TNB has been getting submissions for guest editorials, and it seems like a good idea to get ahead of them by providing some basic guidelines. This is for all guest editorials going forward, not submissions already published or scheduled for publication.
1. The positions in guest commentaries do not need to reflect the position of the web site, and often will not (for example, a piece attempting to explain the great achievements of Elizabeth Warren). That said, there are certain expectations of submissions.
2. Commentaries should be targeted toward a general readership. “We” and “you” should be avoided unless the writer is a designated representative for a group (such as Gun Owners of America or Frito-Lay). A significant exception is when “we” or “you” is used to indicate all members of a country or state in which the writer is a citizen, such as “we have a history of appreciating the Constitition”.
3. Aggressive or accusatory tones will be subject to extra scrutiny and probable rejection. The purpose of an opinion piece is not to vent frustration but, rather, to convince and inform. Yelling at or mocking people is not an effective way to change opinions. Typically, the opposite is the result. (See: DBAJ policy.)
4. Commentaries should attempt to present information while working toward a conclusion. Haphazard writing should be avoided. Extraneous information and digressional points that do not contribute to the overall theme should be minimized where possible.
5. Repetition of recently published commentaries are unlikely to be run. Counterpoints are very welcome, but minor deviations in opinion from a recently covered topic are a primary reason for the comment section, and should be addressed there.
6. Expect blowback. Any opinion, no matter how innocuous or reasoned, has a contrary opinion – and the more contentious the opinion, the stronger the opposition may be. Expect to have counterpoints raised in the comment section. If you have presented your position adequately, the only defense required in the comment section will be clarification of intent. The goal is to write a piece that can stand on its own, not to generate a flamewar in the comment section.
This policy has been designed to keep editorials open to individual styles and a wide array of positions, and to inspire discussion and reasoned debate. We are very appreciative that people want to contribute to the site. Please keep doing so!