I just had a nightmare experience with HubPro. Worst was that they published their changes before I had a chance to see them.
I submitted my most popular garden pest hub to Dengarden. All of my garden pest hubs are written in an idiosyncratic style that is a reflection of my personality. As lighthearted as they appear, they are all carefully researched and sourced. I am a Master Gardener, garden writer and garden speaker. In other words, I am a professional.
The editor stripped all of the idiosyncracies from the hub. Added an unnecessary table that made no sense. Added bullet points in one paragraph that mixed up all of my carefully researched information. Terms were changed that changed the factual explanations, i.e. "chickens" was substituted for "poultry" despite the fact that I had defined poultry as chickens, ducks and geese. That sentence was removed. The paragraph was specifically about the use of chickens, ducks and geese as a way of removing pests from your garden not just chickens.
And then they published my bastardized hub full of incorrect information. I just deleted their version and restored my version of the hub. If they remove it from Dengarden because it doesn't meet their standards, so be it. Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest anyways.
Has anyone else had a similar problem? If HP can't get editors who are familiar with the subjects of the hubs that they are editing, can't HP at least restrict the editors to only correcting spelling and grammar? I am shocked that they allow amateurs to re-write specialized hubs that they are not qualified to write about.
They have an obsession with bulletted lists.
I use bulletted lists a lot myself, usually when I cannot think of an enticing intro. Frankly if you can write well enough, the lists are not necessary. Dwell times will tell you if you have got it right.
The chickens/poultry thing might be an attempt to reduce keyword density. The ed probably thought they were synonyms.
The problem with the bullet points was that the editor re-arranged my sentences. The capsule was about the three different moths that produce cabbage worms. Each moth has specific behaviors and life spans. Those behaviors and life spans were jumbled up and the wrong ones were attributed to the wrong moths. That's completely unacceptable. I don't understand how HP can allow their editors to make major changes on subjects they know nothing about. In publishing, editors specialize in genres. A science fiction editor would never edit a romance novel. Why are rank amateurs allowed to re-write specialized hubs when they know nothing about the subject?
As far as I am aware, only one of their eds has a science background. Non-scientists can be very logical but they have no idea of how the natural world works, which is a serious disadvantage in many areas, lol.
Did I mention that Owlcation groups spider and mites with insects under Entomology? They probably think I am being pedantic when I complain about this but it makes the whole site look ridiculous.
I had a photograph of a flower called a bladder campion illustrating my hub on avoiding night time bathroom visits and they wrote and asked whether it was spelt wrongly and should be bladder CHAMPION! That was just funny, but the changes made to your hub are very serious. Surely no automated program could do that? But then, maybe it could. I have had emails tell king me how to make a short hub less spammy. I follow them and then get an email telling me something different.
What you describe is pretty much the same relationship between writers and editors in any publishing environment. Some editors are good enough to improve an article and others make changes that are painful.
We are left with a choice of writing mostly the way we want on HP.com and get lower traffic or taking a chance with the editing process for the niche sites to get higher traffic.
Personally, some of my articles have benefited from the process and others have not. It's a calculated risk.
I've seen some changes to my hubs that don't make sense and don't read well or in correct English and assumed maybe some of it was done with some type of program.
You may be on to something. The edited version of my hub looked like someone had a checklist and just re-arranged the capsules to conform to the checklist. You're right that some of the sentences didn'the make sense nor were they grammatically correct.
That's a great point. Last week I submitted a hub to be moved to a niche site. I got an email suggesting some changes. It was obvious from the suggestions that the editor had misunderstood one of my subtitles.
I edited that subtitle and the section it addressed, and then my hub was accepted to be moved.
I think the editors are reading pretty fast, and may not "get" everything, but if it is not clear to them then maybe it will not be clear to our readers either.
I had to catch some of the edits that completely changed the information into something else. I rewrote it with more explanation so that an editor couldn't create the same mistake.
I tried to view it from the sunny side - if they were ignorant of the fact, and I wasn't explaining it well enough through my writing, then it needed revision on that basis. But if I had let the edit stand, it would've have embarrassed me. I'd hate to appear ignorant of my own chosen topic!
It is frustrating when an edit creates false information or just disposes of important facts.
I hope you received my email, Caren. The editor/writer relationship is tricky. We are doing our best to create a consistent style on our sites and sometimes that style does not completely jive with our writers' styles. However, we are constantly discussing how we can improve and do better, so we appreciate the feedback.
We know that most of our readers are coming from mobile, so it's important that we optimize the page for that. We also know that we can attract more readers by updating the structure of the page to show up in Featured Snippets. This is where our technical knowledge and your topical knowledge can come together to create a great page that is being read by more people. I do apologize if the editor changed text that changed the meaning of your article. That isn't okay, and I'll make sure that we discuss it. We are very mindful of keyword repetition and sometimes removing keywords can affect meaning. I can guarantee that it wasn't intentional, and sometimes it does happen (even if rarely.)
Again, we appreciate the dialogue and do know that we can improve. It is very important to me, and the rest of our team, that our Hubbers are happy with our edits and understand why we are doing them. I wish that we had the resources to discuss Basic edits with Hubbers, but unfortunately, we don't right now. In the meantime, I would suggest that you find a happy medium between our edits and your work and think about adding some of the nuances that we added back to your article. Our hope is that you can see the value in some of the changes, even though I know it's difficult to see your work touched.
Robin, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I am sending you a separate email discussing my issues with the edits to my hub. I just wanted to point out here for the benefit of my fellow hubbers that I have been on HP for close to a decade and seen a lot of Google changes, algorithms, Pandas, etc. HP's requirement that we rewrite our hubs to conform to every perceived Google change is ridiculous because it means that we must rewrite all of our hubs every 6 months to a year leaving us no time to write new ones. And it is all unnecessary. I moved my herb hubs to my own website a few years ago. Those former hubs plus the new articles I have added since then are consistently on the first page of Google search results and a few have even been in the top spot. None of the articles on my website has tables, bullet points, polls, quizzes, videos or full width photos that HP insists are critical elements to achieve high ranking on Google. They just offer good information in readable form. The only reason that I haven't moved my flower and veggie hubs to my own website is because running a website is a lot of work and up until now, I haven't felt that I was up to managing a second website. I accept that HP is entitled to set the parameters of this site so I may have to rethink that decision if the only way to get on a niche site is by having my hubs mangled and filled with bad information.
I will say I have been really happy with some of my edits, just to give another side.
I've been happy with the edits on my hubs...I haven't seen any restructuring of my sentences or paragraphs...for me, it has mainly been capitalizing letters I was unsure of in the first place. I'm sure they will get better at making context changes...you have an option of accepting their changes or keeping it in your original way so I would say if you're not happy with the changes, revert back to your way and shoot them a note explaining why you want it to stay the way it was. Hope it gets reviewed again.
Nice to hear your experience, Honey. I did reinstate my original huub and I'm working on an email to HP explaining why. I just wanted the opportunity to sleep on it before I wrote the email because I was pretty upset yesterday.
I can certainly understand why. Perhaps, the Hubpages team can make their corrections but leave the hubs on hubpages in their original form until after they get feedback from the author...then, they can decide if it should go to niche site.
That's exactly what I requested. In the future, if my hubs are edited, no changes beyond spelling and grammar should be made without my permission. And certainly an edited hub should never be published without my permission. It's my name on the hub, not the editor's name!
Hub Pro took my top performing piece quite a while ago and changed it. I knew immediately the traffic would drop. It lost 25% of its traffic. I waited a month, then I restored it to my original, and changed some things so that it took the best of what they had to offer. My traffic climbed within a day or two and is substantially more than the original was.
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