The Hub Hopper: Six Reasons to Hop Hubs
August 2012 Hub Hopper Changes
As of August 2012, there is a new beta version of the Hub Hopper out. Much of the material here may need to be changed, and I'll be updating this hub soon. In the meantime, hub hopping is still a great thing to do!
What is the Hub Hopper?
In case you don't know, the Hub Hopper is a tool built into HubPages that lets you see new hubs at random and evaluate them. Well, almost at random - you do tend to get hubs in your own favorite subjects.
If you go to your "my account" page, you'll see a striped bar across the top, just below the black top menu. The left-most button is "help us out - hop some hubs." Click there and start hopping.
A new hub - published in the last 24 hours will appear.
You can do all the usual things - vote it up (or down); rate it useful, funny, awesome, beautiful, or interesting, and add a comment.
And one more thing. You can flag the hub. When you flag a hub, you tell the folks who work at HubPages (I like to call them The Powers That Be) that this hub appears not to be following HubPages rules.
Of course, you don't have to do anything at all. You can just hop to the next hub. And, any time - whenever your tired of hub hopping, or when your boss yells, "What are you doing, you're supposed to be working" or your girl - or guy - says "Come to bed, honey, I can't wait any more" - well, then you can click on "stop hopping." Wham! Your session is over.
Be a good citizen: Hop some hubs
I hop five to ten hubs a day. It takes just a few minutes, unless I find a hub I really like and want to read in depth - and that, of course, is one reason to hop hubs.
But I see hub hopping as being a good citizen of HubPages. If, for example, there's something out there that's really bad - I have come across one adult-topic pornographic hub myself - we want it gone fast. That stays too long, and the Google rating for HubPages is going to drop. And we're all going to lose out.
I keep an eye out on my neighborhood. I admire people who join their local Neighborhood Watch. HubPages is my online community; That's the number one reason I hop hubs.
Clearing up a big misunderstanding
Reading the forums about the hub hopper makes it clear that there is, or was, a big misunderstanding about flagging a hub. Many people seem to think that flagging a hub rates the hub down or gets it removed. That's not true at all.
Flagging a hub does only one thing: It sends a message to the Powers That Be, saying "hey, take a look." It's anonymous both ways. No one knows you flagged the hub. The flag isn't seen by anyone except a person who works for HubPages. That employee is a specialist in knowing what hubs meet HubPages standards, and which ones don't. If the hub is fine, the flag is cleared, and no one ever knows. If the hub has a problem, the HubPages team member takes appropriate action. What is appropriate action? Well, I'm guessing here, but I'd bet that really bad stuff (like pornography) gets taken down right away. For other items, the Powers That Be contact the Hubber and request changes that will bring the Hub up to HubPages standards.
So, here are a bunch of things that I've seen on HubPages about the Hopper that you don't need to worry about:
- Hoppers do no harm when they flag a Hub. Only the Powers That Be see it.
- Hubs are not taken down for being non-commercial. The Powers That Be allow poetry and stories. And they're not going to critique your poetry.
- There are gray areas, especially around the rules on being "overly promotional." Flag the item anyway. If it's fine, then the Powers That Be will just remove the flag, and the hub (and life) go on.
A bit more about flagging
Here are the official reasons to flag a hub. Flag it if you think the hub is:
- Overly Promotional
- Overmarketed/Poor Links
- Gambling/Alcohol, Drug, Weapon Sales
- Low Quality
- Deceptively Tagged, Titled, or Categorized
- Not Written In English
- Personal Attacks or Hate Speech
Okay, enough background. Now, why hop hubs?
Six Reasons to Hop Hubs
I have fun hopping hubs as soon as I get out of bed every morning. Here's why:
- Good citizenship: I like knowing I'm doing my part to make HubPages safe, full of good stuff, and profitable.
- Things I never thought of: If I go looking in topics I know I like, I meet the familiar. But if I go hub hopping, the random feature shows me ideas, topics, ways of thinking, and ways of writing I would never find anywhere else.
- People who matter: I've met two people who became new followers in the last two days. I'm glad I can help and delight them with my hubs.
- People I can help: My mother had a motto, "I like to be useful." Sometimes, I find a hub with a great idea that is poorly written, or could be a bit better. There are several ways to reach out - some of them private. So I can lend a hand.
- The Contribute Accolade: Hub hopping and flagging a hub that has problems is the only way to get the Contribute accolade. And, if while you're hub-hopping, you make comments, it can boost your commenter rating, too!
- And you never know what might happen! Check out this romantic story: I Met My Wife Via Hub Hopper.
Now, I'm happily married and not looking for a replacement wife. But I do believe that synchronicity, or morphogenic fields, or a loving God with a wild sense of humor does make wonderful things happen when we open a random door. So, if you're out there, and you're meant to find me, write a hub, and a magical meeting is waiting.
How to be a helpful hub-hopper
Here's how I think - and what I do - when I hop hubs:
- I'm honest and generous with my ratings. By honest, I mean I only call something useful if I find it useful, and the same with the other buttons. By generous, I mean I think widely. I don't garden much, so gardening tips are not useful to me. But I garden enough to know a good article on gardening when I see one. So, I will rate a gardening hub Up and Useful if I see it would be useful to a gardener. After all, the votes are relevant to someone who's looking to read an article on the topic.
- I almost never vote something down. In fact, I flag more hubs than I vote down. I only vote down a hub if it is narrow-minded or hostile, or something like that.
- I am cautious about flagging. I read the rules about violations two or three times. I double-check the rule that pops up when I click the flag button. But I also honor the request from the Powers That Be to flag it if I'm uncertain, and let them do their job of moderating the hubs.
- I add comments often. I do this for lots of reasons. I like to encourage thought and discussion. I like to thank and encourage writers. It allows the Hubber to find me, if he or she wants to. (Only commenting is not anonymous in the Hub Hopper.) And, to be honest, it helps with my rating as a commenter, and I like the accolades.
- I find ways to be helpful. If a hub is well-meant, but below par, I do what I can to help out.
Here's how I help out. Let's say I've found a hub that is below par. Maybe the writing is poor and an image is clearly a copy of a poster that has not been given a proper citation. There are many ways to handle that in a kindly way.
- I can write an encouraging comment. I begin by thanking the hubber, and saying something I like. Then I might ask a question, or say I want to hear more about something that seems incomplete or left out.
- If the writing is worse than that, I can open up another browser window (or go back after hopping), and go to the hubber's profile. There, below their photo, I can click on "contact (Hubber)." There, I can write a private email. I've done this when a person' grammar was poor, or they had an uncited image. I basically say, "I really like your work, but I think you could make it a lot better." Then I make a specific suggestion. After that, I add some encouragement like, "keep reading, writing, growing, and learning."
- If the hub has problems that are likely to be violations, I flag it. But if I think the hubber meant well (not pornography or pure marketing) I make make a suggestion to The Powers That Be something like, "Please give this hubber some gentle encouragement. I think they want to do a good job."
When I've finished hopping five or ten hubs, I feel great. I've made a couple of new friends. I've helped some people. And I've found ideas, images, and ways of writing I never would have thought of. (No! Don't flag that last sentence for ending in a preposition. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, that is the kind of pedantic flagging up with which I will not put!)
When I started writing, there were no personal computers. I never had a chance to meet writers and readers who encouraged me. Now, I get lots of encouragement on HubPages. And I'm writing and publishing every day. Here's my biggest reason of all for hub hopping: It's a way of saying "Thank you" for all the love and support I'm getting and paying it forward to new hubbers I meet.