It looks like a fourth of my feed lately is comprised of new people wanting the rest of us to tell them how to write. All day I get request after request for help on passing the Quality Assessment.
I mean Really?
Many of your requests are just one step above being a jumble of mis-spelled words constructed improperly.
If you want us to write this stuff for you, how about paying us for correcting your obvious lack of knowledge about; the English language, spelling and proper grammar.
Come on! Buck Up! Learn how to write first!
Couldn't agree with you more. New hubbers shouldn't inundate forums with these pointless requests. It would behoove them to study the principles of the Learning Center. Also, if one has poor writing skills, please don't go on HubPages.
Actually they are encouraged to put them on the forums, by Hubpages, for help and advice. If a hub doesn't pass the quality assessment the author is given a link to the learning pages and told to put in the forums.
I asked the same question on another thread. It seems to me that the forum is being inundated by requests for a review.
If the learning centre were more obvious to find and less like a rule book these people more inclined to visit it before they ask for a review on the forum pages.
It's not just new Hubbers. The niche sites don't have published standards. When a Hub submitted to one of them is rejected with little feedback, even veteran Hubbers are now using these forums to find out why.
I also suspect the editors are getting more aggressive with unfeaturing lower quality Hubs. But that's just a guess.
I don't mind people asking for help. What bothers me is when they ask for advice, then argue with what people tell them.
Sure, some are just hopeless. If you can't even speak good English, there's no way you'll get an article featured here. That's something they need to recognize.
However, when a native English speaker wants to think that his sloppy writing is "good enough,"and does not want to accept that it isn't, that really gets my goat.
On the other hand, some of us who have been here a long time, and have a pretty good command of the language, still need some advise from time to time.
I have never had a problem getting a hub featured, and many of mine have been chosen for niche sites. However, I recently had an email saying a hub of mine needed work before it could be moved.
I think my grammar and spelling are pretty good, but there are a few rules of punctuation that I have trouble with.
I am actually thankful for that rejection, because it motivated me to learn something new. I hope this experience has made me a better writer.
I didn't read Don's rant as being directed at everyone who asks for help, just at those who haven't made an effort to do anything for themselves.
I've also asked for help with that infamous email, and I'm also happy to help any genuine Hubber who wants to learn. I've had some very long email conversations with some newbie Hubbers, helping them to get started, and I'm happy to do that. As Don says, though, it gets trying when you see post after post from someone who's already been told three times that they need to go off and study English some more before they even attempt to write here - or who asks for help then argues the toss.
A little ticked are? I can't blame you.
Would you mind giving some insight into your writing habits?
You've written over 100 hubs. How long does it take you to write one of your Hubs?
Do you do research before picking one of your hub topics? Or do you write about what you love, and do research while you're forming the hub?
When you first came here to Hubpages, what were you expecting for daily views? 25, 50, 100?
Do you use tools available online to check your hubs for spelling, grammar structure, that sort of thing, or are you confident in just your writing skills?
The reason I ask these questions , in viewing my own Hubs, I feel you are justified saying what your saying if you just looked at some of my bad hubs.
The more I've started to dig into "writing" the more lame I realize I was. Poor spelling, poor structure, etc.
Up to this point, I thought I had a decent handle on things. I now realize I've got a lot to learn.
Appreciate your contributions to make hubpages a better place to write.
If you don't mind sharing, I'd really appreciate it.
If you do mind, well I understand that response too!
All the best to you and yours,
John: It's good that you recognize that you have problems, but the best way to correct them is to take some structured writing and grammar classes so that you can spot your own errors and then read the learning center to find out how to produce good articles. It also helps to read articles by those here who have been successful. Don is one of them, but there are others. Nobody can teach you language skills here or there...you need to go to school and THEN come back and start reworking your stuff. It's a great deal of work, but you'll be happy you did it.
Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion.
Since I'm 64 and traveling, the idea of going anyplace in Central America to go to school for writing in English - kind of difficult.
Yup, American and 40 years out of school. Where there's a will there's a way.
Back to work
John, My title was written, as all should be "for maximum effect" on the reader and to pique the interest of the most people.
There was no intention to slam those on HP who are writing and growing their skills, and have "readable" and interesting articles, regardless of the level of their writing skills, again, as long as they are READABLE.
But this incessant release of requests for me and the rest of the world to "please review" (in other words "rewrite") their low level initial submissions to HP is beyond irritating, it's insulting.
Here, Let me write a profile of who I see (the most) that are doing this;
1- Their title alone is un-readable due to spelling and the lack of basic English sentence structure.
2- Their lack of some kind of photo that identifies them (optics are good).
3- If you look, their profile is either absent, or some very short definition of their dream of wealth.
4- They are making more than one request for help at the same time.
5- Often, their submission is what seems to be to be a copied brochure article about something in India, such as; the best Doctors for surgeries, the best Taxi companies, the Best Hotels to use, etc.
I do use my feed. I use it as my morning entertainment, hoping to find that short story or interesting article that starts my day out properly.
I do not enjoy having to spend so much of my time "blocking" these new people.
If HP really does want to stay a Quality writing site, then THEY need to force these horrible requests over to their learning centers, and not into our laps.
Didn't take your comment as a "slam". Your statement is an opinion, and your entitled to that.
Yupper about HP, quality and their responsibility.
Such is the hassle of "noise" in so many things we use.
Appreciate your response.
Don, there isn't enough time in the world for the team to deal with people who do these kinds of things. Heck, half the time you can't even decipher their requests!
So True, TT2!
But, you know, After 7 years here, I have certain basic expectations of HP, and one is becoming a need for some kind of "filtering" of these requests.
You, like myself, are making a little money for ourselves and a lot more for HP, when do we get some support on these nuisance situations?
Just doing a "look and block" on a dozen or more of these every day is eating into my morning coffee read time, as well as my "think and write" time. LOL!
I notice the change in the feed as well. It used to be the place I found my reading material each morning. I'd grab a cup of coffee and read a couple of hubs that I found interesting. Many of the old timers have moved on to other sites as a result of some of the changes we've seen over the months. Others are tired of trying to hit the moving targets of change.
I miss the lively, interactive contributions in the forums that we used to have. You're right about it being flooded with "help me" requests. Although helping others is admirable, there should be a limit to the number of pleas for help that each person can initiate.
On a positive note, the new sites are encouraging me to write again and I think, reducing the number of spammy, advert stuffed articles. Here's hoping that we're moving in the right direction.
Don, I also use my feed every day and I do not mind those "need help passing QAP" forums. If I have time to open and read the article before work, maybe I have a suggestion. People like theraggededge and TT2 participate a lot more, and sometimes their suggestions are listened to, sometimes they are not.
If I do not have time to help, I do not.
None of us need to get too stressed about that.
I especially like the ones who ask for a critique of their Hub, and then get snotty and abusive when you tell them what's wrong with it. It's comedy gold.
i need help with some hubs. Please tell me how to write
Yes, it is annoying when a third of your feed is made up of requests for feedback on hubs. But as Blond Logic said they are encouraged by HubPages to seek help in the forum so what can you do? There are still plenty of good writers here but maybe they are getting outnumbered by newbies.
I agree with Jodah. There are only a handful of forum regulars left. Experienced HP members are outnumber by newbies, at least on the forums.
Also, while I don't have hard numbers, it appears that very few new hubs are being written. In the old days, new hubs made up a large part of the feed. Now, with such low forum participation and very few new articles being published, there's nothing much left to fill the feed other than the incessant automated requests for help getting past the QAP.
Maybe it's time HP did away with the feed. I must admit it has been months since I bothered going to my feed page.
It seems to me 95% of the people asking for help could solve their own problems simply by looking through the Learning Center.
I've been around here a while and done okay and I would be more than happy to offer my time to help newbies if there was a sensible way of doing so. However, when it is clear they have not bothered to read the Learning Center or take any other steps whatsoever to try and understand what this site expects of them, I not am going waste my time helping them.
IMO, HubPages should pinpoint 5-10 key Learning Center articles and require anyone who fails QAP to check off that they read them before asking for help in the forum.
Also: HP used to have something called the Apprentice Program. I went through it with my first account when I first started here, and it was tremendously helpful. I know HP hasn't the time to do that now, but maybe they could come up with something where new writers could apply from some kind of mentoring from veteran Hubbers. To be accepted they would have to already demonstrate some ability to write, or at least the desire to learn.
Apprentices and Mentors could have their own forum where only they would have access. HP could monitor it, but wouldn't have to do much else. I would absolutely volunteer my time to help newbies in a situation like that.
I have to admit to being one of the folks who posted asking for help.
What seems to be missing from this discussion is that many of these posts are triggered by the process HubPages uses to discuss editorial suggestions. I’ve had of these editorial suggestions, most of them good suggestions. However, in one case, I felt like the editor had missed a subtle point, and I responded using the mechanisms provided in the editorial e-mail.
That response resulted in a post to the area ‘Improving Your Hubs’ with the title ‘I’d like feedback on my Hub:’ The inundation you see is not totally the fault of the people making the posts, but is largely due to the mechanism that HubPages has selected to suggest edits to our work, the mechanism that they have implemented to discuss the suggestions, and the fact that they have actually begun the process of helping people to become writers.
I eventually stopped following my own request for help, since it was no help at all, and the result of the editorial interaction was that a long-time ‘featured’ Hub became unfeatured.
I concur with one of the previous comments in the replies “If HP really does want to stay a Quality writing site, then THEY need to force these horrible requests over to their learning centers, and not into our laps.” I would add that, if the editors who make these suggestions wish to truly act as editors, that they should be open to discussion about their concern, and not foist that discussion onto a community that is here to seek help for their work, rather than being a community that is here to critique others work.
I concur with a lot of what you've written.
Trying to figure out what will please the moderator is sometimes an insurmountable task, at least for me.
I was told to change some bold print, did that and then by hub was "not featured". I've no idea why.
It's easy to tell the ones who are interested in learning and those that want someone to write for them in these forums. Ignoring, at least for me, is what I do most of the time with people.
Ignoring is always hard for an individual. One seems to want to give the asker a chance.
Like these political questions, mosts are rants, no actual information is being shared or asked for.
I totally agree with this. It is frustrating when HP editors send you an email saying your hub is awesome and then state it needs a few generic changes before it can be selected for a niche site. You can't get any further advice from the editor and they say if you need further help to ask for feedback on your hub in the forum and provide a link. Yes, that is putting a burden on the HubPage community and helping to flood our feeds with requests.
Jim, I'm sure you're not the kind of person that Don is complaining about. You speak English for a start! I don't mind offering help to Hubbers who have a decent grasp of the language and a willingness to learn the craft of writing online.
The problem is that HubPages attracts a growing stream of people from countries like India and Africa, where English is a second language. No amount of forum help is going to solve their problem - they need to go back to school and learn English first. Unfortunately they get upset (or don't believe you) when you say that, because they've learned English all through school. In some countries, it's used in daily life - so they think they're pretty fluent. The truth is that they speak a variant (sometimes called Globish) which is just not good enough to produce magazine-quality articles for an English-speaking audience. But you tend to find they don't give up, and keep on posting Hub after Hub trying to get published.
Countries like India and Africa Since when is Africa a country.
Too funny. I know people named India, and people named Africa. To me, it often is just another name.
And before you say the response is off topic - Perhaps it is an example of the sort of confusion people encounter when speaking, writing, or reading English. All too often, the interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, oftentimes with a certain lack of desire to be educated as to why others see it differently.
A few words got left out when I edited - it was supposed to say "countries like India or anywhere in Africa". I used to live in Africa, I'm well aware of its geography!
Haha I didn't mean to say you didn't know. It was just a line that made me smile since I had a classmate who kept saying it the same way.
I was born in Africa and my first language was English!
Born and brought up in India and my first language is English too.
The exception that proves the rule! Let's not split hairs, if you grew up in Africa then you know what I mean. In some countries in Africa, the first language is English - but for most of the population in most parts of Africa and India, it's a second language. Students are always taught English in schools: they may even be taught all their classes in English. However (a) they're still speaking their local language at home, (b) they're learning English from local speakers who are not very fluent themselves and (c) many have a disrupted or shorter education than we're used to. The result is NOT equivalent to a native speaker.
I am not speaking from prejudice here, but from personal experience. Firstly, I lived in Africa for three years. Secondly, I learned French from the age of five till the age of nineteen and at the end of that, I was good enough at the language to work in France. However I would never consider myself good enough to write articles for a magazine in French. The fluency required for day-to-day conversation and business letters is not at the same level as the fluency required for writing articles or fiction.
I not only grew up in South Africa but was born to British parents one of whom spoke fluent Italian. It feels uncomfortable to be tarred with the same brush but thankfully it has given me an insight as to what it must feel like to be on the 'other side'.
I was not tarring anyone with a brush of any kind! I never said "ALL" Africans or "ALL" Indians, so why do you think I did? I merely said we were getting a lot of Hubbers from those continents who had fluency issues. That doesn't mean the whole continent is illiterate for goodness sake, why on earth would you think it applied to you?
Totally agree with you here. I would say I speak decent German, however, I can't begin to comprehend myself writing anything a native German would fancy reading.
I have a different take from what seems to be the consensus on this issue. I welcome newcomers asking for help. Yes, I see a lot of requests that are "pointless" from the old hubber's point of view. But they are not pointless to the newbie just trying to get their feet wet on (to mix metaphors) what is entirely new ground for them. They haven't seen all the hundreds of other requests for help.
The last thing we want to do is to discourage newbies from asking for help. Someone noted that the number of new hubs is much lower than in the old days. Since HP is no longer a place where you can just throw up low quality material and get views for it, that's as it should be. But how many new writers start out at the high end of the quality scale? I think HP must remain a welcoming space for people who don't yet know how to write. Perhaps only a few of them will ever learn. But if we discourage them all at the beginning, the site will miss out on the new blood that's vital to success for all of us who write here.
I admit to being as impatient with some of these help requests as most others who have posted here seem to be. Yes, many of the questions could be answered by just going to the Learning Center. But I don't get upset with them. If I don't think a request has merit, I simply move on to the next item in my feed. On rare occasions, when I think I can help, I'll take the time to answer.
I think we want the help forum to be a place where a newbie can come and feel they are in a nurturing environment. If we push away those who don't yet meet our quality standards, we'll be pushing away some who perhaps one day will out-write all of us. And HubPages will eventually die for lack of new talent.
I agree, Ron. Not only does it help the one asking, it also helps other newbies who may be reading. And even some long-term members may pick up some tips.
Ron: In many respects, I agree with you, but on the other hand I have seen so many second language speakers whose English is so terrible asking for help that it makes me wonder why they are even trying to write on this site.
Oftentimes, you can't even figure out what they're trying to say!
It is one thing to ask for a few pointers, but quite another to expect people to analyze you work when you have such poor language skills.
Furthermore, we are not children here. If you want to write and earn, it is your responsibility to read the learning center yourself and THEN if you don't understand, ask questions.
Far too many are simply too lazy to check things out for themselves, and the truth is that it is not our job to teach them. Help with minor issues, yes, but teach, no!
Ron, i agree that it is very good to be welcoming to newcomers. I remember my first days well and am very grateful to those who were kind enough to help me learn the ropes.
When I asked questions, though, it was not to point to a specific hub, but rather I would ask specific questions that I would look for answers for, after I had tried to research how to do something myself. I think specific questions are fine but when you just say, "please look at my hub and figure out why it doesn't qualify," you are not taking enough initiative, I think.
When you ask a specific question, you are also helping others who might have a specific question. When you ask someone to look at your hub, that is quite an imposition and shows a lack of consideration for others' time.
I think there should be more guidelines regarding this practice.
I think some of the newbies need to grasp a couple of things:
1. If you ask you ask for help in the forums then you should treat any advice offered with respect. Even if you don't incorporate that advice you should be grateful that someone took the time to write a responce. Too many times I see the newbie get into arguments with people who are just trying to help. Just say thank you and move on.
2. To write on an English language site you need a pretty solid understanding of the language: things like grammar, syntax, and spelling need to be perfect or close to perfect. Everything else is essentially superfluous, if the titles and sentences look odd or are unreadable. If you aren't interested in learning English at the necessary level then HP is not for you.
I see too many arguments in the forums because the asker just has a negative, aggressive, defensive attitude to suggestions even when they are actually being offered good advice.
It's true that everyone was a newbie once. But yes - there are far too many hubs being produced where the writer cannot even form a complete sentence or use capitals...
My point exactly!
It seems to me that this is some new "trick" being passed around in certain other countries as a way to get myself and my fellow Hubbers to rewrite their very poorly constructed attempts, for them.
Sure, I've been on here for 7 years, but from day one I have tried to politely respond to questions on the "mysteries of writing on HP"; as well as asking a few pointed questions myself. So, I'm not against questions or productive "back and forth" on issues.
Again, my point here is this flood of "please go and read my article and figure out what HP doesn't like about it." requests has grown to the level of painful nuisance, and hopefully, HP has taken note and has a plan to reroute the blatant examples to another place rather than my daily feed.
In other words, if you have questions about a sentence or a paragraph, then I would love to help but if you want me to be your ghost writer, then "show me the Benjamins". LOL!
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