A Guide for Judging Someone else's Work
As a member of the Hub Pages community, I am not only given the opportunity to write, but I also have the opportunity to read and express my opinion on the quality of the hubs written by others in the Hub Pages community.Believe or not, we have the responsibility of judging one another work to some degree. We may not decide on who gets which page rank, but we do have an influence over the judging process of a hub. This is an important aspect of being a member of Hub Pages, because your input does make a difference.
About ten years ago, I was the member of a music review site called GarageBand.com. I was not a musician, myself. My objective was to review twenty songs a month in exchange for free CDs. I would be given a set of songs from different categories ranging from Rock to Gospel music. I usually got to choose the category and genre of the song and I would be asked several questions regarding the quality of the song and how much I liked that particular song. It was a pretty sweet deal, actually. I just didn’t realize at the time, how the advancement of many careers may have rested on my humble opinion.
I have always believed in being honest when rating something or giving my personal opinion. I soon learned that it is not always black and white, especially if you are judging art, someone else’s art. Music is a form of artistic expression, one of the most beautiful forms of artistic expression there is. Like any other artistic expression, beauty is in the eyes or ears of the beholder. I normally ran across music I pretty much liked, so I didn’t have any trouble giving most artists a fairly high rating for their music.
There was this one occasion where I presented with a song that I personally did not like. I gave it an awful rating and I told the artist that their “musical masterpiece” just went on and on. I thought I was acting like an impartial judge. I didn’t realize it, but I was being very partial. I was rating this song according to my own personal tastes and not by the merits of the song itself. I have to admit, that if they played that song on the radio I would have probably turn the dial and I wouldn’t buy the song either, but that did not give me the right to rate it the way I did.
The artists who created this song wrote back to me and they were hurt and felt rather offended. I read what their objections were and I couldn't help but wonder, was I treating their material in an unfair manner? I chose to give the song another review. This time, when I listened to the song, I decided to not let my personal preferences dictate how I would review this song. I heard the song and found that it did have a very good sound quality, catchy melody and nice rhythm. Therefore, I gave the song a much better rating.
This experience was my first real lesson in how to judge a work of art. I have taken this experience to Hub Pages. It made me realize how important it is that I remain objective when reading a hub. I have to always realize that my own tastes should not be the main criteria I use for rating and commenting on someone else’s work. First I have to realize that I am writing and reading hubs for an open forum website, that has members from all over the world and come from all walks of life. There will be diversified opinions, writing styles, cultural viewpoints, and experiences. I must make sure that I take all that into account when rating an article.
If I am to judge the works of others, by using my own interests and personal view points as criteria, I would be short changing other writers and myself. I certainly couldn't go merely by my experiences, since they are so limited, compared to that of so many other people, as to writing styles, well there is more than one way to get the same message across. Like that song, each article is a mixture of expressions, written expressions and each one must be treated with respect and objectivity, when being rated by another. I am going to include a personal guideline that may be useful when rating the hubs of others.
How to Successfully Judge the Hubs of others
- Look at how that hub is categorized. Is it about entertainment, politics, religion, or health? This is important, because part of rating a hub is seeing how well it fits in with its selected category.
- Try to know a little bit about the writer. What is his or her background? Where do they live, their culture, career, educational background, and writing niche. This will give you insight into their overall body of work. This also gives you insight into the different aspects of the author’s life that may have contributed to thier point of view.
- Look at the title of their hub, does it fit well with the rest of the article. I’m not an expert on keywords, although that is very important when trying to obtain more traffic therefore, that may be something to take into consideration. Ask yourself does the title capture your interest? Does it make you want to read the hub?
- Look at the first paragraph and see if it grabs you. It is also important, if that first paragraph gives the reader a short summary on what the rest of the hub will be about.
- Look at the writing style. There are many different styles of writing. Also, bear in mind, that if English is the writer’s second language, they might not use many of the same expression that are used in English speaking nations.
- If the hub is about religion or politics, chances are, you may not always agree with the author’s point of view. Realize that other writers come from all walks of life and from different cultures; therefore, they may view life very differently. Other authors may have experienced things in their lives that you could never imagine. The community they grew up in may be very different from your own. So be sensitive to cultural differences. Remember this is the World Wide Web, not your local community college.
- Read the whole hub thoroughly so that you can understand the message the author is trying to convey. Try to look at their tone and use of language. Are they being ironic? Do they use symbolism to convey their message?
- If the hub is a poem, I would suggest you read it twice. Poetry is meant to be read slowly and it is important to look at symbolism, and tone. It also important to realize that like music, poetry has a rhythm all its own, and often a type of melody. Poetry involves a great deal of self disclosure, so every detail counts, when reading poetry.
- If there are any polls, try to participate and vote if you can. Also, if there are any videos, it is wise to play the video, because it will give you a better understanding of what the hub is about.
- Look at the ads surrounding the hub. Ask yourself, do you feel that this hub will help in promoting these advertisers? Do you feel that this hub will make their reading audience curious about the services and products surrounding that hub and will they be likely to click on the ads?
- When it comes time to rate the hub, be objective. If it was on a viewpoint that conflicts with your own, try to rate the article, not the author’s opinion. I know this is hard, especially if it is on something you hold dear. Then again, you are rating the quality of their work, not their view point. This does not only apply to religion and politics, it may apply to sports as well. If someone writes an excellent hub on the Dodgers and you happen to be a Red Sox fan, don’t rate it down, if you know it’s an excellent hub, just because they like the Dodgers and not the Red Sox.
- When it comes time to comment on the hub. Try to comment on the quality of their writing. You can write something like excellent hub or very interesting article.
- You may want to comment on what you learned about the topic and how their hub helped you understand that subject on a deeper level.
- Don’t get overly hung up on typos. You are only commenting on the quality of their work, you are not their grammar teacher.
- If you feel that you must correct the author, because their facts are wrong. Express your objections in a diplomatic manner. Try to give them a detailed explanation as to why you disagree. Don’t just say that they are wrong; try to give them a reason why you disagree.
- Be diplomatic!!! If you feel compelled to shun a writer, because of personal differences, don’t. Do not write some nasty comment in the comment section, bashing the writer, just because you don’t see eye to eye. If you must express your view point, write the author a respectful message and explain to him why you do not agree with his message.
- Do not use swear words in your comments!! Do not refer to another author in a derogatory manner when addressing them in the comment section! You are much more likely to have them agree with you, if you approach them professionally and amicably.
- Try to focus on the hub when commenting; don’t try to use this as a way to invite them to read your work. The reason for commenting is to let that author know how their hub has affected you and how well they are doing as a writer.
- Last but not least, be objective. You are not rating according to your own personal tastes or view point; it is about the quality of their work and how well they convey their message. Try to communicate your opinion about the quality of their work as clearly as you can.
We all want to be rated fairly by our piers. We all want to have our work appreciated and we want people to see the true meaning behind our message. We want to be able to educate the reader, as well as entertain them. When we rate someone else's work we must bear in mind that they have pretty much have the same goals as we do.