When I look at the questions section of hubpages I see pages and pages of silly questions. A lot of the time, when I click on "unanswered" or "latest" I see that the same person has asked ten or so questions in a row.
I suspect that in most cases this is because of the fact that they earn money for asking questions (they get paid for page views in the same way you get paid for page views to a hub). They are enticed by the idea of writing a question, and then basically being paid for other people's work- it is other people that provide the answers, which is the content of the page.
But often, a question is never answered. Especially when the same person asks multiple similar questions at the same time. So it's a low quality, junky page with no information. And I presume it still gets indexed by google, as you can get google traffic to a question.
With all the attention towards removing low traffic and low quality hubs, I am surprised nothing has been done about low traffic and low quality question pages.
I've been systematically deleting mine that google hates. 75% of those left actually get traffic every week.
I totally agree with you on this one. Here is what I think the cause is"
People know activity adds to profile score, so they spend time asking stupid questions, or repeating the same question that another person asked and received an answer for.
2. I truly believe people think they earn money by asking questions.
3. Thinking asking questions actually increase the scores of their hubs.
I don't think I've asked a question in quite awhile. I think I'll try to come up with some tomorrow.
I've earned a few dollars from questions - I do tend to trim questions that have no traffic though...
Hubbers get paid by Adsense when outside viewers click on an ad. The questions and answers on my feed are usually pretty good. I like to ask and answer questions. I agree that questions need improvement. discussion on a previous thread covered ways to improve the questions. They often have no substance to them. Hubbers need a reminder of their real purpose. HP does get their share of the money. Any ideas for improvement?
Use the same type of "idle - no index" system as hubs get? A question gets no traffic, stick a no-index tag on it.
I like Wilderness' idea about adding no index tags... but I personally think that the poster of a question earning money for the views was a bad idea to begin with. It's like including advertisements on forum topics and the original poster benefits from everyone else's contributions to the thread. I mean, seriously, how hard is it to post a question? It's everybody else that does the work by answering it.
Removing financial incentive to post lots of questions will reduce the number of junky questions posted in bulk just to make money. It won't fix the problem entirely, because as LindaSmith said some people may post questions to increase their profile score, but it will mean it's less prevalent.
What will be left are mainly genuine questions, instead of people that put as a question something that should really be a hub, hoping other people will do the writing for them so they get the views and the money without doing the work.
Even when it wasn't possible to earn money from Questions, lots of newbies assumed you could. Just like many newbies assume you can earn money from posting in the forums. The quality of questions has never been good, in all the time I've been here.
I think you're on to something, personally. In fact I brought this up in another thread.
HubPages is putting a lot of effort into hiding "low quality" Hubs, while ignoring the Questions section.
Google cannot tell the difference between a Question and a Hub. They're both just pages on this website. If a poor quality Hub can damage the site, then surely an unanswered question, or a question with very few answers, would be just as bad?
I agree with Wilderness - we need an "idle - no index" system for Questions. And we need it urgently, because I can't see any point in doing all the work on Hubs if Questions (which are probably poorer quality than most Hubs) are still out there.
In the meantime, Hubbers can help by going and looking at Questions on their own sub-domains and deleting any which didn't get half a dozen answers (because in Google's eyes, anything with very few words is low quality).
We *do* noindex Questions that see very low levels of engagement over time, so that's handled.
We are well aware that Questions on HubPages need work, but have to hone our treatment of Hubs before moving to another section of the site. We can't leave such an important project half-baked, of course.
I quite appreciate your concern though- as well as your urge that Hubbers more critically look at their own Questions.
I think the OP was very generous in characterizing many questions as "silly." A great many are just plain stupid, either asking something that is pretty much general knowledge that most everyone already knows the answer to, or else matters of common sense, where stopping to think things through a bit, instead of asking a question just to ask a question might provide the answer.
Also, as pointed out, there are a plethora of duplicate, triplicate, even quadruplicate and beyond, questions on the exact same topic(s), phrased in only slightly different ways. It is out of control.
I don't answer questions I find foolish--I have better things to do with my time. However, I've sometimes been tempted to answer some of the worst examples along the lines of, "You can't be serious!" or "Surely, you jest!" and once in a while, "Are you really that stupid?!" But, I refrained.
As for me, I was not even aware that we earn anything from the questions. That certainly explains why some people seem to think it is appropriate to flood the questions section with ridiculous topics. Why not just put that all energy into writing some quality hubs??????? I only ask a question if I want to know something that I don't already know, and am interested in people's opinions, or various methods that would not be found by searching the Internet. Rarely, I'll pose a question as a sort of survey to determine if a topic is worth writing about.
I don't even know how/where to find the information on questions with regard to the traffic they get, or to delete them.....
I agree that they should be given no-index tags instead of our hubs! In fact, I'll go a step further, and suggest that the questions be a strictly internal feature for and by Hubbers, and not accessible to the public. That would stop a lot of the nonsense that is going on in one easy step.
That's why Hubpages have given us subdomain. If you ask stupid question all the time, you are the one who will be hurt. So we don't have to worry about it.
A possible answer mught be limiting the amount of questions you can ask in any period of time, perhaps tied to Hubber Score, so:
Score: 0-25 - At most 1 a day, no more than 3 in a week
Score 26-50 - At most 1 a day. no more than 7 a week
Score 51 - 75 - At most 2 a day, no more than 10 a week
Score 76+ - At most 2 a day, no more than 14 a week
That would make people really have to think about the questions that they're asking and would also incentivize them to ask questions that are likely to get lots of views / responses as it will only be those that get ad revenue.
I know that some newbies will have lots of questions that need to be answered and might have lower HubScores, so we can direct them to the appropriate sections on the forums / learning center.
The questions section was never intended to be used as a place to ask for help about Hubbing. It would be great if HubPages could find a way to direct those queries to the forums.
The Questions section has gone through several incarnations since I started at HubPages and has never worked well. Its original concept was as a place where people could ask questions which would give members ideas for Hubs
At one stage there was a collection of the best questions called "IdeaBank" and I always thought that would be a great idea for the section. Sure, it's not immediately obvious what that means, but people would click on the name to find out, and then they'd be more likely to appreciate what it's for.
I've had a somewhat deeper think about this and come up with some suggestions for changes that might be made to the Questions section; I've posted them in the Suggestions for HP Improvements section of the forums and I'd be garateful if you could drop by and let me know your thoughts:
WebAnswers is a site with some of the most vacuous low-quality questions you can hope to find.
Nevertheless, a few minutes spent posting there a couple of times a week is bringing me in about four time as much in Adsense revenue as I get on HP from Adsense plus HP Ads combined.
I pick questions I can answer off the top of my head or which require just a few seconds googling to find the answer. Since linking is discouraged, I rarely make reference to any sources, and I never post images. Contrast this with the 6+ hours it has taken me to research and produce most of the 22 hubs I have here!
So I do not think the questions on HP have all that much to do with the poor rewards so many people are seeing here.
You've got that right about WebAnswers - I do a little there and find the questions incredible. To the point that it concerns me that HP will degenerate to the level found there.
Can't agree with the income differential, though - it's pennies to dollars for me. WA hasn't anywhere near the potential of HP, plus of course it's even less "passive" than HP by far. I also note that it's a rare click on WA that pays more than a nickel.
I earned over $20 from WA last month and less than $4 from HP. This month is not doing so well, but so far I have about $3 on WA versus 76 cents on HP, so again a several-fold difference in favour of WA.
The point is, though, that WA is money for nothing. I spend a couple of minutes throwing in an answer or two a couple of times a week without much thought or research. I do it while having a coffee and a short break from work and don't really notice it. That frequency seems to keep visits and clicks ticking
With a hub, on the other hand, I usually spend a couple of days doing odd chunks of research here and there so difficult to estimate the actual time, then spend 3-4 hours writing and polishing the article, then more hours searching for images or photographing things, then another hour or so trying to find Amazon products to feature, and then have to wrestle with the capsules so as to produce the hub itself. This usually means having to then work flat out through the night to meet work deadlines because I have lost so much time on the hub.
To each their own, I guess. I earned $20 from WA, but answered180 questions to do that - maybe 20 hours as I have a hard time finding something I can answer. First month - hopefully it will grow without that kind of effort.
On the other hand, I earned over 20 times that from HP from the time to write 2 hubs - maybe 10 hours.
I know which one I choose; WA is mostly about getting ideas for hubs for me. Earning from questions comes a distant second.
I joined a few days ago, and don't really understand the questions section at all - it seems really odd that there are so many unanswered ones, and very difficult to navigate as well. I didn't realise you could get adsense income for writing questions.
This theory really makes sense. I think google then gets overwhelmed by the sheer volume of these junk questions and decides to penalize the whole the whole site. Dont know if there is anything that can be done about this though.
Rest assured that we are WELL AWARE of issues with Questions and that we have every intention of addressing them. We cannot do so immediately (aside from working on making help channels on HubPages more accessible and visible, a project we are in the midst of working on right now), as we have our hands full with other projects that will:
1. Improve the quality of Hubs on HubPages
2. Boost Hubber earnings
Rest assured that we WILL get to Questions, though. Your concerns are not wasted on our ears!
I am new in HP and I still don't have idea about what W&A part of the site is. Anyhow, if throwing relevant questions can help improve hubscore or earnings, hmmm... I would love trying to do one good question....
WA is another website altogether. WebAnswers.com. Not associated with HP.
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So, are you just answering/asking questions to get an accolade? I am.
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