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There's been a lot of discussion of forum rules and policies recently, as well as criticism of the HubPages staff, so Paul and I agreed that a thread reiterating our position was in order.
The rules are very clear: No personal attacks in the forums. Substantive debate and differences of opinion are okay. Name-calling, insults, threats, and passive-aggressive references to other users with whom you disagree are not.
Generally, HubPages likes to take a hands-off approach to moderation. We prefer not to get involved, wherever possible, and allow users to work out their own differences of opinion. We only step in where clear spam or personal attacks are involved. However, some users have expressed dissatisfaction with our supposed lack of action in certain instances.
In light of this, I hereby clarify our new policy: Any personal attacks that are reported will result in a 3-day forum ban of the offending user. Repeated offences will result in a permanent forum ban. No exceptions for users "in good standing." No special considerations for context or provocation. (Paul's own father is currently serving a 3-day ban.)
Please note that moderating the forums is a very small portion of the work that needs to be done here at HubPages to keep the site running smoothly. Even if it is where you spend most of your time on the site, it cannot be where I or Paul spend most of ours.
Just to clarify - cutting and pasting 2,000 words and filling the forums up with huge long posts stolen from other writers promising pain and eternal damnation for not following GODS TRUE WORD, does not constitute a personall attack.
Maddie, could you also clarify the policy with regard to suspected spam? I am thinking of the case of a newbie who started a thread on a topic similar to the topic of her one and only hub. The hub was not commercial, and she didn't post a link to it. Is this a clear-cut case of spam, and if so, when can the person expect to be reinstated?
Thanks for this and for being a voice of reason here in these fiery forums! Some fantastic folks may disagree, but I think the HP staff is pretty great and have no complaints about the way things are handled around here. Thanks for all you do, and for the reminder. Sometimes, I think we treat each other differently in the online environment than we would if we were actually speaking to one another. It's important to remember that we're all people with something in common (we like to write) ..even the -gasp- staff!
Dear Maddie, No name calling , period? I can't call someone a duck-butt, waddles the whale, a barnfart, cow flop, nose-picker, hairball, green hairball, road-kill or a naboob?(I don't actually know what a naboob is but I heard it here) Is there a list we can refer to and reference a number, like: You liberal #3 what the #7 is wrong with you #5!!!!! Maybe not?
Thanks for the clarification. I wouldn't call someone a #2 that would be rude but a #8 maybe.
No, comments are treated differently, because each hubber is basically the moderator of their own hubs.
You should deny spam comments and then hit the "spam" button to report them as such. Our system will automatically start denying someone's comments if they have enough reported as spam. If you receive threats or personal attacks from another user in the comments of your hub, you should email team(at)hubpages(dot)com to report them.
Actually, this forum is full of moderators. Each one of us has a vote to censor anyone we feel is getting out of line, and the staff has the final say on any vote.
Why ask someone to read thousands of replies a day, sorting for the one evil, when we hit across it a hundred fold in our own travels?
The only reason the system break down is the high school 'squeal law', which states that anyone who mentions the unnoticed behavior of another is a squealer and not worthy of being a member of society, which I have always seen as rubbish. The squeal law exists to give bullies eternal presence, nothing more.
My boy was being bullied in school daily and actually cried when his Mom went to the principal about it, because he preferred getting teased over being known as a squealer. However, the principal dealt with the situation properly and now he goes to school without being teased anymore.
The system only works when there are police everywhere ... and we are the police.
Why, just lately I have been flagging spam in the forum (true spam, not the questionable items) and I'd like to think it's doing something to make things better.
We probably don't say so enough, but we really do appreciate it when people accurately report spam in the forums. We catch some of it ourselves, but most of what we remove (or correct) is the result of user reports.
Thank you Maddie and Paul. Being the voice of reason in the kiddie pool must get wearing sometimes Thanks so much for all your hard work in keeping us chugging along (without actually killing any one, ) and for your continued grace under fire. Elle
Thanks to the Hubpages staff for getting this information out. Many of us that have been here for awhile were getting very disgusted with the nastiness taking place. Hopefully this will fix things. Yime will tell. I will report any offenders in a heartbeat.
Just saw this thread....absolutely wonderful! I often have to ignore topics I'd otherwise enjoyed discussing simply due to all of the 'ridiculousness' coming from every angle. Looking forward to the new attack-free forums...very exciting.
You can't have freedom of speech on a privately run business.
As for personal attacks - depends actually on what your goal is. If you just need to let off your steam, they are as good as anything else. If you want to get your message across though, personal attacks absolutely block it for most people
I thought we were grown ups. Now I think maybe not. I think I will leave soon.I hate being censored by short minded people. And that's what is going to happen, if anyone can report what they don't like being said. And reporting is a kind of personal attack, sometimes.
Tantrum, throughout history there have been people who've tried to justify being hateful and vicious on the grounds of free speech. These rules don't prevent people expressing their opinion - they prevent them expressing it in vicious, hateful language.
Only people who like to be vicious and hateful should have a problem with that.
The problem with this is that certain people are able to work around the restriction on personal attacks. They can provoke, provoke, and provoke, and as long as they don't step over that arbitrary line they never get banned. Meanwhile, good quality writers like Lita Sorensen and Pam Grundy get disgusted and leave or are forced away by people who have 1 hub and 3000 forum posts.
Am I the only one who can see the quality of this site slipping away because of this?
It seems to me that there needs to be a range of things that are considered. Ratio of hubs to forum posts would be one. Number of complaints to HP staff would be another. Use of sock puppets should be a no no. The number of hubs written each year should be considered too I think, but not by itself since you don't want to punish people who write 3 hubs and never come back but who are still getting some value from the work they did.
It seems to me the main problem is not in the hubs but in the forums. You can tell people to behave themselves but it is only natural to strike back when provoked. Those who provoke, and who provide little value to the site, should not be allowed to chase productive writers away.
that's another valid point, yoshi. it still leaves loopholes though, and it's obvious there are many who will slither thru those holes. a public i.d. on all multiple identities should be included in any reasonable solution. we're not talking health care here.
Now THAT is an awesome suggestion! When a person posts in the forums an identifying number can be shown below their avatar that is a number created by their IP (I would recommend displaying everyone's IP).
As most people are on high speed they are typically on a static IP, which means they have the same IP every day, which allows tracking ... and inevitably ... banning.
People could then know if someone was using sock puppets.
We can get carried away and take this thing too far. Read what you like, ignore what you don't. If the forum is reported as violating the rules, blow it off and let's get on with it. Otherwise let's just ban everyone we don't like or doesn't adhere to our standards like Seahawk fans, cat lovers, dentists and anyone driving a Dodge. Makes as much sense. Didn't someone suggest early we're adults?
ps I'm for whatever the majority wants. (see how easy that was?)
I'm glad that you make sure that your hubbers are protected from unkind remarks. I think that is very sad. This is an open writing forum, and there will be a diversity of opinions, and people will not always agree with one another. Therefore, I agree with you, we need to respect one another, we must all strive for diplomacy when we don't see eye to eye.
I agree with some others that 'personal abuse' can be a judgmental thing. What may offend me would possibly go over someone else's head . One point I would like to raise is : If someone reports someone in a frivolous manner just to get an enemy banned, then perhaps the 'reportee' should cop the ban?
The post wasn't 'reported' until 2 weeks after you made it (which is within our statute of limitations). We don't go looking for people to ban, and we certainly don't read every post that is made on the forum.