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"Answers" on HubPages Policy

  1. WordCrafter09 profile image86
    WordCrafter09posted 7 months ago

    HubPages policies have changed since I first signed up years ago when "Answers" was called "Requests" and even when duplicate content Hubs were allowed.  I've pretty much tried to keep up, but a question about the "Answers" section occurred to me not long ago when I saw the message that answers "appearing someone where else" were not allowed (my wording - I didn't double check what the light, small-font, message actually says).

    I have a two-part question:

    1.  Does that mean only that answers are supposed to only be tailor-made for the question at the time the question is seen by the potential "Answerer" (rather than, say, looking up something that has already been written by someone, either the Answerer or someone else online) and just pasting that or a link?   And, does the "appears somewhere else" also mean "regardless of who wrote the answer" (in other words, "we don't want people getting answers from other places/people online). 

    2.  Does the "appears somewhere else" mean that the person who comes up with his own new answer at the time he finds the question need to refrain from posting a copy of his/her own answers AFTER it has been written on HubPages on his own sites/blogs?  And, does it make a different if the person makes sure that a copied answer of his own, on HubPages, won't be "in the running" to be found by search engines?

    We've been told that we own what WE write on HubPages (so I'm not talking about coping the questions or other answers anywhere else.  I just mean the author's own words.  And, again, I'm not talking about pulling pre-written stuff of one's own sites/blogs (or wherever).  I'm asking only about when the answer on HubPages is the thing that gets onlline first.  (So another part of my question is that if it's OK to copy and paste my own answers in my own page/pages somewhere else does it matter if I make sure I've removed my own page(s) from, say, search and/or any blog directories.

    Many people say "stay away from "Answers" at all costs.  Many say "write a Hub instead of answering".  I enjoy answering when I'm bored or tired and just looking for something to think about a little (and write about a little) without getting into the whole writing-a-Hub thing of thinking up titles and whatever else is involved.  I don't care a whole lot about what I write there, but like many people I do try to put it a little bit of conscientious thought.  As with most stuff I write online, no matter how small or "nothing" some of it is, I do like to keep copies for purposes not necessarily related to re-using something for "money reasons".  Then again, I also like to make it "reasonably public" (rather than just keeping my own copies in my own PC, or wherever) that I wrote the words.  Part of that is because I know people can delete answers they don't like (and I don't always go back and look and wouldn't answer at all if I had to do that every time I found a question to try to answer).  Also, paranoid as it may seem, I know that SOME people would not be above asking questions on HP and copying answers to another site.

    And a spin-off question if it's OK to post only one's own words after first writing them on HP on their own pages, I wonder if, maybe, that warning that shows on "Answers" should be re-worded to make that more clear...       If it's not OK to re-post one's own answers AFTER the fact then I'll follow the advice of those who "stay away from "Answers" at all costs".  There's always the forums for those times of being bored and tired - but with whatever question-askers may stand to benefit from asking them in "Answers" discussions can be pretty slim-pickins subject-wise in the forums.    hmm

    In fact, is HubPages actually trying to discourage all kinds of "community type stuff" these days, instead encourage people to go to more social sites than HP, and instead trim HP down to a "skeleton" "main HubPages" with all the focus aimed at what branches out to the new niche sites?  (This is a kind of unrelated spin-off question that I've been wondering.  "Boredom time" or not, I'd like to know that I'm not thinking up and writing stuff that amounts to wasting that boredom time" and/or spending too much time/thought on a feature that might be on its way to being de-emphasized and/or phased out on HP.   hmm

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image95
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 7 months ago in reply to this

      Could you simplify this post?  I am not even clear about what you are asking!

      1. WordCrafter09 profile image86
        WordCrafter09posted 7 months ago in reply to this

        I'll try.  (Low blood sugar when I wrote it    hmm  )

        I just checked to make sure the message I was talking about is even still there.  It is.  This is it (and it shows up underneath where one would write his answer):

        "  Answers that appear in whole or large part on another site are a violation of the HubPages Rules."
        My question is if I find a question, want to think up an answer and write it as I think it up (in other words, it's brand new) on "Answers".  Is it OK if I copy what I've already written THERE and then post it on one or more of my own blogs.  (I say "blogs" because I'm assuming other sites that are not mine may have a thing about duplicate content too, and I don't even post much of anything on - like - Google+ anyway.

        To clarify:  I only mean my own words in any answer.  I know better than to wonder about things like copying the question or other people's answers. 

        Part II of the question is does it make a difference if my blog is set not to be picked up by search engines and/or not to be included in something like Google's/Blogger's directory.

        From here down is extra that someone may not need to read, but I'm including it in case what I wrote above leads to someone else's having a question about it.

        I haven't looked recently, but there was (and may still be) a thing about what we own/retain rights to and what we don't.  Hubs are one thing.  The words we write in the forums, on "Answers" and/or (I guess) comments on someone else's Hub have their own "category".  I forget it they just lumped that stuff into - like - "your content", but it was separate from completed Hubs.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image95
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 7 months ago in reply to this

          If what you are asking relates to posting duplicate content, anything you write anywhere online that is written somewhere else is considered duplicate content.  This means not only copying what somebody else wrote, but also duplicating your own words.

          It doesn't matter whether the words appeared in the "answers" section or anyplace else.  Content is content.

          Is that what you were asking?

          1. WordCrafter09 profile image86
            WordCrafter09posted 7 months ago in reply to this

            No.  I know what duplicate content is.  The last I knew, though, HubPages considered Hubs one thing, and all other writing/words that one person posts on here (either in "Answers" or the forums) yet a somewhat different thing.  You couldn't remove your own stuff (like you can with Hubs) and yet it was said that you did keep "rights" to your own words.  Of course, without the freedom to delete them (and fair enough, considering that they aren't isolated from other people's stuff) those "rights" are obviously limited/restricted.

            So what I'm asking is does "appears anywhere else online" mean "already" and/or "on another site at the time you're writing/posting it" really mean "already appears online somewhere else" - or does it really mean "and will never appear anywhere else online - ever".

            But also, comparing the duplicate-content thing with how duplicate content used to be with Hubs....

            There was a time years ago when duplicate content in Hubs was allowed.  It was said that duplicate content competes with itself in searches (which it does).  But even then, I had duplicate content on here that I posted from other sites.  As it happened, it got more traffic on here than other sites because they were found in search and I was more active on here.  In other words, some of my stuff didn't compete with itself because it wasn't being found on those other sites (which were other people's revenue-sharing sites, not my own blog).

            So I understand that HP doesn't want duplicate in anything that may compete with itself.  But with questions, what I don't know is if the question is not duplicate content whether it matters all that much if the occasional answer is.

            BUT, my real question is just whether it's OK to copy my own answers and post them on my own blog under two possible scenarios:

            One is if the blog settings "shield it" from being found in search.  The second is even if the blog settings are all "yes, let Google's search find this".
            I don't know if you're familiar with blogger blogs, but there are setting that tell Google to remove a blog from search and/or different levels of public/private in the settings.

            Back to the message on "Answers".  To me, the wording suggest "...already appears elsewhere online".  The message doesn't include additional words that would suggest, "....and make sure it stays that way with your answer".   hmm


            Just trying to separate things with the line.

            What I'm thinking is if we do keep "the rights" (for whatever they're worth) to the words that we post in a forum and/or in "Answers"; in view of the fact that, as far as I know, the folks who stand to benefit from "Answers" are the ones who ask the questions.  So, while I understand some limitations of "rights" with regard to not copying anyone else's forum /Answers words and not being able to delete them ever.  How, exactly, do we "retain even some rights" to words we put in "Answers" or in the forums if there is yet the additional limitation that we can't LATER re-post our own words on our own blogs (public or not).

            Later on I'll go see if I can find the thing that refers to the different types of "words" we post on HP. Maybe they just tell people they don't retain any "rights" to their contributions/words to the community stuff.

            I mean...    I dont want to do something and have my account closed for violation of TOS.  Then again, since there's not even really any direct benefit to the person who answers the questions (assuming things/"words" on here are still considered the way they always had been) how much right would HP even have to set the "don't copy your answer anywhere else, ever" limitation on something to which (again, at least as it was once was - and I'll go check because maybe the problem is I haven't kept up) they have told people they keep the rights.

            All that said, I don't really care when it comes down to it.  There's always looking for questions on here, not answering them on here at all, and then posting one's answer on one's own blog.  That's what I've done at times when what I have to say is more important to me and when I want it on my own blog (but don't want to write a Hub). 

            I'm just thinking of the questions that I don't do that with and do answer on here (but might also have the right to at least also post the same words on one of my blogs).  (I'm going now to look for the thing that outlines what user content is.

  2. WordCrafter09 profile image86
    WordCrafter09posted 7 months ago

    Following up to previous posts.  Not that I even care at this point or expect to get an answer...

    But, I just went looking through TOS and then through a FAQ-type of thing (not the learning center).

    What I was thinking of earlier and referred to earlier, was "Author Content"  (everything a user posts on here).  It includes Hubs but isn't "Hub Content".    Maybe it's me because I was kind of skimming (and not really all that interested even in an answer to my own question (this thread); but as I went looking for some reference to what most of us on here know (which is that duplicate content in Hubs is not allowed), the only reference to duplicate content that I could find was the one specifically under a heading related to Hubs.

    All the stuff I mentioned above about not being able to removed Author Content (etc.) is still the same as of February of this  year.

    The only other reference to duplicate content I found was the one about having a duplicate content issue when moving content TO HP from somewhere else.  (A whole other issue.)  The only thing I'd infer from that is that there's no rule that says a Hub has to be brand new and never online in the past.  Because everything says that Authors keep rights to their stuff, and keeping in mind that some author content cannot be removed (ever) that only tells me that a Hub doesn't have to brand new and completely unique and without possibility of already being out there somewhere (and either likely or not all that likely) to be picked up by search engines.

    (I have tons of stuff out there that I could turn into half-decent Hubs but have been too "paranoid" about moving here because it's been on out-of-business sites and/or my own blogs.)

    Maybe I'm too tired, but I couldn't find a reference that addressed duplicate content with Author Content of the "Answers"/forum posts variety.  The only thing I could find was thing under a heading about Hubs.  The Learning Center doesn't appear to have anything but guidelines for writing and trying to be successful on HP.  The shorter/FAQ thing (which isn't short) is where the reference to duplicate content was found. 

    The TOS is where "Author Content" is defined, as well as "Hub Content". 

    When I scanned some of the guidelines a few things struck me that made me think, based on the Hubs I have on here (left) that I probably deserved to be bounced right out of here based on some of those.   hmm  The other thing that occurred to me was, "Good luck to the person who can't read the English language very well."   hmm  But I digress.....

    My original question of "is it OK if I come up with an original answer and then copy my answer to one of my blogs (particularly if I've pulled it from any competition in search engines)?" still isn't really answered (but it's only a question I sort of cared about a little in the first place,so I don't really care at this point, one way or another).

    I'm not suggesting HP change anything in that whole bunch of stuff (three sections) full of info about rules and terms and guidelines, etc.); but I do think it might be good if that simple message at the bottom of the each "Answers" page  were reworded just enough to make it clear whether it means "already exists online somewhere" or "already exists online somewhere and will never exist online anywhere, ever - even if it's unlikely search engines will find it".

    Oh well...   The only real reason I even posted the question was that it's been something I've never been really sure of and figured it may be good to post because other Hubbers may be wondering too (or not - maybe some just don't care anyway). 

    I'm done.  It's not that big of a deal.  The one thing I come away with, though, is that we retain the rights to our words, but can't always delete them; duplicate content in Hubs is not allowed, and my simple, original, question remains unanswered (at least in my eyes).  (I'd say, "But at least this may make a good discussion on here...".  The only thing is I don't think it does.  I think there's a simple answer to the question.

    Oh....   I did see in all that stuff somewhere that people can only post stuff they have a right to use.

    For all I know, the answer to my question could be, "Of course you can post words you retain the right to use on your own site/blog, you dummy!"  Again, it's just that the wording at the bottom of the "Answers" page can make one wonder....         Either way, I'm done with it.   smile    Thanks, TTII, for even bothering to read the first two thirds of this thread.

    (The number of words in all this stuff surrounding my original question shouldn't be mistaken for a sign that I care all that much about getting an answer.  I don't, really.   smile  )

  3. Marisa Wright profile image94
    Marisa Wrightposted 7 months ago

    Boy, when it comes to over-thinking things, you get the prize!

    The simple answer for Answers is - it really doesn't matter.   HubPages does not allow you to re-post something that is ALREADY published elsewhere - but if you want to THEN copy your answer and post it on your blog, it doesn't care.

    The main reason it doesn't care is that most questions are de-indexed from Google once they stop getting new answers, so they are effectively invisible to the wider world anyway.

    I don't believe this means HubPages is discouraging social interaction.  The forums are HubPages' primary form of social interaction - the Answers section was intended as a source of inspiration for Hubs, nothing more.  Unfortunately it was constantly being polluted by people asking questions that should've been asked in the forums so it has never been much use in that regard.

    1. WordCrafter09 profile image86
      WordCrafter09posted 6 months ago in reply to this


      1.   lol   lol   I know I do.   

      2.  Thank you.  This reply here is the answer that I was looking for.

      3.  I think  between that, and the stuff about duplicate content in general that you posted below, maybe some new people and/or some old people, will get  a clearer reading of the latest duplicate policy (in general and with regard to writing an "Answer") than what they might know to look specifically for in those other policy/Terms locations.

      It's kind of too bad about "Answers" because the one reason I go there is took for ideas for a Hub that might possible be at least a little helpful to someone and/or at least that might offer a little insight to someone who might search for a subject online.  Most of the time I stay away from all the questions that are clearly not going to lead to a Hub subject.  (Once in awhile if I'm in a goofy mood and have run into far too many of those religious/political questions on there I won't be above doing a quick foolling-around reply.  That's rare, though.

      The problem is if someone is not into getting into religious or political arguments for the heck of it on the forums the other subjects in "topical" tend to be abandoned and ages old.  The "general HP" forums don't generally make good Hubs (although I know you've written lots of Hubs about writing Hubs because you have the familiarity/expertise on here to do that - and beyond just your own personal experience on HP).

      I wouldn't mind, if I'm bored and tired and just looking for a "legitimate" discussion to find that in the forums; but people are now using "Answers" for discussions (even legitimate ones) - and we all know why.   hmm

      It has occurred to me to just write a relatively brief Hub that I can write off the top of my head (but on something I know something about), slap on a simple image, and let that be that; but I don't think that kind of Hub meets the standards that are being emphasized today on here.

      In the meantime, while I don't over-estimate how "wonderful" any answer I write on "Answers" is, there's no benefit for me, as far as I can tell; which is why, if nothing else, re-posting an answer on, say,. a blog might at least give me something to add the blog (even if that's all I'd get out of it).

      Anyway, thank you.  It answers my question, which is all I was looking for.   smile  And, in the meantime, and after spending whatever time I spent trying to find that answer in the three main sources for that type of information; I can at least rest assured, knowing that I'm now thoroughly familiar with the February 2016 TOS.    smile

  4. Marisa Wright profile image94
    Marisa Wrightposted 7 months ago

    Answering your question about what you can and can't post on HubPages:

    If you have a piece of writing and it is not CURRENTLY published anywhere else ONLINE, you may publish it on HubPages.

    The reason they do not want copied content is that they do not want to complete with any other site for Google's attention.   If you have an article that is already published on another website, Google will look at the two instances of that article, and choose only ONE to include in the search results.  HubPages does not want articles that might get omitted from the search results. 

    As for what constitutes "original content":  Some people think it means it must NEVER have been published anywhere else, because they say "once something is published online, it's there forever".  That is true in one sense - you can check the Wayback machine and you may find a copy. 

    However, that doesn't matter because (as I said) HubPages is only worried about competition.   Google does not check the Wayback machine, it checks only for published pages on live websites.   So even if an article was published before, if it's no longer published you can put it on HP.