How To Solve Problems Writing On Line
Hubpages The Community
This hub has taken me a long time to think about and finally to put into words. First and foremost, let me start out by stating one very important fact - I love writing on Hubpages. I love 99% of the folks I have had the pleasure to read and interact with. I am in no way bashing Hubpages or its policies - for that matter I'm not bashing some of its writers either. I am simply writing about an experience near and dear to my own writing experience on Hubpages and I do so in the hopes that my writing this hub will encourage other new folks (or even veteran folks) - and perhaps save some of them a little heartache.
I started on Hubpages roughly 9 months ago. In that time, I have published 272 hubs and I've pretty much figured out what works for me and what doesn't. However, in November, shortly after joining, I came very close to quitting and had a bit of a real meltdown. I do not bring this up to garner sympathy or even empathy for myself. I bring this up because the reason for this terrible time in my life was directly related to something on Hubpages that was supposed to be 'helping me' - a place where I could go for answers to questions. This place was none other than our famous forums!
Let me say before I launch into my primary thoughts on my hub's title that I have since returned to the forums - albeit only recently! It took me that long to stop shuddering every time I saw the word and decide that I had just as much right to go there and post up my feelings, opinions, and helpful hints as anyone, that I needed to face down my fears and 'just do it'. I am happy to report that I have had many great experiences on the forums since - much to my relief.
However, in participating again in the forums, I have noticed a few things and hence my hub. I ask you to consider these things in the spirit that they are delivered - an honest person trying to improve a situation in our community known as Hubpages. While I applaud free speech and the right to say anything and everything, I do find the following things that I feel are a bit 'off' and feel that I should point them out.
You Might Be A HubPages Snob If.....
As in Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be A Redneck If.....I offer up the following thoughts for those of you that seem to troll the forums and the only time you have something to say, it is usually negative.
You Might Be a HubPages Snob If
- You never sign on and read anyone's hubs but you spend all your time in the forums
- You are in the forums but you never post on anything remotely resembling 'banter' - you are all about being curt to other hubbers or pointing out how stupid they are
- You leave answers to questions on the forums that read something like this 'You have to be kidding, right?'
- You post up statements to the effect that you never bother to read anyone on HubPages because in your opinion, no one is worth reading - I'm sorry but 'wow'!
- You give false information to people because you think it's hilarious for new people to 'take the bait' and then you make fun of them once they do - like making more than $20,000 per month on hubs
- You can't be bothered to answer people's comments on your own hubpages
- You constantly point out how ignorant other hubbers are and how they have obviously not read the FAQs - you know this how? And you understand that others maybe don't 'absorb' certain points while others do?
- You have nothing to post that is not insulting and/or sarcastic
- You threaten people with being banned or kicked off hubpages without even reading their hubs
Musings on HubPages - The Concept
What is the definition of a community? Here are a couple to ponder:
- A group of people that interact with each other for the betterment of each other
- Individuals interdependent upon each other for mutual benefit
- Social cohesion
When I read many of the forum postings, I see many helpful postings that are exactly the definition of the entities above. However, I also see many postings such as my detailed list above that most definitely are not positive, are most definitely not helpful in any way, shape or form to especially new hubbers, and that frankly in my humble opinion are downright insulting.
After my bout with the forums in November, one hubber published a hub that could be construed as directed right at me and my questions. I never complained about it because to be honest, I just wanted to put the whole ugly episode behind me. My name was not directly mentioned but there was no doubt in my mind who the target of this hub was.
I am not naive enough to believe that we all have to get along - take the world for example. There will always be conflict; there will always be disagreements and there will always be people who are happy people and people who are just jerks. All that said, however, the problem I have with the 'negative attitudes' on the forums is that this is a writing community. This is a place that supposedly encourages folks to express themselves and do something that is such a privilege - write!
The thing that bothers me most is that I think some people are turned off by hubpages because of the responses that they get on the forums. I won't mention names but I have heard from a good number of people that they have had similar experiences to mine with several of the same hubbers. I of course will not mention the hubbers names because I may be honest but I'm not stupid! I don't want to be kicked off hubpages for speaking out against certain hubbers, although in the case of the forums 'incident' I did lodge a complaint. Not that it did any good but still I think that is the way to handle things. NOT going after the person directly and causing a scene - but I think the 'gods of hubpages' should know people's opinions.
I believe that anything in life can be done with grace - and kindness. There is a way to say something that does not offend. There is a way to answer a question without hurting someone. There is a way to mentor and there is a way to insult people so soundly that they don't even believe in their ability anymore. Is that what writing means to these people? I have to wonder.
The other point I feel is important to bring up is why do these people only concentrate on forums where they can 'bash people'? That is an indicator right there to me that they have an ego that they have to satisfy every day by beating up on someone else to make themselves appear greater than they are - people that feel good about themselves at anything don't have to put down other people to be #1.
Another point - if these hubbers are so 'the genuine' article - i.e. the Hemingways of HubPages or of the literary world for that matter, what the heck are they doing on here? Isn't there a literary prize they should be trying to achieve - or aren't there other arenas for their writing that would be less 'tedious' in terms of having to deal with so many idiots? My point being - consider the source. I finally came to the conclusion that these people need to build up their own egos so they try to tear down other people's.
If these people feel that they are so 'superior' as to not even have to answer other hubbers' comments, why would they bother posting a comment section at all - except to flatter themselves? I followed many folks for a long time but it became evident to me who would answer my comments and who thought so little of the rest of us that they could not be bothered to even acknowledge a heartfelt comment. I did not expect these hubbers to jump over to my hubs and read mine - I only expected to be acknowledged for taking the time to comment.
Finally, I have a really hard time believing with all the tens of thousands of hubs that we put up that for some of these elitists there is not ONE hub of worth in their eyes. That not one person among us can possibly be as great or write 'adequately' enough to be read.
Suggestions and Challenges
I realize that nothing in life is perfect - no system is ever perfect and you will always have groups of people who think they are better than the rest of us. My solution to avoiding the forums served a purpose for me - it allowed me to go on writing and to avoid any further conflicts.
By the way - my question had been why did I have a duplicate on my hub. I was listing a Thanksgiving dinner ensemble (all of the recipes which I attributed). Then when I thought that I had overdone it (too much info in 1 hub), I went back and broke down the 2 'main' recipes. That's when the duplicate flag showed up. However, as it turns out - after ALL those insults - the duplicate was on ME - I had changed up the new hubs with different everything - except the recipe. I was told later when the dust settled that it was perfectly acceptable and fine - that they in fact had made a mistake. However, by then I was so upset by all the rude comments that I took the new hubs off and just decided to never look at it again.
I believe in a 'code of ethics' in dealing with anyone - but especially in an Internet community such as this. These are some of my beliefs:
- Never say anything to anyone you would not want said to you
- There is a way to say things and a way NOT to say something - and guess what - we all know deep down what that way is
- If you think you're being sarcastic - guess what - you are - there isn't a place for sarcasm unless it is humorous and it is part of the 'dialogue' - giving as good as you got and joking back and forth
- If you can't say anything nice - shut up! There is no place for people beating up on other people. I have read things such as 'Is English your first language - obviously not' - what kind of thing is that to say to someone when we have people from all over the world on here?
- Ask yourself before you write out a comment - 'How is this helping this person?' or 'Is this helping?' - If you don't have a really, really good HONEST answer, you're writing the wrong thing
- Try really, really hard to remember when you first started out - you obviously started somewhere or were you born with a computer and hubpages loaded from the cradle? Did people talk to you this way? Gosh I hope not!
- Who were your mentors - or are you ticked because you didn't have one and you had to learn the hard way?
- Try thinking outside your own narrow window of what you consider good writing - I think all of us can learn from each other and even if we don't 'like', 'agree', or 'applaud' another writer's hubs, the least we can do is have the common courtesy to look at a few before passing judgment on all of them
- Remember, ignorance is bliss
- In all that we do in life, I believe that most of what we should do is with kindness - try to remember what that concept means. Sarcasm and blatantly calling people stupid is NOT kind
- Try and go for a day without finding a forum that you can bash someone on - maybe take a day off and troll for spam (I know many of you do this as well - and I do thank you for that). Here's a thought - respond on a 'nonsense' forum and give us all a heart attack - and write something funny!
- Put yourself in someone else's moccasins for a moment before you spout off - think about how many hubs they have published and realize that they probably are worried sick about being good enough already - or getting it 'right'
- Find other things in your life to kick or beat up on if you need to make yourself feel better this way - only please don't take it out on your children, your family or your pets!
- If you have so many answers and are so great at writing, start your own e-zine or write an e-book and then come back and tell us all where to find this fabulous information!
- In short, be a good example and don't associate your writing talent with being a snot or a snob. Really - do you want people to think of you that way? I certainly don't want my name associated with 'that Audrey - she's such a witch!' I want to be read for my unique style of writing but I also want more than anything to make a difference with my writing - and guess what - writing also includes comments and answers.
- Have a care - life is precious and so are people. Think of every question you answer as if someone next door was asking it face to face - don't hide behind the Internet to throw your punches and hurt other people. Talk to them in writing the way you would talk to them in real life - now there's a thought! If you talked to them in real life like that, you might get a real live punch in the face - so think before you speak/write.
- Use your time to write for yourself and read - whether it is on here or any other venue. Writing and reading to me are the most priceless of gifts.
Summing It Up
After the recent Hubbalicious contest, I also read a post on a forum or somewhere from a 'veteran' who was asking about the contest - was it any good, etc. etc. Now that puzzled me because anyone could have read any number of the wonderful hubs that were published and seen for themselves.
Perhaps in thinking about it, this hubber in particular is only worried about his or her rewards as part of the community and what is being made on the hubs as this hubber also posted the comment 'I only hope there were some decent people writing (or something to this effect) and that this will result in more traffic to our hubs'.
Well, that pretty much spells out some of the attitudes that I'm seeing and that makes me a little upset. If we are all in this together, shouldn't we all work together and help each other in small ways - such as answering questions, hub hopping, taking the time to answer fan mail and comments? If we do not want to do these things, then why the heck are we on here? That is just a puzzle to me - oh yeah - the dough. Got it - of course we all want to reap the benefits of the money; but I am of the mind that you reap what you sow and all that jazz.
Lastly, can someone be a little bit of a snob? No way - you either are or you are not. You know what you are. Just like you cannot be a little bit of a bigot - you are or you aren't. You can't be a 'little' sensitive - you either are or you aren't.
As one who is sensitive, I guess I feel for some of the new people joining and perhaps if that incident had happened to me for instance the first week or so, I'd have gone running with my tail between my legs. I don't need that kind of insulting 'crap' in my life to be honest. I was one of the lucky ones though who had been on a while, I had some fans and I was able to pull myself out of the pit and go on.
I urge you non-snobby hubbers (and there are SOOOO many good people I love on here - both for their writing and their attitudes) to reach out and hit the forums. By posting positive comments, I think we can negate some of the things that some of these folks say - or at least direct new or stumbling folks to the team at hubpages. That's by the way where I decided to go instead of the forums - it seemed to work much better in my case.
Life is a learning experience and I go by the adage that no question is a dumb question - and also as well that no one likes being made to feel like an idiot for asking a question.
Shame on you snobby hubbers for not thinking about that and shame on you for not being a better example of what a good writer is. A good writer is someone who has many qualities and insights and I think right up at the top is empathy. All your writing may earn you bucks and high marks/scores - but if you are a lousy person, who cares? In my book, I'd rather have it all and that's my goal.
I do thank you though for helping me - in a roundabout way you made me gain confidence in myself and not depend on your haughty opinions. That is a far better position for me to be in so I have to be grateful for that little slippery slope!
Most of all, fellow hubbers, keep up the good work. I find you all such fascinating people and it is always a pleasure to be part of your lives! What a gift we have to be on here and interacting! That is the part that brought me back and convinced me to stay.