HubPages Etiquette: Pointing Out Errors Without Offense
Here at HubPages, we come across fellow Hubbers who write at various skill levels. Some Hubbers are new to writing and could most certainly use some pointers (and encouragement!) to improve so they can share their great information. A handful of Hubbers write very well, but their research is based on common misconceptions and popular beliefs that are contradicted by proven science or scholarly research. Other Hubbers have great writing skills, but are prone to the occasional typo. When we come across these errors, we find ourselves stuck in the decision to say something in an effort to help the Hubber and improve the quality of articles at HubPages or to not say anything for fear of being rude or offensive. This hub aims to provide a basic etiquette to the HubPages community for how to approach Hubbers on tips and advice to improve their hubs.
Hubs Begging for Improvement
On occasion you will come across a hub that is devoid of writing skills beyond the elementary level. In some cases, the writing may be even worse than that. Sometimes the layout will be nice and images certainly help to get a feel for what the hub is about. However, trying to read through the writing is annoying, nauseating, or even impossible. In this case, saying something (anything) may be the only way to alert the Hubber that he or she needs improvement. Some writers of this caliber falsely believe that their writing is decent. When they do not receive much traffic or followers, they may wrongly assume that search algorithms or the topic is to blame. Some may even believe the lack of interest in their hubs is just the normal traffic rate. Yes, what these writers have to say is certainly good, but we cannot possibly know that when we cannot understand any of it. Alert the Hubber to the problem through an email. You do not want to point out every single error (as there are bound to be many), but making a brief mention of the problem and citing an example or two will help.
Do you ever contact Hubbers to correct information in hubs you know is wrong?
HubPages and other online content websites of similar style have it right when they say that all of us have something we are experts in. We may not necessarily choose to write on those subjects, but when someone else does and gets a piece of information wrong, we instantly know it. Additionally, we often know exactly what resources to refer others to for them to receive the correct information.
We pride ourselves as writers and the community we choose to host our writing, so it is only natural to want all the writing in our community to be high quality. When you run into a hub that has obviously incorrect information, you have every right to point it out. Keep in mind, however, that the hubber may not realize the information is wrong. He or she may have been misled into believing the false information from an early age or through the writing of a trusted author. Many individuals, when faced with the facts contradicting what they believe to be fact, will not be very receptive to the correct information. In such cases, point out the facts and leave it at that. Depending on the nature of the error, contacting the Hubber directly is best. If in doubt, always send an email.
Those Dreaded Typos
This is the easiest error to correct. Most writers whose only errors are typos wish nothing more than to correct all errors immediately. Unfortunately, we sometimes miss the occasional typo or misused word despite a thorough self-edit and not all editing software catches the simplest of mistakes. No one wants grammar police, but any serious writer is incredibly grateful when readers and fellow writers really read his or her hubs to the degree they will notice any errors. Taking the time to contact the Hubber is that much more of a compliment. Not everyone likes to admit they made an error, of course, so you may not receive recognition for your assistance let alone a word of thanks. A quick email to the Hubber about the typo or typos will do the trick.
Links to Refer To
- How To Develop Your Writing - Developing Your Voice As A Writer
Basics of writing for serious writers: Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and presentation.
- Simple Key to Improving Scores
Understanding the different levels of writing.
- How To Improve Your Writing Skills In Four Easy Steps
Basic writing skills tips.
- Why Write Hubs With a Word Processing Program
For those with concerns about spelling, grammar, and word usage.
- Six Useful Tips To Write Better Hubs
When you're having trouble with your writing, try these six useful tips to write better hubs. Applies to more than just writer's block!
- How to Use Free Photos and Free Clip Art on Your Hub or Website
For those needing help with the aesthetics.
Regardless of the specific issue at hand, some steps can be taken to avoid causing possible problems when you desire to see an error corrected. The following tips are guidelines when contacting fellow Hubbers.
- Email the Hubber. The comment section is awesome for pointing out additional information useful to a hub, but comments of a corrective nature are best done through personal contact. This avoids embarrassment and clearly demonstrates you are not trying to attack anyone or their writing.
- Clearly state your intentions. Be forthcoming in why you are contacting the Hubber. There is no need to try to cover your intentions as that will either cause your advice to be lost in translation or perceived negatively.
- Be polite. Sometimes the most well-meaning of messages comes across as self-righteous or mean. In written communications, we cannot easily demonstrate our attitudes. As such, some humor will be completely lost on many individuals and overly professional messages may sound cold and demanding. Avoid anything that could be misunderstood.
- Do not demand action. The Hubber will act or not act as he or she chooses. Some will be quick to make necessary corrections whereas others will either not care or disagree that there is a problem with his or her hub. Reaching out to make them aware of an error is okay, but demanding they do something about it is not.
- Avoid feeding the fire. Some people simply love drama or at least get a sort of high from the chemical release resulting from unexpected stressors. No matter how in the right you were, they will try to turn you into a bad person. Unfortunately, HubPages, like everywhere else, has these people in its community. If you reach out and a hand bites you in turn, do not be tempted to smack the mouth that bit you. You have no need to try to explain yourself or attempt to calm the individual. Once they have decided to lash out, any response at all will only allow them the opportunity to continue the tantrum.
- Refrain from publicly correcting others. When we are met with negativity, it is tempting to make the issue public. In such drama-packed situations, do not comment on the hub in question or make a post in the forums to point out the errors at all costs. This will be viewed as negative behavior by others despite your efforts to do the right thing.
- Keep writing! Whatever your experience with trying to help other Hubbers improve their writing, do not neglect your own. Likewise, take any advice sent your way with the same level of respect you would want those you contact to take yours. Improve the community one hub at a time.
Hub #1/30 of March Challenge
© 2012 Evylyn Rose