At Hypergrid Business, we’d love to publish your thoughts. We’re looking for opinions and advice about about how virtual reality is used in non-gaming applications, such as business, education, government, and non-profits. We’re also looking for how-to articles related to OpenSim or to other virtual world and virtual reality platforms, tools, and devices. If you have thoughts about how this technology will evolve in the future, drop us a line as well.

Send ideas for columns to [email protected].

We are particularly interested in regular columns. If you have an idea for something you can do, say, once a week, we would love love love to hear from you. We can’t pay you — the site is run by volunteers, and all the ads are free! — but we can give you any links you’d like in your bio. We’re a

Do not write articles “on spec.” If we can’t use them, it’s a waste of your time and ours, and annoys everyone you interviewed.

Here are the guidelines for an opinion or advice column.

Length

Around 800 words. If it’s a tutorial or a listicle you can go as long as you need.

Headline

Should summarize the story briefly or pose a provocative question

  • 10 reasons why I would have stayed in the Matrix
  • How to use the latest virtual reality headsets
  • Computers are just a fad — the real future is in snake oil sales

Story structure

  • Start with a strong lead paragraph. It should give your readers a good sense of what your point is and where your essay is going, so they can tell whether they want to keep reading or not.
  • If it’s a how-to article, make each step its own section with its own subtitle, and make sure you don’t skip steps
  • If you include information, include the source, with links. For example, if you give a headset’s price, include a link to where people can look it up. If you include a statistic, include a link.

Sources

Your own  experience, interviews, press releases, videos, Kickstarter campaigns, new apps, other publications, and research reports.

How to quote people

We love to see quotes in a story, though, with an opinion or advice column, they are not necessary.

If you do include quotes, please follow these guidelines:

  • Each quote should have its own paragraph.
  • On first reference, include the person’s full legal name, title, company or organization, where the company is based, and a link to its website.
    • Example: “Our virtual reality headset cures cancer,” John Smith, CEO of Atlanta-based Snake Oil Inc., told Hypergrid Business. “And it’s gluten-free.”
  • If the person does not want to give their name, or wants to be quoted under a pseudonym, please say why.
    • Example: “Our virtual reality headset doesn’t do anything at all,” said a Snake Oil Inc. employee who did not want to give his real name out of concern for his job security.
    • Example: “You can also visit our showroom in-world,” said Smith, also known as “John TheSnake” on the Snake Oil grid.
    • Example: “I love their headsets,” said Fairy Flyfeather, who did not want to give their real name because they didn’t want people to know that they spent all their free time as a virtual fairy.
  • On second reference, say “he said” or “she said” or “they said” or use the person’s last name. If it’s been more than three paragraphs since they were quoted last, also include the company name.
  • Use the verbs “said,” “told,” and “added.” Mostly just use “said.” Other verbs carry emotional connotations. Avoid them at all costs.
  • With each quote, include its source and a link when appropriate.
    • Example: “The regulators are trying to shut us down,” Snake Oil’s Smith said in a Tweet yesterday. “When did good marketing become a criminal offense?”
  • The best way to get quotes is to contact the source directly, either in person, by phone, by Zoom, by Skype, by email, via chat, or through an in-world meeting.
  • When contacting people, if you have been assigned the story by Hypergrid Business, you can tell people that you are writing for us. Feel free to refer them to your editor for confirmation.
  • Other places to get quotes include social media posts, forum posts, press releases, videos, and other news outlets.
  • Note that the attribution comes after the first part of the quote, not before, and that the punctuation is inside the quotation marks.

Photo sources

  • Original photographs that you took yourself or illustrations that you yourself created.
  • Press releases, product images on shopping websites, images from promotional websites.
  • Stills from video games or videos.
  • Flickr images licensed for commercial use.
  • Pixabay, UnsplashPexel Public Domain images
  • Any other public domain image sources, including images from Wikipedia Commons and government websites.
  • Images that previously ran in Hypergrid Business.
  • Photographs provided by sources, when those sources own the rights to the images, and give us permission to use them.
  • We cannot use images that belong to other publications — editorial privilege only goes so far.
  • Attach or link to the largest version of the image. Write a caption describing what the image is. Write a credit line describing the source of the image.

Format

  • File as plain text or RTF file, or just include the article in the body of your email.
  • If you attack a file, please use systematic filenames. For example, HB-2021-July-StoryTopic-AuthorName-v1.txt
  • When filing a rewrite, use a different filename. In the example above, for instance, change the -v1 to -v2 or -v3.
  • Include a title and your byline at the top of the story.
  • Include links as relevant in the text.
  • Include at least one image, either as link or attachment, with a caption and credit.
  • If there’s a video, include the embed code for the video.
  • If this is your first time filing, include your photo as an attachment, a one-or-two-sentence bio, and a link to your websites and social media pages.

Examples of columns

Rights

  • We only need one-time online publication rights.
  • You retain your original copyright to the story, and are free to publish it in other publications.
  • You can publish it on your own website, or include it in a book. Really, you can do anything you want with it.
  • If you like, you can include a link back to the Hypergrid Business story, but you don’t have to.
  • If we want to reuse your story for another purpose, such as inclusion in a book, we will ask your permission first.