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Do Longer Hubs Disregard (Even Disrespect) Potential Readers?

Updated on July 1, 2015
Lisa HW profile image

"Lisa HW" (a derivative of the pen name, "Lisa H. Warren") has been writing online since 2005, and on HubPages since 2007.

First, About This Hub..

There's a HubPages forum thread that asks the ages old (if there can be "ages old" with anything related to the Internet) question about whether shorter Hubs are better than longer ones. I imagine the reason for even bringing up that subject (yet again) was to create discussion in the forums (or else because the person posting the discussion is too new a member to know how often it has been asked over the years).

In any case, it looked to me as if plenty of people kicked in with their own replies to the question. And, considering the fact that the poster ot that question suggested that long Hubs don't respect the busy or tired reader; and said that s/he doesn't like reading too much stuff on screens; I thought I'd turn my reply into a Hub and subject, separate, really, from that forum discussion and not (in spite of my references to it and to the original poster) directed toward it. The point isn't really that discussion or the person who posted it. The point here is that I know there are all kinds of people who think similarly to the person who posted the discussion.

Here's where that forum discussion can be found:


Since this Hub was only written "instead of replying in the forum" I disabled the comment box because I don't really want to encourage yet more discussion on this particular subject (at least not on my profile/account here).

Aside From (Or In Addition To) What Is Generally Recommended On HubPages These Days....

"Respecting the reader" (by writing shorter Hubs) is an interesting take... Essentially, this is another way of saying, "Don't ask me to read more words than I feel like reading". Most people don't want to read more than they feel like reading when the subject doesn't call for a thousand words and when they aren't interested in reading a lot of padding aimed at coming up with more words than called for by the subject.

There are other subjects, though, that if limited to a nice, brief, number of words (in order to worry about who is too busy or too tired or too uninterested) to be bothered reading (and maybe learning) more will pretty much lead to nobody ever learning anything (and pretty much a matter of, say, an Internet full of "all the same articles/piece" that offer nothing new.

Not everyone is looking for a subject that requires more than a few hundred or so words, and not everyone has the time to read "some big, long, thing". That's fine. I don't think too many writers who care about what they're writing and their readers expect everyone to like their stuff, or at least read and consider it.

Where I'm at high risk of losing interest in a longer piece is when it has been chopped up into different text blocks that have been further "broken up" with other stuff. One doesn't know if he's reached the end of the thing "or what" and has to scroll down to see if there's more (and repeat the process until finally getting to whatever makes it clear that the Hub is over)

As far as I'm concerned, if someone is not interested in reading (or listening, for that matter) to "long stuff" because he's too busy or not interest, I respect him enough to assume he's capable of clicking away from the Hub.

Here's the thing (and I know I'm going to come across as defensive here, but that comes from both ten years of soaking in low-level Internet crap-articles, but also offline life in which too many people aren't interested in even imagining that they might learn something by listening to "a lot of words": I'm busy too. I use what is my free time to a) try to earn an income by doing something enjoy while also at least aiming to share something (a shred of insight, an enjoyable read, a different perspective, something that isn't the same as everything else out there on the subject, etc. etc.) with whoever feels like reading what I've written. THAT, to my way of thinking, IS respecting the reader who IS interested in reading about a subject that really does call for more than eight or nine hundred words. (Well, in offline life there are people who are too impatient or too interested to be bothered listening, and paying attention, to what someone else has to say; and so relationships get damaged and those who are too arrogant or busy to listen get to remain clueless, if not arrogant.) II've thrown in the offline life remark because there's an awfully high level of arrogant "out there" these days, and many of those people are the same ones who are "boo busy to read" (or listen).

Given my own preference for reading and subjects, I'm still trying to figure out if HP is really the right place for a lot of the stuff I have (either among my files or in mind for writing), and whether I should just reserve HP for stuff that I can keep under, say, eleven-hundred words and stuff that's out-and-out, straight information and nothing more.

Not too many people want to read, say, a 1500-word Hub on a recipe for baking a run-of-the-mill chocolate cake; so good luck o the person who writes that particular Hub on here and hopes to compete with all the "authority"/expert baking sites (I suppose if they spam the social sites someone who doesn't already know how to make a chocolate cake may choose that Hub over some of the authority sites...).

In any case, who is busy and who gets tired eyes from one screen or another works both ways - whether that's the potential reader or the writer. So does respect. If someone doesn't want to read some big, long, thing they don't need to read it. I don't want someone reading my stuff if it isn't what that person wanted. All anyone has to do is click away. Everyone's happy. Turning things around and saying that it isn't "respecting the reader" to write longer stuff is bizarre. Where there's lack of respect is when someone thinks that because he's not interested in reading that nobody else is either, or worse; that writers (or people, or "certain people") should essentially sit down, shut-up, and keep their thoughts/ideas to themselves.

I know that the person who created the thread mentioned reading somewhere other than on a screen (as in the case of "real" books or newspapers). Not everyone has access to those, and God knows not everyone even considers reading them. As far as I'm concerned, if someone gets something online and at no charge AND can click away if it's not what he wants... he's got nothing to complain about (and whether his eyes are tired or not isn't my problem). Neither is someone else's "short attention span" (which, assuming the person doesn't have what was once called, "minimum brain dysfunction", is most often another way of saying, "not interested", "not interested in this subject", "don't see the value in spending time on this subject" and/or "am not interested in what this writer has to say about the subject".

As I said above, I'm still trying to figure out what kind of Hubs I will/won't write from here on. I'm not entirely sure that HubPages is the right place for any number of things that I've written/plan to write. What I've said elsewhere (on my profile, for example) is that I'm de-emphasizing the pen-name that I've used for years (the one under which I've written this), but also that I've been in the process of trying to clean-up/update my HP account, which is now about seven-and-a-half years old.

So, for all those reasons, I don't entirely know what I'm doing or not doing with this account these days; but the way I see things in general is this: I am a writer. It doesn't make a shred of sense for the person who is a writer to aim his stuff at "non-readers". To use a non-writer-like, I suppose, follow-up "word" from the eighties here..... Duh!

Most writers know, and are completely comfortable with the idea, that not every piece of writing is suitable for every possible publication/site (etc.). One challenge on HubPages is the flexibility of subject and style offered to writers. One particular challenge for someone who has been writing on this site for a number of years can be figuring out what, if anything (including an account under one name or another) is worth saving, updating, or otherwise preserving/altering.

All that aside (or factored in - I'm not sure which), it is offensive when anyone suggests the writer who writes 'longer stuff" (or Hubs) or the site that encourages/requires that "longer stuff" does not respect potential readers who are "too busy" or "too blurry eyed" to be bothered not being spoon-fed quickie information that creates the impression (for someone who doesn't know the subject any better than this) that there's no need even try to learn more.


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