How We Assess Content

Assessing content is a subjective effort. If you ask ten different site owners what they mean by “high-quality content”, you’ll get ten different answers.

So how does PenStars assess your work?

We do not use algorithmic or machine assessment. Everything you submit is read by a real person with writing and editorial experience who provides you with a quality score, a list of issues to fix and detailed, human feedback drawn from their expertise.

Here is the issue list we use to determine quality scores. You start with a score of 100 for each article, then adjust as follows:

  • Poor Title: -5 points if the title needs significant reworking.
  • First Person: -5 points if you use first-person writing in articles where inappropriate. -10 points if the whole thing is first person and shouldn’t be (e.g. white papers).
  • Grammar 1: -5 points if there is a small number of (simple) grammar errors, such as punctuation, spelling, inappropriate word choices, strange expressions and other oddities that require correction.
  • Grammar 2: -10 points if there are more than a few grammar errors, which will take longer to fix (at least a dozen or so).
  • Grammar 3: -20 points if the article shows consistently bad grammar that will require a lot of reworking (i.e. most sentences).
  • Grammar 4: -30 points if the whole article needs reworking for very poor grammar.
  • Introduction & Conclusion: -10 points if the introduction or conclusion is missing, -15 points if both are missing.
  • Conciseness: -10 points for occasional wordiness that needs attention, but which isn’t sufficient to warrant a 20-point down-rating (Fluff).
  • Fluff: -20 points for wordiness, repetition or stuffing the work with unnecessary extra content.
  • Poor Structure: -20 points if the content needs restructuring so that it flows logically from point to point.
  • Poor Syntax: -20 points if a lot of sentences need rewriting because they are poorly structured and hard to understand.
  • Thin Content: -20 points if your article contains useful information, but does not fully address the subject.
  • Nothing New: -20 points if your article is informative but says nothing that hasn’t already been said by thousands of other, similar articles.
  • Poor Content: -30 points if the content is (for example) poorly researched, vague, incomplete, uninformative, Wikigurgitation, common knowledge or downright uninteresting.

Following the list of issues, you’ll see individual feedback from your assessor, including comments to help you improve your submission for its intended purpose.

Use the quality score as a rough guide to how good the work is, the issues list to rework your content and the feedback to guide your corrections in the right direction!