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Thoughts on Hubpages Netiquette
I haven’t been around Hubpages for a very long time. In fact, at the time of writing I’ve been here for just shy of three weeks. I’ve been around the internet for a long time, however, and I have learned a great deal about netiquette. Sometimes it is exceptionally easy to figure out the code of conduct and behavior. On my own forum I choose to lay things out quite clearly for members so that there is no confusion. My assumption is that visitors and members are highly intelligent women, but I also know that sometimes a reminder is necessary, especially considering that more and more conservative families are beginning to use the internet and their members might not know what netiquette is.
As is often the case with a community, Hubpages has its own code. Hubpages members receive a lot of slack and the staff doesn’t rule over us with an iron fist. I like that about this site. The staff treats us as the adults that we are and trusts us to resolve our own differences. I have discovered over time on the internet that the more room a community has to grow and develop on their own, the stronger the community will become. And Hubpages remains a strong community. That’s one of the reasons I am happy to consider myself a part of it!
Netiquette and Hub Creation
Having joined in the lively discussions on the Hubpages forums, I have since discovered the fact that it appears that some individuals do not understand the netiquette behind hub creation. Some people are taking the “easy way out” and are copying and pasting their hubs from other sources. Not only is this a gross violation of copyright, but it causes duplicate content (which affects search engine optimization). This appears to be one of the key problems that new hubbers experience.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this “borrowed” content is plagiarism, pure and simple. There is nothing wrong with using an information source to obtain information and to do research. If you are going to do more than blogging here at Hubpages it will probably be necessary at some point for you to do a bit of research. I do quite a bit of research myself. For me, this research is usually done simultaneously while I write a hub. I paraphrase information or relate it to experiential knowledge of which I am in possession. This is how it works for me.
If you don’t know enough about a subject to write an original hub about it, choose another subject or learn how to do effective research without “borrowing” copyrighted content!
This includes contents that other hubbers have created on Hubpages.
One of the first things that I noticed when I joined Hubpages was that I quickly got a few fans. There were some really great people who joined my fan club in those early days, and it made me feel good that there were people who were interested enough in what I had written to become a fan of mine. I wrote a lot in the first week, sometimes as many as five hubs a day. My hub score increased rather quickly, I assume because of the number of hubs that I was creating and the fact that they were getting a fair number of views right from the outset. The higher my hubscore got, the more fans I saw adding themselves to my group.
Who doesn’t love fans? I love seeing that I am climbing so quickly towards 100 fans in my fan club! I am so grateful to the vast majority of you!
You will notice, on the other hand, that I am not a fan of a large group of hubbers. Why not?
The honest truth is because I only have so much time to read during the day. I am a writer here on Hubpages as well as the mother of a young child and a wife. My day is busy. Because I do take the time to read recent hubs by every single one of the hubbers of whom I am a fan, I keep the number of people on my list to a minimum. If I love your hubs, I’ll add you. I will also read your hubs and likely add them to social book marking sites. I don’t always comment, but sometimes that’s just because I don’t have a lot to add.
I feel that I’m doing the right thing. I would prefer not to become a fan of someone who’s hubs I will not read every time that one is published. I try to treat my favorite hubbers with a great deal of respect and I try to do what I can to help them out. I join their fan clubs because I admire them or their work. Perhaps I find them funny or touching. Whatever the case, I really think things through before I add myself to a hubber fan club.
What is not okay, however, is adding yourself to a hubber fan club just in order to receive clicks on your profile and therefore on your hubs. I will usually look at your profile if you become a fan of mine. I will also usually look at your hubs. My visits, however, aren’t going to help you to make money on Hubpages. Granted, they will certainly boost your traffic, but I can’t help you unless you give me something to which I can link or something that I can bookmark in honesty as something that is related to a personal interest.
Be genuine in your fanning! Don’t join a fan club to boost your own traffic! I find that this is quite honestly counter-productive. If I am interested in your writings, I will very likely find you through other hubbers. If I love what you write, I will probably add myself to your fan club and bookmark your hubs as well. It means a great deal more to me (and other hubbers) if you are genuinely interested in my work when you add yourself to my fan club!
Oh… Yes, I would prefer to have a smaller number of genuine fans than a bigger number of self-promoters!
Comment and Fanmail Netiquette
One of the best and worst things about Hubpages and blogs is the comments feature. I believe that most writers just love to see comments on their hubs. We appreciate knowing that others enjoy what we have written or find it useful, and many of us enjoy discussing our interests (and therefore our hubs).
The same goes for “fan mail.” It’s great to see that someone has left another comment about your profile for others to see, and it’s great to know that you are admired by someone who has added themselves to your fan club. I don’t know about you, but I get a warm feeling every time I am notified of a new comment or fan mail!
There are some great things about comments and fan mail. There are also some nuisances about comments and fan mail.
- Please do not post "spam mail" to a hubber's account. This type of activity is frowned upon and is very disrespectful to the hubber. As with fanning, you should never post a comment or fan mail purely with the attention to drive traffic to your own profile!
- Be genuine in your comments. "Nice hub" can feel good to a hubber, but it means a good deal more if you take time to make your comments personal. "I like how you talked about your mother's cooking in this hub."
- If it appears that the hubber is willing to take feedback, offer it. Discussion is also usually acceptable in comments.
- Do not use the comments to either flame or troll for flames. Insulting the hubber is a good way to get your comment ignored. Please comment intelligently and appropriately.
I am not going to take this directly from my own forum's netiquette post, but the advice is very similar:
- Don't flame people or engage in flame wars. If you find yourself becoming highly emotional and/or irrational, it's best to back off. I have recently been put in this position and realize it has taken a change in me, personally, to separate myself from the situation.
- When reading posts, try to keep in mind that in general, posters don't intend their messages to be a personal attack on an individual. Most forum posters are real people who have the same ability to think and feel that you do. I say "most" because on occasion you will run into a "sock" (essentially a false account with a different member behind it pretending to be someone else).
- Attack the idea, not the person. If someone says something that upsets you, rather than calling the individual names or making assumptions about their intelligence or lifestyle, counter with your own thoughts and opinions on the subject at hand. Try not to get personal: you probably don't know the person to whom you are speaking, however much you might think you do.
- Don't troll. People, seriously: Please do not become "that" member of a community who is constantly making defamatory remarks and inciting other people into a flame war. It isn't attractive and it isn't going to make you more popular.
- It is also very poor netiquette to post simply for the purpose of increasing your forum post count. I have seen this on several occasions. In one case, a member increased her post count by more than 5 thousand posts in the course of three weeks by making double and triple posts. During that time period I managed 500 posts on a forum on which I am very active.
- I try to always assume that the person to whom I am speaking is intelligent. They might be having a difficult time communicating on a given day, but I consider people intelligent until they prove themselves otherwise.
In the whole, it is a good idea to simply make yourself aware of the fact that a community is a group of people with common interests or ideas and that there are going to be disagreements. Don't consider yourself free to disrupt that community by trolling or flaming people. Treating other individuals with a genuine kindness and respect will get you much further in this and any community than will trolling and flaming!
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