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I've Been Skulled and I have Spammy Elements

Updated on July 6, 2015

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.

A soothing Winter scene that has nothing and everything to do with this hub: you decide.
A soothing Winter scene that has nothing and everything to do with this hub: you decide. | Source

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.

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.

Another relaxing high quality image that may or may not be relevant to this article. HubPages computers will decide, I guess.
Another relaxing high quality image that may or may not be relevant to this article. HubPages computers will decide, I guess. | Source

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.

Take this handy poll because you can

Do you have a really really good handle on what makes a high quality article on HubPages?

See results

This is funny, I think. Will HubPages agree?


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    Post Comment
    • profile image

      4 years ago

      Its so yummy. I could eat it up.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      O-M-G......Funny, funny, funny! I laughed out loud throughout! The last time I laughed that hard, I was reading the infamous "Thought Sandwiches's" hub about "Orphan Hubs".....neither he nor the HILARIOUS hub are still here. He left for greener pasture and I miss him so!

      Had I known he was leaving and taking "Orphan Hubs" with him, I'd have offered to buy it from him.

      Be aware that you must now give us humor more often!...UP F-U-N-N-Y!!!! tweeted & pinned.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      4 years ago


      I just tell it like it is!

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Pop, I must owe you money.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      4 years ago

      Who cares what HP thinks, I love this hub. Voted up, funny and interesting!

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj : my work here is done.

      @KoffeeKlatch Gals : so YOU'RE the one!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I found this article very interesting. Love the sense of humor.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      I planned to write more than just these few words, nicomp, but that supremely relaxing high-quality green fields photo of yours above has put me to sleep. So I zzzzzzzzz......


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