From now on, Every Action you take as a Reader can help an Article “win”—& get Paid.
Ecosystem: the FAQ for Readers & Writers.
Now, when you come to Elephant, you can choose to read what readers are loving based on the rating, or peruse our titles as per usual. Every action you take: a read, a share, a heart, subscriber love (including article boosts, see below)—will increase the writer’s score and help that issue make our daily Front Page of mindfulness.
Frequently asked questions:
- Why? To make Elephant independent of Facebook, to promote Quality over Popularity, and to pay Writers.
- The Ecosystem Rating is simple: your hearts, reads, comments, and subscriber love/boosts all have equal weight (23.75% each), and our Editor’s Pick is weighted at 5%—and this determines the rating of an article. An Editor’s Pick is our in-house way of promoting unsexy but quality content that’s good for you, us, and our planet.
- To Heart a post, you’ll need a (free) account. It takes one minute to create. Eventually, you can save your favorite articles, recipes, advice; see what you’ve hearted or shared, and share a playlist of articles with friends on Elephant.
- Readers: every action you take will increase the score of an article.
- Writers. You can submit a post as per usual, only that post will go live faster—and soon, instantly—into our Grassroots section. Editors will comb through the Grassroots section, then edit and promote their favorite posts into our curated Magazine section, where those posts will be eligible for $$$. It’ll be on you to share your posts with your audience—like a garage band, if you develop a following (through newsletters, DMs, Facebook shares to your profile or business page, twitter, LinkedIn, Next Door…) you’ll likely wind up with a fairly-paid part-time “job” at Elephant as a writer.
- Oh, Readers: if you hate an article, just close the window and stay away from your laptop. Any loud noise could increase the score of the article.
- To give money to an author, you can “boost” an article, helping that issue or author make our Front Page. If it does, it might win.
Tips: do not go directly to the author, but go into a pool. They do help that author or issue win that pool by increasing the rating. That way we don’t wind up sending 1,000 $1 tips to 1,000 writers (my accountant would kill me). Instead, we send $100, say, to 10 writers. Elephant’s platform takes only 50% of the pool, instead of 90% as bookstores and publishers do with books, now. That 50% goes to pay our editors, staff and servers to maintain this platform that sustains this independent home for writers and readers.
- Winners are posted weekly every Thursday, with each winner receiving an email about how to collect their money. Each winning article receives a “Winner” badge!
- “I love/hate the Ecosystem!” We’ve been working on this Ecosystem idea for 8 years, now. We’re small and self-funded, so it’s been slow going—but if you don’t like something, please do tell us and we’ll improve it. This is a work in progress—we expect to tweak this Ecosystem for 100 years.
- Home Page: our Front Page will now dynamically refresh and change 1,000 times a day, updating based on what’s getting the most love from our readers. You may also select “Latest” to read our most recent articles. So check on the Front Page—it’s where community happens, at Elephant.
- “Why did someone with fewer views place higher?” Because the score is determined by more than just views, each element that makes up the score can affect where your article is placed on our contenders or winners list. Open up your score and see which bars aren’t completely filled—and ask your friends, family, and colleagues to help you fill each one!
- “The score of my article in 2nd place is higher than the article in 1st place. Why didn’t I win 1st place?” When winners are selected, it’s like taking a snapshot. After that, scores can continue to change! So if we have only just emailed you about winning, certainly contact us in support with a screenshot of what you’re seeing. But if it’s been even a couple of hours, an article’s score can change, and sometimes even drastically!
- “Why did my score get lower?” The scoring system is not just adding the views and comments! It adjusts, acting like a “smart” score and seeks balance in all the elements: views, hearts, comments, etc. If your article is quite popular to start, and gains many views, the score could start quite high. But if, after time, the comments and hearts are low, the score will begin to lower, too. Keep an eye on each of the bars in your score and ask your readers to heart, comment, or share if needed!
- When are winners chosen? A “snapshot” of the winning articles are taken Thursday mornings. If writers want to give their contending article a final “push”—with sharing or encouraging comments for example—the best time to do that is Wednesday evening.
- “What is the timeframe for selecting winners?” We select winners every Thursday for two weeks ago. For example, for articles published during the February 4-10, 2022 Ecosystem week, winners were announced on February 17. That means even articles on the very last day, the 10th, have a full week to gain readership.
Writers—what to expect from Editors:
- Editors will add their Editor’s Pick badge to any article that they consider to be quality and of great benefit. Even the most well-written articles on politics, climate change, or animal rights, for example, may not get the kind of easy readership that more popular topics do—editors can use their picks to help elevate these articles. Editors may also apply these badges to articles they simply fall in love with, regardless of the topic.
- Editors will help you share and guide you on how to build your community, and then they let you take the reins! Invest in your article: take advantage of both your own personal community and Elephant’s community to have the most success. The more you build your following at Elephant, and the more you ask those who know and love you to support you, the more successful your articles can be.
- Articles that are connecting well with our readers may be shared more often on our social media and be selected for newsletter inclusion. While there are no guarantees (we publish way too many to include every single article), you are more than welcome to advocate for yours—in fact, we encourage it!
- Winning authors can select dedicated editors! After you’ve won, we invite you to select 2-3 editors to work with directly. These are the editors who will get to know you and your writing more intimately and who can be a wonderful resource for all things Elephant. (This is not required but a really nice perk for winning authors!)
- The outcome is (mostly) in your hands. Editors will get you started! They will edit your work with the goal of elevating your voice and appealing to readers, they will share your article to 4-5 medium-sized Elephant Facebook pages, and they will offer resources on how to get your words out there beyond the choir. Elephant also offers many resources (free—like our communities, both on and off-site, and our monthly writer’s forums, and paid—like our various live and self-guided Academy courses) to help those writers who are eager to be the best!
Elephant Journal’s Ecosystem.
1. Write on Elephant, Change our World.
2. Every article on Elephant has an Ecosystem Score.