Gaming A System
Take It For What It's Worth
I'm not by any means new to blogging and writing articles and I also admit that, at times, I can be controversial, just as controversial as the next frog in the pond no doubt. Being new to the Hub, and being a political writer, I have a propensity to be very observant at how a forum is, or isn't, allowed to run. That's a writer's instinct and a management prerogative.
Each system is different with its ins and outs. I have also been a moderator on a couple of different venues so I have that experience to give me further insight. What I don't want is for ANYONE to take this personally, or as criticism, as that isn't my intent. I'm just being open with my observations having recently arrived in this writer's nest. I am finding Hub Pages to be quite refreshing and a great place to write and have made some new friends since landing here.
I have addressed some of my concerns (observations) with the Hub folks. One took the form of a question about "down voting." It didn't stay up long. I was notified that it was pulled because it called for opinions. Of course it did. That's why I posted the question. It went on further to inform me to write a Hub if I wanted opinions so here I am. Facts might also suffice. I more than welcome you to share yours on the subject regardless of your position here..
I recently read a few Hubs where some of these observations have surfaced. So lets talk about "voting down," flagging and the redundancy of being able to do both. One requires an explanation by the user (flagging), definitely a postive, the other requires some bonehead to cruise by and click on a button with no explanation, nor do they need to leave a comment. They just might not like you or what you have written (content driven disagreement). It seems reasonable to me that if a user "down votes" a Hub that they be required to provide an explanation which accompanies that choice so that a moderator can review and concur or disallow such a down vote. In a nutshell I call it fairness to the author of the Hub.
Believe it or not, there are people I affectionately call trolls, other forums call them sock puppets and various other monikers, who cruise the latest forum articles and if allowed to, unchecked, "down vote" articles because they disagree with the author and/or the contents. HP is not exempt from that practice I can assure you. The term I use for it is "Gaming The System." It is wrong any way you look at it, no matter who is doing it. They are doing it because, and only because, they are allowed to. A childish practice but never-the-less it happens too often.
But there is a way to solve the problem as most problems are solvable. How? Just do away with the built in redundancy. If that isn't an option, and it is the easiest fix, then require a vote down to be accompanied by a choice of explanations. That requires a bit more programming and man hours, as a moderator has to take a look see. Having been a moderator, I understand that on a day-to-day basis one stays more than busy. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. If they didn't this place would become a Wild West shoot out I'm tellin' ya.
Gaming a system becomes even more of a red flag when it "appears" that a forum itself is involved in the game. It sometimes comes in the form of tacit approval. This isn't an accusation, undue criticism or anything of that nature but no more than an observation. Hub scores seem to be a mystery to many users. It centers around Hub scores and what drives the train. Algorithms are usually used in computing what is a favorable response or what isn't. I believe that to be the case and someone correct me if I am wrong. I will use this Hub I recently put up as an example of why people question what is, or isn't, going on:
As a writer, I am interested in viewership statistics as are the management folks here at HP. It's one of the ways that they make their money - their bread and butter. I do not rely on HP as my sole source of income. If I did, I'd starve to death. Using their statistical information they supply on my account tab, this particular Hub has had 201 page views in less than 7 days, 50 of which occurred on day 1. Yesterday it reflected 78 on day one. Why did it change? That's some traffic IMHO. It has elicited 41 comments as of one second ago. Yet the Hub score reflects a 58 rating. Doing a comparison with my other Hubs with a much higher score, northing seems to correlate. So something seems a bit unusual. Is it a computer glitch, or is it the maliciousness of trolls, or what is it that is causing this type of discrepancy? I'm just askin'...
There has to be a logical explanation. I do pay attention to my account and what it shows me. I think all writers should look at everything we are provided and if something doesn't seem quite right in Omaha to feel free to bring it to someone's attention. I have checked the learning resource area and haven't been able to answer my own questions.
You start off with a baseline Hub score of 50. Now what I am about to say has happened to me on at least two occasions that I know of. Within two (2) minutes of hitting the publish button, I have watched that base score drop to a 48. I looked and there wasn't one comment that had been made, no ratings - nothing there on the page but the Hub itself. Someone, again, give me a logical explanation for that phenomenon. I have a logical explanation but I can't ascertain its veracity. If unexplained "down votes" affect your Hub score then BINGO. I smell trolls on the loose.
In all fairness to any writer here, I wouldn't ever be involved in doing something like that. If I disagree with you then I am given the opportunity of publicly expressing my opinion about what you wrote by commenting directly to you - the writer. I definitely shouldn't have the right to vote your article down without expanation, snicker and tell my friends about it. I assume, and I know what the first three letters of that word are, that this is a community of adults. Maybe instead of acting like children it would be best if we addressed the issues of the day as adults, not children. Gaming a system isn't the best answer to trying to silence anyone's opinions, views or right to freely express themselves.
The scoring system seems to remain a mystery to the users. We should be able to easily navigate to an explanation. I've looked and not found. Why should it be a mystery when writers here are often paid based upon certain criteria?
I'm just sayin...