Why was my story rejected?

Why was my story rejected?


The HackerNoon audience prides itself on its tech-savviness. They love HackerNoon because each of our articles adds to their knowledge. The HackerNoon Editorial Team, on its part, weeds out stories from the publication pipeline that fall into one or more of the following categories


Technology doesn’t discriminate, neither should you. Valid criticisms and rebuttals are as far as the rope goes. See our Code of Conduct here.

Paid promotion

Our writers regularly get approached by companies looking to get featured in HackerNoon. The best response is to point them to sponsor.hackernoon.com. But, if you’re looking to sharpen your journalistic credentials and decide to publish on their behalf, keep in mind the following guidelines

  • Disclose vested interest via Story setting
  • No logo in Featured Image
  • No Hyperlinks in Title, Subtitle
  • No Hyperlinks to the company website
  • Equal space to be provided to at least 2 competitors
  • At least one quote from a Founder (with link to their LinkedIn profile)
  • Clear disclosure of your vested interest in italics at the bottom

If you’re the Founder/co-Founder/C-level officer of the company and it is clearly stated in your bio with a link to your website, your articles promoting your product/service shall not be considered as paid promotions.

Not disclosing vested interest

If you are in any way linked to or invested in any of the products or services you are writing about for HackerNoon, that needs to be disclosed upfront.

Include a disclaimer at the beginning and end of your article if you have any vested interests in any product or service covered in your Hacker Noon submission.

Not the whole story

HackerNoon only publishes full stories. However, you are free to publish multi-part series and indicate so in your stories.

Poor grammar or structure. Basically, low quality.

Notes on Grammar and Spelling:

It sucks when readers get turned off by bad grammar or spelling errors. Through a simple spell check, most errors can be fixed!

Generally, Hacker Noon understands that English is not everybody's first language, so we'll tolerate a lot of the common mistakes made by second-language speakers. As long as the story adds value and can be generally understood by our global audience, you should be good to go.

Notes on Structure:

Contrary to what our school teachers taught us, the first paragraph should not be the introduction. The first paragraph is where you provide the gist of your entire article. Think of it as an Abstract/Executive Summary of a research report.

Break the key talking points into several paragraphs to enhance readability. In blogging and SEO, shorter paragraphs and lists get preference over 12-inch thick paragraphs.

Learn more about best SEO practices here.

Follow these guidelines to improve your story quality:

  • Proofread for grammatical and spelling mistakes
  • If quoting a person, use block quotes and provide sources.
  • If quoting a source, link back to the actual source. For example, do not link to hackernoon.com but link to the relevant story published on hackernoon.com.
  • Don't use UTM links (unless you're one of our partners). If you have a vested interest in any of the products or services you're writing about, you need to disclose that in the beginning of your story.
  • Good stories have secondary sources. Always try to back up your claims with links to relevant, credible sources.
  • Always a meta description (you'll find this in the Story Settings sidebar). Your meta should be 120-160 characters long. Read these meta-description guidelines to learn more:
Plagiarized Content

If you must copy-paste content blocks from other writers’ published/unpublished works, do the right thing and hyperlink the original source. For images, add the source name in the caption area. Our Editors perform deep checks for plagiarism on every submitted article and implement the following 3-strike policy:

  • First Infraction -- Article will be deleted and notification sent to the violator
  • Second Infraction -- Article will be deleted and the violating account will be suspended until the writer gives a written undertaking to never repeat it
  • Third Infraction -- Violating Account will be permanently deleted and Blacklisted
Not at all tech-related

With a few exceptions (such as stories about covid), we require stories to be at least tangentially related to tech. Since tech infiltrates every single aspect of life, we do require you to connect the main thesis of your story back to tech somehow.

Backlinks Misuse

We are very stringent on backlinks. Use them sparingly. Read our Guide on Backlinks here.

Low-Quality Blockchain-related Bounty Articles

While HackerNoon supports decentralization and the innovations it attempts to create, we also understand the flurry of sub-standard articles that the industry generates in the name of bounty campaigns. To give bounty hunters a fair chance, we have the following guidelines for such articles:

  • No Backlinks Allowed unless pointing to the rationale behind an assertion made in the article
  • Article length should be at least 1000 words after editorial review
  • No mention of Project in the Headline
  • Mention in an italicized Disclaimer at the end that you expect to profit from the success of the project

If you’re a team member of the company and it is clearly stated in your bio with a link to your website, your articles promoting your product shall not be considered as bounty articles.

“How to hire a developer in another country / for your business” articles, and Top X Software Development/Mobile App Development Companies in X Country” articles

We understand that Google algorithms give much love to Top X articles. However, the race for better SEO, almost always, comes at a cost of content quality. If you’re going to create a top X article, please make sure that it abides by the following guidelines:

  • Provide the metrics used to create the ranking
  • Provide at least 2 examples of their past work (with links)
Unattributed Previously Published Content

If you’re re-publishing your previously published work, do add the URL to the First Seen At field in Story Setting. Without this, the unattributed previously published content will be treated as plagiarized content and be acted upon as described above.

See our Republishing Guideline here.

Questionable Headlines

As the most visible segment of your article, the headline must be worded in a way to make it eye-catching. According to SEO experts, adding a number in the title tag gives it a big boost in the search rankings. This is the reason why '10 Killer Reasons to Move to Silicon Valley' or 'Why I Moved to Silicon Valley in 2010' rank higher than other competing articles. Following these guidelines for headline:

  • Do not put links in the Headline
  • Do not make the Headline misleading
  • Do not plagiarize an existing Headline
  • Keep the Headline length within 60-100 characters (16-18 words) for optimum visibility

You can also read David's guide The art of headline writing for more instruction.

No images at all

If a story has excellent text and needs no images, we obviously won't reject it. However, that is rare. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and the adage stands true in the world of blogging. It has been seen that blogs with a lot of relevant pictures get more clicks than the ones without. Imagine if you're looking for a tutorial, which one would you find more helpful, the one with screenshots or the one without? Following these guidelines for images:

  • Always add a high-quality relevant image right below the Headline to act as the Featured Image
  • Always provide the source of the image used in the following format - (Source: Name)
  • Apply alt-texts that help searchability instead of adding links
  • Do not use the image as a backlink source to other websites

Learn how to upload images here.

No conclusion or weak conclusion

As the interest of the reader waxes and wanes during the course of the article, a crisp conclusion delivered in 4-5 lines helps to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Provide your insights and a clear Call To Action. If the value provided to the reader is great, the likelihood of them engaging with your CTA improves a thousandfold.

Follow these guidelines to write effective conclusions:

  • Do not provide a bio at the end
  • Do not add a company profile/bio/logo at the end
  • Do add a link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels. You already have your social links under your profile to do that.
Clearly a brand-as-author story and not a story by an individual

A lot of Hackernoon writers choose to publish as brands instead of as individuals. Since brands have business-oriented goals and are prone to creating content that includes sales pitches, Hackernoon has an additional set of guidelines for brand-as-author.

For articles authored by brands-as-an-author, all of the above guidelines must be adhered to and the following brand specific guidelines must be followed as well :

  • The profile, marked as brand, will be that of a company and not of an individual
  • Brand profile bio must have brand website mentioned
  • Verify brand domain email
  • All links to the brand website and social media shall be provided at the bottom, below the conclusion
  • Featured Image should not have brand depictions


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