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I've noticed a couple of recurring problems in submissions to SH lately, so I wanted to spread the word about them.

First: there seems to be a rumor going around that people who recently submitted to us by email should now resubmit the same story via the new RTF form. That rumor is false. Please do not submit stories via the RTF system that you've previously submitted to us. If you're concerned about the status of a story you've submitted, please query by email. (But if you received an autoresponse, then please wait 70 days after submission before querying.)

Second: we've seen several cases of people entering an invalid email address in the RTF form. Which means that we have no way to contact the person. I'm not sure in those cases whether to consider the story anyway and hope the author will get around to querying us, or whether to discard the submission and make the author resubmit if they contact us later. It would be awfully frustrating if we were to decide that we wanted to buy a story but we had no way to contact the author. So please please please make sure you enter your email address correctly, and if you don't get an autoresponse within 24 hours, please query immediately by email.

Third, a different sort of problem: we've had two cases of people being unable to submit using the RTF form. This is worrisome (although it's less than 1% of the submissions that have used the form). I'm trying to figure out what's wrong; in the meantime, please immediately drop me a note if you run into problems with the form.


A lot of commercial websites make people enter their e-mail addresses twice so they can generate an error if the addresses don't match. This causes a bit of annoyance, but presumably it discourages some fraction of people from leaving without submitting a valid address.

In those "enter e-mail address twice" forms, I always type the first time and paste the second, so it doesn't exactly work for me as error-checking. But then I'm hardly ever entering my correct e-mail address anyway in those forms...

Yeah, I've thought about requiring the person to enter their address twice, but when I encounter such forms I usually do the same thing as Michael (type once, paste for second box), so I wasn't sure having a second email box would do any good.

What do the rest of you think? Would a second email box be helpful or just an annoyance?

Part of the problem, as I've occasionally seen in email submissions over the past couple years (since we started asking authors to type their email address in the body of the message), is that some people don't seem to be very clear on what exactly their email address is. I suspect that they don't often need to know it ('cause you don't need to know your own address to send mail), and the parts of the address are pretty cryptic to the uninitiated, so it's easy to mix up pieces of the address, or leave out pieces, or not be sure whether the "mail." before the domain name is necessary, and so on. The type-twice thing might be effective in preventing typos, but it doesn't help if the person is thinking the wrong address.

But since telling them "Make sure you entered your address right!" doesn't help either, I'm not sure there's anything to be done in that situation.

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