How Personal Is Too Personal?

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  1. Trish_M profile image79
    Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

    When hub hopping, one can flag hubs that are 'substandard', because they are 'purely personal'.

    Thus, I know how to respond if I see something that says:

    'I got up, had a cup of coffee, went back to bed with a newspaper for an hour, then got up and had a shower'.

    That seems reasonable to flag.

    However, I have read posts on the forum, from writers I follow(ed), whose items seemed fine, but who have had hubs 'unpublished' for being too personal.

    So now I'm a bit bewildered.
    How personal is too personal?

    Lots of very good quality hubs are personal. Indeed. lots of good quality books, newspaper articles and magazine stories are very personal.

    I read a hub, recently, that was simply about a rather mundane day at home ~ but it was written with the aim of showing that the right attitude can turn an ordinary day into a special say. It was good. However, it was still entirely personal.

    Some of my favourite hubs are by people who tell about their days living, working or holidaying in France, Spain, etc.

    One great favourite author writes just about getting a job, meeting people, renting an apartment and doing other mundane things ~ but those hubs are brilliantly written and some of the best on the site, in my opinion. They could still be considered 'personal', though.

    There are hubs on people's religious beliefs ~ how they found / lost God; on their children; on their holidays; etc, etc, etc.

    Having had some hubs 'unpublished' already, for violations I had known nothing about ~ mainly RSS feeds and direct links to my other hubs, which I thought was not only acceptable, but encouraged ~ I don't want to spend time and energy on writing that won't be acceptable.

    I have published hubs about a trip I made to Jafre in Spain, and about my visits to the ballet, for example. Personal? ~ I would say so. Too personal / purely personal? ~ I just do not know.

    Some opinions and advice would be appreciated, please, before I put any more energy into hubs that may not be considered acceptable for this site.

    Thank you smile

    1. superwags profile image65
      superwagsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I read a guy's hubs previously who was travelling around Europe and writing about his experiences. They were excellent, but suspect they may have fallen under the guise of "too personal". I hope not.

      1. WriteAngled profile image77
        WriteAngledposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        As has been pointed out many times, flagging by rank and file hubbers merely draws the attention of the official moderators to certain hubs. It does not in itself mean the hub will be unpublished.

        I assume that if I am consistently over-strict in my flagging criteria, I will eventually get a message from HP staff telling me to ease up. After all, flagging hubs that do not deserve it makes more work for the moderators.

        Thus, I flag according to my definitions of poor quality, knowing that others make the final decision.

        1. Trish_M profile image79
          Trish_Mposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, that is right ~ but what do the moderators think, I wonder?
          How personal is too personal, in the opinion of those who make the final decisions?

        2. Lisa HW profile image63
          Lisa HWposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          This is a worthwhile thread here, though, because I think a lot of people (especially since "all the algo stuff" happened) who think a Hub has to be a "standard, well written, web article" (never anything that includes any first-person references, or basically anything that isn't a standard article.

          My thinking (long before this recent shake-up) was "magazine style" meant anything one might find in a magazine (opinion, first-person stories, researched/comprehensive articles, humor, poetry, news, whatever).  (That's not saying all my Hubs would fit into the "magazine style" standard, because I've written my share of stuff when I was in a "whatever" mood.  hmm    Still, I've seen, and always just thought, that "magazine style" meant "like what one might see in a magazine" (maybe plus or minus one type of subject or another).

          Unless and until HubPages puts out word that the only thing that's supposed to be on here is the "standard web article" (like what is often required on some article sites), I'm not going to flag anything for reasons other than what's on that recent list Maddie posted on that link above.

      2. rebekahELLE profile image85
        rebekahELLEposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Travel experiences are popular hubs, and they are perfectly acceptable. Describing travel destinations around the world is helpful and interesting to others. Why do they encourage us to use our own photos and experiences? Personal is described as:

        "Not useful, interesting, or easily understandable to someone that does not know the author. This may include Hubs written in the style of a blog or personal journal."

        It does not say, "This includes", it says, "MAY include.."

        There's a thread around here recently about blogs. If I find it, I'll post it here.  {Be sure to watch the video interview with HP CEO}

    2. Lisa HW profile image63
      Lisa HWposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Maddie Ruud posted this on another thread.  (Scroll down quite a bit to get to it..)

  2. sofs profile image74
    sofsposted 12 years ago

    It is too personal when the reader does not derive anything from it.. mostly blog type of entries, is what I guess is too personal. If a hub draws from personal experience and shares information with the reader I would consider it as hub worth writing and reading.

    1. cheaptrick profile image73
      cheaptrickposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Your absolutely right.If there is a point to be made or a message or if it has entertainment value,all is well.90% of my hubs are written about personal experiences,but there is an underlying point or an attempt at humor though it's often obscure and missed buy some readers.Hp doesn't seem to mind,I've not had any hubs flagged in the two years I've been here but then,I'm not a pro,and I don't put ads in my hubs,so maybe they don't care.

      1. Lisa HW profile image63
        Lisa HWposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        That's pretty much my approach.  I didn't come here to write "cookie cutter web articles".  I'm signed up with a zillion article-only sites (in case I ever need them, which for now I don't because I get assignments from places other than the web).  Anyway, I came here to write what I wanted to write, or what I thought had some "redeeming value".  My Hubs that do best (earnings-wise and well-received-wise) are the ones that are unique and that offer readers something they can't easily find anywhere else.  Some of my best (but most depressing) Hubs are Hubs I wrote when someone asked a question (on here) about dealing with loss and grief.  Others that have done (REALLY well) are folksy discussions about some nitty-gritty subject.  (Again, they offer people what they can't find elsewhere, and I think people know what I've written is real - not just something I was paid to say.)

        I've posted a few "entertainment-value only" Hubs, because I actually thought they might be kind of pleasant for someone to read; but if HP ever doesn't want that kind of thing on here, I'll be glad to take them off and put them somewhere else.  There aren't all that many anyway.  I've just always figured that if HP doesn't mind poetry on here they probably don't mind a story written for entertainment value only.

        This whole issue has been one I've kind of struggled with even before recent changes, because I also do a lot of writing from stuff I've learned in past professional settings (separate from writing).  I have a ton of research I've done for decades, but then my profile says I'm a writer (which I now am).  So, the Hub that doesn't show specific references for research done specifically for that Hub looks like I'm just pulling info out of the blue.  It's actually been a big enough issue for me that I've set up a little website to kind of expand on any profiles I have on any site.

  3. cindi h profile image60
    cindi hposted 12 years ago

    I thought the whole purpose of this site was to share knowledge and experiences with others? Aren't all our experiences personal? I too have read many hubs that could be deemed personal but I would never think of flagging them just because I don't like it.

    1. Trish_M profile image79
      Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

      Thanks for your responses.

      It is Superwags concerns that I share, though smile

    2. profile image0
      Sophia Angeliqueposted 12 years ago

      Blogs tend to be personal. Content, on the other hand, is not.

      One can make a personal comment in a general article. But an entire article about something one did personally, regardless of whether it is well written or not, does not fit the category of the type of writing that HP does.

      1. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Again, this is what I am wondering about.

        What if the entire article is about a visit to a beautiful city, for example, which is described with enthusiasm and style?

        It is still personal, but could be of immemse interest and enjoymemt to other readers.

        1. gracenotes profile image90
          gracenotesposted 12 years agoin reply to this


          A well-written article with personal travel experiences is definitely of value for readers.  Readers want to know what it's like to visit places like New York and Paris.  It's not too personal at all.

          IMHO, a purely personal hub would not have a point to make.  It would, in fact, be a collection of random musings and ramblings.  Perhaps "self-indulgent" would be a good adjective to describe that kind of hub.  The hub has little organization and less thoughtfulness.  I think the reader would have nothing from which to draw a helpful conclusion by the time they finished reading the article.

        2. WriteAngled profile image77
          WriteAngledposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          If the enthusiastic and well written article describes places visited in a way that makes me think "Oh, I must go there, I must see X, Y, Z!" or even "Yuk! I definitely don't want to go there!!!" then I see no problem. It is giving useful information that will come into play should I ever plan a journey to that part of the world.

          If the author showed s/he cares about readers by supplying a few links to sites giving detailed information on transport, admission prices etc with respect to the places mentioned, this would be a huge bonus, but absence of this information would not make me flag such an article.

        3. profile image0
          Sophia Angeliqueposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Trish, it's still a blog, not an article.

    3. Uninvited Writer profile image78
      Uninvited Writerposted 12 years ago

      I have 2 hubs about my cat. However, one talks about his breed and the other talks about him being blind. I think what stops them from being too personal is that some people might get some information from them.

      To me purely personal is talking about what you did that day. I have read some that basically say I love Justin Bieber and he is cool... I would say that is too personal unless it gives information about his life or career.

    4. Joy56 profile image68
      Joy56posted 12 years ago

      I saw a thread about this and Maddie Rudd commented lets see if i can find it for you.,

      1. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Thank you, Joy smile

      2. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Hello Gracenotes smile
        Thank you for responding smile

        Yes, that does make sense. smile

        But I was wondering if there might be different definitions.

        I have just thought of one example of the sort of thing that I might mean.

        I was considering writing a piece about my wedding day ~ no decision made; just musing on the idea.

        The day ended happily, but there were some real 'fiasco' moments and people seem to enjoy hearing about it. I thought that it might make an interesting and entertaining article ~ but would that be too 'purely personal' for Hub Pages, I wonder???

      3. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Hi WriteAngled smile

        Yes, I think that some pieces are obviously too personal and are sub-standard, and some items are obviously high quality, in spite of also being quite personal.

        I suppose that it is the grey area in the middle that I am thinking about.

        I suppose that I shall just have to keep writing and hope that I don't incur too many violations smile

      4. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        I have just found a thread on a similar topic, so I'll have a read of that:

      5. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        I found what Maddie posted on the subject:

        "Each Hub stands pretty much alone ...

        ... personal content .. may address several different subjects in the same post

        .. the test we moderators put each Hub through is something like this:
        Would this Hub be understandable, useful and interesting to someone who does not know the author personally?

        If so, we are inclined to leave it up, as long as it is properly categorized and stays on topic. 

        If not, whatever my personal feelings about the matter, I take it down.  ..."

        So it must be able to stand alone; it must not jump from subject to subject; it must be understandable, useful and interesting to readers, who do not know me and it must keep all of the other Hub Pages rules. smile

        This makes me wonder about hubs, like the one I wrote about my first anniversary on Hub Pages. I am sure that I have seen other, similar, ones, but I'm not sure that it would pass the test sad

        Okey dokey, well, let's see how it goes smile

        1. recommend1 profile image61
          recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I kinda translated the nicely worded advice from Maddie as:  if it is not emotional gut-spill about how nobody understands me and everyone I ever knew is a b@st@rd (written in broken lines to look like poetry) - then it is probably ok smile

          1. WriteAngled profile image77
            WriteAngledposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            No, no, no! Breaking lines is pandering far too much to outdated conventions of what some think poetry is supposed to be! Don't you realise a poet needs to be free to spew out whatever is in his brain in whatever way it comes out, otherwise he might lose his inspiration mid-flow.

            1. recommend1 profile image61
              recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

              You are right of course, and spewed is the exact correct word big_smile

      6. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        So I could write personal stuff, as long as I put it in the poetry section? wink

        1. recommend1 profile image61
          recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          and can disguise it as a poem big_smile

      7. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        OK smile

        By the way, I love your avatar, Recommend1 smile

        1. recommend1 profile image61
          recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I like yours too - looks like that girl that played like a boy most of one summer on the beach at Westgate on sea !  Just before I got otherwise interested in girls big_smile  about 1959 or 60 I would think !

      8. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Thanks smile
        It was on a beach in either Cornwall or Devon. I was about seven, I think. It must have been around 1964.

      9. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        So, there is a difference of opinion as to whether an article about a personal visit to a beautiful city is ok or not.

        This is the crux of my problem, I think. smile

        It seems that different people have different views about what can be described as a purely personal substandard hub.

        1. rebekahELLE profile image85
          rebekahELLEposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Trish,to my knowledge nothing has been said about travel hubs being too personal. 
          There is an entire section on Travel with over 30,000 hubs.
          It's about writing informative, interesting, useful content that  appeals to various readers.  I've read many travel experiences by numerous hubbers.

        2. profile image0
          Website Examinerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Could be some people are more knowledgeable than others. I don't really see what's the cause for serious concern here.

        3. recommend1 profile image61
          recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Of course travel writing can be personal and ok.  Writing about ones own divorce can be personal and ok - if it says something about the process of divorce or whatever rather than a gut-spilling of emotion about the writer.

          If I am wrong on this then this is not a creative writing site - it is an extended advertising factory and will never rise in Google.

        4. Lisa HW profile image63
          Lisa HWposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Based on what I've often seen about first-person type material, maybe with the travel Hub it would depend on how it would be presented.  Useful to other travelers might be "Here's all the sites in Paris," and "We loved these restaurants."  Purely personal might be more like, "We got up at 6:30, and headed to my sister-in-law's home, where we got to meet our nephew for the first time."

      10. gracenotes profile image90
        gracenotesposted 12 years ago

        I'm still 100% OK with travel pieces.  And such hubs are easily monetized on Adsense.

        You mentioned upthread about possibly writing about your wedding day and what went wrong that day.  If you don't write the hub, please come back here and create a forum thread on the subject.

        I'm interested in reading about wedding day disasters, and I can contribute a couple of my own, too.  smile

        1. Trish_M profile image79
          Trish_Mposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Hi Grace smile
          If I get around to writing it, I'll definitely let you know! smile smile

      11. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Well, I think that most of us are on the same page ~ and I hope that the moderators are, too. I'll trust my judgement and hope for the best, I think. smile smile

        Thanks for all of the opinions smile

      12. Trish_M profile image79
        Trish_Mposted 12 years ago

        Hi Lisa:)

        I found Maddie's post and quoted from it earlier ~ probably on the previous page smile

        And yes, I wasn't really worried about my own flagging, but, rather, about  moderator 'unpublishing'.


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