I know this might seem like beating a dead horse, but...
A lot of hubbers, even hubbers who have really written fab hubs and contribute a great deal of inspiration in the forums have been copying answers from other answer sites and using them as their own in the answer section in HubPages.
I can understand, though, why they do this..
-Perhaps they want to give me something they thought was a fabulous answer and really help out by being super informative.
-Or maybe they don't realize that duplicate content on answers is a no-no like it is when writing hubs... I mean it "feels" different and Yahoo Answers sucks, so it's okay to copy... right?
I get a lot of stolen answers on HubPages, enough to warrant me doing a Google exact search on every answer, even for hubbers who appear to be really authoritative. I delete matches because I don't want any dupe content attached to my subdomain.
Is there a way staff can reiterate that it's a bad form to steal others content regardless of where you put it: hubs, forums, answers, comments, etc...?
Wow. People are plagiarizing answers? Oy.
Ari Lamstein and I had a lengthy discussion about this today per your suggestion, Melbel. As you know, Ari is our key engineer on Q&A. He's going to investigate what automated things we may be able to do to detect duplicate content. No promises there as Answers, being so short, are tricky. However, we do promise to investigate.
In the meantime, we will look to add some text to the Answer box to remind users that they can not use text that appears in whole or in part on another site.
And...you can always delete those answers.
I've wondered a few related things:
Suppose someone asks a question and gets, say, two answers.
Scenario A: Then suppose someone "unrelated" comes to HubPages, takes one of those answers, and posts it on something like Web Answers. (I've seen that kind of thing done.) How would that affect the person who asked the question and has it "attached" to his/her subdomain?
Scenario B: Or, suppose the person who wrote the other answer on the above hypothetical question decided to use it somewhere else (maybe his/her own blog, because it's his own content and he owns the rights to it, doesn't he? - or am I wrong about that). In any case, the answerer uses his answer somewhere (but not a questions site). How might that affect the person who asked the question (and has it "attached" to his subdomain)?
AND, is there any difference between the two different situations, as far as the question-asker goes?
And while I'm asking, what about the answerer? In Scenario B, is it likely the answerer and/or his/her subdomain will be penalized for duplicate content (even when it isn't duplicate content in a Hub); and if so, by whom? HubPages? Google? I can see how duplicate content anywhere on HubPages would/could amount to violating terms of service (obviously); but how about Google and its black-and-white creatures that pick up on stuff? Google penalizes or frowns on things like duplicate content (or at least the duplicate stuff that hasn't "been addressed technically behind the scenes" directly with Google), but it doesn't completely "outlaw" it.
In other words, does Google "see" everything "attached to" a subdomain as "equal" and judge it the same, or are Hubs seen as "main content" and things like answers (and maybe even goofy and poorly written forum posts) "judged" separately or by other standards; or should people be worrying about, for example, forum threads or humorous answers (in Answers) with little "redeeming value" in terms of "high-quality, serious, content"?
Only Google can say exactly where they put penalties on sites for duplicate content. In my opinion, it's a matter of scale. Google is pretty good at identifying the original source (not perfect) and ranking that page. If a page on HubPages gets an answer that is copied from somewhere else, it's likely that the other page will rank. I don't think a penalty will be applied to a subdomain, unless there is wide scale duplication.
Now, if there are other answers on the page to the point where there is value add, I don't think from a dupe perspective that it's a problem. However, people should post original answers.
Thank you for the answer. A person might still wonder, though, (and I know you just said you don't know what Google penalizes) whether the person who has a subdomain aimed at, for example, one very "business-like" subject, writes all serious and business-related Hubs; and then goes to Answers and answers something like, "What's better - Coke or Pepsi" or "What time do you go to sleep at night?" - whether Google might "see" that as taking away from the image/expressed intent of the subdomain. (Of course, some people address that kind of potential issue with separate accounts.)
That particular thing isn't really a big concern for me because I have mixed/casual kind of profile "image", so I figure it's not that inconsistent to throw in the occasional attempt at humor somewhere. Even so, I have always kind of been a little worried about what other people's "iffy behavior" (of one sort of another) on things like answers might potentially get a person's subdomain penalized by automatic processes. I pretty much know what I do /don't do that can (and does) cause me some problems, traffic-wise. I've just always wondered about any "cumulative type" "alerts"/penalties that could arise from the non-Hub-writing activities (on this site) that "factor into our subdomain" what people other than we, ourselves, do (including "behind-the-scenes" stuff - like a (hypothetical) perfectly "well behaved" Hubber on here who is a big "spammy-type" of person on others sites, and Google has already penalized him most places he goes - or that type of thing).
I'm not really expecting an answer to that from anyone. I'm just saying it's a concern, and it's something that has made me wary of posting questions at all (particularly with recent changes to the whole "questions thing".
There are plenty of people that think single topic authoritative sites win in google's eyes. I'm a bigger long term believer in authorship. What I mean by that is that a persons reputation is what matters. We all have expertise and varying interests. Search results should reflect that people are diverse in their knowledge/interests. I think they will. There is something to be said about commenting/writing about the stuff we know (as apposed for writing to get traffic). Our sites should reflect the type of people we are.
I personally don't worry about topic focus. What I'm learning to do is to make good content that has a good visual appeal. I think getting both right is hard. My last Hub on smoking salmon may be my best Hub and I've been working on this stuff since 2005.
I have gone back and fixed up about 25% of my Hubs (more to do). Right now I'm focused on presentation and content - still not concerned about posting on different topics.
Just an update to let you know that we did add the following text after the text input box when you answer a question:
"Answers that appear in whole or large part on another site are a violation of the HubPages Rules."
Per Melbel's suggestion, that we can at least remind people that it's bad form to steal content from elsewhere to answer questions.
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