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Arrggh!! Hubpages makes some simple things really complicated

  1. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    Like referrals.

    1. Why insert an _referralcode into the URL. Couldn't you come up with a dynamic insertion solution? If an insertion was required, what's wrong with appending it at the end of the URL as in ?referrer=xyz? or would that make it too easy for hubbers?

    2. Why do pages like the Referrals Tour not recognise that I'm already logged in? It implies that I have to signup for the affiliate program when I don't.

    3. Pages like this one are just plain wrong and misleading. It says, "Here's some sample text with a tracker" and they give this URL: Http://HubPages.com/tour/hubpages/ 

    4. The last page of the tour still keeps asking me to sign up!

    Sorry for the rant but all I'm just frustrated that hubpages seems to make less of an effort with the quality of the info they provide than I do with my hubs.

    1. Stacie Naczelnik profile image87
      Stacie Naczelnikposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Actually, I'm a complete klutz with internet stuff, but I've managed to figure the referral tracking out.

      I don't know about this.  Inserting the code isn't that tough.

      They recognize I'm logged in.  The red sign-up box is there, but at the top of the page, it shows I am logged in.

      How exactly is it misleading?

      Deal, the box is there.  The sign-up option appears all over the site.  It doesn't mean you are not signed in.

  2. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    >>Inserting the code isn't that tough

    it's not that tough, it's just not clever. It's not intuitive, it's not how most sites do it. Darn, hubpages doesn't even make the link for you, you've got to cut and paste and do it yourself. Far from slick!

    If you are logged in then why the sign-in box? Doesn't come across as very professional.

    Misleading because there's no tracker in the URL that they say has a tracker. Obviously, it's so simple to insert the referral code that they couldn't do it themselves.

    I've enjoyed several of your hubs and commented in some of them. From what I can see, you aren't typical of the newbie hubber.

    This is a polite place so I know all you well established hubbers won't come the flame down on me but I hope at least one will accept that improvements could be made.

    1. darkside profile image84
      darksideposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Actually, if a person clicks on "Share It!" and then "Link To Page" you get a drop down box of (your own) HubPages Referral Trackers.

      Choose one and it'll give you the URL as well as HTML.

      I wrote a hub on referrals and tracking: http://hubpages.com/_learn/hub/tracking

    2. College politico profile image61
      College politicoposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Actually at the bottom of every single page on hubpages is a link that says "link to this page" and when you click on it the page that comes up lets you link to that page with your own unique trackers embedded...

      also I assume they made the trackers this way so you could have multiple trackers on your account to better discern your results for each tracker

    3. 0
      daflaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I guess I'm not a "well established hubber", but I have to say that I'm wondering how old you are, and why you want everything so easy and "done for you".  Is it a GenX thing, because my son is the same way, very impatient with things that take more than minimal brain power (he has a genius IQ, btw) or any extra effort.  Your  posts sound like what my grandmother used to call a "hissie fit".  It's not very polite to call the developers of this site names, and these people have been very nice to explain it all so well to you, when it's really simple to understand as it is.  Unfortunately, I don't like to see people I admire and appreciate called not clever, unprofessional, and not intuitive.  This site is free, thanks to these totally incompetent (to you) boobs. Take it or leave it.

      Next time, try not to be such a drama queen.  It's unbecoming to one so pretty and obviously intelligent.

  3. waynet profile image48
    waynetposted 8 years ago

    The main reason I constantly promote the referral trackers is simply because they don't look like regular referral links, so they had the good idea there, a ?referralid+=///"""")(*&^%$£! or whatever, is always a dead giveaway, particularly as many people don't like to sign up through a referral link if it is that obvious.

    Mind you! you could argue that you could do a php redirect or some other html refresh code to generate cloaked links, but even that would be more work at times.

    1. darkside profile image84
      darksideposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Yep, same here. It's subtle and tasteful. And allowing us to create our own is a fantastic move too.

  4. Marisa Wright profile image92
    Marisa Wrightposted 8 years ago

    Perhaps you've expressed it a bit strongly, but I do agree the Help could be more Helpful.  There are lots of Hubs on how to Hub, and I've learned most of my stuff from them, not from Help.  The referral trackers are a good example - I didn't understand those until I read Darkside's Hub.  Also, I can see that a lot of new Hubbers don't comprehend capsules properly - Darkside has a Hub on that, too.

  5. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    darkside, thanks for the "Share It" tip and the hub - thanks also to College politico - that validates the choice of posting my rant in this particular sub-forum. smile If they could implement URL generation elsewhere it makes their oversight here even more noticeable.

    I concede that the odd way they've implemented referrer tracking could be intentional. However, I don't share the sentiment that, on its own, this implementation is a good reason to promote the program. The logic behind that completely eludes me. As an aside, concealing your commercial intent from your friends to get them to click your links (puke!), and being able to get away with posting your link in forums that bar affiliate links isn't my idea of cool. Further, it doesn't fit with what seems the general ethos at hubpages.

    dafla, what you call a hissie fit is what some well known companies have paid me huge sums of money for; it's called usability consulting. Even if you didn't research the hubs behind my persona, my posts in this thread must give away that I'm not a tech n00b. But a rubbish implementation is a rubbish implementation. I carefully choose my words to criticise the programming, not the programmer. Great job on reading it to be name calling of people you "admire". I'm surprised someone of your self-admitted vintage is unable to discern the difference. Since you like age based generalisations, here goes: I'm also surprised someone of your "generation" finds it difficult to refrain from raising the subject of a lady's age.

    Thanks, Marisa.

    Hubpages is, after all, a business. They don't give us the opportunity to give them "free" content out of the goodness of their hearts. And that's not why they created this "community" (forum) either. It's simple, they want to attract new talent like you and me and others here, and they want to earn more money out of our work. Perfect business thinking, but let's not get evangelical about it all; nobody is infallible.

    I agree wink

  6. Jason Menayan profile image60
    Jason Menayanposted 8 years ago

    bea1070 - We agree with some of your points (2 & 4), and will correct the mistake in #3. Number 1 is intentional, and as others have explained, it's so the referral link doesn't look so obviously like a referral link.

    We will correct #3, and perhaps, in the short term, put something above the "sign up" button that says something to the effect of "If you don't already have a HubPages account".

    More broadly, we are in the very beginning stages of planning a knowledge base for HubPages, that will address users' many varied questions about how to use the site. Our help section right now treads a line between having enough information, and too much (too long of a page is offputting to newbies). The knowledge base will ideally use a sort of natural language search technology to understand users' questions and point them in the right direction for an answer.

    I would like to thank all of you for making the HubPages Forums a helpful place for lost newbies to turn to. Your kindness is appreciated by them, and us as well. smile

  7. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    Great response, Jason.

    Wrt #1, if it's intentional, then, fair enough, I respect your choice even though it wouldn't be mine.

    Thanks for looking at the other issues. May I also suggest you add a refresh button to your Captcha? Or, better still, bring it into international disabled access recommendations by introducing an audio option.

    I'm sure the knowledgebase will be a very welcome addition. It is, after all, you that people expect the baseline help info from, not helpful hubbers. Such knowledgebase is also likely to be more accurate ... and something you can better control (I'm surprised you ever allowed user hubs to become the default authority pages on so many Help and FAQ related matters!)

    But kudos on how you handled the complaint.

    1. Lissie profile image85
      Lissieposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Well I have be involved professionally in 1 or 2 software development projects myself and I ALWAYS prefer that user write their own user documentation - only the user can relate to how they use the software in their job context. Sometimes  I need a professional tehnical writer to tidy up style and grammar - but not always.

      Hubbers are the very best people to write help on how to put a hub together - and as a bonus most of them can write well too :-)   The techie people could write about SEO and works on HP as why but the users should write the how -tos!

  8. Zsuzsy Bee profile image83
    Zsuzsy Beeposted 8 years ago

    beta1070! Maybe you just need a different place to show-off your soooooooooooo great knowledge. If you need help, and in my experience here on hubpages if someone asks for help nicely they usually get help. Tantrums or using Dafla's words 'Hissy-fits' usually don't have great results. regards Zsuzsy

  9. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    I'm satisfied with the result.

  10. gamergirl profile image60
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    I'm not satisfied with the attitude being presented in this thread.

    One - to the original poster, I would ask that you tone it down with disparaging comments about the tons of hours that Hubbers have spent filling in gaps and/or providing incredibly helpful information to anyone who wants to read it.  You would be surprised what you could learn and the difference between learning from a Hubber as opposed to a member of the staff.

    Two - to my sweet ladies, remember that the internet allows just enough anonymity for people to become brave, whether in sharing their views for good or ill.

    and finally - I'd caution that while making suggestions that may improve the site, you may want to stray away from making it seem as if the options the administration and creators of the site chose are poor choices. 

    *drops my three pennies in the cup*

  11. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    LOL, why don't every one just cool down? Or you all are having that same days I recently had?

    Beta definitely had a point, in fact several points, and she knows what she is talking about. The tone of initial post was a bit too rude to my liking, but this does not justify a bunch of the following personal attacks...

    In other words, she wanted to help, but made it in impolite way - as lots of technically oriented people do. I don't see any poor intention on the OP side, just poor wording...

    Chill down, please

  12. vreccc profile image60
    vrecccposted 8 years ago


    I came over here to see what the buzz was about. I think I'm going to leave now.


  13. vreccc profile image60
    vrecccposted 8 years ago

    go look at my new hub

  14. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    gamergirl, I fully accept that there's a LOT I can learn from a LOT of hubbers but basic Help and Faq is the responsibility of the admin. If something is a poor choice in my opinion, I will say it's a poor choice and provide the reasoning behind my thinking. As intelligent adults, each individual reading it can form their own opinion. Or decide whether they are going to have one at all.

    Could I have done it more politely? I agree with Misha that I could have. I posted this in frustration at a long list of issues with the hubpages code; the ones raised here are only some of them. The question is whether the points I did raise are valid.

    In any event, the thread has run its course and the problems are being addressed so taking the discussion off-course doesn't help.

  15. gamergirl profile image60
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    A basic FAQ is up and is fully adequate as a BASIC introduction and answers a majority of the questions total noobs may have.

    The kind works of great hubbers has elaborated on that basic FAQ, and the fact that the information is there for the community, by the community, and endorsed heavily by the community, should tell you something.

    I will not address the other slights I perceived in your latest post, instead I bid you good day and hope all goes well for you in your time here on Hubpages.

  16. Angela Harris profile image73
    Angela Harrisposted 8 years ago

    I've used lots of other websites and I have nothing but good things to say about Hubpages. I think it is set up extremely well for non-tech types such as myself. And the staff has always been very helpful and quick to respond to questions. (As proven by this thread itself.)

    I do agree, however, that the Help/FAQ section could use improvement. Actually I haven't checked it in a long while. But if it hasn't been changed then it could be improved. But thanks to smart Hubbers like Darkside and others, most of those confusing issues have been addressed anyway.

  17. Jason Menayan profile image60
    Jason Menayanposted 8 years ago

    Some of our long-term users might remember that the FAQ actually used to be quite a bit longer in the past, before the redesign in May last year. We deliberately pared down the list to the "bare essentials" because a too-long list was thought of as overwhelming to newbies, and they instead just emailed us their questions.

    Over time, Paul Deeds and I have continued to add to the FAQ as repeat questions come in on the Forums (which Paul, for the most part, monitors) and through the Team email box (which I monitor). But now the FAQ is getting longer and we see more and more questions appearing in the Team email box and here in the Forums that are addressed nicely and succinctly in the FAQ.

    We've come to the conclusion that balancing the comprehensive and easy-to-use needs can't be addressed through a list like our current FAQ. We'll be starting to build a knowledge base over the coming months, but just to set expectations correctly, it probably won't go live for several more months.

  18. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    If experts can get it wrong... here's a good reason to provide the "newbies" with the convenience of auto-generated referrals links wink

    It's a shame you "pared" down the info instead of just moving the surplus to an accessible vault.

  19. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    Beta, as a former geek to a current geek - it seems to me you need to work on your delivery skills wink

  20. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    Misha, I meant that even experts can make a mistake when hand coding a link. Apologies for the lack of clarity there.

    But removing useful information wasn't inspired, no.

    1. Misha profile image75
      Mishaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      LOL, I was not talking about that - guess my delivery skills are not that good either wink

      I was talking about "shame" part of it. As well as the wording of your original post. Try to imagine someone gives you unsolicited critique of you work in similar words. Ponder it. Muse over it.

      It immediately puts you on a defensive, right? You have to concentrate hard on being polite - if you know you have to be polite - or you just give them a piece of your mind - if you don't have to be polite.

      Is it the reaction you wanted to get when you started this thread? I doubt so. Jason reacted very professionally. I for one not sure if I would have a nerve to react like Jason did - if you happen to critique my site in a similar manner. Most probably I would have banned you forever, never mind even trying to look into what you suggested. Which, by the way, all or almost all make sense to me wink

  21. SandraMead profile image60
    SandraMeadposted 8 years ago

    I was referred to hubpages by beta1070. I agree, the help pages could be better. Fortunately, people here are very helpful and chip in to answer questions.

    1. College politico profile image61
      College politicoposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Exactly and I really think it was designed to be that way. I think the hubpages staff knew that even the best faq in the world wouldn't have all the answers and thats why they decided to rely, at least in part, on the community for more advanced problems hubbers may have.

  22. darkside profile image84
    darksideposted 8 years ago

    From experience at various sites and forums, it doesn't matter how good a FAQ/Help section is, 90+% of the people will end up posting the same questions in the forum.

    It's just like with Adsense, I'm a member of an Adsense Chat forum and people will ask the same things over and over again. And you tell them 'it's in Google's ToS, you did read that before you signed up right?'

    But they don't.

    Thankfully though there are forums and as long as active members can give a little smile and post a link to the appropriate page then everything is going to be alright.

  23. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    Misha, you're a dangerous man. Your charm and smooth-talking could disarm anybody! I'm sure you're not in the PR business but you've mastered it anyway. You're wasted here. The UN has peace-keeping operations in several countries. Do the world a favour, sign up to one of them.

    darkside, I agree that some people don't RTFM. But that isn't a good reason to dispense with manuals everywhere. If that logic applied, here is a list of  722,000  hubs that should be deleted today for wasting internet space. I'm sorry, but even Jason has accepted that the help here needs help. He's accepted that the page I complained about needs correction and that the FAQ could do with the support of a knowledgebase; having autogeneration of referrals URLs elsewhere (input courtesy College politico) is an admission that this is a good idea too - I predict that Jason will implement it where I suggested. So the only alleged problem here really is my presentation; if you get the urge to knock it - join the queue. smile

    Misha, BTW, that wasn't sarcasm, I meant it genuinely.

    1. darkside profile image84
      darksideposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      You probably would have got a less emotional reaction if you instead insulted their grandmothers big_smile

    2. Misha profile image75
      Mishaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Umm, I used to work for the World Bank for many years - which is a part of UN big_smile

  24. Jason Menayan profile image60
    Jason Menayanposted 8 years ago

    We will be working on the knowledge base, and I believe that it will help a lot of new users.

    But not all. Like darkside said, no matter how good the help section is, you will always have some confused newbies posting questions in the Forums, and even in the Requests section and in Hubs (I'm sure you've seen them too). A lot will still email us, despite having a ready answer available in the FAQ and knowledge base. And we will probably continue to answer them (the polite ones, at least) because we're just helpful like that. wink

    But with a growing userbase, it would be nice for all of us to have the basic/boring questions answered by a system, and maybe the more complex, nuanced questions fielded by the team of Hub Experts here.

    Lissie, in populating the KB we will probably pick off a lot of answers by you guys here in the Forums. I agree that you guys often do a far better job of answering questions than we do!

  25. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    No they're not. Hubbers are the best people to write hubs.

    Operationally, it's not clever to let third-parties be the final say on your rules and the interpretation of them. Strategically, it is suicide to let ownership of your mission critical resources reside in the hands of people who can just remove them and walk away. The management here may even recognise that.

    People are entitled to make whatever excuses they want for hubpages' current failings but the fact remains that the Help here is not clever, not clear and not complete. I'm surprised how many people are eager to defend a position that's counter to facts, logic and Jason's acceptance of improvements that need to be made. But, hey, please yourselves.

    Added: Our posts crossed, Jason.

  26. gamergirl profile image60
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    My goodness.  Jason, hire this girl up fast, she sure knows a hell of a lot about how you should be running Hubpages.  Hell, fire everyone else, let Miss Etiquette run the show.

    I swear, the balls of some people.

  27. Jason Menayan profile image60
    Jason Menayanposted 8 years ago

    beta, I think you're misinterpreting what I and others have said.

    The fact that you find the help section unhelpful has everything to do with the fact that you're experienced in the world of Web publishing. The fact is that it does, like gamergirl says, answer the basic questions that lots of new users have. A lot of people come to and use HubPages because they don't know the first thing about HTML, affiliates or even URLs - they can still become very successful Hubbers here. And they get a lot of their basic questions answered by the Help section or the guide that's linked to (a sort of "accessible vault").

    For impatient users who can't bother to read through the FAQ, and for users with more advanced questions, there has been the Forum. (Hubbers have patiently and graciously answered their questions.) We can't do too much for the former group, but we hope to be able to address the needs of the latter with the KB. But more nuanced questions will need the wisdom of an actual human respondent.

    And for clarification: Hubbers will not "run" the KB, but we will certainly populate it with their wisdom.

    I'll also add there will always be failings, always things that need improvement upon. HubPages is an ongoing project. We appreciate those that understand this, and I can only assume your frustration, beta, comes from not being here long enough to see how HubPages has grown.

  28. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 8 years ago

    Thanks, Jason.  You guys do an excellent job.

    As with most things, the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and play with something until you sort of figure out how it works.  Some have the patience for it, other do not.  I think HP is well suited to both.

    I see HubPages as an excellent resource for writers, not simply a free service.  If HP was all things to all people it would be myspace.  YIKES.

  29. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    LOL Jason, you rock!

  30. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago

    Professional reply as usual, Jason. I don't believe our posts disagree on anything. You're shoring up the FAQ + KB and questions still remaining will come here. Sounds like a plan.

    I've been here long enough to see that you've built a sound community, lots of value to the internet via their hubs, and a long-term, evolving project. I have nothing but good wishes for your continued HP efforts.

    1. gamergirl profile image60
      gamergirlposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Fixed it for you, corrections made in bold. big_smile

  31. beta1070 profile image60
    beta1070posted 8 years ago
  32. gamergirl profile image60
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    *snickers and goes back to Hubbing*