More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

HubPages Makes a Breakfastpop Pop Out

Don't get me wrong when I say that HubPages over the past couple of years has taken on far too much editorial control at their site, and it has irked more than just a few writers. I was one of them a while back as I wrote my farewell hub to my faithful readers, Goodbye HubPages sometime back in October of 2011.

HubPages is not a bad site to write for. It's just not as easy as it used to be to write content that you want without a lot of added scrutiny by the site moderators.

A couple of things that stood out for me were simple references that I made to the Boston Beer Company as I was simply saying that it was the last real American company left to brew beer. That hub it turned out was cited as promoting drinking. Another hub was simply an anecdote about the prospects of winning the lottery, and was primarily meant to be somewhat humurous in nature. This hub was cited as promoting gambling.

Neither of which were true in the context of my hubs. I eventually reposted the latter hub here on the Springboard, Winning the Lottery: The Dream of the Big Win.

If the moderators would have actually read the hubs, the fact that neither were really promoting anything would have been all too clear. Even after I wrote them citing my concerns, it was clear that they did not bother to read a word of what I'd posted. Worst of all I got a nasty bit of a response back from them which I talked about in a follow-up hub titled, On HubPages—October 21, 2011, wherein they said, "Like most websites, there are many topics which are protected under free speech that are not permitted on websites like HubPages. Please feel free to publish any content that violates HubPages Terms of Use elsewhere. Let us know if you have any questions."

That was the real stab, and those words hung on me like weighted chains hooked to my nipples. Please feel free to publish any content that violates HubPages Terms of Use elsewhere. Thanks for nothing, guys. Really?

To date my hubs have received over 72,000 views, and these figures do not count any hubs I deleted which became irrelevant due to time decay of the material. It doesn't make me the Stephen King of HubPages, but I am sure my 72,000 plus views certainly helped the site to make a few bucks over the years.

Which brings me to Breakfastpop who is, for all intents and purposes, a conservative blogger at HubPages. To date she has written around 913 hubs, and has earned the following of somewhere around 762 other hubbers, and who also gets read by many people outside the site who are not even members. Her blogs, as I would classify them, always get quite a few comments, and I would think her total views would blow mine clear out of the water.

And despite that, she recently announced she will be reducing her activity on the site citing mainly that HubPages has "institued changes that seem to be anti-writer." And she is spot on when she makes this comment. When I wrote Goodbye HubPages I said, "If we are to truly call ourselves writers then no writer I have ever spoken to has ever been for censorship in any form. This is censorship if you ask me." Breakfastpop went on to say, "This site is no longer a haven for writers who wish to express themselves freely and creatively."

This becomes especially true when one takes into consideration that the site touts itself as a site for writers, and is essentially a means to self publish your work. I understand why any site of this nature would want to be careful about some of its content simply because any content that might be negative could impact their entire site overall. But there is a big difference between inappropriate content and simple creative and free thinking by writers who provide it. And again, if the site wants to run itself more like a magazine and filter some of the content, then they must take the time to actually read the content that is deemed to be objectionable, substandard, or the quality of the content simply be determined by "word requirements, graphs, charts and polls" as Breakfastpop also rightly pointed out.

It is also true that many quality writers have left the site for the very reasons that I stated, along with Breakfastpop's statements as to her reasoning for slowing down her activity. What will they have left if the good writer's go is the question I have posed more than once? When you drive away those who actually make a positive contribution to the site, what is left? What's more, many times HubPages has said that they are simply going along with the TOS of Google Adsense. Yet not once have I ever had any notices of violating Adsense's TOS, even when I have published exactly the same material which was deemed a violation of HubPages TOS on one of my blogs, all of which are directly owned by Google.

One thing I have long said in looking into the actions of the moderators and owners of what is supposed to be a site for writers, is that none of these moderators or owners have a clue about the importance of freedom of speech that is inherent in anyone who actually considers themselves to be a writer, and as being a former editor involved in the publishing of an online monthly fiction horror magazine, editor of a horror fiction anthology, and having associations with other editors and writers like Mort Castle, Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance, T.M. Wright, Peter Straub, Michael Laimo (who recently had one of his books turned into a movie on Chiller), and former Dorchester Publishing Leisure Horror books editor Don D'Auria, I know what it means to have editorial control over content. Nothing was published, nor rejected, without first reading the material. That's how you deal with writers. No programming algorithm can ever replace that, and non writers/editors should not have a thing to do with editorial control. Instead this task should be delegated to those who know what they are doing.

1 comment:

Mike Blue said...

Springboard - Excellent description of what is happening on Hub Pages. I recently wrote my farewell hub, and will never publish on the website again. No need to explain to you what forced me to make this decision. Breakfast Pop pretty well said it all. I do wonder what will happen when all of the really good writers leave?
The only good thing I can say about Hub Pages is that in the beginning, it was a fun ride, and I made many friends.