Frequently Asked Questions About Columns

Errors and questions to columns@rpg.net.


Column Schedule (Subject to Change)

When does (column X) run? - RPG.net runs columns every Monday - Friday of the four full weeks of any given month (starting with the first full Monday-Friday run). Weeks that begin and end in different months are considered "partial weeks," and fall outside of the normal cycle. The current schedule is roughly as follows.

Week 1
G2H2 - J. Unrau
Sanctum - D. Bayn
Keeping Kosher - W. Ciechanowski
Soapbox - S. Antunes

Week 2
Behind The Counter - M. King
Brave New World - C. Dunwoody
Freelancing is Not For Free - L. Brown
Gestalt - S. Cheney
Rough Quests - S. Mascarenhas

Week 3
Advent - P. Mitchener
Building Better Characters - G. Schneider
Close To The Edit - R. Winn
Speculative Physics - M.Schmiedek

Week 4
DMing By Dummies - NotMousse
Fill In The Gap - M. Turnbull
Rough Quests - S. Mascarenhas
Time Out! - D. Caffee
Winging It - I. Sokoliwski

A column didn't run as scheduled. What happened? - Columns generally appear as scheduled, but may shift based on extraordinary events, holidays or columnist laziness. Columns not officially scheduled may still appear regularly, but are not considered "regular" features for one reason or another. This may be due to irregular submissions or scheduling, pending discontinuation, or other reasons.


Submission

Can I write for RPG.net? - Yes. If you're interested in doing a column for us, submit a basic synopsis of your idea, along with a list of any relevant qualifications or samples, to columns@rpg.net. If we're interested, you'll be asked to submit the first three columns before we proceed in running your column. This requirement serves several purposes: first, it shows us you're serious about working on a column; second, it gives you a little bit of leeway in your schedule while the first few run; and third, it gives us at least a three-column miniseries to run in case you flake out or get eaten by a dragon. These things happen.

Why didn't you like my column? It was kewl. - Reasons vary, but include: Really atrocious spelling/grammar; not enough content; too close to another column already running; too system-specific; too difficult to read. Not everyone is cut out to be a columnist. Don't take it too hard if you don't make the cut - we have a full schedule, and there's not enough room for everyone.


Format

Well then what are you looking for in a column? - There are no specific guidelines, rules or regulations for columns. It's all determined on a case-by-case basis. One thing we insist on is that all columns should be submitted as ordinary (ASCII) text to "columns@rpg.net". No Word, RTF or HTML. If you can get that part right, and you can speak English, you're more than halfway there already.

How long should it be? - There's no specific requirement for word count. Some of Aeon's columns are frightfully long (some approaching 17,000 words!), but the topic warrants such attention, and this is far from the norm. Most of our columns fall between 1,500 and 2,000 words or so, and this appears to be the most comfortable length for an RPG.net reader to sit through at one time. Use your own sense of judgment.

Can I link to other sites in my column? - Yes. If you link to something inappropriate we reserve the right to alter or remove the link, and we'll probably be having a talk with you shortly thereafter.

Can I include images in my column? - Yes. But ask first. RPG.net may be able to host the images, but don't assume we will. And never link to images on other people's servers unless you get their permission first. If the image is on your own server, of course, then you have to ask yourself for permission.

What about PDF, Flash, Shockwave, etc.? - We've made exceptions in the past on a case-by-case basis, so anything is possible, but don't assume. Ask.


Frequency

Can I write a (daily/biweekly/weekly/bimonthly) column? - In Sandy's words: "If folks pitch a weekly (or even bi-weekly) to you, tell them that it will crush their life away and steal their soul. Seriously. Doing a weekly column sounds good in theory, but actually keeping up with it requires a huge amount of discipline and professionalism. Most 'weeklies' tend to die within a month, because the task was harder than the person thought." There are, however, exceptions, made on a case-by-case basis. (Note: Columns that run more than once a month generally appear on Fridays.)

My cat was hit by an asteroid, so I missed a deadline. What now? - Everyone misses a column deadline now and again. Our general guideline for considering someone "monthly" is if their column appears at least 10 months out of the year. So you can miss one every 6 months without a major problem. Miss 2 months in a row and we'll have a talk. Miss 3 months and we'll seriously reconsider whether or not you have the time to write a column for RPG.net. We reserve the right to alter the schedule and/or drop columns as necessary in such cases.


Editing

Who edits the columns? - You, for the most part, so please spell-check it and have someone else read it over. Some RPGnet columns are edited by either (at present) Michael Fiegel or Drew Meger. Michael mostly does pass/fail, Drew actually works with some select writers as time allows. If you have an editor (or are assigned to work with one, such as Drew), make sure your final draft of the column is sent to him/her a week before it is otherwise due (that is, two weeks before publication). This is to give adequate time for the back-and-forth process of editing, and because RPGnet is still an evening venture for us.

Will you ever remove content (ie., "dirty words")? - Not usually. RPG.net is not an adult website, but some of our columns may contain adult language and descriptions. We generally give our writers the benefit of the doubt, but as with all things, we ask that they use common sense. We always reserve the right to edit a column's content and/or to refuse to run it, but so far that hasn't happened yet.


Copyright

Who owns the copyright on these columns? - Columns at RPGnet are owned and copyright by their owners. RPGnet serves as a publishing medium, and as you've noticed, we also put ads and stuff on all our pages. Therefore, RPGnet requests web publication rights (duh) and web archive rights. This latter one means that you can resell or reuse your columns in the future, but we request that we can still keep the copies on RPGnet. So if, say, Games Unplugged wants to pay you to reprint something, that's cool, but please let us keep it in the RPGnet archives as well!

Someone stole my column from RPG.net! - That's not a question. Seriously, though, we do pursue outsiders who violate your copyright. This has happened in the past, mostly from well-meaning folks who don't always realize being on the web doesn't mean "free to republish". Because we try to keep an eye out for this sort of thing, we'd like it if you told us when you've resold a work, so we don't fire off a cease-and-desist letter at someone who really did get the proper rights from you.

What's this I hear about translations? - In the past, overseas websites have requested the right to do foreign translations of columns. We love this. If we haven't asked already, we'll be asking you for your permission to allow translations so we can do these again, once we get re-organized. You are welcome to say no-- that's why we check. We'll also be putting the translated works on RPGnet itself (as well as allowing the translating site to put them up)-- again, something we need to organize.

What's this I hear about a "Best of RPG.net" book? -At some point, we've always wanted to do a "Best of RPGnet" printed book. If we do so, we'll contact the individual authors to see about acquiring print rights for your work. So even if you stop doing your column, please do keep us up to date as to your current email address, for such future opportunities.


A Short Guide to Basic Markup

Within your text format column, you are welcome to include basic HTML markup, items such as bold tags (<b> ... </b>), emphasis (<em> ... </em>), Big Text (<font size=+1> ... <font>), or Section Headings (<font size=+1><b> ... </b><font> or <h3> ... </h3>), as well as

Centered sections (<center> ... </center>)

Hard lines (<hr> ... </hr;>)
or Line items:
  1. start section with <ol>
  2. use <li> for each item, close each item with </li>
  3. end section with </ol>
  4. you can be fancy: instead of <ol> you can use:
    • no numbers or letters
    • <ul> ... </ul;>
    1. letters
    2. <ol type=a> ... </ul;>
    3. (Capital 'A' will make the item letters capitalized)
    1. roman numbers
    2. <ol type=i> ... </ul;>
    3. (Capital 'I' will make the roman numerals capitalized)

You can use other tags- the above are just the most useful for columns and easy for folks new to HTML.