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Welcome! Slant is a place for discussing ideas and products we love. Because Slant relies on user contributions, practically everything on the site is there for you to edit and comment on - but always remember that someone took the time to write it in the first place. Being kind and respectful to each other will go a long way towards creating the productive, interesting conversations you're here to participate in.
Here are a few ways to get those conversations started:
1. Ask awayFirst and foremost, Slant is here to help you find what you're looking for. Need a better font to code in? Or a DSLR camera for a reasonable price? Use the “Ask Question” button at the top to hear what our community recommends.More about asking questions.
2. Recommend your favorite productsYour recommendations help other users make more informed purchasing decisions. When you’re in a question, you can click the thumbs-up on a product to recommend it, or the thumbs-down to express that you don’t think it’s a good option. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can click the “I Recommend” button to add it as an option. More about adding options.When adding an option, you can also add Pros and Cons. These, of course, are things that you like or don’t like about the product. If there are already Pros and Cons on your option, you can select them to add to your recommendation. If you have something new you want to say, you can add another Pro or Con. Remember that Pros and Cons are shared, so you should never write subjectively, including in the first person. More about Pros and Cons.If you want to tell people your subjective feelings about a product, you can do so in “My Experiences.” And if you're not sure what questions to add to, the "Improve" button on the homepage will show you a list of questions that could use some love.
3. Edit, edit, editEven if you didn't suggest the product, you can add Pros and Cons, find sources, or edit for grammar and readability. Anything you can do to make an option clearer, more accurate, or a better fit for Slant is always worthwhile.More about writing on Slant.
Asking and Answering
A good question on Slant does two things: It helps you find what you're looking for, and it helps others who may be looking for something similar.
To meet these two criteria, all questions should:
- Follow the format "What are the best ___?"
Using a consistent format ensures that answers provide good recommendations, and that you're not repeating a question that has been asked already, while at the same time making it easy for users with similar needs to find your question in the future.
- Provide specific context for your needs.
Slant empowers you to ask very specific questions in order to receive the most accurate, applicable recommendations. Take advantage of this by including as much relevant information as you need.
- Have answers that can be meaningfully compared.
Some questions are just too broad for Slant to answer. In order for others to make helpful recommendations, they need to be able to compare the possible answers to one another using similar criteria. Questions like "What are the best games?" allow for answers that range from rock, paper, scissors to chess to Fallout - these cannot be meaningfully compared.
- Poor: "What laptop should I buy?" (The format is inappropriate.)
- Poor: "What is the best Android app?" (Answers cannot be meaningfully compared.)
- Poor: "What are the best laptops?" (The context is too vague.)
- Good: "What are the best Android calendar apps?"
- Good: "What are the best laptops for programming?"
- Best: "What are the best free, cross-platform to-do list apps?"
- Best: "What are the best laptops for programming under $1500 with Linux support?"
Adding options is as simple as typing the name of the product in the title bar, but that alone wouldn’t achieve much. To make a suggestion that's really useful, you can:
1. Add visual interestAn option's header is a place to show an image or video that gives the best sense of what the option is like in practice. Videos tend to be the most descriptive; if you can't find one, screenshots and logos can work as well.
2. Add greater detailIn the option description, you can briefly explain what the option is and what it costs. Remember to keep this objective (multiplayer game) rather than subjective (the best multiplayer game). When adding an option, you can also add pros and cons — these can be your own, or you can copy pros and cons other people have added from the recommendation menu. Pros and Cons should contain objective evidence to back any claims made. Subjective information should go in the comments on a product, or in “My Experiences.”
3. Help others find itThe "Get it Here" link is a way to direct other interested users to a site where they can purchase the option.
Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons are where you offer relevant information about a product that will help someone else make their decision. All good Pros and Cons are based on two things: a clearly stated benefit/drawback, and objective evidence that supports that claim.
Benefit/DrawbackEvery Pro must include a clear benefit; every Con must have a clear drawback. The benefit or drawback should be mentioned directly in the title. For example, an app claimed to have a "clean interface" can have the benefit of "making it easy to overview information." Even if the benefit or drawback seems obvious to you, it's important that you explain it for others who may not be as familiar with the product.
Every statement must be supported by objective information. Evidence can be provided through examples, references, and facts. Anything subjective, including any first-person stories you might have, can be put in “My Experiences”, but not Pros and Cons.
A claim of "beautiful interface" can be backed up with a screenshot; a claim of "good voice acting" can be backed up with an audio recording; a claim of "high customizability" can be backed up with examples of customization options.
Anything that can be empirically tested can be listed in the description as evidence.
- The more evidence, the better.
Remember that Pros and Cons are shared by the community. This means that you can include other people’s Pros and Cons by clicking on them while making a recommendation. If you add a Pro or Con that is too similar to one that already exists, it will be merged with the already existing Pro or Con. You can edit existing Pros and Cons if there is inaccurate or misleading information, or if something should be added. If you have a question or response to a Pro or Con, you can comment on it.Another result of this is that Pros and Cons should contain no subjective or first person information. If you wish to include this type of information, you can do so in the “My Experiences” section, which also makes your recommendation more likely to be seen on the front page.
Because Slant is built on the contributions of a community of diverse users, it is important to maintain a consistent writing style across the site. Any time you come across writing that you think is confusing, misspelled, agrammatical, or otherwise distracting, please make the necessary changes to bring it back into alignment with our style guide.
American EnglishAmerican English is preferred across all content areas. Other English spellings may be adjusted to meet this criteria. Similarly, we will ask that any content in languages other than English be translated. Any that are not translated in a timely manner or otherwise fail to comply with our writing guidelines will be removed.
IdiomsCommon idioms and expressions are fine, but ask yourself if there is a simpler, more direct way to get your idea across. Idioms or phrases that are not commonly used in speech, or that may cause confusion, should be avoided in favor of clearer phrasing. E.g., "piece of cake" is well known and therefore fine; "pass the buck" is probably a bit too obscure for all users.
JargonAs much as possible, Pros and Cons should avoid industry-specific jargon that may not be familiar to all users. If jargon is required to describe a product or feature accurately, try to define the phrase within the description.
PlagiarismContent on Slant should never be copied and pasted from external sources. In some instances it may be appropriate to include a relevant quotation as supporting evidence; these must be clearly cited.
ProfanityProfanity is to be avoided in all instances. Posts featuring profanity will be flagged and removed. Consistent violations of this policy may lead to further actions taken against the account of the content creator.
SlangSlang can add personality to your descriptions, but it also changes rapidly and unpredictably. Avoid phrases that can't be found in a reputable modern dictionary. And no, Urban Dictionary doesn't count.
Serial CommasThe serial (or Oxford) comma is preferred. This means that lists with three items should have a comma before "and": bacon, eggs, and hash browns.
Second or Third PersonAll questions, options, Pros, and Cons should be written in the second or third person. This makes it easy for others to add detail or evidence. First-person accounts can be added in “My Experiences”, but should never function as the Pro or Con itself.
Fight the Content, Not the PersonIn the interest of good debate, Slant does not allow harassment or personal attacks in any form. Debate may still be heated or spirited but should remain impersonal. For example, it is okay to say “I disagree with this, because there is evidence to the contrary.” It is not, however, okay to say, “I disagree with this, therefore you’re the worst person ever.”
Formatting Text and Linking SourcesMarkdown is supported in all description boxes so you can format your text for better clarity. This also provides a cleaner way to link to outside sources when further reading or proof of claim is beneficial.
- *bold* → bold
- _italics_ → italics
- `code` →
- [link](http://www.example.com) → link
- 2 consecutive new-line characters → new paragraph
In order to make sure Slant remains trusted and useful to our community, we do not allow contributions in situations where there may be a conflict of interest.
Users who have a professional relationship with a product or its competitors may not add their product to any question on the site, add recommendations to said product, add any Pros or Cons, make edits to existing content, flag content for review on those product pages, or interact in any way with their options or those of direct competitors outside the comment section. They can, however, directly edit the spec table and add or remove images and/or videos to their products.
We also ask you to not solicit others to engage with any products on Slant that you are affiliated with, especially getting people to manipulate the rankings of the options.
Additionally, any advertising or promotion of individuals, businesses, organizations, groups, or solicitations to enroll in programs (such as referral programs) are not allowed.
Users in violation of the above guidelines are subject to reversion of their actions, account bans, product bans, or other administrative actions, as deemed appropriate.
Local or General Businesses
Due to Slant’s online nature, we do not permit recommendations of any local businesses. Questions that ask for recommendations in a specific area will be removed accordingly. Submissions of, and questions asking for, services that are otherwise difficult to compare on a non-local scale will also be removed. For example, we will keep the question “what is the best toothpaste?” but will remove the questions “what is the best dentist office in Austin, Texas?” and “what are the best retail stores to buy toothpaste?”, as Slant may not be able to provide an accurate answer in both the former and latter question at this time.
Illegal and Potentially Harmful Content
Slant does not permit content that might be harmful to the website or its users. As such, we do not allow submissions of, or questions asking for, products or services that are illegal on a federal level in the United States. This may include content that encourages something illegal but doesn’t explicitly break the law. For example, we will remove the question “what are the best places for minors to get alcohol online?.” We will not remove the question “what are the best places to get alcohol online?” but we will remove anything implying that minors could purchase alcohol there.
In addition to this, we will remove content that (while legal) attracts spam, or otherwise untrustworthy content outside of the following, heavily moderated questions. Because of a pattern of shady behavior in these categories, we have decided that it’s best for our users that we keep a close eye on this type of content. Our goal is that people who are honestly seeking, or honestly promoting, these products can do so safely.
Products Not Available for Purchase
Products that are currently not available to buy, including all Kickstarter or presale products, are not allowed to be added to Slant unless specifically asked for in the question.
We endeavor to protect the privacy of our users to the greatest extent possible. We do not release personal identification information about any of our users to third-party entities, including those companies whose products appear on our site, unless required by law.
The information that we collect serves two primary functions:
1. AnalyticsWe analyze user activity information in the aggregate to monitor and improve the performance of our site.
2. OutreachWe maintain a secure database of contact information so that we may communicate with our users via email.
There is currently no official policy regarding the institution of moderators. Users who contribute a great deal to our community may be offered the opportunity to serve as moderators if they desire.