HubPages Etiquette - How to Get Along with Fellow Hubbers
Like any site which involves public participation, HubPages has some unwritten - and unofficial - "rules". It can be confusing for a newbie, because different groups on HubPages have different versions of those rules!
These first few rules apply to everyone:
If you're trying to make money online, self-promotion is vital - but the social side of HubPages is a promotion-free zone. It's meant to be a refuge from all that! Promoting yourself to our small community has little or no impact on earnings anyway.
It's rude to:
- Post comments on Hubs which include a link to your own Hub, website or blog.
- Post Fan Mail to a Hubber which includes a link.
- Create forum posts which include a link, except in the "Improving Your Hub" forum.
If you post links in your comments, the Hubber will likely deny them anyway. By all means mention you've written a related Hub, but let the Hub owner decide whether it's worthy of a link.
In a similar vein, it's impolite to:
- Sign up to follow hundreds of Hubbers indiscriminately.
- Send emails to other Hubbers asking them to follow you.
- Create forum threads asking Hubbers to follow you.
- Create multiple forum threads in quick succession just to get noticed.
It's fine to open more than one account at HubPages. For instance, you may have one account where you write on serious business subjects, and one for your writings on sexy lingerie.
It's not acceptable to have multiple accounts, if the purpose is to whip up contentious debates with yourself on the forums, to comment on your own Hubs, or to follow yourself. Such alter egos are called sockpuppets and regarded as the lowest form of life on HubPages.
Horses for Courses
The "rules" above apply to all Hubbers. But every now and then, you'll see other etiquette "rules" being discussed in the forums. That's because different people use HubPages for different purposes.
There are two main Hubber "types", so let's look at why their paths diverge when it comes to etiquette.
Many writers join HubPages to be part of the writers' community. For them, being a Hubber is about gaining readership and respect within a supportive community. These "social Hubbers" set very high standards of etiquette. For them, politeness means you must:
- Read, rate and comment on Hubs as often as possible
- Reply to every comment that is left on your Hubs, even if it's only "thank you"
- Interact in the forums
- If someone follows you, follow them back (unless they're clearly a spammer).
Social Hubbers tend to set great store by comments, accolades and followers, partly for their own sake, but also because they think they're helping each other make more money on HubPages. In fact, these features do not help generate income in any way whatsoever.
Social Hubbers typically earn less income, because they're not focussing on their paying audience, which is outside HubPages.
That's why what I'll call "business Hubbers' are less likely to follow the social Hubbers' demanding etiquette. And that's where it's important to remember that politeness also means respecting the way other people use HubPages.
There is also a large (but less visible!) group of people who join HubPages as a way to earn a living online. Of course, they don't rely on Hubs alone - though I do know one Hubber who pays her rent with them (Relache).
These Hubbers think of HubPages as their workplace, and behave accordingly.
Think about how you behave at work. Of course you want to socialize with your colleagues, and help them out when they need it - but if you're going to spend all day chatting over coffee, your business won't make any money, will it?
There's a good chance you've never heard of the highest-earning Hubbers, because you rarely see them commenting on Hubs or following other Hubbers. They're too busy working! And that's OK! They're not anti-social: many of them, like Darkside, are very helpful to newbies in the forums. But they've grasped an important rule:
Your customers are outside HubPages. Time spent in the HubPages community is time spent ignoring your customers!
Respecting Each Other
I've explained the two extreme Hubber "types", but most Hubbers are somewhere in between.
Even the most disciplined "business" Hubber enjoys a break from the hard work of Hubbing to browse a few Hubs or forum threads, make a comment or two or help out a newbie Hubber. And many "social" Hubbers are also hoping to make some money from their Hubs.
So the two types of Hubber often find themselves interacting, which can lead to some friction. Social Hubbers can get upset if they leave a comment and no one thanks them, or if they follow someone and aren't followed back, whereas business Hubbers can't see how they've offended!
Neither side should feel pressured to change - but both sides need to understand and respect each other's right to use HubPages in a way that suits their own needs.