Last night I published a hub called 'How Birth Order Affects Personality Traits.' Today I got a comment which said something to the effect of 'this is a great hub compared to the others I read on the subject.' So it made me wonder what she was talking about, and to my horror, I realized that the same subject has been covered time and again on HubPages.
Now, I thought this was an interesting and unique subject so I invested hours of research into doing a hub on it. I even cited my source, so it's no secret where the information came from. I had no knowledge of the existence of the other hubs. If you travel to them individually (which you can do by opening mine and looking at the related hubs column on the right hand side), you will see that I must not have taken them into account while writing mine.
Still, the subject is the same, the facts are quite the same. Even the titles are very similar. What shall I do? Shall I unpublish my hub? Can this be considered theft in any way?Please, advise.
I had this dilemna and I e mailed the author who said that this bound to happen and not to worry. Don't unpublish, it is just coincidental!
I find the best way is to check a subject by searching on hubpages before OI write/research a hub. If I find that there are a load of hubs on the topic, I wont bother with it. If there are only a few, or if my particular keywords are not covered then Ill carry on.
Some topics have thousands of hubs so I wouldn't worry about it, and certainly don't unpublish it! But if you want to make sure you get decent traffic it helps if you don't have so much competition, so a quick check to start with is always worthwhile!
Good hub BTW!
The internet is two decades old - it's close to impossible that subjects haven't been covered before.
The big difference though, is that you bring your own thoughts, views and experience to the topic. It's only theft if you either copy someone elses work entirely or paraphrase it, without adding any of your own thoughts.
There are many subjects on hubpages that have been covered dozens of times - and if you can write a hub better than others on the topic, good for you!
Even when writing fiction there is supposed to be a limited number of plots that can be written. Therefore it is said that no one can come up with a story line that is not based on one of the known scenarios. Yet each time a writer creates a story they are able to create a tale that has never been told before.
This may not seem relevant as the OP is about a factual hub. But to me it is; as it is even less likely that we can write on a topic that has never been covered before.
As you clearly state you did not use others hubs to create your own then as I see it you had the correct approach.
From what you say you have created a well researched hub and it may answer the questions a reader has better than some of the other material on the net.
@CASE1WORKER - Thanks. It's good to know you've had this experience and the author had no problem with it. Probably, I won't unpublish my hub then.
@michifus - Great advice! I was super silly to not do this check in the first place. Thanks for the compliment too.
@QuestionMaster - Thanks. I agree, it's probably impossible to find a subject that brings up something new. I don't write better hubs, I just write my type of stuff.
I agree with the other posters, Haunty. No one can "own" a topic. For example, I'll bet there are tons of recipes online for homemade biscuits, including several here on HP. You didn't copy someone else's work, so you're good to go!
@2uesday - Thanks. That's a great analogy, especially since it works in my favor.
When I first starting writing here I used to search to see if hubs had been written on a similar subject. I quickly realized that if you decided not to go ahead and write a hub because the topic had been covered you'd rarely write anything. Now I don't bother looking to see if the topics been covered, I just write and even when the topic has been covered, you may have new information to give or approach the subject from a different angle.
I can see your point. I wanted to write about the age of the earth, but then found out that topic has been covered like 5 times. Which is not surprising give its totally unoriginal nature. Then I wanted to write about mass extinctions. To my dismay, I found that's also been covered.
If you hadn't have checked you'd have probably gone ahead and written those hubs. When I want information on a topic I'll often read several articles which cover the subject. Even though some of the information may be duplicated there's always a new angle or more information to be gleaned. I think you should go ahead and write those hubs.
Thanks. Wanna hear something funny? This illustrates your point very well, I think. I just checked out your profile and I found a hub on the Cassowary bird. (misspelling in title) I also have one on the same subject. But mine is an early hub and one that I would personally call substandard. Yours is so much better, so it was totally worth writing it.
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