I've Been Skulled and I have Spammy Elements
Have you been skulled? I have.
That will leave a mark
Culturally, a skull implies death or destruction. I'm always shocked that HubPages chose such an agressive icon to gently tell me that my writing might possibly fall into a bad place. I published over 900 hubs: too many of them have been skulled as new rules pop up like poisonous mushrooms.
Use your words!
Computers can count words, hence the 700 word minimum imposed on anything published herein. These words may be formed into sentences or simply enumerated in bulleted form but by golly there's a digital algorithm standing by to count them with extreme accuracy.
Your subject matter might reflect the worst types of illogical reasoning, but as long as you make your points verbosely, HubPages is happy. You could argue the veracity of Moon landings or the looney-tunes idea that government Thermite killed 3000 citizens on 9/11. It doesn't matter what you say, as long as you take a long time to say it.
Is this funny to you?
The Product Hub is a Dying Art
Another quantitative aspect of your hubs is the product capsule. HubPages provides this mechanism for presenting eBay and Amazon products, but we're not supposed to use it. Evidently the la-di-da computer algorithms get riled up when long stretches of text are broken up with stuff you can buy.
Eventually HubPages computers work themselves into a frenzy that can only be relieved by emailing you regarding your spammy hub. You aren't sufficiently privileged to be privy to precisely why you're spammy: you may have too many product capsules or perhaps just the right number of such.
On the other hand, products listed in your properly enumerated capsules may not actually match what you wrote about. This unfortunate condition also brings about the spammy curse (I think). As a career software engineer and college IT professor, I'd dearly love to meet the algorithms making those decisions. Does the HubPages computer understand homophones, sarcasm, alliteration, subtlety, and similes? Assuming the computer has a sense of humor programmed into it, is that sensibility modeled after John Cleese or Henry Kissinger?
What keeps the skull away?
"High-quality Hubs are original, in depth, and media rich." -- email from the HubPages computer.
OK. We are blessed with three subjective guidelines in the quest for high quality.
- Original: good luck. Every word better fall out of your own head in unique combinations never-before published on the Internet. HubPages does not understand Fair Use and has little respect for proper citations. I prefer MLA but APA is popular.
- In-Depth: as mentioned earlier, but happily mentioned again because it increases the word count, depth cannot be measured. Depth is objectively subjective. 700 words addressing underground gerbil racing in Thailand is sufficient. 700 words explaining existential relationships between reflexive perdurants in business ontologies probably isn't enough.
- Media rich: is one YouTube video link enough? Is three too many? Is there a ratio of words to media that HubPages wishes to enforce?
The Email says I'm spammy, but good luck fixing it
If you've received the spammy notification, good luck interpreting it. The text equivocates like a politician in Iowa. We budding Hemingways accept constructive criticism but few of us have the free time for a spirited guessing game with a web server. I boast, roughly, 100 hubs that have been ruled spammy according to rules imposed years after the hubs were written.
This vague-ness is not new: Google uses similar strategies. Ask Google how to improve your Page Rank: their response is "Write good." Certainly Google interns will advise you to take out a few banner ads and stop stealing content from The Huffington Post. Once we all do that, we are all back at the baseline. It is not in HubPages' best interest to explain precisely how hubs get skulled.
Kokomo, Indiana. You're welcome.
Whither your hubs?
This problem cannot be solved. The best interest of HubPages, and Google, are served by secrecy. If these august institutions reveal specific requirements for generating content, then all authors implement the requirements and the process starts again. When everyone is high quality then everyone is average.
Yes, drop in relevant high resolution images. Yes, include a poll and a map and a quiz and maybe a product capsule. Sit back, digitally cross your fingers, and hope the skull stays away.