Thumbs Up on HubPages
Published November 12, 2013 by Mary McShane
Providing feedback to fellow hubbers not only helps their self esteem, but is essential for each writer to learn and grow. It is also just a nice thing to do. Everyone likes to see comments on their hubs, but how many overlook (or skip over) the voting feedback bar?
I happened along a question asked in the Freeform Discussion forum which prompted me to write this hub.
janshares asked: "Do you find feedback given to rate your hubs helpful? Not comments, but the feedback readers check off to rate your hub. What feedback do you receive the most between "voted up or down", "useful," "funny," "awesome," beautiful," and "interesting?" Is it helpful to you?"
Feedback (Vote) Section
Your Vote Counts!
She was referring to the Voting Feedback section which is sort of hidden between the ads and the comments. I included a screenshot on the right for clarification.
How many hubbers see none of these choices checked on some of their hubs?
Is it because the reader didn't think the hub was worthy? Is it possible readers don't even "see" that section there? Many readers choose to not use it and skip down to write a comment while it is fresh in their mind.
However, the voting section is ideal for the reader who can't put their thoughts into words to leave a comment. Clicking a choice gives the hubber valuable feedback just as would a comment. The voting is anonymous and the vote counts!
Check out the numbers from HP's FAQ page
Why Does The Voting Section Matter?
Another similar forum question was: "What is the purpose of the voting section? Is it in reference to how the hub is written - as in accuracy of content, grammar, wording etc? Or is it in reference to whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the subject matter presented? Do thumbs up or thumbs down, checking off one of the other feedback choices really matter?"
You bet they do.
The voting section is not only if you agree or disagree with the topic. It also factors into how HubPages ranks a hubber and is partly used in consideration for contests, accolades and features, like Editor's Choice, classification of levels for commenters, etc.
How many times have you read a hub and skipped over the feedback section so you could quickly write your comment and move on to your next read? Many of us do it.
If we have a large reading list, keeping up with visiting, reading and commenting can be daunting.
It is also possible that some readers don't even notice the voting section because it appears at the end of the hub, where often there is an advertisement or two above them, and a number of suggested hubs, like the example directly below this paragraph.
What HubPages FAQ Says
Do you have some really good hubs that just have gone nowhere, no matter how much you polished and tweaked them? Do they have little to no traffic or voting feedback? Do you ever wonder why your hub scores didn't increase?
Maybe you should. Commenting in the forums and on other hubs gets your name out there and can drive internal traffic to your hubs, thus helping your hub score, Voting on other author's hubs also plays a factor in your own overall scores.
Here is a direct quote from HubPages:
What makes a HubScore change?
HubScores are based on a wide range of different factors, including the amount of traffic your Hub gets, your reputation in the community, reader response to your Hubs (e.g. voting them up or down, leaving comments, sharing Hubs in the Feed, and leaving Hubber feedback), and the uniqueness of your content.
With this being the case, getting more traffic to your Hubs over time will certainly improve your HubScore, but keep in mind that the quality of your traffic will also influence the metric (if a higher percentage of your traffic comes from reputable sources, you'll see a more positive effect on your HubScore).
Advertisements and Hub Suggestions Bury the Feedback Section
Example of number of votes vs. the number of comments
The HubPages scoring system should motivate each and every one of us to continue clicking feedback, leaving comments, empowering and encouraging each other.
Hubbers providing links to their own hubs at the end of each hub is an acceptable promotion. But why not also help a fellow hubber, especially one who may not enjoy your level of success, by linking your hub to one of their hubs?
This helps both of you increase your traffic and your ranking. We can't achieve success on our own; we need help, feedback and encouragement from others.
Each of us have so much power in our hands at this very moment because we can help our fellow hubbers succeed with just a few clicks.
Read Some Q & A From The Forums About Voting
Checking Votes and Feedback
Some hub authors skip over the feedback section in their hubs, as it is not important to them. They put more stock in the written comments for both feedback, suggestions, and compliments.
Other authors of hubs live to see what readers will check off, especially if they wrote a hub that was humorous. If the vote choice "funny" has no number next to it, showing that it was not clicked, they might ask themselves: "Didn't you think my hub was funny?"
Imagine how it feels from the hubber's end of the computer screen.
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
From my reading, I am getting that not so long ago, there used to be a number next to the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down at the beginning of the bar telling hubbers how many votes they received on each thumb. Now, just the icon is there for readers to click, and the vote tally is known only to HP, not to the hubber.
I wonder how many readers know what it means to the hubber when they click the Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Hovering over the thumbs gives this valuable information that should influence the mind of every reader.
The message reads BEFORE you click the thumb:
"You can help the HubPages community highlight top quality content by ranking this article up or down."
The message reads AFTER you click the thumb:
"Thank you for ensuring top quality content on HubPages."
Now I ask you.....why would you not click a thumbs up and want to help your fellow hubber's work rank as top quality content. After all, isn't that the underlying message - to write top quality content?
While I wouldn't want to be discouraged by seeing a lot of thumbs down clicks (if anyone bothered to click at all), I do agree the actual number of clicks on the thumbs should not be public. Somewhere in the bowels of HP's files, there is a computer program that keeps track of the count and that's good enough for me.
Are You A Clicker?
Do You Click To Vote Thumbs Up/Down, Useful, Funny, Awesome, Beautiful or Interesting On Hubs?
Are Ads An Attraction Or A Distraction?
Because I wrote an insurance hub on the Affordable Care Act, there are a lot of ads on the hub (screenshot located to the right) geared to that subject. If one is signed up for several ad programs for income, some hubs may have more advertising than others. I used to fear the ads were a distraction that would take readers away before they would comment.
Some readers see the ads as a distraction, so they skip over the ads to get to the comments, missing the feedback bar.
Other readers might click an advertisement of some importance to them, taking them off your hub before they have clicked feedback or left a comment. If they do come back to your hub to leave a comment, that feedback bar is the last thing on their mind. Their objective is to leave a comment and their only concern is how they are going to phrase it.
We can't write a paragraph into each hub saying we would appreciate it if they clicked the feedback button of their choice, thereby soliciting it. That is why some hubbers are now using the "ratings" capsule.
The Ratings Capsule
The red stars in the ratings capsule stand out in the hub, catches the eye and some say readers seem more likely to click it. Some hubbers think this keeps readers engaged by giving their public rating (opinion) and satisfies the hub author's need for feedback.
There are some hubbers who have taken the non-voting matter into their own hands by using the "ratings" capsule and asking for a rating. This can be a double edged sword.
The ratings capsule was originally intended for recipes and review hubs. Some forum participants say it can be construed as soliciting votes and wonder if it is an acceptable use in HubPage's consideration of hubber statistics, as in the voting feedback section.
The style of HubPages feedback system is unique, but maybe it could be showcased better, so that more readers use it. Perhaps making it more prominent (larger lettering, section off with borders to stand out etc) or strategically placing it directly in the comment box would help it not be overlooked so readers use it to give their rating (thumbs up/down, feedback choices).
Do No Harm
Many readers are very conscientious about clicking to vote. In fact, they make a point of it while also mentioning it in their comments.
None of us will ever know the value that hub authors place on which voting icon we click because, as a society, we are not apt to complain when we didn't get a pat on the back. We address positive feedback/comments, and as a rule, we don't comment on things that will open a can of worms to possibly show we are not appreciative.
Isn't it nice that most of the voting choices are Positive and not Negative choices, so there is no way for someone to click, for example, "I Hated This Hub!" :)
In my chosen field - medicine - we were taught three words. Do. No. Harm.
The same should apply here on HubPages. If you don't have anything nice to say that will lift up the hub author, don't type anything at all.
I realize that the Thumbs Down can be very attractive to you if you didn't like the hub. Rather than contribute to the hub author's distress, and possible future decline in scoring, ranking, and reputation, just don't click anything.
Don't leave any comment at all because your dislike will shine through that comment like the early morning sun.
Judging from the number of questions in the forums regarding "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, Interesting, Funny, Awesome, Useful, and Beautiful," it seems that encouraging readers to vote would go a long way to not only make the hub author feel that the effort they put into their work was worthwhile (in addition to any comments), but will also help in ranking their hub for quality content.
Just as you would thank your host on the way out the door after a dinner party, remember to click your appreciation for the hubber in the voting bar.
You just might be giving a boost of confidence to a hubber who needs it.
© November, 2013 Mary McShane
After reading this hub, will you be more inclined to click to vote on hubs you visit?
© 2013 Mary McShane