Editors should stop telling people to request proof-reading on forums

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  1. Marisa Wright profile image96
    Marisa Wrightposted 10 months ago

    I wish the editors would stop telling people to post on the forums to get their work proof-read!

    Most Hubbers are very happy to read an article and offer advice on how to improve it - we've done that for years.  We can scan an article and spot "illegal" photos or links, dodgy capitalization, poor structure etc etc. 

    Proof-reading is a different matter altogether.  Proof reading means working carefully through an article word-by-word, to spot spelling and grammatical errors - and then documenting them all in a detailed forum post.

    It's not reasonable to expect volunteers to do that.  And because editors are telling Hubbers to post on the forums, Hubbers are expecting people to do it, and getting angry when we say it's unreasonable.

    Please, modify your standard email.

    1. sallybea profile image97
      sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I received an email when my last hub published over two months ago which said
      1.    Sit tight and wait until we get to editing the article. In the meantime, your article will remain on HubPages.
      2.    Edit the article yourself. If you choose this route, you will need to make substantial edits. Resubmitting the article with minimal edits or to a different Network Site will result in the article being rejected, and it will be removed from our editing queue.
      I am still waiting and feel so discouraged that I have not written a hub since. 
      How long is too long to wait?

      1. Jan Saints profile image88
        Jan Saintsposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        I don't think it happens! I submitted one at the start of the year, got this email and I'm still waiting up to now!

        1. sallybea profile image97
          sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          That is a shame.  My hub has a score of 93 and receives regular traffic and could do so much better on feltmagnet.

      2. Robin profile imageSTAFF
        Robinposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        @marisa - Do you have a replacement-word suggestion? 

        @sally Which article are you referring to?  I'll look into it.  I couldn't find it on my end.

        1. sallybea profile image97
          sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          @ Robin, with Marisa's advice, I was able to get it published yesterday thank you so much:)  It was the Pixie slippers one which I published over 2 months ago.

          1. Robin profile imageSTAFF
            Robinposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            OMG!  I love that article.  Those shoes are so adorable!  I'm going to have to show this to my daughter; she would love to make them.  Do you think it's something a 12 year old could make?

            1. sallybea profile image97
              sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              @ Robin, yes, she could if I have done my job right:)  The small red bootie tutorial I have is perhaps a better starting point if she wants to make a simple pair first before tackling a pair which has a slightly more complicated toe.

        2. psycheskinner profile image82
          psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          I would suggesting using the words "feedback" or "advice", maybe even "a critique".  Ain't nobody proofreading whole articles right off the bat, I've got to agree about that.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image96
            Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            Any of those words would get my vote.

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image98
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Perhaps the team should start a new feature that allows volunteers to charge a set amount for doing one proofread for an article.  I'm betting all the requests for proofreading would come to a screeching halt if the team did this!

      1. theraggededge profile image97
        theraggededgeposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        big_smile

        1. poppyr profile image95
          poppyrposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          I agree. My day job is proofreading. I wouldn't expect people to do it for free.

  2. Robin profile imageSTAFF
    Robinposted 10 months ago

    Do you have examples where we ask authors to get proofreading help?  From all of the messaging that I found, we call it feedback, opinions, or perspectives.  Let me know where this is happening, and I'm happy to make the change.  Thanks!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image96
      Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Thank you, that's good to know.  Perhaps it's the Hubbers themselves who are using the term.   This is the most recent thread where a Hubber said they'd been "told by HubPages to post on the forum for proof-reading" - but the reason it provoked a reaction is that we've had several people asking for a Hub to be checked for spelling and grammar:

      https://hubpages.com/community/forum/14 … y-article-

    2. DrMark1961 profile image98
      DrMark1961posted 10 months agoin reply to this

      This is the line from the email from HP:
      "A moderator made the following suggestion for your Hub:
      Please proofread this article."
      As you can see, it does not suggest that I examine the Amazon capsule, etc. It told me to proofread the article.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image96
        Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        ...to clarify, I took a look at the article in question, and it did have several issues (like Amazon capsules) that needed attention, whereas I couldn't see much in the way of grammar or spelling errors.  So, either the editor was using the term "proof read" incorrectly, or they had failed to notice the rule breaches.

      2. Robin profile imageSTAFF
        Robinposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        We may ask you to proofread an article—many times it's needed.  However, I don't believe we ask authors to ask other authors to "proofread" their work. (If we do, I'm happy to change that language in our communications.) I believe that is what Marisa is referring to.   We may ask authors to ask for grammar help, as Folarin suggested.  In some cases, we have also suggested that authors hire someone to help them when English is their second language.  We absolutely cannot have poor grammar/ESL writing on our sites.  Yes, many times an article does need a proofread, and authors must comply in order for their article to make it to a Network Site.

        1. psycheskinner profile image82
          psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          Just above you in this thread incomeguru has an example that I would say is in that ballpark.  i don;t see the messages people receive but enough of them come here with that request that it just seems like they are getting the suggestion from somewhere....

          1. Robin profile imageSTAFF
            Robinposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            It's on the agenda to talk to editors about it.  Thanks again for bringing it my attention.  smile .

        2. DrMark1961 profile image98
          DrMark1961posted 10 months agoin reply to this

          Thanks for that reply. This is the bottom part of that email from HP:
          "Lastly, if you would like personalized feedback on how to make your article better, we invite you to post in the Improving Your Article Forum.

          Thank you for taking the time to update and improve your work!

          Cheers,
          The HubPages team"
          It does not specifically say to go to the forum to get proofreading help, but it is implied since it recommends going to the forum for help making the article better.
          Did it help me to have other HP authors look at the article? Of course. Were there enough errors on there to justify making the article unfeatured? I do not think so. If the problem was with a specific capsule, like Amazon or the link capsule, I think the HP editor should have indicated that.

    3. incomeguru profile image97
      incomeguruposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      @ Robin,  This is part of the message I received concerning my article,  Nice Things to Say to Your Husband to Make Him Feel Appreciated:

      "Additional Note From Your Editor: Hey, Folarin! The grammar/syntax in this needs some work. It's more than I can do in our allotted queue editing time. I recommend posting your article in the forums and seeing if the community can help you clean up some of the grammar. Thanks for sharing this with us."

  3. Robin profile imageSTAFF
    Robinposted 10 months ago

    The Forum was specifically created so authors could get help from the community.  If authors don't want to help, they don't have to.  I don't see a problem with that portion of the email. 

    As for your article, can you leave a link so I can investigate further?  Just as an FYI, we just got notice from our AdSense team that surgery videos are a violation of their policy (gore), so if you notice those videos are being snipped, that's why.  Thanks!  smile

    1. incomeguru profile image97
      incomeguruposted 10 months agoin reply to this
    2. DrMark1961 profile image98
      DrMark1961posted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Robin, not sure if your note was to me or incomeguru, but I already posted to a forum, received some excellent help from some very great hubbers (theraggededge, TimeTraveller2, Marisa Wright, and others), and edited the article so that it is now featured again. 
      As Marisa pointed out, the problem might have been with my link capsule, which is why I wanted to further edit the hub I emailed you about yesterday.
      Yes, I saw that note about adsense. Unfortunate, but....

    3. sallybea profile image97
      sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I am saddened by the thought that 'volunteers'  might in the future consider charging for giving advice.
      I know that it costs me money in materials to create and write my felting tutorials.  I definitely would not write here if I knew I had to pay to have my work edited before I could recoup any money.   Of course, I could just put my writing on my own site but I don't choose to.   I love this site and the people I have come to know here.
      I hope we can continue to support one another and staff who have done an amazing job without any complaint except to ask us to help them with what must be a very daunting task.

  4. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 10 months ago

    Of course people can ask for whatever they want, but those who are more demanding are being subject to negative reactions which might discourage them.  So IMHO it is worth seeing if the system is setting them up for that bad experience.

    Also IMHO Hubpages is beginning to border on using their members as a free help desk when they auto-refer every failing hub to us to explain the editors' sometimes cryptic requests. Which they are also free to do, but it would be nice if they gave clearer instructions to begin with--for example by just actually saying "too many links to the same place or a link to a commercial site" rather than "spammy". (ditto the new Amazon rules etc).

    1. Robin profile imageSTAFF
      Robinposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      @psycheskinner It does give me pause when you say we are using Hubbers as a help desk.  We have put considerably resources into our free editing service and spend a considerable amount of time educating and explaining our policies to authors.  Of course we could do better, but, if I'm being honest, it is a bit disheartening to hear this type of sentiment.  sad   I would like to think that we are a community that helps each other, and the truth be told, you don't have to help if you don't want to.  However, other Hubbers do want to help and there should be a venue for that.  The HubPages staff can't do it all.   

      Thank you @sallybea for your thoughts.  I agree with you.  smile

      1. sallybea profile image97
        sallybeaposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        @ Robin you are very welcome.  I appreciate you and all staff who make it possible for me to write and earn here.  Thank you.

      2. Marisa Wright profile image96
        Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        I don't have a problem with being a "free help desk" for HubPages, it's one of the things that's good about this community.   Writing on HubPages is a learning curve, and experienced Hubbers have always been happy to help new Hubbers learn the ropes.  I received so much help when I started, I know I'm always glad to pay it forward.

        Critiquing Hubs is part of that.  However, there is a difference IMO between helping someone understand how HubPages works - by explaining how to use capsules or how to craft a title - and plodding through a Hub to proofread it. One is giving the Hubber lessons they can take forward, the other is fixing up one Hub (and raising the expectation you'll do it free for the next one, too). 

        If the editors are able to tweak their advice to reflect that, that would be great.

        In particular, the editors need to STOP referring some authors to the forum altogether. If the English is so bad it's clearly far below the standard needed to write Hubs, then the editor should break that news to the author - don't leave it up to us.  We frequently see Hubs from foreign Hubbers that require a total rewrite from top to bottom, and to suggest they "seek help on the forums" is a waste of our time and theirs.

        1. Sherry Hewins profile image97
          Sherry Hewinsposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          There are many here who are more than ready to help anyone who asks for it. I think Marisa is more willing than most.

          However, sometimes someone asks for help who is obviously not capable of writing an acceptable hub. Usually this is someone who does not have a good command of the English language.

          Then, it is left to us to tell the person that HP is probably not the right venue for them, as writing good English is one of the main criteria. Sometimes this feels mean and unsympathetic, but necessary. Perhaps HP could break this news to the hopeful newbie instead of leaving it to us.

          1. cam8510 profile image95
            cam8510posted 10 months agoin reply to this

            I'm not entirely convinced that it is a prerequisite that one has a firm command of English to publish on HP. There is a young woman who has recently begun to write here. English is clearly not her first language. She does very well, but there is room for improvement. I admire her for putting her work out there for us to read. The reason I bring her up is that her work is being moved to the niche sites. That is HP's attitude toward this particular topic.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image96
              Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              If her work is being moved to the niche sites, then clearly her English is of a high standard, even though it's not perfect.  English may not be her first language but she clearly has a fairly "firm command" of it.

              1. cam8510 profile image95
                cam8510posted 10 months agoin reply to this

                Yes, and I'm glad to see there is that narrow space between Native English speakers and those for whom English is a second language where less than perfection is allowed. I know we need standards. I'm all for it, but I'm also for allowing room for growth.

                1. Marisa Wright profile image96
                  Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                  There's certainly room for growth, but there has to be a basic level of writing skills, IMO.

                  HubPages is not a place to learn to write.  It's a place to earn money from writing.  HubPages doesn't have the time or resources to train people who can't already write - and it wouldn't make financial sense to do so, when there are so many writers with the requisite skills who are eager to join.

                  Up to a point, the community is willing to help "train" new recruits - but it's a big enough job helping people learn how to write online and how to use all the HubPages features, without having to teach them the basics as well.

                  I notice that fewer and fewer Hubbers are offering feedback in the "Improving Your Hub" section, and I suspect it's because people are getting burnt out.  There are too many people asking for help, and too many of them are so far below the standard, one gets discouraged.

                  1. cam8510 profile image95
                    cam8510posted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    I couldn't agree more, Marisa. I have an interest in helping people learn how to craft a decent short story/flash fiction. That is a far cry from teaching someone the basics of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. A good writer can learn how to compose a reasonably good short story. But a person with little understanding of these things can be a great storyteller, they may have a large following of hubbers, but the SE traffic will just turn and walk away.

  5. snakeslane profile image81
    snakeslaneposted 10 months ago

    I would just like to add, that I have a few times wished to help, with the process when a writer asks for feedback, but hesitate to do so. The consequences of inadvertently giving wrong information are fairly intimidating in the Forums. I know, and let me tell you, it's embarrassing. I appreciate the Peer to Peer model Hub Pages is encouraging. I hope it can continue. I know I've learned huge helpful information by following these threads.

  6. cam8510 profile image95
    cam8510posted 10 months ago

    I have been considering seeing if other hubbers would be interested in beginning a group that could gather in the forum and provide links to their work in progress. I am thinking mostly about fiction writers. There would be some expectations. If you want your story critiqued, you must provide the same for others. This could improve the quality of fiction provided here on HubPages if writers took advantage of it.

    This is somewhat different from what the OP is talking about because my idea is to invite people to participate voluntarily as group dedicated to this kind of activity. That is not the same as encouraging people to post and expect strangers to appear, willing to spend a good deal of time doing a proper critique.

    I am involved in another group like this and feel that HP could benefit with one of their own.

  7. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 10 months ago

    I never have a problem with people asking for help. But that might be because I feel zero guilt if I decide not to give it.

    I reckon the old hands should work on their guilt rather trying to restrict what people can say/ask for.

    Also, people like theraggededge who have done a great deal for this site with an unselfish approach to helping newbies do not deserve any kind of discouragement.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image96
      Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Will, I think you misunderstand posts deliberately, just so you can indulge your nasty streak.

      If you read the thread, you  might notice I said I'm HAPPY to help new Hubbers.  But the point is, I'm happy to invest time to educate authors so they can earn better online. I don't think it's reasonable to expect any of us to spend hours nit-picking grammar and spelling, especially if the author's English is obviously not up to scratch. 

      You may say I should just ignore those - and I do.  But there are two problems. 

      One is that those posts clog up the forums and waste everyone's time.  I notice very few people helping newbies here now - there are so many time-wasting posts asking for help with hopeless Hubs, I think people have started to assume they're all the same and ignore the lot.

      The other is that suggesting the Hub is salvageable with a little help, raises the expectations of authors who don't stand a chance of succeeding here, because their English is so poor.  The editor should have the guts to say, "Your English isn't good enough to write here, you need to do further study" - instead of leaving it up to us to deliver the bad news (and take the resulting abuse).

      1. Will Apse profile image89
        Will Apseposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        My feeling is, that if you do not want to help, stay out of the way of those who do.

        1. psycheskinner profile image82
          psycheskinnerposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          And yet, of the two of you, who actually gives more help to the newbies.  I think what people do counts for more than what they say.

          1. Will Apse profile image89
            Will Apseposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            I thought that what mattered was getting paid? And how demeaning it is to work for free?

            As for helping out, I've done my bit here over the years. And I won't tolerate any nonsense from you on that score.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image96
              Marisa Wrightposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              Obviously I need to shout.  I ENJOY HELPING, WILL.  I WANT TO ENCOURAGE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE OTHER HUBBERS ENJOY HELPING, TOO.  CAN YOU GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD?
              I am NOT saying it's demeaning to offer that help for free.  You are wilfully misunderstanding.

              1. Will Apse profile image89
                Will Apseposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                You can shout all you like, lol.

                Or you could quietly decide that proof reading is not for you and let others do it, if they feel like it.

                As for the rest, it is aimed at psycheskinner. Helping others for free in her profession is frowned upon -- low self-esteem thing, betrayal of years of training etc, etc. Not sure those values help in a forum.

 
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