writersdomain editing tiers
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DESCRIPTIONWritersDomain editing tiers explanation.
Does the article pass the tier 1 checklist?
Does the article pass the tier 2 checklist?
Does the article pass the tier 3 checklist?
Does the article pass the tier 4 checklist?
Approve at 5 stars
Send back at one star
Send back at two stars
Approve at 3 stars
Approve at 4 stars
Tier 1 To complete Tier 1, the editors will check to see if the
controlling idea, title, and supporting headlines are worthy of
being read. They will ask if the title makes sense, and whether
or not it carries a basic interest value.
The editors will also pay close attention to the substance
(ideas, supporting evidence, logic) found in the article. Issues
concerning substance revolve around the use of inane material
to fill word count and/or grammatical errors which interrupt
the general readability of the article.
If any of the following issues are found, the editors will send
the article back for revision.
Tier 1 checklist 1.1 Controlling Idea
1.1.1 Is the controlling idea present in the first paragraph?
1.1.2 Is the controlling idea engaging, useful, and industry-relevant?
1.1.3 Does the controlling idea communicate the purpose and value of the
1.2.1 Does the title reflect the controlling idea?
1.2.2 Does the title illustrate how the article will impact or benefit the reader?
1.2.3 Is the title grammatically and structurally sound?
1.3 Headings/First Sentences
1.3.1 Are headings in logical order?
1.3.2 Do headings logically follow from the title?
1.4.1 At first glance, are big blocks of text broken up with headers and
1.4.2 Is textual formatting (bolding, italics, etc.) used appropriately?
Tier 1 checklist 1.5 Filler/Fluff
1.5.1 Is the article generally free of redundant ideas and sentences?
1.5.2 Is the article largely free of unnecessary or irrelevant ideas?
1.5.3 Is the article mostly free of generalities and/or absolutes?
1.5.4 Does the article leave the reader feeling capable, informed, or
excited through strong, detailed information, rather than filler
expressions of encouragement and overhyping?
1.6.1 Are hyperlinks reader-friendly?
1.6.2 Are the hyperlinks relevant to the article? Do they support the
claims they're linked to?
1.7 Sentence structure:
1.7.1 Are sentences basically comprehensible?
1.8.1 At first glance, are there trends of grammar or spelling mistakes
that interrupt the flow of reading for an average web reader?
Tier 1 stock comments 1.1 Controlling idea:
1.1.1 Web readers look for articles that get right to the point. For
this reason, it’s important to include your controlling idea within
the first paragraph.
1.1.2 Our goal is to provide content that is engaging, helpful, and
useful to the reader. In order to fulfill that goal, we recommend . . .
1.1.3 The purpose/value of this article is unclear. Focus on a
specific need of your target demographic and ask yourself why
someone would choose your article over another. Check out the
WritersDomain blog for more information.
Tier 1 stock comments 1.2 Title:
1.2.1 The article's title, “. . ." does not line up with the content,
which primarily addresses . . .
1.2.2 Remember, the reader's first impression of your article (and
whether or not they decide to read on) is based largely on your
title. The title should be able to answer the reader's question,
"What will I gain out of reading this?" Your title, “. . .” doesn't
contain enough of a promise about what the article entails.
1.2.3 Your title, "," contains grammatical/structural errors, such as .
. . Please proofread before resubmitting.
Tier 1 stock comments 1.3 Headings/1st sentences:
1.3.1 Please pay attention to the organization of your article.
Currently, the headings appear to be out of order. A better
sequence might be “. . ."
1.3.2 Be sure to utilize headings that are descriptive enough to
give the reader an idea of what the following section will cover and
how it relates to the controlling idea.
1.4.1 Blocks of text are intimidating to many readers—visual breaks
help the reader both move through the text and understand it.
Please give your article more breaks by using paragraphs, headers,
and other formatting elements.
1.4.2 Overusing italics and bolding in running text or misusing other
textual formatting can be distracting to readers and decrease
readability. Use sparingly. One example in this piece is “. . ."
Tier 1 stock comments 1.5 Filler/fluff:
1.5.1 Redundant ideas weaken the credibility of an article. One
example of redundancy in this article is “. . ."
1.5.2 Tangents and irrelevancies weaken an article because they
stray away from the controlling idea and may waste a reader's time.
One example of a tangential idea within the article is “. . .”
1.5.3 This article contains some generalities that are unuseful to
readers, specifically: “. . .”
1.5.4 Articles should rely on the strength of their information to
impact the reader—not on expressions of encouragement and
overhyped language. Sentences like “. . ." can weaken a piece and
Tier 1 stock comments 1.6 Citations:
1.6.1 Hyperlinks should be used to give additional resources to your
readers. That means that the linked sites should be reader-friendly
and easy to navigate. Sources like _____, that are dense or hard to
navigate, don't offer readers as much useable information as they
could. For tips on making the most of hyperlinks, check out the
1.6.2 Citations should support the information that they're linked
to. The link _____ seems to offer information that isn't relevant to
or contradicts the ideas in this piece, specifically, ". . ." Please
revise to include relevant, supportive links for the given
Tier 1 stock comments 1.7 Sentence structure:
1.7.1 Sentences like “. . ." are difficult to follow. Make sure that
each sentence clearly and completely expresses the idea you are
trying to convey. Reading the piece aloud might be helpful for
catching similar issues.
1.8.1 This article contains several noticeable grammatical errors,
misspellings, and/or typos. For example, ". . ." Be sure to
thoroughly proofread for similar errors before resubmitting.
Tier 1 examples:
Title: Why You Shouldn’t Flush Too Much Toilet Paper Down the
This answer to this query is, for the most part, pretty common
knowledge. If the writer uses the article to address more than
just toilet paper, then the title should accommodate it (i.e.
“What You Can and Can’t Flush Down the Toilet” or “Toilet
Clogs: Where they Happen, How to Fix Them”). Based on the
current title, the writer has restricted himself and will have a
hard time meeting the word count because he has narrowed
his scope too much.
Tier 1 examples:
Title: What the Benefits of Curtains Are
You can save on your heating bill
You can decorate your room with them
You can have some privacy
Besides being oddly phrased (which dings the authority), the
use value in this article is almost non-existent—what questions
will this article answer with any depth, what real value does it
have? The facts and logic are so elementary that they are
unhelpful—and the reader gets the feeling that this writer just
sat down and thought of all the reasons that drapes could be
beneficial. This writer has not really thought about the readers
on the other end. If the writer had completed more research to
get deeper into just one facet of this article, she would most
likely have created a more engaging title, had more substance
to work with, and approached it from a more useful angle.
Tier 1 examples:
Title: How to Find a Mining Lawyer in Kamloops
Use the Internet
Make Sure They’re Certified
Articles that address how a certain service can be found and tested
are normally unhelpful to the reader because they degenerate very
quickly into a common sense mad lib-- with information that could
apply to multiple services and categories. If you take this angle (or
another one like it), the information needs to be extremely
specific and use authority and actual insight to really answer the
questions that the reader would have.
Tier 1 examples:
Title: Dogs and Cats
This article title is too broad and doesn’t explain the
relationship between the two parts of the article. Will the
article explain how to successfully keep both as pets? Is the
article going to explain the differences between training both
of the animals? Or will it expound on the genetic and
developmental differences between the two? We don’t know
the purpose of the article from looking at the title.
See our blog posts on ideation for more information about
controlling ideas and titles.
Tier 1 examples: Filler/fluff The terms “filler” and “fluff” refer to any tactics used which
try to overtly “pad” the article without enhancing the article’s
purpose, substance, or clarity. This includes sentences,
commentary, and phrasing that don’t really enhance the user’s
While some assumptions and generalizations can made by the
writer for the purposes of establishing common ground with
the reader, these tactics, when overused, will actually injure
the writer’s authority and the article’s value.
If you begin writing without doing any research on the issues
surrounding it, chances are you will end up writing filler/fluff.
Examples are on the following slides:
Tier 1 examples: Filler/fluff Redundant:
“Definitely have your ducts checked out if you think that they’re
clogged. If they’re clogged, then they’ll impede your ability to
breathe. Breathe better by having them checked out”
Irrelevant and unnecessary:
“The internet has become an incredible place for people to go
who are looking for things they want to find. And if you’re in a
situation where you need your ducts cleaned, it’s a place you can
go to find someone who can check them out for you. Be extra
careful with your ducts.”
Tier 1 examples: Filler/fluff General and absolute:
“The duct cleaner you call will have plenty of experience and
knowledge on what his deals are and how you can get you the most
bang for your buck. The best thing about going to a cleaner is that
they are a professional and will know exactly what they are doing
when they look into their ducts. You won’t even have to get your
Overkill of emotion and sentimentality:
“Your family is the most important thing to you in your life. Can
you imagine what you would do if you found out that one of them
had contracted mold poisoning because you never had your ducts
checked? Besides trips to the hospital, you would be beside
yourself with grief, knowing that your lack of attention to a simple
problem had caused such tragedy. Take responsibility for those you
love and get your ducts checked today.”
Tier 1 examples: Readability
Watch for dense sentences that hinder readability:
“The expectation that chairs made from high-quality frames and that are
wood-constructed will perform better is wise.”
We are serious about proofreading and hope that by now, you are too.
It’s very easy to quickly review what you have written and catch missing
words, inaccurate punctuation, and homophones. If we see that your
piece has more than a few obvious errors, we will send it back.
Tier 2 checklistThis tier ensures that the article is basically useful, easy-to-read,
2.1 Basic Use Value
2.1.1 Is the sum of the information helpful and interesting?
2.2 Mid-level Organization
2.2.1 Is information in each section relevant to and supportive of
2.2.2 If the article presents a series of items, does information in
each section follow in the proper order?
2.3 Sentence Flow
2.3.1 Are sentences easy-to-read and easy-to-understand, and can
a reader easily transition between sentences?
2.4.1 Does the article use conventional, grammatically correct, and
Tier 2 stock comments 2.1 Basic use value:
2.1.1 An abundance of surface-level information—information that
can be easily found with a quick Google search or through everyday
life experience—is not useful or interesting for readers. Your article
includes some surface-level ideas, such as “. . .“
2.2 Mid-level organization:
2.2.1 Just as the article's title should reflect the body content,
each subheading should reflect its corresponding information. For
example, it isn't clear how the subheading “. . ." relates to its
corresponding content, which primarily addresses . . .
2.2.2 The information under the subheading ______ is not in an
easy-to-follow order. Please revise and reorganize.
Tier 2 stock comments 2.3 Sentence flow:
2.3.1 Sentences that are not easy to read or easy to understand
make the reader's job harder and reduce the readability of the
article as a whole. Here is one example of an unclear sentence
from your article: “. . .”
2.4.1 Readers have an easier time understanding writing that is
clear and conversational. Sentences with atypical syntax or diction,
such as “. . ." can interrupt the overall flow and make it more
difficult for your readers to follow. Please revise with this in mind.
Tier 2 examplesEditors may not specifically name the problems affecting the
readability of each sentence (i.e. “watch your dangling modifiers”),
but will give examples of troubled sentences within your piece.
They will send the article back for revision for dense and hard-to-
“Paint that is created from lead which smells are usually the
more permanent paints.”
This sentence needs to be revised for clarity and flow.
“Lighthouse Park serves West Vancouver residents and visitors
looking for native wildlife and scenic views as well as kayaking
and whale-watching tours. Visitors to West Vancouver can stay
in a number of hotels along the coast during their stay. Airports
can easily be reached from anywhere in the city.”
The issues in this example are more subtle--lack of parallelism in
verbs, lack of flow and structure between sentences--but still
illustrate problems editors will check for when assessing an article in
the second tier.
Tier 2 examples “The quality found in customized coats will look better longer,
and that it will be resistant to the influences that might normally
pose a threat, such as holes and wear caused by fabric-eating
This sentence is trying to express a worthy idea but the lack of
structure makes it too hard for a web reader to extract.
“The first thing you’ll notice when you check your lawn mower
after an accident is the smells. You are going to see parts that
are bent and buzzing, and you want to see a list of how much
repairs are going to cost.”
Besides not meeting some other checks in tier 2, this sentence also
demonstrates some problems with diction—the choice and use of
words and phrases in writing. Because it doesn’t use conventional
language patterns, it sounds foreign and throws the reader off.
Tier 3 This level isn’t required, but is icing on the cake for writers
who have gone the extra mile in their writing from the
beginning of their article.
The main feature this tier addresses is engagement—upon
reading, the reader is compelled to keep reading, is fully
involved with the content, enjoys themselves while reading,
and feels satisfied by the experience afterwards.
While these qualities can be hard to qualify, the checks on the
next slide represent some features from of this level of
Tier 3 checklist 3.1 Engagement
3.1.1 Does the controlling idea have an above average interest
3.1.2 Does the article use concrete, specific, and interesting
examples and points in supporting the controlling idea and
3.1.3 Are sentences varied in length and structured enough to keep
the piece interesting?
3.2 Overarching Organization
3.2.1 Do ideas and thoughts flow well together within and between
3.3.1 Does the piece clearly address its target audience?
3.3.2 Does the tone and terminology used align with the person
Tier 3 stock comments 3.1 Engagement:
3.1.1 When considering the compelling nature of an idea, ask
yourself questions like, "Is it trending?" "Is it interesting?" "Does the
piece take a new or unique angle?" or "Does it help solve a relevant
and specific problem?" Controlling ideas that fulfill one or more of
these criteria tend to be inherently more engaging. Visit the
WritersDomain Ideation Training for more information.
3.1.2 To raise the engagement factor of future pieces, work to
incorporate more specific information and details. For example,
instead of saying “. . ." explain to the readers that _____. The
more specific a piece is, the more actionable and engaging it will
3.1.3 When sentences and paragraphs are varied in
length/structure, the piece is more interesting and has better flow.
In this article . . .
Tier 3 stock comments 3.2 Overarching Organization:
3.2.1 Disjointed sentences, paragraphs, or ideas, such as “. . .”,
can trip a reader up. For higher ratings in the future, make sure
that each piece has a smooth and logical flow.
3.3.1 Articles that thoroughly and succinctly address the needs of
their target audience generally elicit a higher degree of reader
engagement. In future pieces, try to really hone in on a specific
audience and preemptively address any questions or concerns they
3.3.2 Audiences respond best when the tone of the article is
tailored to them. For higher scores on future pieces, make sure
that word choice matches the audience's level of understanding.
For example . . .
Tier 4 checklist This tier is reserved for articles that meet a very high standard
of excellence and receive an audible, all-around “wow!”
4.1.1 Does the piece take a new or unique angle?
4.1.2 Is the article grammatically perfect?
4.1.3 Does the writer qualify their expertise?
Tier 4 stock comments 4.1 Excellence:
4.1.1 Articles that take a new angle or offer unique information are
inherently more useful and interesting. Sources like
ubersuggest.org and the WritersDomain blog can help guide you in
more unique directions.
4.1.2 For an article to receive a 5-star rating, it must be
grammatically perfect. While small, the following grammatical
errors were found: _______. Be sure to thoroughly proofread
before submitting your work.
4.1.3 To qualify for a 5-star rating, we're looking for a writer to
qualify their expertise in a specific subject. In the future, try. . .