Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A lead balloon

Helium continues to confound me.

There's a "My Helium" page where you can keep track of the articles you've written. I decided to look at it yesterday, despite the fact that I've only written one article and the deadline passed several weeks ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my article had gone from "closed" status to "active" and that its ranking had changed.

I can't figure it out, and there's nothing on the site to help me. Has the publisher not yet picked a "winning" article? Did something happen with the original winning article that caused it to fall from grace? Do articles continue to stay in circulation, being rated against other articles despite the fact that a winner has been chosen?

If there is anyone out there who can explain to me the enigma that is the Helium rating system, I would be ever so grateful.

In the meantime, if anybody wants to see what an article that ranked 12th out of 20 (at least that was the ranking as of this posting) looks like, check it out here. I think there is a comment section, and I believe you can also read the other 19 articles.


Anonymous said...

Amie, I'm so sorry to see that you're having troubles with Helium. I will admit that there are many facets to our site and that it can be confusing to new members, but we do have a lot of documentation and a forum that is chock-full of members and staff willing to help out.

It looks like you wrote an article to the Helium Marketplace for a publisher to potentially buy your work. Marketplace is interesting in that after the submission deadline, the title goes to a "closed" status within Marketplace, but once the publisher has made a purchase for that title, the rest of the articles move to Helium (from Marketplace) and are now "active" on the site.

Once a publisher purchases an article, a notification letter is sent to the member whose article was purchased. Additionally, the other members who submitted also get a letter notifying them that their article was not purchased and that their article is now moving to active status on the site--as explained above. (Please let us know if you're getting any letters.)

Also, articles can be rated in Marketplace and on Helium. Ratings are one of the key elements that make Helium unique among other online publishing platforms.

We also have an extensive User Guide, linked to from the main navigation bar at the top of every page on Helium. ( The User Guide has documentation for all our features and products.

And yes, rating can be a bit of an enigma. However, we have documentation on how that works in our User Guide and there are extensive conversations about it in our forums.

I hope you'll give us another try. Don't let the learning curve intimidate you--we are a welcoming writing and reading community with lots of resources for folks like yourself.


Paul Kerstein
Director of Content & Community

writtenexpressions said...

For the record, my experiences with helium haven't put me off using the site . . . there's just a lot I didn't understand before writing that first article. And frankly, the User Guide isn't always all that helpful and the forums are difficult to navigate.

My thanks to the Helium folks who have responded (via blog comment and email) to my questions and concerns.