One of my short stories contains very strong language. Simple because that's the way we spoke in that time and place. I've put in some asterisks in the relevant words and a warning at the beginning. Ads have still been disabled and I'm fine with that because I don't go for many ads anyway. But I don't want to break any rules. Reading through the guidelines, I couldn't find much on strong language only that excessive profanity and vulgarity is not allowed (understandably). Presumably in the context of a short story though there isn't a problem. There's nothing sexual or perverse there, it's just young people speaking the way young people speak. Would I be right in presuming this, or are there just very strict guidelines regarding certain words no matter what the context?
All help much appreciated.
McHamlet, context is completely, totally irrelevant.
HubPages earns its income from Adsense. If any site content breaks the rules set by Google, Google could take away HubPages' right to display Adsense ads. Note I didn't say "any site content except creative writing".
If HubPages lost its ability to earn income, HubPages wouldn't exist as a free site. So if we want to keep it as a free site, it's incumbent on us all not to push the envelope when it comes to rules.
If you're not sure about content, the right thing to do is to check with HP first, before publishing. You can set the ads to "low", but I think HubPages ads would still appear, which means it could still be a problem (I may be wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me if so).
There are creative writing sites where you'd be free to publish this kind of thing. They don't pay, but you've said you're not worried about that.
P.S. Some feedback about the story - I felt there was a mismatch in the language. One minute your narrator is talking like a kid - "with the holliers coming up an’ all", and the next minute he's talking like an educated adult - "quickly accessible", "courtesy", "more slowly and gracefully than I would have hoped".
But Marisa, in the first half of the story he WAS a kid, but he was an adult by the end, so in that context it is fine for the language to change.
Izzy, it would be fine if the "adult" part of the story was written in adult language and the "kid" section was written in kid's language. But I only read the first couple of paragraphs and I had real difficulty getting a picture of the narrator's character.
If he's speaking as an adult recalling his youth, he'd be speaking in his adult voice - he'd recall the dialogue as it was spoken, but his descriptions of what happened would be conveyed using adult words. That would make sense.
But if McHamlet is trying to put us inside the head of the child "as it happened", then he should be writing in the child's voice.
Right now he's mixing up the two in the same paragraph and personally, I find that stops me immersing myself in the story.
I take your point Marisa, I can see how in that paragraph there could be considered to be something of a mismatch in style (although those words weren't beyond me when I was a kid of 15 or 16). Anyway, I appreciate the feedback. I really hope the next time you'll read the whole story.
To be honest, before publishing this story I hadn't thought of it as being objectionable in any way. It was only when the ads were disabled that I thought, oh, better add a few asterisks in. Now ads are no longer disabled. I've simply not displayed them as I wait for feedback from the hubpages staff.
I will say that I find vacuous and empty hubs based on the ogling of celebrities or semi-naked women more detrimental to the quality of this site than serious attempts to render authentic language through fiction. And I think to an extent the annoyance directed towards me may be based on a misunderstanding of my motives. I'm definitely not here to upset people. I'm here to be part of a creative community of writers who can all learn from each other.
So, let's be understanding. Let's face it Marisa, some people might object to the close-up of two women's behinds covered in only skimpy bikinis in the first video thumbnail in your hub about the best places to stay in Sydney Australia. They might say that that falls under the ban in the TOS on vulgarity or at least consider it cheap. I personally wouldn't care, and having stayed in Sydney myself for the best part of a year, I enjoyed reading your take on the city.
Anyway, thanks again for your thoughtful comments.
I don't think it's "objectionable" either. That's not the question - it's whether specific aspects of the piece will pass the terms of service of the site.
HubPages exists to make money for the owners and its writers - the creative community is a bonus, not the raison d'etre of the site. If HP upsets its advertisers, there will be no income and the site can't exist.
If you want to publish your work, at no cost, on a high profile site where it stands more chance of being read - the price is limitations on what you can publish. There's no such thing as a free lunch!
I agree the standards are inconsistent. Yes, a piece of creative writing with a bit of profane language has more literary merit than a fluff piece about some busty celebrity - but provided she's got her clothes on, the fluff piece will pass the criteria and the creative writing won't.
There's a similar problem with sex. Google's guidelines prohibit sexual advice. That means you can't even write a serious piece which is genuinely helpful to people with problems. It's stupid,but it's the way it is.
An Acceptable example of Strong Language could be:
"Put Down That Sailor!!"
"Carrying you Uphill wasn't such a BIG Deal.. "
"Hey Old Man..... Why Do ya speak different?"
"Check Out These BiCeps!"
I hope this Strong Language hasn't offended you... It's Just someone with an accent voicing their opinion!
I have read the hub in question. I think it clearly contains "excessive profanity" within the meaning of TOS. You repeatedly use * to hide this somewhat, but people will know what it means and so will Google's content filter, which searches for suspect words. If it gets caught in the content filter, most likely it will not pass a manual review by a moderator. That is just my opinion.
Thanks for the feedback. It's a short story about a number of characters from Cork, Ireland around 20 years ago. In that time and place that's how people spoke. To depict it properly, the profanity is unavoidable however I accept that it may be excessive in relation to what's allowed here.
Does any one else have any other thoughts on this issue before I start censoring?
Your judgment of my hub as containing excessive profanity is simply the subjective opinion of another hubber, no more or less valid than anyone else's. The fact that you call yourself 'website examiner' doesn't give your opinion any special status. So, obviously it makes sense for me to get the opinions of others.
If my hub breaks any rules here I'll happily modify it or take it down. I signed up to the TOS and I have every intention of honouring them, but I didn't sign up to be lectured.
Thanks for your feedback. Now, anyone else?
I did not intend to lecture you on morality. It is a matter of law.
Why did you delete your post when I've replied to it? And now you're saying it's a matter of law. You think I've broken the law? I think you need to examine yourself website examiner.
I deleted it as you replied to it, not because you did. I saw others were commenting, and did not want to be seen as lecturing you on morality.
I never meant you have broken any laws; only that these standards tend to be inflexible as a matter of law.
Read the hub, I can see why Google would pull the ads but anyone that has a problem with the language really needs to get a life. However there are rules here about adult content so perhaps you should ask for an official review.
I'm wondering which hub you are referencing. However, I do believe I found the hub "Walls", that is completely a shambles.
It lacks taste or originality. There are too many swear words and understood why it tripped the filters.
Not to mention, it is a bit amateurish article, when you should be writing your thoughts, ideas, opinions or researched fact.
I began reading it, and was repulsed by the "way" it was written. So, I did not read the rest of it, but did scan some of the later paragraphs.
The format of your hubs is also not likely to earn you much traffic or earnings, however, as you so nicely have said- "my view is subjective, as just another hubber"(you actually said that to WE, but probably goes for anyone who disagrees with you).
It's not an article, it's a short story. Anyway, I appreciate your feedback, thanks. On subjectivity, of course every view is subjective, we are a community of individuals. I'm not sure why you find that offensive and I don't know what you mean when you say: "you actually said that to WE, but probably goes for anyone who disagrees with you". Are you upset about something?
Oh I see where you are coming from now. Your hubs have much more originality and taste than mine. Like your hub about "sexy" Jennifer Lopez.
The first lines of which are:
It is a pleasure to have you on my hub. My A-List Celebrity Collection consists many beautiful women and Hottie Jennifer Lopez is included. So, I honor her work."
Am I upset? No, just found your story poorly wrote. That's all.
The correct English is "poorly written". Thanks again for your feedback.
Well, I'm glad everybody's happy in the end. I've already requested the hub to be officially reviewed and will take whatever action, if any, is required after that.
I found this HUB to be an excellent short story on a time in your life as a youth growing up in Ireland. You certainly in advance at the top of your hub alerted readers to the use of of possibly off colored words that were used as a type of slang in those days, Hell with all the jargon kids use today in the streets it;s no different. I enjoyed it immensely, of course you will get negative and positive feedback to everything we write. Hey Cags, no offense but have a read of some of my hubs of growing up in the mean streets, and abuse and divorce, maybe you would find them offensive as well, give this very talented writer some SLACK please. He is a truly gifted writer. And Cag's I for one do enjoy your postings and lovely ladies, keep hubbing in the FREE world and my favorite singer Neil Young would sing.
I've just read it and don't think the language is excessive, not that my opinion counts seeing as I don't work for google, but I entirely agree with you that the profanity is in context with the story-line and suits the characters.
I thought it was an excellent short story and really well-written. Well done!
I am censoring the word in my post, but would like to describe a situation I had.
I don't know how to look at it, but I had a domain banned by adsense because one of my contributors used the word f*** in the context "I am so tired of people that want to f*** me over at work" She was describing a couple people who harassed her at work, in a non-sexual manner. For some reason G decided that the words were sexual in connotation and banned the domain for obscenity.
I think the story is fine. I doubt it will get pulled, but I wouldn't have called attention to it if it were mine. It might get pulled out of personal opinion because it could be argued either way. Better to have not pointed it out, imo.
However, I will add this. As a writer, part of what you do, even as a prose writer, is manage the white space of your page. The asterisks are breaking the fictional dream because, as a reader, you must remove yourself from the images playing out upon the words to process the unexpected punctuation marks. They are speed bumps to the eyes. This undermines the telling of your story like a foul note would stand out in a song.
I'd consider actually using the real profanity, and just use them less often. A swear word here or there will not throw up the flags and will set the tone well enough that you could skip some of the others. The reader understands these are street toughs. We get it. We don't actually need to read every time they swore. Even without the asterisks that can be a distraction.
Since you are writing on HubPages, work with the medium at hand, rather than trying to force a print piece version of it onto a hubpages platform. Just my two cents.
I can - regrettably - vouch for the authenticity of the language used. The problem here seems to be the international nature of the web itself. Different standards apply in different areas of the world with American being the predominant culture on the web, for now.
For me the answer would be - When in Rome do as the Romans do.
So dumb everything down to the cultural level of the average US citizen add some references to Paris Hilton (preferably with photo's) and for Christs' sake don't say F**K!!
The normal way to deal with censorship, which is what it is in the name of commerce, is to replace the obvious profanities with more acceptable alternatives that most people know are coded profanity like - frigging - frig off - cunny as made famous by D H Lawrence - etc, I am sure you can manufacture the rest
As for criticism of your hub by others - I find many hubs vaccuous and poorly written = this does not seem to affect their rankings or their apparent commercial success.
Gotcha. Anyway, the result are in. The team says though the hub is in a grey area it's fine to stay up as is, but they recommended I leave ads disabled, which as I said before I'm happy to do. Most of my stories don't call for any profanity, but if I write something that does I'll take all the advice taken here into consideration. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to write here and I intend to do so within both the spirit and the letter of the TOS. Peace.
well i read the short story first, then came here, i like your work....... i think you are a controversial character..... and we will be hearing more from you, i could be wrong of course........
Well, my goal isn't necessarily to be controversial Joy, just to be myself in the best way I can.
controversial, ha ha i must add you to the thread, we girls are voting for our men on hubs, i would say you are up there with the best of them, Do you have a better picture tho.
Your picture is fine, McHamlet, don't let anybody tell you otherwise. You did the honorable thing by coming forward with your concerns about your story.
Thanks, found your thread - and who are the other girls?
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