Gilded Serpent presents...


Frequently Asked Questions
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Questions posted in April 2009

Questions posted in March 2009

Questions posted in February 2009

1) If I can't plug my events and products in the articles I write for you, is there a place where I can do that elsewhere on Gilded Serpent?

Yes, there is. You can enter your events on to our free self-posting calendar of events. Please keep it brief, and only use it for special events - not regular classes.
In your browser, do the following:

  • Go to
  • On the page, click on the link titled "Events Calendar".
  • The current month should appear. Click on a different month if that is what you want.
  • Click on the number of the date to which you want to add an event.
  • Click Create.
  • Enter the event title and start time/locaion in the Calendar Text box.
  • Put the details in the Pop Up Text window area or better yet - put your URL to the page on your website with the information.
  • Pick "Color Select" and choose colors for your text and background. Choose contrasting colors (NOT red and green).
  • Click Submit, then click "View Calendar".
  • If you make a mistake and need it deleted, please send us a note and we will do that for you. Meanwhile - enter your event again.

For promoting your products, classes, workshops, tours, and your events, please see our Ad Guide page.

2) I'd like to write an article but I can't write vividly when I'm worrying about grammar.

We hear you. Just relax. We're not school teachers out to get you. If you get stuck, here is a method that one of our reviewers uses to get herself going.

"When I go to a show, I try to jot down my immediate impressions in an email that goes only to very trusted friends. I write the first round the way I talk - contractions, slang, even lousy grammar. I don't censor my remarks or worry about making enemies, and I try to be funny so my friends will keep reading till the end. Later, I use the email as a starting point for writing a more professional-sounding piece, and it's only at that point that I really try to clean it up."

3) Is Gilded Serpent available in print?

Yes, just push "print" using the "print" command in your browser! You can even select the quality of paper you would like to use. Most of our newer articles are now being formatted so that when you do print the page it does so without ads or navigation bars. We are not published in print as a seperate entity from the website.

4) Do you pay for writing?

Currently we do not. We have organized Gilded Serpent as an all-volunteer organization, which means that we have a growth potential as far as your vision and participation provides. We urge writers to use Gilded Serpent to share their experience and research in Middle Eastern dance and related subjects.

We believe that Gilded Serpent, as an online Internet magazine, is an improvement on the printed bellydance magazines in many ways. Color photos, real-time updates, and a vastly wider readership are just a few examples. By writing for us, you receive a bio page where you can promote yourself and link to your own web site. Many writers report that just their GS bio page gives them more promotion than any ad they have bought in other magazines.

We have revisited this policy at times when we very much wanted to get people of high stature to be involved in our magazine. However, after consulting with many professionals in the publishing and Internet worlds, we determined that we could not allow a more favorable policy for some writers at the expense of others.

While it is true that we strive to be self-supporting through advertising sales, we have pledged to maintain our magazine's integrity by subjecting every contributor to the same set of guidelines. By treating everyone with equal respect, we hope to create a greater sense of trust within the Middle Eastern dance community.

5) How do I subscribe?

You can subscribe to the SnakeByte, which is our monthly email announcement of the newest articles, by signing up here. This newsletter will only be sent once a month and includes the articles posted since the last monthly announcement plus text ads and announcements submitted by our supporting advertisers. You can also just come to Gilded Serpent on your own and see the new articles. We post new material all the time, but like to announce it in the monthly SnakeByte to remind people to come back. For more information on the productive and popular SnakeByte ads, please see our ad guide.

6) How often should I look for new articles?

Gilded Serpent is an online magazine - freely accessible to anyone at any time. We publish 10-20 articles, reviews, plus videos, letters, and photos on our Community Kaleidoscope throughout the month, as quickly as our editorial staff can finish preparing them for you. Thanks for participating!

7) May I republish Gilded Serpent articles online (such as on my own web site) or in print?

No. All our articles remain accessible online, either in our Table of Contents or in our Archives. See instructions for linking (#10) below. (We go out of our way to make all material easy to find with themed lists, resource pages, search boxes and other tools.) With very few exceptions all material that is published on our website is copyrighted by Gilded Serpent LLC.

8) What about republishing it as a translation?

No. We have translation software embedded on each page of the site. If you would like to translate an article making the information more available around the world, we appreciate this. However we will post it on Then you may link to it as in answer #10 below. This helps to support the site. Thank you!

9) I copied and pasted your article on me and sent it out as an email. I put the link right up front. What's wrong with that?

Before you use any content on Gilded Serpent, you need to ask first. We are more than willing to work with people who have the courtesy to ask upfront, and we want our content to be of help to the featured artists by presenting them, and the authors, in the best way possible.

Instead of using the whole article, you can use a link and a teaser paragraph as described on this FAQ page under linking.

Aside from journalistic ownership, material stolen in this manner can be edited and yet still be presented as our endorsement. It denies the author the visibility that they receive on Gilded Serpent. On Gilded Serpent, the reader has easy access to the author's bio, contact info, and any other articles the author might have published on GIlded Serpent.

It also denies our supporting advertisers the visibility to the readers for which they have paid. It doesn't bring readers to the site so that they can experience all the other wonderful content and resources that Gilded Serpent has to offer. Gilded Serpent exists only with the support of our advertisers and the support of our community. Please do not do take away the exposure that we all depend on to survive, as even this seemingly harmless act harms more people than you may realize.

10) May I link to an article on Gilded Serpent from my web site?

Yes, absolutely, as long as you include the original author's name, a URL that links to the author's bio page on Gilded Serpent, and a clear statement that the article is posted on Gilded Serpent. Please drop us a note when you do this, just so we know.

For example:

"A Star Remembered: The Maturation of a Career in Performing"
by Najia El-Mouzayen

Read on Gilded Serpent at

O if you want to include a teaser paragraph in your link, you can format the link like this example:

2-07-08 Aruna's "Dancer's Body" DVD Reviewed by Rebecca Firestone
One of Aruna's claims to fame is being 50 and being tougher than chicks half her age. And it's true, at least with regard to the strength training - which was her profession for many years. Considering that most belly dancers want to be as youthful as possible, it's a nice change to have someone so athletic who's still improving with time.
Read the full article here Author's bio-

12) How do I submit a product for review on Gilded Serpent?

Please send 2 copies of the product and complete the product submission form at

13) Do you still need a copy of our product even if you already have a review? Why do you need two copies?

Yes, we really do. We keep copies of all reviewed products in our archives. There are many situations where we need to make sure that the writer is being objective. We get reviews all the time from writers we don't know, people who are friends of the producer or fans with a crush. Sometimes competing artists will complain that we don't publish reviews by THEIR friends.We have to be able to say that we've listened to the product, or watched it ourselves, and that we have it in our archives to compare with future works.

Or sometimes we recognize a song from somebody else's album, and we want to compare and make sure that it wasn't plagiarized. We need to explore the differences and see if it is just a new version or part of a medley.

We are finding that we need two copies if the product has not yet been reviewed. One copy goes to the reviewer, who then gets to keep the product as a token for their work, since Gilded Serpent does not pay reviewers. The other copy stays in our archives.

Another reason to keep an official copy is that we don't make illegal copies, even for the purposes of sending the copy to a reviewer. We also need the cover art to work with for illustrations.

Don't worry, we won't sell it.

14) You gave my product a bad review. I'd like to talk to you in person about it.

We are very sorry that you are upset by the review, but we feel that we must stand behind our reviewers. We take care to ensure that our reviewers are giving their honest assessments and that they can support their opinions through specific examples.

It is our policy to present honest reviews, even if those reviews are not always favorable. It is also our responsibility to stand by our writers. Our readership expects our reviewers to describe all aspects of the products that they review, both favorable and unfavorable, so that would-be purchasers can make an informed decision. They need to know whether the products offer a good value for the money, whether they teach the desired or expected topics, whether the material is of interest to them, and whether the information is presented in a format that allows them to absorb it in the way they like to learn best.

Remember that Gilded Serpent's contributors are a community of volunteers. We are not salaried professional critics. We strive to recruit individuals with sufficient knowledge, insight, and writing skill to provide our readers with useful feedback on products. Ultimately, each review constitutes one individual's opinion, which may or may not represent those of the readership community at large, or the Gilded Serpent management.

Our Letters to the Editor page provides an opportunity for people to comment on our articles and allow their dissenting opinions to be heard. If you feel strongly enough about it, we invite you to submit a letter that presents your own perspective on the issue. Keep your letter concise, as our experience is that a short and well-written letter will draw the most readership.

15) I've paid for an ad. Now you've posted a negative review of one of my products...

Every publication must decide what it is that they are selling to their advertisers. Some sites, like Gilded Serpent, sell strictly advertising space. Others sell services beyond simple ad space, and will, for a fee, write articles and puff pieces that promote the goods and services of their advertisers. While there is nothing wrong with this, we at Gilded Serpent feel that this is not really journalism, but is simply marketing.

With any serious publication, there are times when negative reviews appear. Sometimes the products that are reviewed also happen to be sold by people who purchase ad space elsewhere in the publication. This is why most newspapers in the United States maintain a strict separation between their editorial functions and their advertising sales. When the two cross paths, it represents a conflict of interest.

When we do run a negative review, particularly one of a major artist or a review that is particularly scathing, we have an editorial responsibility to make sure that the reviewers' conclusions are based on their honest assessment of the material at hand.

We offer many ways for people to promote themselves and their own work. You can purchase advertising buttons and banners at various locations throughout the magazine. If you write for us, we provide you with a bio page where you can link to your own site, advertise events and projects, and post a photo. We also list on this page the articles you have written for Gilded Serpent. This page is linked to your name in bylines or captions when your name appears on the site thereafter.

16) Can I write a review but not use my name? I'd like to be honest but all my friends will hate me. I'm afraid to say what I really think.

Gilded Serpent's editorial policy is that reviews are always bylined (credited to the author). If you want to write a review, you need to be willing to put YOUR name on it. You need to believe in what you write enough to stand by it, and we will stand by you.

Give your honest personal opinion as an artistic judgment rather than playing it safe with sentimental, feel-good statements, just to protect the artist's ego. You are not doing artists a favor by shielding them from an honest critique. All artists have to learn that no matter how good they are, there will always be someone who responds negatively to their work.


17)How can I criticize someone else's dance technique when I can't do any of it myself?

You do not have to be an expert to describe if you enjoyed the product or event. Employing your own artistic judgment is also your own opinion. It does not evaluate the producer of the event or product personally as a worthwhile human being. Stand up for your opinions, and be clear about why you feel the way you do.

18) OK, my review is up, but now I've got cold feet. Can you take it down?

Journalists everywhere face certain risks. Gilded Serpent is about fair and impartial journalism, and sometimes that means speaking the truth as we see it, even at the risk of offending artists who think they're somehow exempt from critique, and even more so, at the risk of offending all their fans who think their idol can do no wrong. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. Don't ask us to take your review down because you can't stand the pressure. We will stand with you insisting on our rights to the freedom of speech.

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PO Box 39, Fairfax, CA 94960, USA

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