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How to comment on a poorly written hub
Honest Appreciation is Valued
Although HubPages.com has an amazing community of writers who keep on delivering excellent content, one might come across a hub, which is not great - reasons could be multiple - apart from poor formatting, grammar or too short hubs, you can find some hubs which are sharing useless information, which is incomplete or incorrect. Now, what should you do? You could just leave the author to his/her luck, it’s HubPages reviewers job after all. But as a hubber, if you do consider yourself a part of this community, it’s your responsibility too, to help the reviewers do their tasks effectively. So you can flag a sub-standard hub, but how about other minor issues? You could be honest and give the author a good lesson - by frankly pointing out his/her mistakes in the comments. Wait a sec! There are better ways, rather etiquette for doing the same.
(This question was originally asked at HubPages Questions - And many people felt that they didn't feel like posting a critical comment - because it could discourage the hubber, or because it might start an e-war if someone doesn't take the comment positively, and also if they think that poor english of the author is just because its his/her second language. I still feel we should be honest, since someone with poor english should not write at HubPages - it's for people who can read/write english - there are other portals available for other languages - and you could always blog. Moreover, flagging is anonymous, so there is no risk of visible intentional discouragement or e-war)
Sometimes, I personally prefer pointing out a mistake, and telling the author, please feel free to delete my comment once you've rectified the problem, this would help - just imagine, a lot of people are sending private messages to rectify something on a hub, thinking that they are the first one to help by pointing it out - specially if the author has not logged in for a few days. A comment would stop them and author can correct the problem and delete the comment.
*Flagging a hub is anonymous, and don’t feel guilty about it - it’s not just a right thing to do, but it affects you more directly than you might appreciate. Poorly written hubs would lead to poor user experience, which would entail bad ranking in search engines. Although Google considers subdomains separately for ranking till some extent, there might be other search engines which rank a website as a whole. And as you write on HubPages (or even if you’re a visitor) flagging poor content would improve the overall quality which would be beneficial for search engine rankings, and otherwise too - people would be keen to click on the “related hubs” if the hub they are reading contains quality content.
If you think that the language of the hub is absolutely garbage, no hope whatsoever, don’t comment - it’s wastage of time, just vote down, flag and give your reasons for flagging. (You might also want to check who the hubber is, how long has s/he spend on HubPages - and what’s the hubber’s score. A very low score might be an indication of spam user. If you find that other hubs by him/her are also bad quality, or if s/he appears to be a spam user, flag the profile itself. Again, don’t comment and waste your time)
Flag if Required
Why do you think a particular hub should be considered not well written? There is a list provided by HubPages, which pops up when you try to flag a hub. I would recommend going through that list carefully, and if you think you’ve hit a hub which contains matches for the list, go ahead flag* it.
Do Not Spam Flag
However, this does not mean that you end up flagging every third hub, because it contains a wrong spelling, or some similar minor issue which can be rectified easily. Spam flagging like this is sheer wastage of time - yours and reviewers’. (I won’t be surprised if the reviewers flag you.)
In such cases you could use comments capsules to highlight the problem. However, not everyone takes criticism positively, even if it is constructive - especially when you criticize publicly. Private messages could be better alternative, a more sensitive approach specifically for new hubbers.
Consider before Criticizing
Before you criticize, especially when the reasons of your low opinion of the hub are not enlisted in the criteria for considering a Hub Sub-standard, then wait for a moment and consider before you criticize. It’s quite possible that your not finding a hub interesting is simply a personal issue. If other people are giving positive comments, and they are seeming to enjoy the author’s ideas, it’s better to be careful while stating your opinion.
For example, you might not enjoy the humor in a hub, if the context is alien to you, or you might find a poem meaningless, complete nonsense, but that might be due to your unawareness of certain style of poetry.
Honestly at Amazon
Be Honest, Always
In any case, never express false praise on a hub. If you find something is wrong, do convey the message in polite language and be careful - condescending comments are bad for your own online report, apart from being ineffective, inane for the hub author.
Moreover, don’t over-appreciate a hub more than it deserves. If you simply ‘wow’ each hub you come across, your praise will lose the ‘wow factor’. You might be labelled as over enthusiastic, over appreciative fellow hubber. On the other hand, if you say, ‘I like your presentation’, ‘The information shared here was very useful’, or other such moderate compliments, then your ‘Hats Off’ will definitely have the potential of making someone’s day. Happy Hubbing.