Vocal Moderation Updates

Publishing your stories faster than ever.

By Vocal TeamPublished about a year ago 3 min read

If you are a veteran Vocal+ Creator, you may have noticed changes recently in moderation protocol. It's likely your stories are being moderated faster than ever. This is not a coincidence.

Over the years, we have received numerous requests from Vocal+ Creators asking us to expedite the publishing of their work. You’ve played by the rules, pay for the service, and want to share your content with your followers as quickly as possible. We heard you and have made changes to honor that. We are actively refining our moderation process to put our most engaged Creators first. Our new moderation criteria evaluates each Creator on their Vocal+ status, submission history, and proven ability to follow the Community Guidelines. The turnaround time for Creators whose stories meet this criteria is now guaranteed within hours of submission. We believe this is a huge win for Creators and Readers alike.

Impact on Challenge Submissions

Some Creators have asked if the quicker moderation turnaround has any impact on whether their Challenge submissions are being read. As always, our curators and judges take the time to review each submission with care. The new moderation processes grant us even more time to review your incredible stories as they come in.

Formatting Reminders to Ensure Speedy Publication

Vocal has a variety of tools to help Creators tell their story in the best way possible: a format rich in form and content. We do require the following elements to be present in every story, and if any of these elements are missing from their respective fields, we will send the story back so that they can be added in. Below is a quick reminder of key formatting requirements for Vocal stories to be published:

  • A title (something descriptive to encapsulate your work and grab the attention of readers)
  • A subtitle (to help us categorize your content and to help you rank higher in search engines)
  • Featured image or video (to illustrate your content and create an eye-catching thumbnail)
  • A minimum of 600 words of content for stories (100 words for poetry)

On Word Count and Quality

The last bullet point above has been celebrated, debated, and sometimes hated by our Creators. Vocal is a long-form publishing platform. In the spirit of fostering engaged readership, we have word count minimums. Vocal stories are cherished by wide audiences and live in digital perpetuity unlike other popular short-form content. We believe that a story of at least 600 words informs higher quality content and commands better SEO.

Regarding quality, Vocal is a platform for authentic and genuine content creation and storytelling. No one wants to feel like they’re being scammed or taken advantage of while they're reading. Too many forced hyperlinks, unrelated product placements, and particularly sales-y language in stories can come across as suspicious and will be flagged in our new moderation protocol.

Keeping Our Community Safe

One thing that really stands out about our Creators is how they take care of each other. We see it in the stories told and the comments written. We also see it in the way the Vocal community reacts to spam and harmful content.

We are heartened by the efforts of our Creators to report stories and comments that do not fit within our Community Guidelines. If you come across a story that is spammy or threatening, please report it using the flag feature at the top of the story or comment. We try our best to make sure none of this gets through, but we appreciate the extra sets of eyes.

We’re Here to Help

At Vocal, we have always prided ourselves on human-led moderation. Humans do make mistakes. If you feel that your story was not approved in error, you can always reach out to our support team to appeal.

We hope the improvements in moderation speed encourage you to create even more. Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

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Comments (80)

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  • Martin Saunders7 months ago

    This is a clear and informative article which I will refer to prior to my next submission. I have had all of my previous submissions rejected for breaching the community guidelines. However, when I request a copy of the guidelines or an explanation of the guideline I have breached, I receive nothing. How am I supposed to get published on Vocal?

  • Linda Rivenbark10 months ago

    I am so happy that my stories are being published more quickly than previously. After 2+ years of writing for Vocal, I have been happy with the format used here and the way Vocal interacts with its creators and considers requests for help or changes. I like the fact that the stories published are preserved for perpetuity, giving them a life of their own. Thank you for all you do for the creators of Vocal.

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Gail S.12 months ago

    Thanks so much for this. It’s nice that my readers can read so much sooner. Keep up the great work!

  • Aza Y Alamabout a year ago

    As a newcomer to Vocal, that was a very helpful summary of the expectations for both storytelling and poetry. Thank you.

  • Roxanne Barbourabout a year ago

    Having come back from a break from Vocal, I am encouraged by the changes. Approving content at a faster speed is most uplifting. Of course, my only complaint, being a poet of minimalistic poetry is that the 100 word minimum is irritating. My haiku/scifaiku are complaining. :)

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    I believe that the Vocal crew work hard at keeping us sane and creative. Thank you guys. On the other hand. Something about this lightning speed turnover has changed the landscape, like, who is moderating, moderation is dead. Long live moderation.

  • It seriously looks like moderation is now not taking place and the fact you have left spam in the comments for the last week shows you don't even keep an eye on this. Very unprofessional.

  • Kayla Lindleyabout a year ago

    I just saw this and was genuinely trying to figure out what was up! It's definitely a nice change in pace and I appreciate it. I'm doing alot more creative stuff and then posting it to my instagram for my followers!

  • Jay Kantorabout a year ago

    Team VM - I just have to say that I'm so glad that I've heard from so-so many 'Seniors' that were encouraged by my review - over 3 months ago - to 'Write & Archive' and forward directly to their relatives - by using the 'exclusive' VM drop-down system. Who better than them to tell their favorite memories — "For Their Kids Someday" — That feels good ! Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, Cal 'Senior' Vocal Author

  • Flagler Danzigabout a year ago

    I learned a lot from reading your story. It will help me a lot in my subsequent creation, I am a story creator, please subscribe me, thanks !!!!!!!

  • Chaia Leviabout a year ago

    I would love it if there could be a formatting option for poetry. Currently, it’s annoying to indicate stanza breaks. Maybe something isn’t working right for me but it’s been a pain.

  • Frosch Perniceabout a year ago

    There is not a "quick edit" anywhere.

  • Natasha Pennabout a year ago

    I noticed this! Thank you for incorporating this ^-^ I had a suggestion, but I'm not sure where to send it? Basically, I was wondering if the team would consider either: A) allowing titles and subtitles to be edited with the Quick Edit feature B) rolling out a full Edit feature in order to accomplish this C) allowing subtitles to be shown with the story title instead of a preview of the story D) allowing authors to set their own excerpt text (within reason, i.e. character limits, no profane language) E) any combination of the above? Also if any of this is available in the app, I wouldn't have access to it as it's only available for IOS at this time :/

  • Amy Hallabout a year ago

    Great news! Thanks! I'm new and trying to get my writing read! Please subscribe!

  • Everyday Junglistabout a year ago

    No one has been or continues to be a bigger critic of Vocal's censorship policies than myself. But, I am also fair and give credit where credit is due. https://vocal.media/journal/giving-credit-where-credit-is-due-vhm0js09ax

  • Julie Ciccoabout a year ago

    This is helpful, thank you!

  • Susie Dickeyabout a year ago


  • De Lianaabout a year ago

    Thank you!

  • C. H. Richardabout a year ago

    Thank you!

  • Matras Dohrmannabout a year ago

  • Bitetto Russottiabout a year ago

    This is very exciting!

  • Moe Turnerabout a year ago

    Fantastic! Thank you 😁

  • Mark Grahamabout a year ago

    That's the way to explain things.

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Great update. thanks

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