BME Reviewer's FAQ
The BME Reviewer's FAQ is here to serve as a guideline for reviewing content on BME.
Please note that this FAQ is currently a work in progress. It was last updated on August 14, 2012.
BME is a community driven site. As such, we want the members to be in control of the content they see. This means that those with active accounts on BME can help review the content sent to the site and vote on whether or not it gets accepted. There are some guidelines you need to follow when reviewing the content. Please make sure you are voting in line with BME's policies when reviewing.
Each piece of media that gets submitted to BME must go through a moderation process where it is either accepted or denied. As a reviewer you are voting yes or no on the content. The content must then pass through a final moderation process where one of BME's staff members ultimately votes to accept or reject the piece of media.
How to Review
- Please note that moderation for BME members is not yet activated.
You must have a BME account in order to review. You can create an account on BME for free, here. If you already have a BME account, you can reach the moderation queue by clicking on Edit Profile & Account. On the left, under My Content you will find a link titled Moderation. Click that link to be taken to the queue of media waiting to be moderated.
The following guidelines are meant to be used when moderating media.
You have the option of leaving comments to the person who submitted the piece of media. This is meant to be polite and helpful. Rude, mean or otherwise derogatory comments will not be tolerated. If you can't be polite, reviewing may not be for you. Please also note that anyone violating this rule will be sent a warning and could have their privileges revoked.
The following denial reasons are the same regardless of the type of media submitted:
- Wrong Category - The photo has been submitted into the wrong category. No content should be categorized as just "Tattoo" or "Piercing". A specific category must be chosen from the existing categories on BME.
- Duplicate Submission - The content has been submitted twice. This is almost always an accident.
- Copyright (Theft or Fraud Issues) - The media submitted to BME must belong to the person submitting it. If the content appears to be stolen or someone is trying to pass off something as their own when it is not, it should be rejected. In these cases it is requested that you leave a note for BME letting us know where the original content can be found.
- Non Body Modification Related - The media submitted is either completely unrelated to body modification or the focus of the photo is not on body modification. Please note that photos submitted from events such as suspension or tattoo conventions are fine.
- Underage - People must be 18 or older to submit content to the hard portions of the site, to submit content containing nudity including genital piercings and female nipple piercings. This includes erotic fiction stories where all characters portrayed must be 18 years or older.
When reviewing the photos please remember that this isn't a beauty contest. You don't have to like the mods or think they're well done. The following reasons are cause for denying images:
Blurry Image - The photo is out of focus, blurry and hard to see.
Extensive Photoshopping - The photo has been heavily photoshopped either to add excessive decorations to the photo or that the photo has been artistically rendered so that the mods are no longer easily viewed.
Poor Image Quality - The quality of the image is so low that it is heavily pixelated or otherwise hard to see. This also includes over and underexposed images or photos where the mod is barely visible/impossible to see. This also includes camera phone filters/apps that obscure the body modifications in the photo.
Image Size - All photos must be a minimum of 640x480 pixels. Images cannot have giant borders added to them in order to fit this size requirement.
Stories pass through a communal moderation for three main reasons:
- To discard fake, fraudulent, or unfixable experiences.
- To return problematic experiences to their writers with suggestions to be resubmitted.
- To select the best experiences for featuring.
Your purpose in taking part in this process is to accomplish those goals. If you do not feel that you can contribute effectively to that process, please do not take part.
What about comments?
Comments serve the purpose of allowing you to communicate with the writer of a story. The end result of that communication should be productive. If you are rejecting the story, any comment left should help the writer correct their errors. Remember that you are not just rejecting a story, you are attempting to give the writer the information they need to correct the story so they can resubmit it and gain membership.
Positive comments are important as well -- they add a personal "thank you" to the writer and if they are new, it welcomes them into the community as well. While negative comments are kept anonymous, positive comments (on approval) will include the IAM name of the person who left them. Outside of anything else, they're also a great way to get to know people.
Select this if the story is unsuitable for posting on BME, even if problems are corrected. There are four main types of fake experiences:
- Stories made up of nothing but "asdf asdfkj lfjwel sdfdsf" or "blah blah blah". Often these people will start out writing a normal experience, but won't make the word count, and will then fill in the rest with this.
- Stories made up of pasted in text, often wholly unrelated to body modification. Sometimes this error is coupled with layout problems because of the way it was pasted in. Sometimes they'll do a search and replace -- for example, if it's an article about apple farming, they might replace every instance of the term "apple farming" with "body modification", so if you're just skimming the experience you'll miss it.
- Stolen stories. Some people paste in experiences from BME and change some of the data so it appears to be from them. These are difficult to catch, but many regular reviewers still do catch these quite consistently because they know BME so well, especially when it comes to recent experiences.
- Doubled stories. Some people, instead of making the word count by writing, just write a short experience and paste in some paragraphs/sentences more than once. Obviously, this is unacceptable.
Quality of Writing
If a story is so poorly written that it becomes difficult to read, or violates basic rules of writing, it should be denied. Stories must be clearly written in the selected language, and not be written using Net/IRC or textmessaging slang.
- Use of the lower case "i" to represent I (as in me). I don't mind if one or two slip through, but if they are the norm in a story it should be rejected.
- Excessive use of slang such as 'lol', 'neway', 'ppl', 'b4', 'cuz', 'b/f', 'j/k'. Don't deny for 1 or 2 but if the story relies heavily on using slang, then the author should be asked (politely) to remove the slang and resubmit the experience.
- Overly "teen" writing -- lots of unrelated interjections and tangents, lots of comments on friends, etc. Again, if the story is mostly made up of this, it should be rejected, however if there is plenty about the actual story itself along with this type of interjection or tangent, that usually means it's ok.
Massive Spelling or Grammar Errors
These errors fall under "Quality of Writing" in the denial drop down box. Please note the word massive. The grammar and spelling in stories is by no means required to be perfect. That said, stories must be easy to read and understand. Deny a story if grammar or spelling problems actually make it difficult to read.
There are however a couple cases where an experience can be denied for minor errors:
Essential words must be spelled correctly -- the names of the piercings involved (deny a story that uses "tounge" or "naval"), as well as words like gauge, piercing, etc.
Make sure you check the category, and ensure that it matches the content of the story. If a story is filed in the wrong section, leave a comment for the moderator letting them know where it should go. Normally people do this by mistake, but sometimes people don't see where they're supposed to file something and seem to pick a section almost at random.
Stories should be denied if there are problems in the layout that make it difficult to read or view. These problems include:
- All one paragraph. This is the most common problem. If a story is made up of all one paragaph (or paragraphs so large that it might as well be), it should be rejected. Same goes for a story that has no paragaphs (ie. a paragraph break after every line).
- Weird paragraph breaks. Watch for breaks in the middles of sentences and things like that.
- HTML errors. If the person includes images, they must be viewable. If the person includes links, they must work.
- All caps. If a person types IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS all or most of the time, the story should be rejected.
- Punctuation errors. This applies both to improper punctuation usage that makes the story hard to read (for example, putting exclamation points after every sentence), and to translation errors. Sometimes when a person copies a story from some word processors, it includes odd characters instead of apostrophes and quotes.
There are three scenarios in which stories should be rejected in this category:
- Sometimes people will write a short story, and pad it with utterly unrelated junk -- talking about their family, their friends, the music they like, their school, whatever. If it relates to the story (for example, past experiences that lead up to the story, or reactions from people afterward), that's fine, but don't accept unrelated filler that's just there to make the word count.
- Quite regularly people will submit erotica to the fiction section of BME HARD that has nothing to do with body modification. Stories in BME Hard must still have body modification as a central point of the story. Simply mentioning that some of the people have piercings doesn't cut it nor does briefly mentioning a modification scene. Keep in mind the word central. In addition, BME HARD does not accept eunuch/castration fiction -- if people are interested in that they should be directed to eunuch.org.
- Sometimes people will submit editorials and stories that are more of a teenage-rant than a story about an actual body modification event. If you feel the person is doing this, or is writing primarily to further a political goal, or promote a website, or any other non-BME related goal, the story should be rejected.
With the exception of the bodmod erotica fiction section of BME HARD, BME does not accept fictional stories. By fictional stories, we mean where a person reads a bunch of stories on BME and then writes a fake one. These are difficult to catch, especially if you're not that experienced with body modification, but there are a couple things that tend to run common in fake stories:
- Details inside the story may not match properly, and may not match with the user details.
- Specific details of the piercing and aftercare will probably be quite hazy.
In all honesty though, it's more of a "feeling" most of the time. Watch out for things that seem implausible as far as healing speed and other characteristics as well.
Sometimes, a person does stupid things, most often related to self-piercing, and encourages them and leaves out the "bad points" of an experience. If a story is honestly written and anyone reading it can tell that it's a bad idea because of the described result, then it can be posted as is. However, if the story ignores the pitfalls, and encourages readers to - in effect - harm themselves, then the story should be denied along with a note that the writer should add a disclaimer. Remember though, you're not supposed to stop people from telling their story. We're just trying to make sure the stories aren't hurting people.
Sometimes a person has a bad experience at a studio (and not always the one the story is about), and chooses to slander them in their story. It's fine when people talk about their experiences if they discuss them fairly and with a level head, but most of the time, it's not much better than insults. These stories don't generally provide any valuable information, and open BME up to lawsuits. If the story contains anything which would be considered libelous, it should be denied.
If a story is not actually one story, but a number of stories patched together to meet word length, it should be rejected. For example, if a person describes both their nipple and navel piercings in a single story submission, they should be directed to submit it as separate stories. It should be noted that there are many exceptions to this rule, including:
- Sometimes a person needs to BRIEFLY include prior experiences to put this one into context.
- If the person got all the modifications in a single session, then it makes sense to discuss it in a single story.
- If the modifications are connected (for example, an ear piercing story followed by stretching, or a series of tattoo stories making up a sleeve, or a two separate nipple piercings, or a genital ladder) the person can legitimately choose to write them up in a single story.
If the story contains words or phrases which would be offensive to readers it should be denied. This includes hate speech, racist terminology, the derogatory use of words like "gay", "retard" and "gypped". Ask the author to remove all speech which targets or otherwise projects a group of people (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) in a negative and demeaning manner prior to resubmitting it.
There are of course many other reasons that a story could be rejected, including:
- Material that's offensive to BME. This includes anti-body mod articles.
- Experiences that promote (or link to) businesses opposed to BME.
- People complaining about the word count. Writing things like "Well, I have to write 127 more words, so let me tell you about..." don't count and should be rejected.
- People who append their story with a copied FAQ section, "Tips" section, or a copy of the aftercare they were given. If they have personal insight they'd like to add, that's great, but simply repeating well-known information doesn't accomplish anything.
- Stories that have been published somewhere else, previously. If the author has already written and posted their story for another site, BME does not accept the story. The exception to this would be a blog or IAM diary entry.
Videos follow the same guidelines as other media, meaning they must be body modification related, placed in the correct category, etc. The following additional reasons could cause video submissions to be rejected:
- Video Quality: The video is heavily pixelated, contains lines or other artifacts running through it affecting image quality and the ability to view the video.
- Video Length: Videos must be a minimum of 20 seconds in length. Longer is better.
Commonly Asked Questions & Answers
Do we deny stories that are all in pink font (or other crazy fonts)?
Yes, if the story is hard to read because the text is too small or it is a weird colour, it should be denied.
Does BME accept DIY stories?
YES! BME's primary job is to document the life of the body modification community as a whole. While we clearly provide educational information in order to help the community grow in a positive direction, it would be detrimental to our purpose to attempt to silence a significant percentage of the community because we disagree with the way they did their procedures.
When to deny DIY:
The line that we don't want people crossing is when they say "you SHOULD do this" (rather than "I did this"). If they are not just documenting what happened to them, but actively recommending what they did (assuming it's fundamentally incorrect a la "an den i sterilized it wit my zippo") then you should feel totally free to deny it.
Do we deny for swearing?
No. Unless the story is so chock full that it’s impossible to read, swear words are not a reason to deny.
Do we deny stories that have broken images or links?
Yes. If a story has a broken image or link, please deny it and ask the author to fix it. Do not deny a story that contains a plain text link like this (http://bme.com), only deny it if the author has made the link “clickable” and when you click on it, it doesn’t work properly.
Do we deny stories where the person is underage? Lied to their parents? Used a fake ID? Etc.
No! Our job as reviewers is not to pass judgment on what the person has done. As long as the story is written in a way that can be easily read and understood and does not advocate any dangerous information, do not deny it! Also, remember that stories come in from all over the globe. Just because the person may be underage for something where you live does not mean they are where they live.
What if the author is below the age of 13?
Any stories submitted by someone 12 and under should be denied. If they are 13 or older, they’re fine. The only exception to this is for hard fiction/non-fiction and genital experiences. In this case, the author must be 18 years or older.
What if the author is under 18 and has submitted erotic fiction or non-fiction, or a genital modification story?
These stories should be denied with a note explaining that we are unable to accept such stories until the author has reached the age of 18.
What about female nipple experiences? Do they have to be 18 and over?
Self-injury experiences are an automatic deny, right?
Wrong! As Rachel states: "You can NOT deny something for being "self-injury". These stories are placed in the RITUAL section though, not the SCARIFICATION section."
What if the story was done with a piercing gun?
Deny it. Gun piercings are excluded not because of danger issues but because it's simply not inside BME's mandate (just like we don't cover hairstyling).
Can I ask other people to share their votes so I can get a better idea of when to approve and when to deny?
Yes, but only after the media has passed through final moderation.
What do we do with negative stories?
As long as the person is not stating unsubstantiated claims and merely sticking to their story, we accept it. Unfortunately, not all experiences are good ones and we want to allow people to tell their stories. As long as the person is writing in a calm and reasonable manner and not filling the story with insults towards the artist, it should be accepted. If the story contains a lot of insults towards the shop and/or artist, you can deny it and ask that the person resubmit the story after removing those and just sticking to the facts. Again, it is OK for a person to submit a story where things went badly so do not deny the story just because it is a negative one.
Do we accept stories written by a practitioner?
What happens if a story has been submitted multiple times?
Deny the first as a duplicate and vote accurately on the second (or last one in the queue if it's there three or more times). Often this is just an accident on the part of the submitter but sometimes they realize they left something out or a link didn't work, something like that, so they will submit it again right away with the correction which is why we always vote accurately on the last one (the one closest to the bottom).
This story submitted in German (or other foreign language) isn't long enough, how did it get through?
In an effort to encourage more submissions in other languages, there is no word count minimum like there is with English language submissions. Along the same lines, we have relaxed the rules somewhat. Use your best judgment when reviewing these stories and remember that BME wants more non-English submissions! So only deny for the worst spelling and grammar, the ones that are really unreadable, or contain html errors (ie. a clickable link that doesn't work), or, obviously, if it's a fake. If you're unsure, you can always ask (Jen) for further clarification.
If you have more questions or just want to chat with other reviewers, visit the experience review forum here.