Gaming A System

Take It For What It's Worth

I'm not by any means new to blogging and writing articles and I also admit that, at times, I can be controversial, just as controversial as the next frog in the pond no doubt. Being new to the Hub, and being a political writer, I have a propensity to be very observant at how a forum is, or isn't, allowed to run. That's a writer's instinct and a management prerogative.

Each system is different with its ins and outs. I have also been a moderator on a couple of different venues so I have that experience to give me further insight. What I don't want is for ANYONE to take this personally, or as criticism, as that isn't my intent. I'm just being open with my observations having recently arrived in this writer's nest. I am finding Hub Pages to be quite refreshing and a great place to write and have made some new friends since landing here.

I have addressed some of my concerns (observations) with the Hub folks. One took the form of a question about "down voting." It didn't stay up long. I was notified that it was pulled because it called for opinions. Of course it did. That's why I posted the question. It went on further to inform me to write a Hub if I wanted opinions so here I am. Facts might also suffice. I more than welcome you to share yours on the subject regardless of your position here..

I recently read a few Hubs where some of these observations have surfaced. So lets talk about "voting down," flagging and the redundancy of being able to do both. One requires an explanation by the user (flagging), definitely a postive, the other requires some bonehead to cruise by and click on a button with no explanation, nor do they need to leave a comment. They just might not like you or what you have written (content driven disagreement). It seems reasonable to me that if a user "down votes" a Hub that they be required to provide an explanation which accompanies that choice so that a moderator can review and concur or disallow such a down vote. In a nutshell I call it fairness to the author of the Hub.

Believe it or not, there are people I affectionately call trolls, other forums call them sock puppets and various other monikers, who cruise the latest forum articles and if allowed to, unchecked, "down vote" articles because they disagree with the author and/or the contents. HP is not exempt from that practice I can assure you. The term I use for it is "Gaming The System." It is wrong any way you look at it, no matter who is doing it. They are doing it because, and only because, they are allowed to. A childish practice but never-the-less it happens too often.

But there is a way to solve the problem as most problems are solvable. How? Just do away with the built in redundancy. If that isn't an option, and it is the easiest fix, then require a vote down to be accompanied by a choice of explanations. That requires a bit more programming and man hours, as a moderator has to take a look see. Having been a moderator, I understand that on a day-to-day basis one stays more than busy. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. If they didn't this place would become a Wild West shoot out I'm tellin' ya.

Gaming a system becomes even more of a red flag when it "appears" that a forum itself is involved in the game. It sometimes comes in the form of tacit approval. This isn't an accusation, undue criticism or anything of that nature but no more than an observation. Hub scores seem to be a mystery to many users. It centers around Hub scores and what drives the train. Algorithms are usually used in computing what is a favorable response or what isn't. I believe that to be the case and someone correct me if I am wrong. I will use this Hub I recently put up as an example of why people question what is, or isn't, going on:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Political-Ads-Are-Coming

As a writer, I am interested in viewership statistics as are the management folks here at HP. It's one of the ways that they make their money - their bread and butter. I do not rely on HP as my sole source of income. If I did, I'd starve to death. Using their statistical information they supply on my account tab, this particular Hub has had 201 page views in less than 7 days, 50 of which occurred on day 1. Yesterday it reflected 78 on day one. Why did it change? That's some traffic IMHO. It has elicited 41 comments as of one second ago. Yet the Hub score reflects a 58 rating. Doing a comparison with my other Hubs with a much higher score, northing seems to correlate. So something seems a bit unusual. Is it a computer glitch, or is it the maliciousness of trolls, or what is it that is causing this type of discrepancy? I'm just askin'...

There has to be a logical explanation. I do pay attention to my account and what it shows me. I think all writers should look at everything we are provided and if something doesn't seem quite right in Omaha to feel free to bring it to someone's attention. I have checked the learning resource area and haven't been able to answer my own questions.

You start off with a baseline Hub score of 50. Now what I am about to say has happened to me on at least two occasions that I know of. Within two (2) minutes of hitting the publish button, I have watched that base score drop to a 48. I looked and there wasn't one comment that had been made, no ratings - nothing there on the page but the Hub itself. Someone, again, give me a logical explanation for that phenomenon. I have a logical explanation but I can't ascertain its veracity. If unexplained "down votes" affect your Hub score then BINGO. I smell trolls on the loose.

In all fairness to any writer here, I wouldn't ever be involved in doing something like that. If I disagree with you then I am given the opportunity of publicly expressing my opinion about what you wrote by commenting directly to you - the writer. I definitely shouldn't have the right to vote your article down without expanation, snicker and tell my friends about it. I assume, and I know what the first three letters of that word are, that this is a community of adults. Maybe instead of acting like children it would be best if we addressed the issues of the day as adults, not children. Gaming a system isn't the best answer to trying to silence anyone's opinions, views or right to freely express themselves.

The scoring system seems to remain a mystery to the users. We should be able to easily navigate to an explanation. I've looked and not found. Why should it be a mystery when writers here are often paid based upon certain criteria?

I'm just sayin...

The Frog

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Comments 29 comments

NQX profile image

NQX 5 years ago from Melbourne, FL

Well written, Jim...this should be required reading for any blog site or forum.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA

FP - The Hub Mysteries described above have been a point of comment and discussion since I've been here. I would suggest that the scoring system algorithm is probably considered 'proprietary' so it is not explained or discussed by management other than in a very general way.

As for the up or down vote, if you're gonna have an up you're gonna have a down, other sites do it with a different methodology but the result is the same. I can't say I've ever gotten any emails or official feedback from the hubs over any down votes I may have received so I don't think its a very useful tool but it's just one of those things that you take with the overall good of the whole.

Still valid Q's here hope it generates a better explanation from HP but I'm not holding my breath in anticipation. Great Hub, up and awesome !


poorconservative1 profile image

poorconservative1 5 years ago

Yeah, I've noticed discrepancies in my Hub statistics as well. I don't worry about it too much. I console myself by convincing myself that I'm just here to write. I'm not real good but I do enjoy it. Statistics be damned. Also you might want to check out this Hub. It was done by a Hubber called T.Y._Hudson.

http://hubpages.com/community/How-to-succeed-on-Hu...

Thanks

Chuck


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

Ahhh Prince, (hate to think of you as the frog), I am so pleased to read this hub. I sit in bewilderment many a day, not knowing any explanation except for gremlins in the work. I only write for Hub Pages, eggs in one basket and all that. But I am dumbfounded by the scores and the way the voting works. For me, hubbing has been and still is a learning curve, in which I hope to receive comments to enable me to progress with my dream of becoming a writer.

As you correctly point out, we are all adults here. In the main non-professional writers, looking for a life line and encouragement to go on to greater things. It is a great pity that some people have to resort to down vote to stay at the top of the tree. And even more frightening a thought is that of jealousy. Can't we all help each other. Money is not everything, friendship is just as important.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Hmrjmr - As I pointed out, the redundancy isn't needed. Why design a feature into any forum that allows those, with less mature attitudes about blogging, the opportunity to abuse a system or user without explanation? Maybe I'll get the answer to that, maybe I won't.

Scores are scores poor conservative. I write for myself and to inform people about some of the things that one doesn't usually see or maybe analyze.

Well said thebluestar.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I agree frog,

I have no idea why my stats fluctuate the way they do. I'm here to write and frankly I don't participate in AdSense. Am I missing out?


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

BPOP - Missing something? Probably not. Those that rely on this forum as a source of income might be though.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Frog, I've noticed this too! I have never voted anyone down as I only believe in hitting the up key if I liked it. I too, have noticed my score immediately go down after publishing.

Thanks I'd like to see what happens with this.


Partisan Patriot 5 years ago

FROGGY

I'M WITH POP; I HAVEN'T EARNED A DIME SINCE I STARTED BUT THEN AGAIN THERE ARE THOSE THAT WOULD SAY MY WRITING ISN'T WORTH A DIME!


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Jim,

I agree with your substance, but you are too easy on the trolls. These are malicious people who wreck good threads, and encourage good writers to leave forums. Forum managers need good systems in place to get rid of these people, not just control unexplained downraves. And forum managers need to be impartial; no bias in favor of any particular ideology. Everyone should be treated according to the same rules. I know I'm wishing for something that on most forums won't happen, but it should.

Stu


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

PP - I deleted your duplicate post as a courtesy.

Stu - As the author, I was trying to be diplomatic rather than my usual blunt self. You bring out some good points there which we concur on.


The Frog Princess profile image

The Frog Princess 5 years ago from Florence area of the Great Pee Dee of South Carolina

As you know my frog I have yet to write BUT I read and follow so many from politics, art, gardening and I can tell you ALL that their is no rime or reason on HP scoring system. I have read with low scores and they were excellent so I guess its time I put my detective cap on and help figure this out:)


T4HOTA profile image

T4HOTA 5 years ago

Trolling is one of the most immature and petty things that someone can do, especially if that person is a grown man or woman.

I agree with your stance on the down voting. If one strongly disagrees with a particular hub/article, then surely they have a compelling argument or at least a few counter-points in mind.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Frog,

Diplomacy is not my strong suit. I'm better at bluntness. I guess that's why I have so many enemies at a forum that shall remain nameless. :)

Stu


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

T4HOTA - Yes, my friend, trolling is about as immature as it comes. One thing I do find curious here is allowing it to happen by the using a vote down button without requiring any explanation.

If you disagree then why not be man, or woman enough, to join the conversation and offer your reasoned counter points? Trolling is a sign of cowardice IMHO.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Frog, here is my lack of computer savvy shines, a Troll, a mythical guy who lives under a bridge or trolling, driving my boat dragging stinky stuff on a hook to catch fish, so here comes the question, WTF is a troll or trolling on the net? I fail to get the correlation of it all?, 50


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Frog and friends,

Allow me to unshroud the mystry. We've all found ourselves sitting there wide eyed and watching the phantom manipulate all those silly little numbers. It used to drive me nut until I finally figured it out.

Frog, it's those Free Masons again. The Hub Pages has hired these thugs and appointed them as the "Hub Police." Just like when the Rolling Stones hired the Hells Angels for security at Altimont, the Hub Geeks hired these guys, and these goons are out terrorizing innocent people just trying to have a good time.

These dirty little bastards work in two twelve hour shifts, so you've got thes dudes in their funny little Hub Police hats running around 24/7 just having their way. By this time the Free Masons have pretty much taken over I bet. They've probably got all the Hubmeisters doing those secret hand shakes and everything by this time, and there's no going back now. Heres how good they are; I've got an UNPUBLISHED hub that just sits there in the account box. I just lost my mo jo on this one, and it's been sitting there for two months. It started out as a 50, but is now a 70, and still climbing with sixty simething hits! Let me repeat; It's UNPUBLISHED! I told you these guys were good.

I'm glad I could straighten all this out for you. Ya'll be be cool now!

jim


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

50 Caliber - An internet troll is a peculiar species who operate where you usually can't see them, only witness their malicious behavior such as I noted here. They are a cowardly band of misfits who want to disrupt a system by using their vicious antics while chuckling with each other about their own stupidity. Some will surface occasionally and enter the conversation. That is usually indicated by being totally off topic. You've seen it before. An article is about Obama and they want to talk about anything but Obama. I will post a pic here shortly of what may look like. Maybe the video will help explain.

jim - Man, you had me rolling on the floor but hit the nail on the head.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Well I often follow along because the discussion is often educational as well. Are you sure that isn't what is happening? I don't leave comments as I following along. Hmmm. Who knows, like The Man With No Pants (ha)! said I have had to stop in the middle of an unpublished hub and the score went up. I think that meant I should have shut up while I was aheah, sooooo......


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Now we are getting to an interesting point that I was told by another hubber. He said he had a written hub UN-published and the hub score was getting raised and it was also recording views all the while being un published. I write on word then copy and paste rapidly then publish. So is it better to build and publish on hub pages format?, getting hits prior to publishing? So confusing but it comes down to me saying I don't care, but in truth I think we have a competitive nature engraved in our hearts whether we admit it or not, 50


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Dusty - thebluestar made an interesting point within her comment about what you speak of. Scroll up and take a read.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Excellent my smart frog friend, I never paid much attention the to down arrow, how do you know if it is being used? I have some hubs that are flying off the charts with an enormous following, yet I have never seen one penny here on hubpages. I have lost google so I keep amazon, and in all the years I have used amazon it still shows zeros on my income. I am as confused as you are about how the system works, and I am on here to write but I need to may some money for extras. I have heard stories about the forum so I have stayed away from the group. I learn what I need to learn by my friends like you. Rate up up love & peace darski


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Darlene - The mystery of how do you know is simple. They don't let you know. It would be nice to know info for a writer though. HB moderators should be able to know and if a pattern of abuse is sensed (same people doing the same thing without commenting) a little corrective action should be in order. It's called - THE BOOT!


Ghost32 5 years ago

I've THOUGHT about that Down button being a potential problem...but in the end (for me) decided, no, it's not worth the strain on my brain. That "mellow conclusion" was reached as the (logical?) deduction reached thusly:

1. Since I write on some "fairly" controversial issues at times, there's no question that my Down buttons have been pushed along the Highway of Hub Life.

2. My Hubscore is still standing (usually, anyway) and no one from The Team has screamed at me yet for getting TMDV (Too Many Down Votes).

3. Therefore, it ain't hurtin' me, and I jist don't care no more.

4. Being a sneaky-minded sort my own self, though, it has occurred to me that the Down button could (and maybe even does) function as OMFTC (One Mighty Fine Troll Catcher). As in, WHAT IF HP has everything programmed to track--not so much the Hubs getting heavy Down hits--but tracking WMTH (Who's Making The Hits).

I know if it was my program, I'd sure enough make sure my ace programmers had that little reverse-Troll-tracking function in there....

Which would alert the Team rather easily whenever someone truly deserved, as FP said--THE BOOT!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I don't try too hard to understand the system. I get some snide comments but most are courteous.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've never used the down button, nor will I ever!

If I think a Hub is really bad, I just skip it. If I don't agree with the content, I either skip it or make a (polite but firm) 'I beg-to-differ' comment.

Why downgrade anyone? That's childish. In fact, I don't think a down button ought to even be available. Not voting up is just as effective, so what's the point?


caltex profile image

caltex 5 years ago

Scoring here at HP is a mystery to many. I have yet to find someone who can explain how the scores come about. People who try to explain just end up saying "don't worry too much about it". If we should not care at all, why even have it?

I totally agree with Will. I, too, do not see any point in having the vote down button, especially since the flag button does exist.

I bet the vote downs will happen much less if HP will show the IDs of those who vote down a hub. I would love to see that!


rip van winkle 5 years ago

they are just angry people who think if you don't agree with someone you have to do something mean to them. there seems to be a lot of that going around these days.


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 5 years ago from Arizona

Good logical write up on a curious subject."voted up"!

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