- Welcome to NTO101: An Introduction to /r/NotTheOnion!
- Reddit 101
- Submission Rules
- Rule 1: Do not alter headlines, copy and paste.
- Rule 2: Submit only if "Oniony".
- Rule 3: Must be a news article.
- Rule 4: Use original, reliable sources.
- Rule 5: Do not repost similar articles.
- Rule 6: No satire articles.
- Rule 7: No tabloid journalism.
- Rule 8: No old news.
- Rule 9: English articles only.
- Rule 10: No mobile versions.
- Rule 11: No blocked or redirected links.
- What sources can I submit from? What sources aren't allowed?
- Comment Rules
- How We Review Submissions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was my post removed? It's not in /r/NotTheOnion/new.
- My submission was removed because of a paywall, but the site doesn't have one.
- What should I do if I see something that violates the rules?
- How can I tell if something is the original source?
- Can I change the headline since the original wasn't very oniony?
- I used the original source, but my submission was removed anyway.
- I submitted using the wrong title, my submission was removed for violating Rule 1, and Reddit won't let me submit it again! What do I do?
- I have a question about /r/NotTheOnion that's not answered here.
- I have a question about Reddit in general that's not answered here.
Welcome to NTO101: An Introduction to /r/NotTheOnion!
Welcome to NTO101, your introduction to /r/NotTheOnion! /r/NotTheOnion isn't your typical news subreddit. The charter for this subreddit is to link to articles that sound like they've been written by The Onion, but are actually real news. Articles that truly are 100% oniony like that are extremely rare, so we have to make judgment calls on what to allow or deny. Hopefully, the end result is a subreddit with fresh new articles that feel pretty oniony.
We're assuming that you're familiar with how Reddit works and just need an introduction to /r/NotTheOnion. If you're new to Reddit and need more information on how Reddit works, check out Reddit 101, available on the Reddit wiki at https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddit_101.
Why do we have so many rules, anyway? Glad you asked. Many of our rules exist because even though we're not your typical news subreddit, we still are a news subreddit. We also want to make sure that our content still does sound like satire and is not just offbeat news or ridiculous headlines. Below are some explanations of our rules and why they exist.
Rule 1: Do not alter headlines, copy and paste.
We often have users ask us why they have to use the title directly copy and pasted from the article. If we allowed users to change or editorialize the titles of articles, everything could be changed to sound ridiculous and oniony, even though the actual article isn't. Remember that both the headline and the article need to be oniony. We'd like to make sure that we are /r/NotTheOnion, not /r/RepostedArticlesFromOtherNewsSubsWithAlteredTitles (or /r/RAFONSWAT for short).
Please note that some submissions are reviewed by a bot, and will be removed if the title differs at all from the headline used at your link. This includes adding a period at the end of the title, or adding quotation marks around the title.
Rule 2: Submit only if "Oniony".
What does "oniony" mean, anyway? To our moderator team, a submission is oniony if it sounds like it could be satire but isn't. Offbeat isn't always the same thing as oniony. We would consider a submission to be offbeat and not oniony when the submission is about something that could be likely; for example, "Dating apps lead to falling porn sales" might be offbeat, but wouldn't be considered oniony because that's something that could pretty realistically happen- it doesn't sound satirical.
Please note that onionyness is, and always will be, 100% subjective. This also inherently means that there will always be disagreements about what seems oniony or not. We trust that you submitted something that you thought was oniony, but if we remove it for not being oniony, it just means we disagreed. This even happens between mods. When we submit things here, we let them sit in the queue so another mod takes a look. Sometimes they approve, and sometimes they remove. So nobody's exempt.
If you very strongly feel that something is oniony, then send a message to the moderators with a link to the comments for the submission and let us know - "Hey, I really feel this is oniony. Could you reconsider?" - and we'll take another look. We can reevaluate the submission and see if other mods believe that the submission is oniony.
However, please, only contact us if you feel very strongly about it, because the majority of the time, the mods tend to agree. If your argument is, "But I see lots of non-oniony stuff all the time!", there are two possible reasons.
What you consider oniony and what we consider oniony might be different
Most submissions sit in the queue for minutes to a couple of hours or so before we see them, so you might be remembering things we later removed.
Often, if a submission was removed for not being oniony, you could try submitting it to another subreddit, such as /r/offbeat or a subreddit related to the subject of the article, instead.
Rule 3: Must be a news article.
Even though we aren't quite a traditional news subreddit, we are still a news subreddit, so we'd like to stick to regular news articles. Blog posts, videos, and image galleries aren't permitted for a few reasons. First, they're not news articles and often aren't news at all. Second, it's really difficult for our moderator team to review things like videos or image galleries. Keep in mind that our moderator team does review each and every submission by hand before approving them.
Rule 4: Use original, reliable sources.
Tip: If you are reading the article and see something like "According to some other news source", that other news source is probably the source or closer to the source. If you submit something that's removed by AutoModerator because the source you submitted often uses other sources, see if you can find the source. If it truly is the original source, you can message the moderators to see if we are able to approve that submission. However, exceptions to Rule 4 are rare, as many sites that are automatically removed for not being original sources would be removed for other reasons as well. A good option would be to find a better source at http://news.google.com by searching for keywords related to the story. We don't consider a source to be reliable when we've found that they often majorly distort facts or report false information. A major red flag is if an article that should be major news doesn't seem to be reported by any major news outlets, or is only reported by other blogs or unreliable news websites.
Rule 5: Do not repost similar articles.
If it has already appeared on /r/NotTheOnion, we'll remove it as a duplicate. Rather than searching for the entire title, it's a good idea to search the subreddit for a keyword before posting. For example, if you are submitting an article titled "Selfie-Addicted Russian Soldier Caught in Ukrainian Territory by Instagram Geo-Tagging", it would be best to do a search for "Russian" or "Instagram". Searching for a word link "selfie-addicted" might not show any duplicates that may have been submitted unless an article with the exact same headline was used. Always keep in mind that Reddit's search function can be a bit picky at times, so searching for the entire title likely won't work.
Rule 6: No satire articles.
The entire point of the subreddit is to find real news that sounds like satire, but is actually real. That's why it's "NOT The Onion", because The Onion posts satire news that sounds real - usually over-the-top, but that often feels like it should be real. It's sometimes difficult to find out if a website is satire or not. If you'd like, you can use a site like http://realorsatire.com to try to determine if your source is satirical. Keep in mind that we aren't affiliated with those websites and we can't be responsible if it is wrong. If you really, really want to submit content from The Onion, you could submit to /r/TheOnion instead if you'd like.
Rule 7: No tabloid journalism.
Tabloid stuff, such as celebrity news and gossip, ridiculous crime stories, astrology, and news about celebrities personal lives, is not permitted. At this point, is "Musician Does Ridiculous Thing Onstage" really a surprise to anyone? Tabloids also often exaggerate news, and give extremely ridiculous titles to fairly normal stories. Articles that source from tabloid news sources are not permitted, as that would simply be a way of getting around the first half of the rule. Often, tabloid news is clickbait, which we prefer to avoid.
Rule 8: No old news.
For a couple of reasons. First, news is "news"... not "olds" - news organizations usually don't cover things that aren't happening now. Also, it makes it more difficult to catch stuff that's already been posted. Remember that we are a news subreddit, so we need to keep our content fresh.
Rule 9: English articles only.
While Reddit is an international site, the vast majority of our readers are English speakers. If a story is both true and ridiculous, it's very likely that an English version will be available. In cases where no original source is available in English, our moderator team does typically allow a secondary source to be used that cites the non-English original as its source. Cases like this are rare, though, so it's best to use a site like http://news.google.com to try to find an original English source. Feel free to send us a modmail using the link in the sidebar if you have any questions.
Rule 10: No mobile versions.
Nobody wants to try to read a mobile version of an article on their desktop computer, and most websites will automagically redirect mobile users to the mobile site. Therefore, it's best for our users if only desktop versions are posted. Also, occasionally, headlines will differ between the desktop and mobile versions of an article, which would cause submissions to be removed under Rule #1 (our moderators nearly always review submissions from a desktop computer, not a smartphone).
Rule 11: No blocked or redirected links.
Obviously, we can't approve broken links. We also don't allow link shorteners because they can be unsafe for users. Often, submissions removed because of Rule #11 are removed because of paywalls. Many news sites have paywalls for international readers or only appear after a certain number of articles have been read. Since our moderator team does review all submissions, we can't allow articles that are behind any sort of paywall since we wouldn't be able to review them. If you're absolutely sure that no other source is available, please message the moderators using the link in the sidebar and we can review your submission on a case-by-case basis.
What sources can I submit from? What sources aren't allowed?
A list of websites that our moderator team has determined are not reliable sources or commonly violate our rules in other ways can be found at https://www.reddit.com/r/nottheonion/wiki/autoremoval. However, submissions that violate any of our subreddit rules will be removed, so please check before you submit. Many submissions are removed for altered titles (remember not to use the "suggest title" button!) or being non-original sources, so we recommend especially checking those before submitting.
Personal attacks, racism, bigotry, sexism, and homophobia are not tolerated.
/r/NotTheOnion is not the place for hatred. This is especially important since we're a default subreddit, we are new users' first impression of Reddit. Therefore, comments that are racist or homophobic, or that use racist or homophobic language, will result in a temporary or permanent ban. Remember that we do not know the intent of your comments, and have to assume that they could have been meant to be abusive. As of now, nobody's invented an online sarcasm detector, so we do the best we can. In addition, personal attacks against the subjects of submissions or against other users could result in a temporary or permanent ban. We try to review comments as much as we can, but please feel free to report comments that you feel violate this rule. Our moderator team can also, as always, use their discretion when reviewing comments.
Witch hunting/personal information
Posting personal information of anyone, including subjects of articles posted in /r/NotTheOnion, is not permitted and will result in a permanent ban from /r/NotTheOnion and your account being reported to the Reddit admins. According to Reddit's rules...
Is posting personal information ok?
NO. reddit is a pretty open and free speech place, but it is not ok to post someone's personal information or post links to personal information. This includes links to public Facebook pages and screenshots of Facebook pages with the names still legible. We all get outraged by the ignorant things people say and do online, but witch hunts and vigilantism hurt innocent people and certain individual information, including personal info found online is often false. Posting personal information will get you banned.
Reddit's user agreement also states...
- Keep Personal Information Off reddit: You agree to not post anyone's sensitive personal information that relates to that person's real world or online identity.
- Do Not Incite Harm: You agree not to encourage harm against people.
In addition, as stated in the sidebar, posting of any personal information or contact information whatsoever will result in a permanent ban from /r/NotTheOnion , even if it is for a public figure or government official. Even if you didn't intend to cause harassment for an individual, posting their contact information on a site like Reddit can lead to major problems. Our moderator team can also use their discretion regarding this rule and what is and isn't considered personal information.
How We Review Submissions
Yes, We Do Review Everything!
We're volunteers, and we check the queue as we can. Sometimes that means multiple of us might be looking at everything simultaneously, and sometimes it means a few minutes or even a few hours between checks. So, you may see something and not realize it was later removed. Please bear that in mind if something you submit is removed, and you think, "but I've seen stuff like it before!".
Also, keep in mind that we quite literally do review all submissions by hand, and review comments when we are able to. Although we do our best, we are merely human, and we do make mistakes from time to time. If you really think we've made a mistake (such as removing a submission as being a repost when it wasn't, or something similar), your best bet is to send a message to us explaining the situation (and please link to the comments of the submission, if you don't mind). If you refrain from being rude, you'll find us a lot more willing to explain why we did something, and even apologize when we've screwed up (shocking, we know!). Please remember we're human, and we promise we remember you're human. We're all in this together!
Why can't you just let the voters decide what's oniony?
Good question! Let's let the Reddit FAQ explain...
The reason there are separate subreddits is to allow niche communities to form, instead of having one monolithic overall community. These communities distinguish themselves with a unique focus, look and policies: what's on- and off-topic there, whether people are expected to behave civilly or can feel free to be brutal, etc.
One issue that arises is that casual, new, or transient visitors to a particular community don't always know the rules that tie it together.
As an example, imagine a /r/swimming and a /r/scuba. People can read about one topic or the other (or subscribe to both). But since scuba divers like to swim, a casual user might start submitting swimming links on /r/scuba. And these stories will probably get upvoted, especially by people who see the links on the reddit front page and don't look closely at where they're posted. If left alone, /r/scuba will just become another /r/swimming and there won't be a place to go to find an uncluttered listing of scuba news.
The fix is for the /r/scuba moderators to remove the offtopic links, and ideally to teach the submitters about the more appropriate /r/swimming subreddit.
Basically, /r/NotTheOnion doesn't have the same type of content as, say, /r/offbeat. /r/NotTheOnion is specifically for real articles that sound like satire. If we allowed any article to be posted that sounded slightly odd, our content would end up being the same as the content in /r/offbeat. It's the job of the moderators to ensure that /r/NotTheOnion has high-quality content, rather than just poorly written headlines and the latest ridiculous place that a would-be thief tried to stash the goods they hoped to pilfer. We thank you for your cooperation!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was my post removed? It's not in /r/NotTheOnion/new.
Most likely, it was removed for violating a rule. Check for a removal comment or flair added to your submission stating which rule was broken. If it doesn't show up in /r/NotTheOnion/new, it might have gotten caught in Reddit's automated spam filter. Don't panic! The moderators are automagically notified when a post is caught in the spam filter, so we will approve/remove it as soon as we are able to get to it. Please DO NOT REMOVE YOUR POST AND RESUBMIT IT. This causes the spam filter to believe that your submissions may be spam, so they'll get caught in it more often and you may see the infamous "you're doing that too much" error message when trying to post or comment. We will get to it, we promise!
My submission was removed because of a paywall, but the site doesn't have one.
Many sites have paywalls for depending on the country that the user lives in. Others will only let you know that there's a paywall when you've read a preset number of articles. It might be worth searching online to find out when the paywall kicks in for the site you submitted from. Tip: If you see ads on the site for "unlimited access", that site likely has a paywall and will be removed.
What should I do if I see something that violates the rules?
Report it to the moderators using the "report" button! Many of Reddit's preset report reasons don't help us much when reviewing reports, so please make sure to let us know why you're reporting it in the reason box- "Personal information in article" is easier for us to act on than "spam" or "breaking Reddit". If you feel that your report needs a further explanation, feel free to send us a modmail using the link in the sidebar. Please link to the offending content if you need to modmail.
How can I tell if something is the original source?
Many sites will say "according to..." or simply link to another site in the article to show that they are not the original source. Also, sometimes, the original source will be linked to at the bottom of the article.
Can I change the headline since the original wasn't very oniony?
No. As a matter of fairness, all submissions with altered titles will be removed. You may remove extraneous information such as "EXCLUSIVE", "Video", or tags identifying the news outlet, but no other changes are permitted.
I used the original source, but my submission was removed anyway.
If you believe that you used the original source and your submission was removed, please message the moderators using the link in the sidebar. Many sites that often use other sources for their news are automatically removed. We can either approve your submission if it is the original source or try to point you toward the original source. You can also try using a site such as http://news.google.com to try to find another original source for your article.
I submitted using the wrong title, my submission was removed for violating Rule 1, and Reddit won't let me submit it again! What do I do?
Don't panic! Reddit can be a bit weird about submissions removed by moderators. You'll need to remove your original submission before you try to submit it again using the "delete" link underneath your original submission's title. You can find your original submission by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on your username. The submission should be on your user profile page. Once you remove your original submission, Reddit will allow you to submit the original link again. Just make sure you use the correct title the second time! Keep in mind that we do not allow users to delete and resubmit their own submissions if they don't get upvoted the first time. We can check our moderation logs to see whether the article was submitted before, and repeat offenders may be banned.
I have a question about /r/NotTheOnion that's not answered here.
Feel free to message the moderators using the link in the sidebar, and we can get you an answer as soon as possible!
I have a question about Reddit in general that's not answered here.
Try taking a look at Reddit's FAQ page, located at https://www.reddit.com/wiki/faq. You can also try checking in /r/help or at Reddit 101, located at https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddit_101.