Honestly, HP needs to step up and start filtering their input. I have been here for over 5 years and I have watched a lot of changes, but what I see as what must be the most damaging to HP (ergo we writers) with Google is the number of low quality Hubs being allowed in the gate. I hear a lot of excuses and I hear a lot of bleeding hearts supporting the low quality writers, but in reality, Google is telling us all something with their tighter restrictions on HP (and us). They are saying that our HP site has a lot of low quality articles that they cannot make as much money from as they desire.
Yes, that's right, HP needs to make money and they need us to write better articles so Google makes money. This, my friends is the reality of our world.
I, and a lot of you, have to be tired of people submitting such poorly written articles. Each morning, with my first cup of coffee I scroll through what is new (and interesting) for me to read. And, by the time I get to the bottom of my offerings, I will have blocked at least 3 or more submissions. Why do I block them? 1- Non-sensical Title, 2- wrong spelling in title, 3- Non-sensical descriptions in beginning of article. 4- article so poorly written that it cannot be read.
And, imagine Google and its spyders trying to scroll through millions of article and tripping over such poorly written tripe?
Honestly, here are my suggestions; 1- HP needs to assign more people to manage the front end of their business and divert the poorly written newly submitted works. 2- If they divert an article, tell the writer what they did wrong rather than some generalized comment that drives us all crazy because typically you have no clue what they found wanting in your article. And, 3- HP needs to become our partners and not some isolated group of people whose sole goal is the almighty dollar.
Here's a suggestion, let's have an HP for relatively accomplished writers with some strong gateways for us all that assure that HP is a top quality site. So, you ask, what about the rest of us who are not such great writers? How about a sister site that has relatively lower standards, and provides more and better writing guides (even online teaching courses?) for the "learners" and when their article has been deemed as meeting a certain level of quality, offer the opportunity for the writer to have it moved to the "professional" site? With this, we writers would get more of the freedoms we all complain about not having, available on one site and also have our "best of the best" on the "Pro Writer" site. Google would be happy, HP would also make money, and we, the good and the not so good, will have our quality access to the web and even make a few bucks ourselves.
Finally something worth thinking about. Hope HP listens.
You already know that I am 100% with you on this issue, but I do wonder if it is the job of a website to teach people what they are supposed to know before they ever are permitted to produce online content.
I would like to see newcomers have to pass a written test before they would even be permitted to enter tier 1 of your plan.
Such tests are easy to access and can even be automatically graded technologically.
At the very least, people should have to prove that they know how to
use basic grammar
construct a correct sentence
create a paragraph,
write in a logical sequence
understand how to use the most basic and commonly used homonyms
create a piece of work that maintains its focus
These are basic skills any writer should have. If they don't, they should not be allowed to come through HP's portal.
I have said many times that HP is not a school, nor should it be. It is one thing to provide a little help, but quite another to teach people the basic skills they should have prior to thinking they can earn money based on the work they provide.
As a former Language Arts teacher I simply cringe when I see some of the work that is put forward here. I am told that we see this work before it passes QAP, but my question is "Why?". Nobody but the team should see articles until they are published. I think setting things up this way would eliminate some of the upset we feel when we "see" bad work. We assume it is published, but often it has not yet made it to that point.
I just want to say you are not alone. I feel that more needs to be done about helping the new writers to succeed. This type of separation would seem to be a solution that would keep Paul Edmonson and the editors busy and happy on the Pro site. It would also mean that new writers get a chance to develop relatively securely. Google would no longer have to make broad algorithmic conclusions about a mixed site. It may even result in a more reasonable treatment by Google. Once they find that good writers are coming from the lower level site.
I for one like the way you were thinking here.
Imagine the advantages. A HP site and an HP-PRO site. Everyone gets a place for honing their craft (or not) and the higher quality articles are sitting in a more respected site for readers.
The mind reels at the possibilities for us all;
1- Maybe a "Social Page template" where we can write shorter articles with lower word count requirements.
2- Maybe a "Photography Page template" where the amateur photographer in us all can express ourselves with our favorite photography. And. have the photos protected from being copied by bandits.
3- Maybe an "Informational Page template" where more technically oriented writers can generate and display information rich articles with easy listing of references and non-opinionated text. These articles would become parts of an abreviated HP-pedia for reference by the public.
4- Maybe a "Political Commentary Page template" where those of who want to rage against or for the political system and generate quality commentary on the latest news of the world.
In other words, maybe HP should grow up and get into the 21st Century of functional web sites and be a leader and stop being a follower???????
Back when the Earth was still cooling, I wrote for About.com. You couldn't even become a guide there until you first submitted a writing sample, and then went through training, where an editor monitored everything you wrote. I would love it if HP would institute some sort of writing review before allowing people to publish on the live site.
Timetraveler2- So true and well said.But, one thing I have lived long enough to recognize that we need to accept is the essential "laziness" of so much of our American population these days.
We took education as a task but a necessary one, while so many have been raised to take education as more than a task, but to many education is a waste of time. We learned how to write in Script, today it is no longer taught in our schools. We learned math using memorizing multiplication tables and other exercise tools. Today, math is more of a problems for our schools than they want to attack, so the kids are taught the minimal skills that the school system promotion system requires. We learned the basics! Today that level of bssic has been raped and lowered so much that we generate students that cannot spell their own names, make change for a dollar, much less write a coherent sentence.
Shame on us for allowing such things to happen to our education system and now? All we can do is give such people special places for the uneducated to survive, eat hamburgers and text each other.
That is my opinion of the problem in the USA. Then there are all of those from the other countries of the world who have free access to our little piece of the world wide web, what do we do with them ?????????
You can thank the politicians and parents who want to push their own agendas in schools for what has happened.
Kids are perfectly capable of learning, and if the schools would just let the teachers discipline and teach, they would.
Hasn't anybody noticed the dumbing down of America? It's been going on for a long time, and the public just lets it happens. The reason is those at the top who want to keep power out of the hands of the masses.
Yet, there still are young people who excel...thanks mostly to having the types of parents who insist that they do and also support their children's teachers.
It isn't laziness, my friend. It is a clear case of manipulation, and it turns my stomach!
It pains me greatly that some of the most prolific writers on HP do not know proper grammar and punctuation, much less show writing ability. While I don't want to sound like an elitist, I am a professional. I don't like for my writing to have to compete with people who can't write and who never will be able to write, therefore I support what you all have said on this subject already. Who selects the Hub of the Day? I've wanted to tear my hair out and scream at several HOTDs that I've attempted to read. I did notice that they all had pretty graphics, which seems to be an attraction on HP though.
I like the idea of levels, at least three, in which a person would be placed according to his or her writing ability. When a person in a lower category improves enough to be placed in the next category, move him there. I think that a good writing website should require writing samples, and the hopeless should get a rejection email just like a real publisher sends.
I agree that it is not HP's place to teach us to write. We professionals can serve as teachers and mentors to those wanting to learn. I would be willing to help anyone asking for assistance. However, the very people who need the instructions must actually want to learn and be willing to accept our help. I've been rebuffed a time or two and no longer offer any suggestions to a poor writer unless he or she publicly solicits help. I have emailed a professional or two to let them know of a typo or other error in a hub, and they have all responded with a thank you. I will also thank someone who finds an error in my work, especially if it is in a private email.
MzBejeebers- Thanks for the commentary.
And, I agree with you that teaching is not HPs job nor should it be ours, but rather I think we need to be sorted into some kind of categories fort everyones survival on the web.
I am a retired Engineer who wrote code foe a decade or so, and then evolved into technical management where technical writing, from instructions, to design development instructions to international technical contract writing.
Needless to say, this was a far different world than the creative writing I have been involved in for the past 6-8 years.
I mention this because, I do know the web, and I do know how high-tech companies like Google operates.
We decided to go to HP to display our writings and maybe make a buck or two on our "green works" over time.
Well, we, and HP exist because Google needs articles to sell space on for their customers who want to advertise. That's it! Money drives Google! If it didn't, they would not be in existence.
So, what does Google do when HP hands them some poorly written, misspelled, grammatical catastrophe for their use with their customers?
Why, they retch and them punish HP (thus they punish us, the rest of the writers on HP).
I honestly believe HP will go the way of Squidoo and the other dozens of sites that did not take heed of the constantly rising standards of Google.
I believe HP will end up not being profitable itself, if they do not sort our their resources (us, the writers) and give Google what they want.
Honestly (again), I think a multiple web site approach of presenting quality works is a relatively simple approach for HP to take in making Google happy.
I believe they need to feature and coddle the best, and they need to isolate the "rest". Of course, the smart site provider knows that the "rest" need a pathway to be one of the best, and in the world we have today, I believe the "rest" will need to train themselves.
How, you might ask? Well, a good beginners writing site needs to provide structured online training, with a set of achievable goals laid out in front of them, just like so many of the more successful universities have learned that they need to provide, by the way.
Otherwise, we may all be searching for "the next HP" to display our works and make a buck at the same time, ourselves.
I agree. My editing background is in legal writing and before that, writing commercials and news reporting. Creative writing was a whole new world for me. In journalism school my professor in magazine and feature writing classes told me I'd never be good enough to write for Parade Magazine. With the mistakes I see in Parade today, I think I can prove him wrong. I like your idea of a HP-Pro.
and I will add it is not the job of the writers here to serve as teachers for those who come here without the appropriate skills any more than it is HP's job.
If any of the HP staff are reading this, how about offering a bounty for every garbage Hub we flag? Even at a penny per crap Hub, rooting around in the site's catacombs for a while could pile up a decent chunk o' change. Just a thought.
If we look at the weekly email now it shows what percentage of hubs etc that we reported that have been removed. What I report is pure spam or content that is bad, bad, bad. It says only 47% has been removed. It put a damper on me wanting to help them.
You're lucky. Of all the hubs I've reported, only one ever got removed!
This is a great idea and would save the HP team lots of work.
@Don, I appreciate the passion and the suggestions. While we don't always respond we do read most of them and consider the suggestions. Many will get implemented.
We are extremely interested in improving the overall quality of HubPages. Over the years we've had numerous discussions about splitting the site by quality, experience writing, topics and so forth.
I've largely resisted because of a few things. First, I believe in one brand. Splitting the site and managing multiple brands takes a lot of upfront work and ongoing maintenance. Third, I think doing a lot of work for content we consider low quality or spam isn't something I'm interested in doing. I'd rather improve content we have or get rid of it (this is what we have been doing).
We have largely gotten pretty good at getting most of the low quality and spammy content out, but there is still more to do on the existing corpus. We actively measure the amount of new spam and low quality Hubs that make it through all the filters, while we are still improving we feel that this is working decently. Look at the Hubs that remain two weeks after first published to see what remains. We are considering adding more resources to this and if we had extra funds, we would apply some here.
We would like to provide more feedback on why Hubs fail the QAP or possibly even do minor fixes ourselves. It's a scale and resource issue. The real simple answer is most issues for well written Hubs comes down to intent. The vast majority of issues can be resolved by simply removing any link that isn't to the best possible destination and only including products when they absolutely enhance content. Our system is looking for things that may be spam and so we are more likely to make an error on a Hub that isn't spam. If you run into a problem, start by removing links and products.
We only do well when Hubbers do well. For the team here, we would most likely earn more by working for a large tech company. So, while we care about a site that earns money because it enables our goal, I'm not doing this to maximize our earnings. If we were, we wouldn't be investing in the site and working so hard to improve it.
There are a number of things that you can only see if you look deep into the numbers. First, quality is increasing. The HubPro program has been a game changer for us. The challenge we are working on is improving the number of Hubs that we can get through it. One of the things about our site is it's really hard to predict what people will read. I believe that when Hubbers create content that people read, we need to help them with resources that makes their content the best it can be. We also realize that this is changing the community. HubPro works best when editors and Hubbers are focused on creating the best reading experience and less worried about traffic, links and earnings. HubPages is likely not going to be a good place for people that want to put their own interests above the communities going forward (writing for links, maximizing revenues).
I'm really excited that we still have the ability to continue. Our platform has evolved and we now have technical capabilities that are pretty sophisticated. We can dial up/down the requirements for new Hubs to be featured, we can tweak the quality/traffic thresholds for remaining featured and we can edit Hubs multiple times (capability we developed just this week). All of these things give us the ability to improve the sites quality over time.
Also, we are testing several things in private betas. A tremendous amount of work is getting done. The team here is busting their butts.
I love that Hubbers care so much and are working hard to make HubPages a great place to share information.
Thanks again for the suggestions.
I agree with these goals. I think it is better to improve the existing HP than to split it into HP Pro and Mediocre HP. The focus should be on removing poor or objectionable hubs and/or writers.
Understood! And some of what you say is thought provoking.
I personally know that I have some less than even "good" hubs here, but they are there from a point of time in my evolution as a writer where I submitted articles that did not demand my full attention. Then I was often just writing "freeform conversions" of my thoughts that I felt I had to share. I now know that such "post blogging" efforts are no longer acceptable on HP and I take more care in my structure and my editing.
So, even when I am looking at my "HP collection" I have no delusions of being "great', just occasionally "good".
But, even at my skill level, I want my works to grow in value, to the readers out there, as I exhibit my ideas and thoughts. Hopefully, HP and the great Google will grow with myself and my fellow Hubbers.
We should all remember though; the web, HP and Google are simply "Tools". Tools that exist for the publics use and enjoyment. And we all know that tools get old, wear out, become obsolete and eventually they often get replaced by better tools.
Let's keep HP a tool that evolves in the right direction to remain valuable to ourselves as well as those following behind us.
Hi Paul, thanks for your information, it's always good to find out what the team has been up to, as I'm sure you are always working hard! But sometimes we just don't know what's happening or how it's going. Very reassuring.
Thank you Paul for responding in so much depth. I for one keep reporting the spam and unlike others here most of the reported Hubs have been removed, and quite a few of the authors banned.
I think those that say otherwise have not been checking back or maybe just are not great at spotting the real abusers yet.
I really appreciate your comments about the financial input, and understand hat you are trying to do. It would be very easy for you to make more by utilizing the personal data and advertising opportunities presented by our profiles and I am glad you have more scruples than some I could mention here.
I am happy to try to keep improving and with my share of the revenue we do make. I really appreciate your intentions, even when I do not always agree with you. Keep trying it is all we can fairly expect. I really appreciate you taking the time to update us periodically.
Geesh, what an insult! You think that the other writers here who are filing reports don't know what they're doing. Really? As a professionally trained Language Arts teacher, I think I am able to recognize poor structure and grammar. As a 3 year veteran of this site, I think I know how to recognize spam. I have made numerous reports, and the weekly newsletter put out by HP tells us clearly how many of our reports have resulted in removal of articles. Really, we are not blind or stupid, and all of us want the same things everybody else wants.
I'm glad your reports have netted results, but most of mine (and of others here) have resulted in nothing. It makes you not want to bother.
No, but most of what I report is actioned, so I can only assume that either I am better at spotting the garbish, or that others are not realizing that it takes a while for HO to check things out. I am fed up with the current air of negativity on HP as this is what largely contributed to the fall of Squidoo.
I suggest that before over reacting people check the credentials of others. I was using the internet from day 1 as an authorized supplier to the US government so claiming 3 years at HP as somehow superior to 10 months was a stupid assumption to make. I in fact have many more years experience than you and have been writing reports to Senior Management for over 40 years in a professional capacity.
Anyway thank you for your opinion I am glad we live in free countries so can express our own opinions freely. I leave others to judge for themselves.
I was not saying I was superior to anybody...you were and are! I was simply stating that you were insulting other writers here by not giving us enough credit for having the intelligence to file legitimate complaints!
If you want to eliminate negativity here, you can start by not insulting people and making assumptions about their abilities, while at the same time saying that they are doing this to you!
Many of us are highly educated, skilled, talented and experienced, but the truth is that you don't need much of a background to be able to spot lousy writing skills and spam or to report it.
Let's keep this in perspective and keep our egos where they belong, which is not on this thread!
Dressage Husband, I find your comment interesting. You've been here for only 10 months and know more about what is spam and what is not and I've been here over 5 years and don't know yet!
You wax eloquently, Paul. - Bravo! (and, thank you)
One of two or possibly three to four reasons you guys would promote this , one , you feel you're being cheated out of the $ signs . Two , you feel you have to read every one of the published hubs before breakfast and don't wish to waste it on less than standard writing , three , it just plain irritates you to see imperfections in someone else's writings ?
Or four , you just can't stand poetry ! Which is it ? LOL.
Or how about 5: Some of us want to be proud of the place where we publish our work and do not want it to be associated with low quality and spam. Although HP was never meant to be a place for professional writers, there are many here who are. It does not help their credibility or HPs when the poor work of others stands right beside their own. It's embarrassing.
I completely agree. I write for crowdsource and every piece of writing, even if the job is simply a 50 word addition to a product description, goes through an editor. If it's poorly written, it gets rejected or your rating still goes down because it had more than a couple errors in it. When hubpages doesn't do things like that, and anyone can publish articles with hundred of typos that make the article almost impossible to read, it makes the rest of us look bad too. I can barely use Hubpages on my writing profile anymore because of crap like that. When I do, I have to remind them that Hubpages allows anyone to publish articles, and to read MY articles.
I like Hubpages. I enjoy that I reach payout every month. The community is great. I just wish they would up their standards a bit.
Hi . I'm new to Hp and still a student, it's a great way to make some cash.But I agree with you,not everything is publish-worthy, atleast put some effort to make your hub a 7/10.
All I saw was a statement that he observes most of his reports are acted on, whereas other do not seem to have the same experience either because they are not checking back, are checking to soon, or are reporting the wrong things (which is an exhaustive list of the possible reasons as far as I can see).
In his first post, he also stated "or maybe just are not great at spotting the real abusers yet." I'm not upset, but after 5 years on here and 14 years with a website, I'd think I'd know by now.
I am just not going to report anymore. I just reported what was real spam and only 48% was being removed. That means I have better things to do with my time.
Then you must have missed this sentence:
I can only assume that either I am better at spotting the garbish, or that others are not realizing that it takes a while for HO to check things out.
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