Surviving Changes to the Community
Negativity is a way to destroy community and build walls of separation. With the changes that have come on this platform since we have been adopted into the Maven family, it would be easy to focus on that negativity and fester in it. Nothing good would come of it. No changing back to the old ways would occur.
Negativity is not the purpose of this article. This article is about is how the Hubpages community has helped writers find something within us to rise to a new level of expression offered by Maven. It is about hope that Maven will take us in the best possible direction. It is about how scary change is; but how it makes us better.
The Good Old Days
In its past days of glory, Hubpages was a bastion of controversy among the writers. It was easier to make money and easier to put forth total trash as a writer. One of the things that made the community so important was the ability to vote a fellow writer up or down. That was a powerful tool in the hands of the reader.
The days were good, much of the writing was lackluster, but the community was growing and improving. With Maven directing the way, it grows in a differently toward potential opportunities for good writers. The power is taken from the community in the new Hubpages and given to adept moderators, which has improved the overall quality of articles on this platform. I, however, regal in the past.
Moderators were not the ones who decided what was high quality. We did. It was a popularity tool as much as it was a quality tool. The good thing about it is that people could read a new artist's words and provide a rating with suggestions on how to improve it in the comments. It was something that I did with great gusto. Receiving feedback from readers also helped improve my personal writing ability and confidence. I miss the option of rating a fellow writer and adding suggestions for improvement.
However, once we became familiar with our writing buddies, the criticism of their work became more difficult and more biased. If a writer came out with a poor article when we knew that he or she usually does better, we tended to vote them up anyway due to name recognition. Community voting is a double-edged sword in that it helps people improve, but it can also stunt a writer's creativity if familiarity destroys the readers' ability to judge impartially.
When I read a compelling article or comment, I want the ability to vote it up or like it as I do on social media! This, Hubpages, is not, however, social media. It is a platform for writing. The change from voting is an indication that the powers that be were looking to refocus us away from our social-media-typed behavior (and it worked). It does not mean that we all have to like it.
I want the ability to vote it up or like it like I do on social media! This, Hubpages, is not, however, social media.
Earning or Training?
Another good old day perk for Hubpages is the training offered to a few qualified lucky ones. A few potentially gifted writers would qualify for the Hubpages training each year full of anticipation of the digital invitation to join. I had the privilege of applying and being rejected several times over the years I have participated in the Hubpages Community. I do not remember what the program was called, and it is not important. What is important is that Hubpages in the past rewarded good writers with the possibility of becoming great writers and earning more money on Hubpages--with guidance.
It was not just about making money. It WAS about becoming a better writer while making money. Hubpages was an institution of learning more than a platform of economic enterprise. We made money off of each other--feeding the ads that we saw as we read each other's hubs. The purchases we made because of those ads were legitimate, but Hubpages was an insular community at that time. We knew each other, it seemed. Bands of writers would interact and support each others' works--as still is the case (thankfully) for a number of us.
Hubpages helped to launch the careers of many timid writers into a career elsewhere with its insular community of supporting up-voters!
Earning or Training: It was both.
The fact that I cannot put my tiny pictures to the side of the text capsule grieves my soul. If you are reading this and are not a hubber, this will make little sense. I will explain.
At one time, the authors here on Hubpages had the ability to place images next to the text boxes referred to as capsules.That is the change most of all that eludes me! Why? Why take away my side pictures? The understanding is that people like to see pictures the same sizes as the article width. This applies to those of us who view these articles on smartphones, of course. My intellect does not betray me on this issue.Though a quick rant is included in my explanation, I hope it gives all the readers who are not hubbers a small understanding of my reference to my tiny side-pictures.
Many hubbers out there may feel my pain as they too miss the ability to put a photo to the side. Entire articles I have written with phrasing telling the reader to look to the right referring to an image that was strategically placed for effect. Now, these images are to be removed and resized. Wording needs changing to adjust accordingly. My heart does not like the change. It makes sense. Change is hard, however. Change is good.
What it is now?
That is a weird way to state a question, yes. What it is now is a place for writers to come to make money. It is not a school. It is not a training program. It is a place for good writers to express themselves and build a following so that people will see the ads associated with the articles and buy products.
Somehow, that seems wrong to some of us. Is it wrong, though? When I first came to Hubpages I argued for hours with hubbers about the low quality of writing found on the community pages. I commented on many substandard hubs that defied my understanding that they existed! How could a person put out a mixture of the alphabet and call it an article? How could they not proof their articles? How could they not be embarrassed!?
Now, I know if I put out substandard material, it will not get featured with advertisements. What company wants to put its potential earnings in the hand of a substandard article writer? Not I, said this writer!
The changes are geared to provide a better place for the writers to gain some income if we are good at doing it. I did not care for the new format initially because changes scare many people, including me.
The fundamentals of Hubpages are still present. This is still a place for writers to publish content. If earning money is not what drives a writer, then whether the content is featured or not will hardly, if at all, prevents writers from publishing. However, if we want our content to be read, we need to feature articles with engagement in addition to those articles of conscientious artistic value. As Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's [Matthew 22:21]."
In other words, do what needs to be done to continue to write. Stay and help keep the community growing.
It makes sense. Change is hard, however. Change is good.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson