Editorial Process

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MapStory is designed to facilitate the continuous improvement of content shared across the platform. We believe that, when it comes to knowledge about the Earth, one's interpretation can never be perfectly right. It takes diverse perspectives and constructive peer review to correct factual mistakes and offer counter perspectives. Innovations in crowdsourcing and social media have opened up the way for the collection of diverse perspectives. But, we have to go beyond simply sharing knowledge to actually improving it. The current MapStory peer review model involves volunteers who take on three roles: Editors, Category Editors, Site Editors, a Managing Editor and an Editor-in-Chief.


Every registered user of MapStory takes on responsibility as a basic editor. This means that you can review people's work by commenting, flagging, and assigning a Star Rating. Additionally, you can contribute edits to StoryLayers that have been opened up for editing. Check out the Get Started Guide for Editors.

Category Editors[edit]

MapStory StoryLayers and MapStories are grouped into eight different categories: Crisis, Geopolitics, Science & Industry, Human Settlement, Culture & Ideas, Nature & Environment, Health and Biography. Each category has at least one Category Editor that checks content for compliance with the Terms of Service and responds to flags marked incomplete and inaccurate. Category editors also adjudicate edit wars when necessary and can lock down a StoryLayer from being editable or unpublish a MapStory if necessary.

Site Editors[edit]

Site Editors have responsibility for overseeing Category Editors to make sure they are doing their job, and to provide a helping hand. Site Editors also decide on which content will be featured on the MapStory homepage and search. Site Editors resolve edit war appeals that arise from a Category Editor’s adjudication or StoryLayer locks of MapStory unpublishing. Finally, Site Editors manage and can make changes to all registered users permission settings on the site, as well as completely remove users from the site if necessary.

Managing Editor[edit]

The Managing Editor is a Site Editor elected by his/her fellow Site Editors and is responsible for recruiting and managing Category Editor performance and for supporting Site Editors as needed. The Managing Editor can revoke a Category or Site Editors’ privileges based on performance issues as well.


The Editor In Chief has final authority over edit war adjudication, StoryLayer locks and MapStory unpublishing, in the event a final vote of authority is necessary to resolve a dispute.

Ethics and Principles[edit]

All MapStorytellers are expected to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. At all times, they must follow the laws of the land in which they are based and avoid submitting content to MapStory that is vulgar, libel, slanderous, knowingly inaccurate, predatory or the like. Users who practice this behavior may have their account revoked. For a further explanation, review the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. In general, while all the data is in the Creative Commons, the use of the web services is limited, due to the high cost of serving such data.