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FAQ: Some answers to questions ShortFormBlog commonly gets

You have questions. We have (possibly useful) answers. For two years, ShortFormBlog has been a key part of the Tumblr community, introducing readers to the day’s news in new and interesting ways. But, as it happens, we get questions. A lot of them. So, in an effort to clear up some confusion, we figured we’d help stem the tide by offering a couple of answers ahead of time. See, we’re always thinking ahead! Anyway …

On the history of the site:

How we got here: ShortFormBlog started in early 2009 as a WordPress site, and moved over to Tumblr in October of 2010. It started when founder Ernie Smith was unemployed, though his unemployment lasted just around a month. He gave himself a deadline of two weeks to put it together. He hit the deadline. (For a little more backstory, Mediaite has you covered.) The site still uses WordPress for some of its posts, particularly the very detailed ones, though we’re much more active in the Tumblr community these days, with tens of thousands of readers.

On the site’s name:

you wonder: I’m a journalist or blogger and I’m looking to repost something you found. What’s the preferred nomenclature for the hat tip?

» SFB says: A lot of folks call us by a lot of names — Short Form Blog, Shortform Blog, shortformblog, Shortformblog and so on — but the correct name is ShortFormBlog, one word, with capitalization. We’re not super-passionate about this, but if you’d like to make us really happy, that’s the way to do it. :)

On the site’s approach to balance:

you wonder: There’s a little bit of opinion in that last post of yours. What gives?

» SFB says: We’re sort of opinionated! :) But that said, we want to make it clear that while we try to tell news in as straightforward a manner as possible, we’re not opposed to sticking in a little original analysis or opinion. We lean a little left at times, but our goal is to offer opinions from across the spectrum — and we want your take, too.

On story ideas:

you wonder: I have an idea for a story! You should totally check this out! It’s gonna go viral!

» SFB says: You’ve come to the right place! But depending on the type of story, it might make more sense to e-mail us or shoot our editor, Ernie Smith, a tweet. He’s nice! We swear.

On offending people:

you wonder: I can’t believe you said that! I’m so offended! What were you thinking?

» SFB says: First up, it probably wasn’t intentional. We swear, we mean well! The thing is, we try to be sensitive to reader concerns, and want to take care that we don’t say the wrong thing, but at the same time, it’s very tough because it’s easy for us to say one thing or another and have it misinterpreted. We have a lot of readers at this point, and all of them perceive things in their own way. It’s difficult to make everyone happy and things which would not even be considered offensive to some raise the ire of others. Things are open to interpretation. And with Tumblr being heavy on reblogs and such, things get far removed from their original context. So we try our best, but there are limits to what we can do in a lot of cases. But that said, please let us know how we can improve.

On advertising:

you wonder: How does ShortFormBlog make money, anyway?

» SFB says: We’ve tried a number of things over the years, including banner ads and so on, but recently, we’ve decided to try things that are a little less invasive for users. Our current ad provider is 140Proof, and we’re also trying other solutions, such as SkimLinks. Just a heads-up: We do use affiliate marketing from time to time, but we want to be clear that we don’t want to hide it, like some have been accused of doing. (Consider this disclosure.) It’s a small part of what makes us work, either way. We don’t make a ton of cash off of SFB; we do it for the passion first.

On business propositions:

you wonder: I represent a business and have a hole burning in my pocket. I want to talk to you about a proposition for your humble blog.

» SFB says: Great! Sign us up! We’d love to hear from you, especially about ideas you have for ads. We love creative approaches if you have any, and we especially love people who think beyond the banner ad. *hinthint* :)

On errors:

you wonder: You made a mistake in that last story. Grrr.

» SFB says: We want to fix it! Help us! Shoot us a message via ask, on Twitter, or through e-mail. We can’t wait to hear from you! But if we could make a request — we would prefer that, when possible, the error be handled through one of those means — rather than responding directly to the post. We’ll see it regardless, but it helps us keep things in order, as it’s difficult to track mistakes through the Tumblr dashboard, especially on posts older than a day or two.

On other topics:

you wonder: My question isn’t covered here.

» SFB says: Then ask away:

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