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Do You Have Trouble Holding Your Tongue In Forums?

Updated on March 22, 2014

Hubpages Forum Opinion

I like reading the posts in Hubpages forums even if I never comment.

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Forum - Good Places To Get Advice?

Published on March 5, 2014. Mary McShane, All Rights Reserved

For the most part, the majority of forums on Hubpages are ideal places to ask opinions and questions, interact socially with other hubbers, and even learn about how to handle issues outside of Hubpages.

When there is an interesting question or topic posted in a forum, most people enjoy reading a good conversation, but don't always leave a comment, which is fine. Some will click “Follow” so an email notification can be sent to alert them of more activity on the forum.

In some forums, the helpful information is not always accurate or it will contradict other responses. Some forums are started by spammers with nonsensical text and best ignored. Other forums have posts which are not always written in a good spirit or in true forum etiquette. Some forums have threads of comments that turned from positive to negative.

It is nice to know there is usually someone to put the thread back on track, or a moderator who will intervene to set the record straight. But that is not always the case.

Considering we all come from different backgrounds, countries and lifestyles, some hubbers are borderline insulting to responders whose comments seem harmless to those of their culture, but are taken the wrong way in other cultures. Some insults are laced with innuendo which can be taken two ways and often are.

This, in turn, makes people respond again and again, causing the forum to become very active. More activity makes the forum move to the top of the main Hubpages feed, thereby attracting the attention of more readers.

Would you continue to comment?

A forum topic that you already commented on, has gone far afield in subsequent comments, even attacking other members. What would you do?

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Consider this "hypothetical" scenario

This is an illustration only; it is fictitious.

The players:

Jane Notherrealname - original posting hubber

Bob992 - one of the first 5 hubbers to answer, left forum shortly after, returned 12 hours later

Millie123456 - a veteran hubber

MarianZ - supportive hubber

Forum Activity:

Jane Notherrealname's Question:

I have three Hubpages accounts, which is acceptable by HP's TOS. This one is my primary name. I have one I use for posting recipes and a "quieter" name for posting poetry. I responded using my "recipe" name to a forum question about "how high fructose corn syrup can be hidden in recipe ingredients." Several of my responses drew a lot of heated replies so that my "recipe" name was being attacked for my opinions by many hubbers.

I signed out of my "recipe" account and signed into my "quieter poetry" account. I know this part was wrong, but I needed to protect myself and I couldn't do it under my "recipe" name because no one was listening to me. As my "poetry" name (which nobody knows is me), I then posted responses that defended the "recipe hubber" to say she was entitled to her opinions, which some people listened to and commented favorably. I politely said that people shouldn't attack someone for their views in a forum where we exchange ideas. The end result was I was banned for 3 days from Hubpages forums on my quiet "poetry" account because someone reported me saying I was using hateful speech, which I never did. If anything, they were using hateful speech against me!

My question is this: For any of you who have multiple Hubpages accounts, would you defend yourself with another account when attacked? And, has it ever happened to any of you? The Learning Center FAQs didn't address my question. Thanks to anyone who replies.

Within two hours, Jane Notherrealname received five replies to her question. Since she was satisfied with the information, she thanked everyone in a comment under each of their replies and never returned to the forum.

With no more input posted, the forum activity went quiet for several hours.


Later ...

Around five hours later, Millie123456, a very active veteran hubber of about 6 years, was reading the forum replies and saw a comment made by a follower of hers named Bob992, a hubber she had a falling out with in another forum. She decided to comment on his answer to the multiple account topic.

She wrote: "Bob992 is an authority on this subject because, after all, he has five other Hubpages accounts which makes him well qualified to answer the question."

Posting this comment moved the forum to the top of the main Hubpages feed and attracted the attention of others. Within minutes, the forum got very lively with new comments:

  • "I didn't know you had more accounts, Bob992." by Millieskid1a
  • "Which ones are yours? Do I follow any of them?" by Millieskid2a
  • "I think you guys are totally out of line trying to expose Bob992's other names. We're allowed to have more than one account, so leave him alone." by MarianZ.

MarianZ's response earned her the distinct honor of replacing Bob992 as the new whipping boy for Millie123456 (and her friends) to kick around in the forum, which they did.

When dealing with confrontation ...

Do you think MarianZ's experience with Millie123456 will deter her from participating in future forums?

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From one innocent question

Despite the fact that Millie123456 was breaking many forum rules, MarianZ took it like a champ, until the conversation took a personal turn.

Millie123456 accused MarianZ of reporting certain long time hubbers while participating in another forum not long before, which resulted in two of her hubber friends being banned from the forums and one hubber who lost his Hubpages account.

True to her style, MarianZ reported each of the attacks using "report" button. She then posted in a reply box asking for a moderator to come to the forum. After half an hour, when no moderator came, she backed down, stopped responding and left the forum.

What started out as a sincere question by one hubber and was resolved in a few responses, now had more than 50 posts, scarcely related to the original poster's question.

Moderator input

Do you think moderators should step in when conversations resemble bullying in the forums?

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Moderate or not moderate?

Often a moderator will step in and give input on a posted forum topic, especially if it is a question to which they have an answer or when they want to straighten out some misinformation.

It is uncanny how they are around when those kinds of questions are asked, or when posts discuss the topic at length, but when someone is attacking another person in the forums, they are no where to be seen. Just sayin'.

Test Your Knowledge of Forums

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Report or not report?

Choose one answer. If you are attacked for your views expressed in a forum comment, or for your past actions, would you....

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Fast forward 12 hours.

Jane Notherrealname's forum comments continued for some time between the pack of hubbers who had descended on Bob992, alternating between commenting under Bob992's comments and continuing to attack MarianZ's comments. The comment thread now had over 200 posts.

Bob992 Returns

Bob992 did not have email notifications enabled on his account to be able to see the replies to the forum he had participated in earlier.

He went to the forum list to locate the question asked by Jane Notherrealname, but got waylaid when he saw it at the top of the main Hubpages feed. He was surprised to see over 200 comments by other hubbers, thinking what a wonderful place Hubpages is that people are so helpful.

Eager to see what other advice had been given, he entered the forum room and was horrified that some hubbers (names of people he followed and had considered friends) were talking about him and not the original posting party's question.

Upon reading the comments, he felt that these people were bullying him by exposing in a community forum that he had five other Hubpages accounts. He didn't mind that some of his friends knew of his other personas, but to air it in the Hubpages forums, it was a different matter. After all, he was not the topic here.

Bob992 wrote a response acknowledging that he had 5 accounts, but that the number of his accounts wasn't what was up for discussion.

He wrote that he resented being attacked by Millie123456 which incited others to continue negative posting. He reported the whole thread to Hubpages by selecting 'personal attack' from the drop down menu under the response. He saw how MarianZ was also attacked and he reported that thread too.

Commenting in Forums

Do you fully read the question and all the comments before replying in a forum?

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Activity means it's a good forum, right?

After seeing a high number of forum comments next to a title, any newcomer might think that the forum is quite lively.

Only after entering will they see from the comments if the forum is fun, if the information is truly educational, or if the forum has become a free-for-all in attacking other hubbers who commented.

So do you lurk? Or do you comment?

It is a matter of personal choice.

To be fair, a high number of comments usually indicates an active forum, promising much member input and exchange of ideas. Many people will keep updating subsequent posts with information they know to be fact and/or adding their opinions or experiences. There is usually much to be learned in this type of forum, so it pays to bookmark, to take notes and/or be a lurker here. But it also can pay to be a commenter here too if clarification is needed. In this type of forum, one can likely ask questions without fear or intimidation.

But in another type of forum, if many new posts are an attack on the previous posting party, or a post where someone is taking the side of one who has just been attacked, those types of forums have little or nothing of value to offer. Anyone commenting in this type of forum may become a target like MarianZ and end up caught in the fray.

Heated Discussions


Disabling notifications

"I love the forums. I find the interaction there to be very educational, not to mention entertaining in some cases. It is a nice way to get to know other hubbers."

Many hubbers have this opinion, especially new hubbers.

But if the conversation borders on attacking not only the posting hubber, but also the views of people who answered, sometimes this can sour anyone on ever speaking in a forum.

Hubpages advice is just to bow out.

My advice is similar: If you know you can't hold your tongue, it is best to just leave.

So you don't keep getting notified of the latest posts, try to disable notifications to that forum. (see FAQs). If you can't do that, delete the messages without reading them as soon as they come to your email so you are not sucked in to returning and be enticed to comment.

So, what works for you?

Veteran hubber harassing other hubbers for viewpoints

If you were new to Hubpages, and saw this kind of behavior in a forum, would you even bother using a forum to ask a question?

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New to forums?

In a forum incident recently, a nice cordial discussion that started out with a few people conversing back and forth, changed drastically when one veteran hubber entered the room and literally took every person to task who commented with positive opinions.

The volley of posts went on for more than 4 days. Two other hubbers entered the conversation on day three to support the veteran hubber in her rants against the others. Many commenters said they were reporting the hubbers and the thread.

Because they were still posting there, it is obvious that nothing had been done about it.

See poll question "If you were new to Hubpages."

Are you helpful?

If you know the answer to a forum question, do you ...

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Helpful hubbers

Sometimes a hubber will go out of their way to be helpful and post answers that are worded in such a way that they are well received, without appearing to be a "know-it-all."

Sometimes hubbers post answers like they have access to the "Hubpages Bible" and get annoyed if their answers are challenged.

Sometimes moderators let this go on for 30 or more posts. We have to understand that there are just so many moderators on duty, only so many hours in the day, and many forums that probably need attention.

While I have noticed many, many hubbers are helpful with advice and/or answers to questions asked, I have also seen hubbers ridicule people for posting their question in the first place. They are told to go read the Learning Center FAQs and to click the link included in their response.

It's been done to me several times, making me regret ever asking a question in the first place.

I believe all any posting hubber is trying to do, is to expedite all that reading, looking for a quick answer from experienced hubbers. When one is told to go read FAQs, it smacks of your parents telling you to go look it up in the dictionary when you asked the meaning of a word.

Bully Behavior

If you see someone getting bullied in a forum, would you ..

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To Report Bullying

If you believe you are a victim of forum bullying or any type of bullying on Hubpages, there are steps you can take that are safe steps.

1. You can click "Report" on any profile, hub, forum, or post and complete the "private" form to Hubpages.

2. You can ask the assistance of a trusted friend on Hubpages.

3. You can openly ask for assistance in any public forum where the bullying is occurring.

4. You can click on this link to contact Hubpages directly.

5. If all else fails, you can click on any Hubpages staff member's profile, then click "fan mail" and send them an email about your experience. Note: The top five are pretty busy, so start near the bottom of the list at the link.

If you have any suggestions to add to the above list, please add them in the comments.

What is your opinion of how bullies should be handled?

Short video: Cyberbullying


I'm proud to be a member here; that doesn't make me proud of all members here.

As of March 2014, I have been a Hubpages member for about 4 months now, and so far I have not referred a single friend to Hubpages.

There are a lot of reasons why.

One reason is when I put a signup post with my referral link on a hub, I get the message at the top not to do that. So I am at a loss where I'm supposed to put my referral link. Looking in the FAQs and posting in forums has not given me an answer. Yet I see many other hubbers put the sign up posts on their hubs. So, do hubbers just ignore that message? Hmmm

Another reason is the forums themselves. The forums are my second "go to" place to find answers to my questions. Of course, my first place is the Learning Center FAQs. As much as the FAQs are a wealth of information, the volume of information is overwhelming. People go to the forums to post their question looking for a fast answer. I've done the same thing.

For the most part, forum reading can be quite entertaining because many of the comments are joking back and forth. I can't deny that I have received much support, good advice and laughter.

But I can't guarantee my referred friends will receive the same, especially if they are made to feel awful about asking their question in the first place or they get pounced on for voicing an opinion that rubs someone the wrong way. I know, I know... I can't control that part.

I'm proud to be a member here; that doesn't make me proud of all members here.

What is your opinion? I promise not to bite you or start a fight in the comments here. lol

© Mary McShane -3/5/2014

© 2014 Mary McShane


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