just find the money quote and post it as a quote in the fanshot. After that, in the quote source field, add the author / publication and the title of the article, and add the link there. Also, add whatever comments you have. In any event, just make sure you don't use the link fanshot... that thing shows up ugly as hell.
For photos, post the link to the image in a fanshot, and then in the description field make sure you give proper credit to the source (if you cannot find one, don't overly worry yourself over it). Simple as that.
If you do that and I run across your fanshot, I will personally bump it out to the frontpage instead of creating a new fanshot. However, keep in mind that I will reserve the right to add my own comment to it, because that is something we routinely do here to get quick blurbs up on the blog. Don't worry, though, I'll make sure that my comments to it are clearly distinguished from what you write, so don't worry about us changing your writings around.
Let me know what you think of this policy and if you have any more questions or suggestions. Hopefully this will settle the matter.