Bias exhibited in the forum?

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  1. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    An observation: sometimes threads critiquing people's English skills get taken down. However, it's usually when people derail the thread or when people are a little harder on the writer than necessary. However, with the onslaught of poor language and grammatical skills on the site lately, it's understandable why some community members express anxiety. Most are pretty kind though.

    With that said, I have noticed that at times there are some with poor grammatical skills who are never told that they do not have sufficient writing skills to make money here. Just saying.

    At the same time, it's the reason that I've decided that even though it's often the primary reason someone can't earn here, I'll never tell another forum querier, that their English language and grammatical skills are not sufficient to earn here, even when it's staringly obvious.

    If some are told and some are not, what's the point? It's a form of prejudice.

    1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
      Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      "If some are told and some are not, what's the point? It's a form of prejudice." Agreed.                                                 I once read an article of less than 400 words on my feed. Though the English, grammar, and all seems bad, I wonder why a fellow writer comment that the author of the story is "trying." I think there is the lack of knowledge or rules of the game here.                                                If it happen an article load on my feed asking for help to improv its cotents, I did my best to help as I've been helped. And I've seen certain articles get featured and I sing and dance.

    2. SmartAndFun profile image94
      SmartAndFunposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think the different responses are due to some sort of prejudice so much as they are due to who happens to answer any given request for help. Some people are nicer than others, some go into more detail than others, a responder might have more time to give a more thorough answer at one point in the day than another, some requests might fall victim to the bad luck of being posted at a time when forum frustrations are high, etc.

      The people who answer these requests do so to help out new writers, to help out HP and to help keep the site from getting junked up, which helps all of us. They volunteer their time and expertise. They're not prejudiced, they're simply a variety of people trying to help under varying circumstances.

      If, before submitting subpar material, new writers would read over the Help Center or whatever it's called these days, they would all get the same answers -- but they don't read it. HP has set up the site so that writers of rejected articles are sent to the forums to ask for help, where the responses they get will be pot luck, instead of sent to the help center where they can read HP's official requirements.

      Unless HP does away with the automatic forum posts for rejected articles, or unless all new members start reading HP's posted requirements, we will continue to see replies which are not exactly the same for every person who inquires.

    3. Projectlazy profile image86
      Projectlazyposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Pointing out failings isn't prejudice. It can be rude but not prejudice

    4. nicomp profile image60
      nicompposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Prejudice is not, by definition, bad.

  2. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 3 years ago

    Not anxiety, irritation.

    It is the easiest thing in the world to research a platform's requirements before attempting to write. If someone hasn't even thought about doing that and launches into an account of their day or posts stolen content, then, tbh, they deserve short thrift.

    I am hard on plagiarists. I've had too many articles stolen to ever be nice to them. I will give them the benefit of the doubt if they simply don't understand, but again, if they want to be a writer, they have to learn the basics before shooting off some copied text on their smartphone.

    There doesn't seem to be much common sense among the newest contributors.

    Why exactly wouldn't you explain that someone's English skills are not up to standard?

  3. Rupert Taylor profile image96
    Rupert Taylorposted 3 years ago

    Of late, there has been a stream of absolute drivel appearing in this forum generated by some goon in India who has told his followers they can make money on HubPages. In whose interest is it to say to these mislead people  "There, there, aspiring writer just work a little harder on your grammar, spelling, syntax, etc. and you'll make a fortune here, despite the fact that you don't have the beginnings of a grasp of the English language"? These folks need clarity not false hope.

    Prejudice? Absolute rubbish. I've commented negatively, without being unkind, on some appalling English offerings. There is no prejudging involved. If someone makes a blatantly erroneous claim, in atrocious English, in their first sentence I will not read further. There is not a scintilla of pre-judgement involved.

    There are several people who have given generously of their time for no reward, far more than me, coaching beginners. Several months ago, I gave up offering help because the same abysmal writing mistakes kept cropping up.

    1. GwennyOh profile image90
      GwennyOhposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      You somehow got a reversed meaning of what I meant. Many are told here that their English is appalling, when in fact it is. However, there are some whose English is as appalling or near as appalling, who are not told so. Not telling them the truth, is biased, aka prejudiced.

      If someone tries to write actual content but with appalling English, for some reason, they are not told that their English doesn't cut the muster. Is it kinder to give false hope to those who "try," in not informing them that their English is inadequate? Are they not in some way all trying?

      1. samanthacubbison profile image82
        samanthacubbisonposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        I think what the others are getting at is that some authors, especially as of late, come to the platform with writing that is completely illegible, spammy, or spun. In those cases, it makes sense to point that out and deter them from writing more. But for people who are just ESL, it seems unkind to offer anything but encouragement and advice. I've seen quite a few authors improve over the years and become successful on our Network Sites. And as an editor, we can offer a hand once they've done the bulk of the work.

        That being said, threads have been deleted to avoid spamming the forums. Plus, there has been some hostility. But I do understand why people have been irritated. It may be best to just ignore those threads and let the mods take care of it.

        1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
          Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks. But what is ESL? Thanks again.

          1. davrowpot profile image93
            davrowpotposted 3 years agoin reply to this

            ESL - English as a Second Language

            1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
              Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

              I hardly notice the abbrevation ESL else where. What I noted most is EFL-. English Foreign Language-both can mean the same thing.                       Thanks specially to both  GwennyOh and Davrowp6t. Thanks every one contributing.

              1. OldRoses profile image95
                OldRosesposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                ESL is a common abbreviation here in the US.  We call classes for English language learners "English as a Second Language." 

                Different English speaking countries use different terms for the same concepts.

  4. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
    PaulGoodman67posted 3 years ago

    It's wearisome that these types of issue have been going on for some time (we're talking years). It's been suggested to HP that writers with poor English skills should be told the reason they failed when they are rejected at the QAP stage, rather than telling them to go to the forums, so that hubbers can "help" them.

    I suspect that the general decline of the forums has led to a general sense of frustration, maybe resignation and that is what you are seeing, rather than "bias", GwennyOh?

  5. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I don't feel the need to respond to each comment, but feel some interesting points have been made. In response to what Samantha said, I wonder what degree of ESL provides a glimmer of hope for hopefuls. On the other hand, it matters not, they'll do dwell or they won't.

    1. OldRoses profile image95
      OldRosesposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      There have been repeated requests in the forums for a mandatory  English language skills test for aspiring writers on HP.

      Personally, I think that in addition to a mandatory English Language skills test, first time writers who fail QAP should be directed to the Learning Center rather than the forums.   It's obvious that they haven't done any research on HP before hitting the publish button.  The Learning Center is the first place everyone should visit before writing on this platform.

      If they can't be bothered to read the information in the Learning Center, they shouldn't be writing here.

  6. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    English as a second language.

  7. Miebakagh57 profile image68
    Miebakagh57posted 3 years ago

    OldRose, I agree with you. It is very basic as a test 6f middle English. I have got tired of writers whose English is poor and refering them to the learning center.

  8. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
    PaulGoodman67posted 3 years ago

    It is important to note that at minimum it takes *years* to learn a language well enough to write an article. Some people might spend a lifetime of study and may never reach the required standard, especially if they haven't lived in a place where the language they're learning is spoken, so that they can pick up the idiosyncrasies. I did French at school for five years. I studied conversational German and have spent much time there. I am *nowhere near* the level of skill necessary for writing an article. But I know the languages well enough to know how inadequate my skills are. I could make a Youtube video saying all this stuff. But people wouldn't watch it, unless I dressed it up as a "get rich quick" scheme.

    The primary reason I go to the forums nowadays is check on the Hubpages news on updates, changes, etc. I wish there was more from HP on implications of Google algo updates, what works and what doesn't etc. but there isn't so much of that. I certainly don't come on here to explain to new writers why their English isn't good enough, or flag them for spinning, or spamming (although I do do that sometimes!) smile

  9. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    @Paul, you just hit the hammer on the head (misstatement intented), I'm in a silly mood today.  However, I too come here to the forum looking to be educated and to integrate with the community, and instead offer advice. Sometimes a bit snarkily, because in cases, who gave these people the idea to come here and write (not a question, but a consideration)?

  10. ziyena profile image89
    ziyenaposted 3 years ago

    I’ll be the first to admit.  I’m horrible with Grammar.  It’s one of my weakest skills in writing.  I’ve learned to accept that editing articles will always be a never-ending process for me.  After seeing this post and reading a few comments about comparisons of grammar skills, from those who have been around for years - out of curiosity - I’ve copied and pasted text from various articles written by writers and published on several niche sites who some consider the very best on this platform to get an idea of where I stand with my grammar skills.  I ran a quick scan on these excerpts with my editing application ProWritingAid Premium, which by the way - I find much better than Grammarly.  So glad that I did.   It’s enlightening.  I don’t feel so bad now.  I think as far as grammar’s concerned, we’re all in need of improvement whatever our level of writing or language skill.  Especially, moi.  Ouch!  May we all learn to excel!!
    Ever humble and respectful ... my food for thought.

    1. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Ziyena, your English skills are a hundred miles away from what we are talking about here.

      These new people have been directed here by an unscrupulous person on YouTube. He tells them to write a daily blog, or, if they can't write English, to copy and use translation/spinning software. He promises they can make a lot of money. So they get their hopes up only to find out that there is no truth in anything he says.

      As far as Grammarly and ProWritingAid - remember they are programs, not real people. They follow rules. While they are helpful in many cases, they can often cause 'stiff writing'. Brilliant for someone improving their skills but not so good for a writer who knows the rules but who also knows how to bend them to their own voice smile

      1. ziyena profile image89
        ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the tips

        1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
          PaulGoodman67posted 3 years agoin reply to this

          There are few English speakers/writers with a total command of grammar, and I would include myself. But a lot of English, such as the syntax, we often take for granted if we are fluent. For example, a fluent speaker knows that; "I went to school today," sounds more natural than "To school I went today". Much of the problems that foreign writers have fall into this category and can't really be fixed by software. I am not sure that we would even want them to fix it as many (on here at least) are just copying other people's work and getting software to rewrite it, so that's it's less easy to trace as plagiarized.

          1. ziyena profile image89
            ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

            Hence, the reason for citing other people's work when compiling research pointers for informative pieces ...  I've noticed a few articles do not cite before publication.  Yet, somehow those still get through.

  11. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    It is an interesting and subtle way to offer an opinion. Though there is nothing wrong with offering an opinion, this thread is about weak English skills interfering with HP's community climate, not that those who have fared okay, also need to upgrade their skills. I think we all know that English is like that, no one could ever be perfect.

    One thing I want to point out, is that there seems to be some Mandela effect pertaining to English. Today's grammar is nothing at all like what I was taught. I feel like a fish out of water with it. Too, the new rules are silly. I write that way here because HP favors it, but on my own site I write the way I want to. On the other hand, that was me "just saying," because I don't care what anyone thinks of my writing, but for my readership.

  12. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    Bev, I run Grammarly, even though it's wrong about 90% of the time. Why? Once in a blue moon, it catches something I miss. I also run my grammar through Word, which is better but also nowhere near perfect. I got a real laugh yesterday though. I punched in something like "does not pass the muster." Grammarly corrected that, to "does not pass the mustard," lol!

    1. samanthacubbison profile image82
      samanthacubbisonposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      A few of us at HubPages use Grammarly as well, but it is to be taken with a grain of salt. Rather than correcting the text for you, it is pointing out things that "might" need correcting (as determined by a robot). It's definitely useful for missing commas and basic errors that are easy to miss, though.

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
        Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        This tip is helpful and encouraging. Had I know it at the beginning. Now, the thought that comes to me is  "Grammarly" is for checking, not for correcting grammar. I found the tool make fun of itself at times!

        1. ziyena profile image89
          ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

          ProWritingAid gives you analysis and coaches you along the way - not only does if check basic grammar mistakes but helps you to become a better writer if you need constructive direction.  Especially with issues like subordinate clauses where occasionally I get confused with proper sentence structure.  Get it backwards so to speak.  Issues are highlighted just like Grammarly but on a higher edit level. It also edits for writing styles ... so much more.  Ok.  Hope this helps those who are curious.  Happy Writing folks

          1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
            Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

            Hi friend, I was on ProWritingAid some moments ago. I iike it.                                            Besides, I'll also pass some article as a double check thorough GingerOnlne, or WhiteSmoke. Thanks.

            1. ziyena profile image89
              ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

              Glad you approve.  Cheers

              1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
                Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

                You're welcome.

    2. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Indeed. "Pass muster" but "cut the mustard". They are both correct in the right context. Easy to confuse them smile

    3. Miebakagh57 profile image68
      Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      GwennyOh, I'm having laugh louder and lauder.                      My very first test with Grammarly was not pleasant because it goes against my basic skill in grammar.                                  Oddly I had to uninstal it. But was persuade to give it a second chance, and to use discretion. That makes sense to me. The plus side is that it generated loud laughter! lol!

  13. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    And here I always thought "cut the mustard," was a misimpression of "cut the muster." I had to look it up, and you are right. Lol. hmm

  14. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I want to make a new saying as such up, but with custard. I can think of nothing worth a laugh. The Englishwoman in me, however, wants to make a MontyPythonesque remark about blancmange.

    The way they said that word with their regional accent, used to make me laugh. Bli-monj.

  15. ziyena profile image89
    ziyenaposted 3 years ago

    Just a heads up ... ProWritingAid goes much further than the basics of Grammarly.  I switched and can never go back.  I highly suggest trying out a trial run.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer.

    1. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Had it for a year, but was just too lazy to use it smile

      I edit as I go... every paragraph has to be perfect (as I see it) before writing the next. Not the recommended method but it works for me.

      I sometimes fall back on Hemingway, which is useful for style suggestions.

      My edit-as-you-go-tips:

      *Make sure all sections support the title.
      *The intro should explain what's coming.
      *Every sentence should expand on the article premise and fulfil the subtitle.
      *The ending/conclusion should sum up the premise neatly.
      *The whole article should supply info the reader was looking for and also expand their perception of the topic.

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
        Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        This is welcome. Thank you, Bev.

      2. ziyena profile image89
        ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Now that’s a GOLD Nugget right there ... Thank You

    2. Miebakagh57 profile image68
      Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Will try it later. Thanks for the hint.

  16. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I hear you... I see some silly results on there sometimes!

    1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
      Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      That's fun. It makes me relax.

  17. Jodah profile image91
    Jodahposted 3 years ago

    Considering the standard of English displayed in most of the posts referred to I doubt many of these people would know how to find The Learning Centre or even understand it if they did.

  18. Shuan Brown profile image68
    Shuan Brownposted 3 years ago

    Interesting discussion. I joined two months ago and my first article failed QAP. But when posted on the forum, I got serious and honest criticism which made me a better writer. Also I had to re-study do's and dont's of hubpages.Today I have more than 10 hubs, thanks @hubbers.

    But I think Hubpages can make the process easier for new Hubbers by just highlighting areas of concern for an article that failed QAP.

  19. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I tried ProWritingAid. For me, it works on parts of the page--the summary and the bio. It will not work in the text dialogue boxes, though.

    1. ziyena profile image89
      ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, that's a bummer.  I do alot of copy & paste when using.  But did you like it better than Grammarly as far as the grammarical and style enhancement elements, or no?

  20. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    From what little I saw, I couldn't tell. I put a trial add-on into Word. It is junky; I am not sure it is a solution for me. It often presents me with mind-breaking challenges that ultimately are just time-wasting expeditions. I think that tomorrow it will be gone.
    I'll give you an example. This is a sentence that is talking about an occult rite: "However, the specifics of what it does aren’t commonly revealed."

    It tells me it should be in active voice, but I can't think of any ways to write it as active voice, but then again I've not got hours to while away to research further into this.

    I have looked at example after example of active vs passive voice, and have seen nothing that helps me wrap my mind around these seemingly random suggestions. They don't even offer examples. It is just a waste of time so far for me. Excruciating, to be honest.

  21. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I deleted my original replacement sentence, for the example provided. Why? As I better understand what I am being shown by the app, in instances it is absolute nonsense. It offers a few pointers, but they all do.

  22. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    I deleted ProWritingAid. It turns my writing inside out to follow its suggestions. It, like Grammarly and Outwrite, provides primarily false suggestions, but it provides far more, which is overwhelming.

    One huge problem with ProWritingAid, is that it insists on writing in active voice. Writing that way makes it difficult to control keyword frequency and also to control how many times I must say "you." Apart from constantly telling me to write in active voice, it does raise some great style suggestions. Overall though, to follow it would remove a lot of character from my writing.

    1. ziyena profile image89
      ziyenaposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with the active voice issue.  I’ve come across the same scenarios and couldnt come up with anything active without demolishing the sentence.  In these cases I just go with the advice given:

      “Here’s the thing: passive voice isn’t grammatically incorrect. That being said, it’s often better to use active voice.”

      Since using this software, it’s helped me to think more active then passive which is always a good thing because it sounds more sensical when read, but is it sensical when trying to take thirty minutes to figure out how to rearrange it? ... just because?? ...  I’m with you, and I’ll just say fudge it

      It's my opinion that ProWritingAid is far better than any other editing software out there.  You’re right again.  It’s got bug issues when using the app version.  I don’t.  I just use the online web version and keep a tab open all the time, copy & paste, and it works for me fine.  One of the best features for me is the ECHOES option which “highlights any words and phrases that you have repeated within a short space of writing.” ... great for pinpointing and tackling key word stuffing!

      Well, it's good that you tried it out.  Now you know what works best for you.  Thanks for your feedback.  Nite

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image68
        Miebakagh57posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        I recalled now that in my secondary grammar school days, my Biology teacher informed that we write in the present tense active voice-"this  is done," instead of the passive voice "that is done." This was further emphasis in the English lesson. That being said, I agree that ProWritingAid, is most advantageous in these areas than Grammarly.                                       Seriously, online editing software were robots that were program by the human mind.                            Occasionally, they need re-editing and up-to-dating.                                   Nevertheless. I usually rely on my best natural opinion on that which is natural.

  23. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    With your reply in mind, I might give it a further inspection on PC. Goodnight.

  24. GwennyOh profile image90
    GwennyOhposted 3 years ago

    As I said before, it's NOT pointing out failures to some that I was referring to as being prejudiced.

    1. BenjaminMarshalll profile image59
      BenjaminMarshalllposted 18 months agoin reply to this



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