There are hundreds to thousands of pieces of content that go through the AC reviewers every week. There will be mistakes and, as this blog has demonstrated before, there will be inconsistencies. But when it happens to you, it ticks you off. After all, if it is your content, they should be paying attention, right? While in a basic sense that sounds rather narcissistic and silly, in another sense, everyone should be as concerned about the quality and appearance of their work to care when something is declined or "altered".
Having said that, when I submitted my latest short story, "A Persistent Journey", I had with it an image of Earth as seen from outer space that I'd found on Wikimedia. The story is science fiction and is all about the main character getting back to Earth for her children. Granted, short fiction and poetry don't do well page view-wise but I enjoy participating, nonetheless. Even so, images attached to articles tend to raise page views, even if only slightly, so I take the time out to try to include photos with every article. I'm very careful to adhere to all the guidelines and giving credit as required. But when the story published (it was an assignment that had to be reviewed before publishing, otherwise I could have published it automatically), it published without the image. I wrote AC yesterday with links and titles in hopes that they will replace the picture I had with it. I will update when I've heard something from them.
Then yesterday, I had an article declined for upfront. Anyone who read my last post here (or who has been experiencing these declines and low offers on a personal basis), knows that AC is like the government trying to cover up Area 51 on this one. AC doesn't acknowledge that anything has changed. But something has changed and the contributors know it.
I've been keeping a better eye on what I chose to submit for upfront lately. Before I submit, I search for the topic both on the WWW and on AC. If it is a saturated topic on either spectrum, then I won't even try to submit it for upfront. So imagine my surprise when I get a "this content doesn't differ enough" feedback with my decline. When I searched the topic, I found no other article that came close to focusing on the one aspect of the topic that I chose to write. I even asked in the forums and had another contributor (thanks, Rose!) who had more experience and expertise in these things then I do take a look at it. She found no problem with the article other then I might could add a keyphrase to it. So, I'm taking a wild leap and I'm going to plead my case.
I am irritated, yes. At this point, I would be likely to be just as well submitting everything as Performance Payment only. But that would be right up AC's alley. They wouldn't have to pay upfront then. Upfronts are a great incentive but if they are going to tell future contributors that they will pay upfront but then don't pay attention enough to what they are reviewing to fairly pay, all it creates is ticked off contributors who feel like they are being ripped off. Not a good thing for a company who relies on contributors to increase their bottom line.
I will update when and if I get a response.