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Can Peer Review Solve the Decadence?

Updated on March 9, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Developing concepts that solve complex problems has always been a specialty and hobby of mine.

Source

Do you appreciate it when a publishing site offers peer review?

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Rather than take this into the forums where toxicity runs rampant, I figured I would bring my ideas directly to the readers here on HubPages to get their valuable opinions and input on the topic. No doubt that the forum regularly makes myself and others feel as if they are being invalidated and even produces evidence of direct and ongoing harassment, so here we are to discuss in a safer environment that I would like to ensure is accepting of all views that are expressed without the intentions of harming others. What will we be discussing, though?

Today I would like to discuss the decadence that is unarguably present within the HubPages community, and is causing long-term damages to everyone involved; the solution to this problem is also quite simple in theory as well so long as HubPages sought to do the leg-work in developing the software.

Would you prefer peer reviews to seeking advice in the forums?

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The Problems

No doubt I have built up quite a bit of temporary infamy within the community after publishing my article "Is Prejudicial Discrimination the Answer?" which sought to point out the apparent toxic mentalities held by senior members within the community, and the subsequent spread of said mentalities that I would like to bring to a stop. However, I will recognize that there is a problem with lower-quality articles making it past the QAP and the association with such quality as a community member can lead to concerns that potential readers will leave before giving the site a fair chance. This is no excuse for beginning a witch hunt and being prejudiced against new writers, though, and I think I have come up with a concept that would see both the toxicity and low-quality addressed in a productive manner with long-term success being the outcome for everyone involved.

Should Hubbers be held more accountable for their criticisms of others?

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The Solution

HubPages already has a score system which regularly devalues writers with no constructive input being available from observing the score itself, and thus I would label this scoring system as underutilized and seemingly pointless unless the goal is to make your potential writers feel bad. What if HubPages were to use that scoring system as a way to streamline the process of determining which articles should be featured, and which articles simply bobbed and weaved their way around the QAP? Hear me out.

HubPages should break down the overarching Hubber score into subcategories that determine the necessity of peer-review and subsequent HubPages staff review. The subcategories would determine the amount of negative "peer reviews" left by those with a score of 80+ that are necessary for a staff editor to come in and determine the ongoing featured or published status of the article itself rather than leaving it solely up to the report and score features. Those subcategories would look like this:

0-30 Hubber score: A ratio of 5:1 negative to positive peer reviews to get an official editor decision.

31-60: A ratio of 10:1.

61-90: A ratio of 15:1.

91-100: A ratio of 25:1.

Then upon official editorial review by a staffer it would then be decided whether or not the article gets to remain published and featured, or whether it should be un-featured and given the basic reason why it was un-featured from the editor.

On top of this system would be the ability to include a short 200-500 word comment from the peer reviewing section of the article, offering a way to give constructive criticism with the peer-review. This should not come without some risk to the peer-reviewers' Hubber scores, though, as I feel it could be an abused system without consequence for the reviewers.

If an article under this system is deemed to be of a quality not worthy of the negative peer review score, and should remain published and featured, then all subsequent negative reviewers should be docked somewhere within the one-three point range from their overarching Hubber score upon conclusion of official editorial review. This would not only deter Hubbers from abusing the system, but also decrease the toxicity that is ever-present in the forums while offering a proper outlet for criticism and advice.

Do you feel this peer review system I proposed would be viable and productive for everyone?

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What Do You Think?

Do you think this would be a viable and productive system for not only increasing the quality of Hubpages as a whole, but also reducing the work load on those who have to officially edit the articles here on HubPages? Please, go down into the comments section and let me know what your opinion is on my proposed system, as well as offering your own solution as to decreasing the decadence, toxicity, and low-quality within HubPages.

Comments

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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      2 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      These same volunteers who I see in every single thread were the ones complaining about the current system in this thread without any real recourse being offered, so I see where you are coming from but they already feel as if they are somehow being "penalized" just because HubPages allows "lower quality" articles to be published in the first place and the forums are full of "Help me pass QAP" posts that they feel obligated to answer.

      I felt this system would go well as far as running congruent to the already available report system on every article, and allow for the criticism to move from the forums where these members feel it shouldn't be, and bring it right to the article. If their criticism is deemed legitimate by staff upon review they are rewarded, if it is not they are docked points, and this gives their score a deeper meaning than just a randomly fluctuating number. Not to mention it'd be nice to have my articles judged by active hubbers without "begging" for it in the forums, you know?

      Many people don't understand most articles are already officially reviewed and removed by HubPages staff if they don't hit a certain score, due to the current system, this would just streamline it as high quality articles get unfairly reported with little to no reason and sometimes end up getting removed with no constructive criticism offered other than a bland general message/warning that doesn't often make a lot of sense.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      2 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      I used to comment in the forums and occasionally ask for help. I found that really, only a few people were willing to help out and that was on a volunteer basis. It's very hard to get people to volunteer. They need some kind of incentive. If you make it harder for them, they will stop volunteering. I imagine their current incentive is to keep hubpages a top earning site. When I tried helping people, very often they did not comment back, they just seemed to disappear, as if they had asked the question but couldn't be bothered waiting for the answer. I used to help with the non-native English speaker categories, trying to help people get their articles written in more easily readable English. Back to the current volunteers, it's very hard if you feel your articles are being penalised unfairly. I am not sure how to improve that and it may be that Hubpages will not want to upset those who may be their top earners. Money talks, both ways!

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      2 weeks ago from South Africa

      I am with you on your thoughts.

      Your focus isn't just on writing articles but for the betterment and improvement of the platform itself.

      They should embrace technology, welcome your thoughts and ideas, plus it's about being fair to all hubbers, as it does affect us all.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      2 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Mitara, I can't stand when people present problems without viable solutions so I felt obligated to come up with my own idea for how to solve the issues. I hope HubPages takes it into consideration as well, or at least has their own plan to address the ongoing concerns.

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      2 weeks ago from South Africa

      Good suggestions, and makes sense. Like the fact that with the issues noted, a solution is accompanied. Hope it's taken into consideration.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      3 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      That system sounds very convoluted as far as the coding that went into it. I think the HubPages staffers had their hearts in the right place, but they were considering "quality of life" for the users over their own functionality. This is more about functionality of the site, and refining the report system that is already available. Why would they review every single report manually, which I nearly doubt that claim, when they could institute a parallel system to refine such reports while also giving a chance for criticism to be expressed in a more collated an organized way? It would also give the seemingly irrelevant Hubber scores more of a meaning to the users without adjusting the current algorithms, only building upon the current system.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      We could also share other people’s hubs that we particularly liked with our other followers, or even reshare older hubs of our own to try and generate new views, though we were encouraged not to do that often.

      Most people I spoke to liked that system and missed it when it was removed, however HP staff said it was removed because it wasn’t utilized enough and took up valuable time they could devote to more important things. There was also a feature called The Hub Hopper where we could also view random hubs and score them on the grammar, grasp of English, attractiveness, set out, etc. Maybe that could be resurrected. However, there used to be a lot more low quality hubs then there are now.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Well, Kyler, thanks for clearing it up in your comment. That did make it clearer so there obviously was a slight problem in how you described the system in the article. You probably aren’t aware that up until about five years ago we used to be able to vote hubs up or down and score then “educational, humorous, helpful, interesting etc.” Wecould also share

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      3 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      I addressed these concerns within the article but I'll repeat it.

      Only hubbers with 80+ hubber score would be able to review. The current system already ensures any reports filed are manually reviewed by the editor so the peer review system could not be abused just because people don't like you without their hubber score being docked points.

      Beginning to think my article must be written extremely poorly as no one is reading the solutions section and understanding it. Though, I have reread it and there is no clearer way to describe things so I'm not sure where the disconnect is.

    • Al Stine profile image

      AL 

      3 weeks ago from South Equator, East Pacific

      I have never understood how the hubber score operates. My score usually fluctuates, I don't even know the exact determinants.

      I think I am in a similar situation as John, might need additional clarity.

      If my understanding is correct, a Peer-reviewed system is dependent on your peers voting the article up or down much like reddit? Before it is reviewed by the editors. The problem might arise if no peers brother to leave a review on the article or thumbs up. Additionally, what defines a peer? Is it only hubbers?. If the initial problem is toxic hubbers, then nothing is going to stop them from leaving negative reviews in a Peer-reviewed system.

      The greatest weakness of a Peer-reviewed system is that if your peers do not like you, your articles might also be affected regardless of how good they are.

      Perhaps you can explain how these loopholes can be addressed.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      3 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      A peer-review system that is automatically placed on the article when you post it, much like the comment section, but offering a "thumbs up, thumbs down" choice and allowing others to offer you constructive criticism. Based on your Hubber score, you'd be allotted a certain amount of negative reviews before a HubPages staffer would determine whether it should remain published or not. If not, it gets removed and you have constructive criticism from the reviewers to look over as well as the editor message. If it can, then all subsequent negative reviewers are docked 1-3 Hubber score points based on how reasonable it was to call for the removal of the featured status of an article.

      Basically a more streamlined system to both encourage constructive criticism and behavior, and help authors, poets, and bloggers alike to get an understanding of how their work can improve. This would remove the incessant whining and harassment on the forums, and allow for the bettering of the site while also lessening the workload on HubPages staffers.

      I hope that cleared things up a bit, I didn't realize I wasn't clear enough with the description of the system in the article.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Kyler, I tend to agree with your view of the forums here, and they are not a place for the feint hearted writer to venture. they are a particularly scary place for poets and creative writers to attempt debate.

      Peer reviews sound like a viable alternative rather than asking advice through the forums, however I don’t really understand what your proposal entails. Maybe you could clarify it a little.

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