The Four Way Test For Proper Hub & Blog Writing
When David Edelstein, a movie reviewer for New York Magazine, NPR, and CBS, reviewed the latest installment in the Batman saga "The Dark Knight" he found it not at all to his liking. Edelstein set off a media firestorm and was subjected to hundreds of thousands of lurid online indignities when he expressed reservations over the extent of the blatant violence and other elements he deemed too "dark" for a general audience rating. His review ran counter to many of his critic peers who heaped praise upon the film, leaving an impartial observer to wonder whether the history of modern cinema would have to rank a guy in a rubber batsuit alongside Rhett Butler, Vito Corleone, and Citizen Kane.
My own personal views of "The Dark Knight" happen to coincide with Edelstein's, so I do have to admit that I am rather biased to sympathize with his perspective. In my humble opinion "The Dark Knight" is a repugnant slasher movie wrapped up in batparaphernalia. However, stating that completely personal opinion leaves a writer open to vicious attack from all sides, citing boorish insensitivity to the "great" last performance of an Aussie actor who, it turned out, wasn't smart enough to read the instructions on the bottles in his pharmacopia.
David Edelstein gets paid to write his opinion of movies. I get paid to write my opinion on HubPages. Unlike Edelstein, I don't write film critiques as they are generally subjective: Someone can love a movie that someone else despises. There is effectively no right and wrong way to write a personal review of a motion picture. Both viewpoints must be respected if (and it's a big if) they are based on the underlying indisputable facts. It would be erroneous for Edelstein or Licino to criticize "The Dark Knight" because we didn't like the nude scene with Jessica Alba. She's not in the movie, thus our article would not be based on facts. As long as what the Hubber or Blogger is writing is based on facts they have confirmed to the best of their ability, then when the rabid throngs descend from Slashdot or Digg or other sordid assemblage of web berserkers, the writer can confront the avalanche of maniacal criticism with the utmost serenity: In many cases, being right is not popular. But it is right nonetheless. And it always will be.
- Tell the truth
- Tell it well
- Know and serve your readers
- Fear no criticism
All Hubbers or Bloggers have to be aware that they open themselves to invective with every single sentence they post online. The magnitude of the affronts can certainly create a situation where the writer may waver in their convictions, but that would be the ultimate error. There are time honored principles that guide human relations and one of the most successful ones is a basic premise of the international Rotary Club, the "Four Way Test." Hubbers and Bloggers can look to this philosophy for a basic guide.
Although this "Test" is a superlative guide to interpersonal relations in business and life, keep in mind that writing a Hub or Blog is not subject to all the points of the Rotary Club's "Four Way Test." Only the first two apply: 1) Is it the truth? 2) Is it fair to all concerned? Bloggers and Hubbers should not concern themselves with 3) Will it build good will and better friendships, and 4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned. When I attack "Doc" Cohen and his $47 pure scam formula on The Secret Code I have no intent to build good will or better friendships with him. He is a scam artist. I am exposing his scam. I don't want it to be beneficial to him. I want to see him locked up so that he doesn't prey on naive suckers who send in forty-seven of their hard-earned dollars and receive a snake oil gobbledigook code in return.
As my Hubs gain prominence and notoriety, I am attracting more and more of the vitriol that David Edelstein now knows so well. These have escalated into multiple death threats on one occasion but my dealings with the Canadian RCMP federal police proceeded to promptly squash that situation. All the rest of the negative reactions have run the gamut from mild displeasure to fanatic ranting towards my Hubs. To that I say: Fantastic! It proves that thousands of people are reading my words and they feel strongly enough to get involved. Out of over 450 Hubs I have maybe a dozen with comments showing strong disagreement, so that 40:1 ratio proves that I am not out to stir manure in return for eyeballs. I've already explained in Hal's Not So Secret Method how the money I make off each Hub's AdSense is enough to buy me a Big Mac, but only when it's on sale for $1.99, so the accumulation of pageviews are most certainly not motivating me.
A fellow Hubber named Danny asked me to answer these questions and I am happy to do so. I am answering it on my own Hub and he is free to incorporate these replies in his own Hub, alongside his choice of expansive praise for my witty genius or vituperative opprobrium for my practice of sacrificing infants on the Satanic Altar... let 'er rip, dude... it won't be anything I haven't heard before:
Why didn't you contact Deborah Ng first before launching your attack?
I dare any level headed individual reading that Freelancewritinggigs.com Hub to state conclusively that I attacked anyone, including Ms. Ng. Much of the Hub outlines the respect I have for her site. However, Ms. Ng failed to implement various common-sense basic safeguards to FWJ Idol that are widely applied to similar online "contests." There are many thousands of words in the Hub and comments which clearly explain my completely valid rationale for exposing those aspects to my readers, so there is no point rehashing that here. Blogs and Hubs do not work in precisely the same fashion as, say, articles in a major metropolitan daily newspaper: By their essence, they are expressions of personal views. I don't think that anyone could rationally call HubPages a news site, as a major feature of these Hubs is that they should be as timeless and evergreen as possible. I trust Ms. Ng is well aware that in the online age, the web posting has taken the place of both the press release and the business card. The full details as well as the positive and negative aspects of FWJ Idol were openly published on her site. There was nothing more that Ms. Ng could add or subtract from those extensive details, she had been free to publish any factor at her discretion. As I stated, I don't make backroom deals. I call them as I see them. That's why my readers appreciate following my Hubs and why my numbers are as high as they are.
Writing for whatever compensation is the writer's choice - why did you continue your argument when it was made clear the writers themselves did not feel used, and were all too aware of the competition stipulations?
The considerable attrition rate of contestants who bailed out of the free writing marathon proves otherwise. The ones who stuck around did not "feel used" but for whatever reasons others did, and that's why they bailed. Regardless, I've more than amply stated my views on FWJ Idol and I not only stand behind what I have written but consider the issue closed, as does Ms. Ng on her site.
What would you say to people who accuse you of not doing your research properly?
I say put your money where your mouth is and give me a list of factual errors in any of my 450+ Hubs. If you can't come up with any, and you can't, then go take a long walk off a short pier.
What have you actually written, apart from HubPages and Internet posts? You mention a "best-selling book" - what is it? Surely you should be proud of such an achievement and would want to publicize it more?
Anyone who understands that a Ghostwriter is not the dude who wrote Ghostbusters is well aware that approximately 15% of all major books are credited to people who had very little to do with writing them. I refer you to my Ghosting Out Your Book Hub, where you will learn that ghostwriting is a major industry and one that is invariably is attached to a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Publishers of various celebrity autobiographies take careful legal steps to ensure the confidentiality of the fact the celebrity is so thoroughly uneducated they can barely spell dog or cat, and that some nameless scribe working out of a dingy bedroom in Peoria wrote the bestseller. The publishers that pay me have taken the same steps to protect their credited medical "authors." I currently have two books I have ghostwritten which have been translated into over a dozen languages and have made bestseller lists in various major nations. I've just completed a new book for yet another prominent doctor pseudo-author which is sure to be an international bestseller as well. They get the glory and I do the work, but at least I also get a nice paycheck. Don't believe me and think I'm making this up? Then let me send you the directions to your nearest short pier.
Handling controversy while keeping your conscience clear and your readership happy, indeed the very essence of Blogging or Hubbing, is quite simple. It can be incorporated in the Online Writer's Four Way Test:
Everything else is just background noise.