Content Curation Guidelines

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Here is our complete guide to Content Curation for Guerrilla Translation, inspired by our Founding Principles and expanded FAQ-style. As always, feedback and questions are welcome.

What is content curation?

Simply, it's the process of selecting “content”, or, material which can be read, heard or watched and subsequently shared on the Internet. “Curation” means that all material is carefully considered before sharing, and that the selection process has particular parameters. It also means that the chosen material is shared in an organized and logical way for the reader, which shows some personal influence in the choice. Think handpicked, like a gift.

How is this relevant to Guerrilla Translation?

It's not only relevant, it's central to our project. We select content for translation based on several solid questions, adapted from our Founding Principles. The relevant points are excerpted here, updated with a fresh perspective gained through our initial development phase. Use these questions to help evaluate the material you find interesting enough to share, and if you feel that it fits our guidelines, follow the procedure described below.

Who can suggest material for translating?

Before you begin content-curating new pro-bono material, you should first fulfill a minimum number of words (10,000 for translators, 20,000 for editors), choosing from our pre-selected material. In part, we require this fulfillment to ensure that you, the translator or editor, are clear on the content we will accept in order to maintain our identity (please read this link for further information). Pre-selected material waiting in the translation queue can be found in our Lovework Trello boards.

What are the content curation guidelines from the Founding Principles?

The following points are adapted from our Founding Principles. Keep these in mind as our main criteria. More specifics about methods will follow these points.

Constructive ideas

Any mainstream news site offers hourly bad news updates. We hope to achieve a balance. If the piece you're considering identifies and expands on a situation that is clearly bad, it should also have a constructive viewpoint for doing so, offering an alternative model or solution. So, the question you should ask first is, “does this piece offer something constructive, alternative, or at least hopeful (yet grounded in social and environmental realities)?”

Diverse perspectives

We're a diverse group of people, and we shouldn't fall into the trap of becoming predictable and repeating ourselves. Here is the direct quote from the Founding Principles:

“We feel there can be more value in contradictions than in absolutes, and that the interplay between opposing views can result in greater stability, synergy and success.”

So, while that statement stands, it could use a little clarification, because the intent isn't to suggest that we offer extreme, polar opposite perspectives. Instead, the idea is that we should be careful to avoid redundancy, and to have some contrasting or challenging material. So, when selecting material, the question is, “is this redundant with something else we've published?”

Practical solutions

This one overlaps a bit with the first question, but the emphasis here is practical as opposed to theoretical – but not cynical, that gets too close to the “sexy bad news” problem. We do have items published which are more idea-based, but the third question when considering a piece is, “is there something that a reader can learn from this which they can use to improve their own lives, communities, perspectives?”

Kill Violence to Death

We want to focus on cooperation, and get away from the idea that society is just a stone's throw away from a riot at all times. Ok – when analyzing a piece for possible inclusion, ask yourself, “is violence fetishized or maximized in this story in a way that makes it seem sensational or outrage-inducing, with no representation of human compassion or cooperation?”

Illuminating, not “Illuminati”

This one's a bit obvious, but these stories are like a plastic bag of sugar-coated, colorful gummy candies. You start with a little taste, and the next thing you know, the whole bag is gone and you feel nauseous and foolish. So, ask yourself - “is this story exposing a powerful cabal of evildoers descended from some cultish sect or remotely royal, gold-hoarding, six-toed family with lizards subtly woven into the patterns of their silk ascots? Or am I learning something I won't be embarrassed to say out loud when I read this?” Yes, of course this is silly, but getting sucked into the rabbit hole happens to all of us at one time or another.

Current events but not tomorrow’s old news, today

And, finally, we need exploratory, long-form narratives, rather than reports on specific and breaking-news events like elections or protests written without much developed context. So - “is this story providing a narrative context, a longer arc, beyond a single event in time?”

A few more things. Please, take the time to read and re-read a piece (or watch a video) before suggesting it. Give it the consideration it – and we – deserve! And ask questions, we'd love to know what you're thinking.

The Practicalities

Now, just a few pointers on how to proceed.

  • Translations are chosen according to these principles and by peer consensus. This consensus is reached within the translation team for each pro-bono project. (The whole team does not have to consent every translation, just the individuals involved in its production and according to the criteria established above).
  • If you are a translator, you need to get an editor to agree to edit your work and an admin person to agree to format it for the website. Or if you're an editor, or an admin person, you need the other two roles covered. It may turn out that nobody but you finds the text interesting, in which case, it won't get done, sorry.
  • How do you reach the other two roles (disclaimer: many times it's the same editors and translators who take care of the admin for pro-bono projects)?. Simple: you make a Trello card for the project. There are templates in each Pro-bono board, here is the one for Target > English. Fill the template, add yourself to the card and @mention your collaborators in the cards. They will read the article (or tell you about their availability to read it) and get back to you on whether they want to carry the project through or not. Once they've signed on, the can add themselves to the project card.
  • Remember also, each member has a monthly word limit/allocation for suggesting material (see below). This is so we don't get too backed up with suggestions, and to try to encourage everyone to participate.

How much curated content can I suggest in the Trello boards?

Our cap will be approximately 40,000 words monthly for each language version of the web-magazine, so depending on how many people are actively participating as members or contributors we will attempt to divide that cap by the number of people to set a limit.

This isn't meant to be restrictive but rather inclusive and subject to some flexibility as we add new members and the workload self-balances ongoing. Bear in mind that the idea here is to discourage anyone from getting "overly enthusiastic" at least at the beginning so we can help make sure that everyone participates as evenly as possible and everyone has the time to read the content that is shared. Remember that it's first, a group for sharing great material, so you don't necessarily have to translate the content that you share.