Guest Submissions: Can’t People Read?

The old adage says, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. On the Science-based Medicine home page, at the top, are 5 tabs. One is “How to submit a guest post”. Clicking on that tab brings up a detailed article explaining the guidelines for guest submissions. Apparently, many readers either don’t read them or don’t understand them.

Practically every other day I get inquiries from people who have questions about guest submissions that would have been fully answered if they had bothered to click on that tab. I have to assume these people can read; it seems they simply didn’t bother to do their homework.

I get inquiries about guest submissions to my personal website www.skepdoc.info. Anyone familiar with my website should have noticed that it features only my own work and there is nothing from guest contributors. They might have deduced that guest submissions were not accepted.

The inquiries I get about guest submissions to SBM are of two kinds. Some are addressed only to me; others are addressed to all the SBM editors. I can’t understand why anyone would single me out as the person to write to. I tell people to read the posted guidelines, but sometimes they continue to ask questions that are answered in the guidelines. The guidelines don’t mention money because guest contributors are neither paid nor charged. Yet I am constantly being asked about what it would cost.

If only out of common courtesy, shouldn’t readers take the time to do a little homework before shooting off an email?

This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine Blog.

Dr. Hall is a contributing editor to both Skeptic magazine and the Skeptical Inquirer. She is a weekly contributor to the Science-Based Medicine Blog and is one of its editors. She has also contributed to Quackwatch and to a number of other respected journals and publications. She is the author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and co-author of the textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.

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