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Hubbers Criticizing Other Hubbers

Updated on June 15, 2010

If you can't write, be a critic!

"To criticise can be to antagonise"   Diogenes 11      cartoon credit to
"To criticise can be to antagonise" Diogenes 11 cartoon credit to

Criticism: A Sword to be Handled with Care!

Petra Vlah, a hubber from the USA, recently published a hub article telling us of how another hubber had published an article about her in which he or she criticized some of the English used by Petra and some of the mistakes this hubber thought Petra had made. (Petra's Hub:  "A Hubpages Nightmare Experience".).  I must say I wasn’t able to read the critique in question, so my comments are based on what Petra said in her “rebuttal,” if you like.

I think this type of critical article, positive or negative, would seem to expose a loophole in hub pages content wherein another hubber can publish unsolicited commentary about a peer’s ability - or lack of it, in their opinion - which cannot be removed, (as can comments) by the target of the article until a complaint has been addressed by hubpages staff.

I personally enjoy some of Petra’s articles and admire Petra for what she has achieved in written English, which she confesses she has only learned fairly recently. As writers and ESL teachers know, English is a brute of a language in which to become truly proficient and bi-lingual - especially written. Anyhow, I believe readers of people writing in a language not their own - namely, English, should be more concerned with the content of the hub than a few minor mistakes in spelling, punctuation or grammar.

But the point I am struggling to make herein is that there should be an alteration to our vast Hubpages computer which allows any hubber to read any article published about them and to OK or deny publication of it for any reason they choose BEFORE it is put into the public domain.

The said critique has been removed, I see, but the damage has been done and Petra was obviously a bit miffed. She is a good writer and is working hard to turn out meaningful hubs and I am sure she will not be bothered for long by this sort of attack. My wise old grandpa said most forms of criticism stems from insecurity in the criticizor (new word) who is actually saying, “See, I wouldn’t do that therefore I am better than you!” I am sure if Petra wanted her hubs edited any further than her spell-check she would have asked a friend to do it - or even thrown her soul out on this forum and said “Lambaste me, I am such a silly!”

But Petra prefers to soldier-on, studying books on English and learning every day how to correctly spell excruciatingly pronounced and spelled words in a language that has one of the largest vocabularies on the planet. This is why British and probably American teenagers too, have opted out of conventional English and invented their own special language which has the added value of them being able to converse without the “crusties” (anyone over 21) understanding what the heck they are talking about. If you find this hard to believe, see how 12 to 16-year-olds communicate on Facebook. Cockney-Pidgin?

I suppose most prolific hubbers get unfair and nasty comments appearing at the foot of their articles, as well as the heart-warming positive ones. In this case, I am not talking about a reader disagreeing with some of the content and saying so. Or even politely correcting a hubber who has been misinformed or who lacked some facts about his or her subject. I mean having to endure bad or profane language; criticism for the sake of being critical, or the type of criticism Petra received: apparently ill-willed and badly judged in the case of someone valiantly producing very readable articles. In no instance have I found that the small mistakes made by Petra and many others having to express themselves in what is not their mother-tongue, resulted in my not understanding fully what the writer was trying to say. In fact, sometimes these little glitches can be charming and actually add to the enjoyment of the article.

I will publish this. If you disagree, Petra, with anything I have said, please let me know and I will withdraw the article immediately. Bob.


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 6 years ago from North Texas

      Never doubt that you are gorgeous, Bob!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Well, thankee kindly for that m' if I wuz only a bit more handsome and younger!

      R x

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 6 years ago from North Texas

      Personally, I always admire anyone who can speak more than one language since I can't. Most Americans are lazy that way and I'm no exception. Better, I think -- to work on improving one's self, instead of picking on someone who is less than proficient in a second (or third) language. One should use that energy to improve one's own grasp of their own language, or learn another one, rather than nit pick someone who is at least trying to communicate with people who have, as you say, one of the most difficult languages on the planet! Anyone who can speak English as a second language so that they can be understood (even if not perfectly) is doing better than me, since I have no hope of speaking any other language so well as they are speaking English.

      You have a kind heart, Bob. That will get you points every time!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks for all comments on this subject.


    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      Hi diogenes, I have read many of Petra's hubs by now and I think she should br applauded for learning a new language which in its self dificult but to go one further again and write hub s in a newly learnt language as well. Well done Petra I say and to you as well diogenes for bringing this to our attention. Take care.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      I've read a few of the critique hubs, and I always find it disheartening to believe respected writers would take liberty to tear another person down. It lowers their respectability factor in my opinion. I think Petra writes not only with great insight, but passionately.

      Isn't there something about the shadow self in this?

      those who criticize others are uncomfortable with something in their own life and point it towards another in which they see part of themselves? It's nice that you have taken the time to share this with the community. as you say, handle the sword with care. :]

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Trish and HH...hope you are having a great day...Bob

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 7 years ago from The English Midlands

      I find this kind of thing really unpleasant, but, once we put ourselves on the web, we open ourselves up to the responses of trolls of every description, so I suppose that it is to be expected.

      It is also to be expected that moderators will deal with such matters quickly end efficiently, I think.

      Luckily, most hubbers are polite, kind and supportive. :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, Bob, and thank you for your wonderful compliment.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks for interest and kind observations. I believe we should build each other up where possible and deserved, not tear each other down...Bob

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      diogenes, thank you, kind and wise sir!

      IMO, Petra is a brilliant researcher and writer, objective as well as fired with genuine passion and feeling for her subjects! I'm constantly amazed how well she commands a language not her own, and only recently acquired at all! She is constantly improving her command of it, but not slinking behind closed doors. She vigorouosly brings her messages to light for the benefit of her readers.

      As you say, if she wished to have them pre-edited, that would be simple enough, but she is more interested in WRITING than in meeting a standard which really is non-essential to the content at this point. Perhaps she could just ignore the attack on her grammar and be no worse off, but the quality of the HubPage experience itself suffers when such deliberately mean-spirited actions get by, perhaps.

      I could not agree more about your points here. I've been recently aware of another excellent writer's being lambasted by self-appointed critics, as well.

      While there should be a way to offer contrary comments and criticisms among peers, that is surely not a major purpose of HubPages. When it becomes distructive, it has crossed the boundaries.

      Thanks again for writing this!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Nell: Sorry that happened to you. Some of this rudeness borders on libel, if enough of us complain, Hubpages will do something about it. It allows a lot of cowards to take cheap shots at other hubbers...even casual people can come on line and add comments, but we can remove these...Bob

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, diogenes, I have read a few of Petra's hubs now, and find them really enjoyable. this is really upsetting, it happened to me last week, I had written a hub about Space, and someone had come over and commented on it, which was fine, but his 'comments' were nothing but a speal of insults! so I deleted them. he then went quiet, so I though I would go over to see what he was writing, and to my horror, found a hub, not only about me, but my picture was at the top of the article in full glorious technicolour! so I read it, and it was the whole comments, mine and his, and he insulted everything I said! so I had a word with the hubstaff and they got him to take it of. but I was so mad! you are totally right, this should be an option on the page so that we can see whether somebody has written a hub about us. thanks for this. nell

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks to all for follow up comments. We ought to start a country for hubbers only! Bob

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      Well said and who said that everyone has to be perfect all the time. If everyone was perfect there would be no need to be here at all.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

      Well said, gently yet firmly. HubPagers are generally a great and friendly cast. Thanks for your comments...

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      All I can say is, thanks diogenes for writing this hub and for coming to Petra's defense. She's a great writer and I'm proud to be one of her followers (and yours too).

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I thank all of you for the support you showed me and I especially thank Bob for coming to my rescue once again.

      I just wrote a hub about the never ending challenges of the English languages hoping that the natives will understand at least part of what we "damn foreigners" are going through

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      On the behalf of Petra, thanks all. HelloHello, you are another example of someone writing interesting, honest hubs in your acquired language and good luck to you and all who bravely do this....Bob

    • Slainia profile image

      Slainia 7 years ago from Goderich Ontario

      The only thing I can add to this is the question - how do we know when it's ok to offer CONSTRUCTIVE criticism? Ie every now and then I see an error, and I'll point it out politely, but I'm left wondering if I've insulted the author when that's entirely not my intention.

      As for reading and writing in english as a second/third/fourth language, that's somethign to admire, not ridicule. I've read petra's post on her experience, and I have to say based on her work in that she's very readable. I wish more hubs were that way..

    • rkhyclak profile image

      rkhyclak 7 years ago from Ohio

      I'm a stickler for spelling, grammar and punctuation...but only in my own hubs! I applaud Petra and others who are working so hard to produce QUALITY material in our crazy English language. This is not the first time (and surely not the last) someone has produced a hub negatively targeting another hubber. I do wish the Hub "police" would do a better job in catching this! Great hub, Diogenes. It is nice to see hubbers coming to other hubbers "rescue"!

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 7 years ago

      Some people are good at this and consider it good for coming to limelight,but this boomerangs on them.

    • profile image

      dreamreachout 7 years ago

      You have made a good point with this hub!! Its awful and should be condemned. I have seen some similar negativity in the question and answer section as well. Kudos to you for highlighting something that is plaguing the hub pages!!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Some people have trouble seeing the good in things. They genuinely believe that by criticizing others it makes them look smarter or better in comparison. How tragic.

      Words are just tools. The idea and meaning are far more important. As Diogenes points out, some things are better for having little quirks!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      If somebody really had to do this sort of thing why wasn't it done by directly writing to Petra on the Petra's profile. Now that would have been a genuine care. From my own experience, I know, to learn another language is hard but people should admire this and if they see problems should write to them by email and show manners.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I am humbled by the response of the community to my nightmare experience of being shred to pieces by a critic who believed it was “constructive” to point out my less than perfect English.

      You are right; the ones who fail as writers will become critics and take their revenge.

      Thank you so much for this hub, I appreciate your support and as the Greek philosopher Diogenes said to the person who was blocking his sun, I will say the same to my critic “move away and don’t take from me what you can not give”


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