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A Hub Pages Rant

I'm wild again, beguiled again

A simpering, whimpering child again

Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I

— Richard Rodgers

I'm mad as Hell...

I'm mad as Hell...

The Existential Question

Why are we here? Or, more to the point—why am I here?

I love to write, and I had always hoped (and assumed) that by being here on Hub Pages I would have a platform on which I could hone my skill, obtain valuable feedback, and perhaps find some new friends who share my love of writing.

I have found all of those here. When I compare the hubs I penned four years ago against those that I wrote this past week, I have to say that I am pleased. I truly feel that I have gained and grown as a writer. I have found a few people here whom I consider to be friends. We will probably never meet in person, but I know that they appreciate what I do, they provide valuable (and often funny) feedback, and make me glad to log into HP every day.

However, there still are a few things that bother me.

Hubber Scores Matter

I’ve been has high as 91 and as low as 81. In the words of Martin Luther “what does this mean?

I have absolutely no idea.

My questions to the HP staff are these:

  • What criteria are used to assign the hubber score?
  • Why does my hubber score adjust (often several points plus or minus) in just one day?
  • How can one improve their “hubber” score?

OK, some of you might be saying “I don’t care what score ‘they’ assign to me. I write for the love of writing.

But, honestly size DOES matter.

If you are searching hubs for information on a specific topic, who will you choose to read—the Hubber with a score of 80, or the one with a score of 95?

Don’t you (automatically) assume that the person with the higher score has more to offer, has better-researched content, and is a better writer? If hubber scores are based on traffic, then I fear that many of us are caught in the proverbial Catch 22.

And What About the Scores on Individual Hubs?

This is the one thing that has me totally disappointed, frazzled, and (obviously) confused.

According to Hub Pages, these are the “ELEMENTS OF A STELLAR HUB”

To give your Hub the best-possible shot at success, we recommend including:

  • A minimum of 1150 words of truly informative, well-written, useful content
  • A minimum of three relevant, high-resolution, properly-attributed photos (ideally your own)
  • At least one video (ideally your own)
  • At least one Map and/or Table Capsule
  • At least one Poll and/or Quiz Capsule
  • A succinct and compelling customized summary
  • Attractive and logical formatting

    These are useful general guidelines to shoot for, but please keep in mind that you should only include capsules that are directly related and extremely relevant to your Hub's subject. For example, it probably won't make much sense to add a Map Capsule to a recipe Hub; use your best judgement [sic] and commons [sic] sense. (By the way, the misspellings are HP’s, not mine.)

    We also recommend only including products and links that will be incredibly valuable to your reader. When in doubt, leave it out.

At this very moment I am looking at a hub that I published on August 10, 2015. In the upper-right hand corner is that amazingly helpful block of feedback which says “NEED SOME GOALS? Hubs with these attributes typically receive 300% more traffic.” So compare my hub against those goals:

  • Word count – according to HP should be 1250+. Mine is 1979. (Check)
  • Image count – at least 3. Hmmm, I have 12, and they are top-quality (not blurry and are fully labeled and accredited ) (Check)
  • Additional capsules—I inserted a video. (Yeah for me!)
Scroll to Continue

HP says (in support) Great job! A beautiful Hub that includes well-written text with engaging and interactive capsules establishes a great foundation for success.

So, it seems I have dotted all of the I’s and crossed the T’s. I’ve done everything HP deems necessary for a “GOOD” hub. I have no misspellings, no grammatical errors, and the content is engaging and informative. The summary is well written. I even begin the hub with a clever callout. Guess what my hub score is?


HP Staff--WHAT DO YOU @#$&!*% @# WANT??!!

So my friends and fellow readers--here’s a link to the hub in question.

  • All About Fruits and Vegetables--Onions
    It seems that in every corner of the world "chop an onion" is the first instruction in preparing a meal. Learn about the history of this cherished plant, how to grow it, and (of course) recipes.

I would love any and all comments you can give on how I can improve this hub.

HP has said:

We believe HubPages is the ultimate place online for in-depth, media-rich, useful, original content. To make it clear to the world that HubPages is the home of thorough, high quality, engaging resources, we promote a select set of Hubs that epitomize this style.

There is currently a hubber who states in his/her bio to be a psychology major. One-half of this hubber's content is poorly-written product reviews (but GREAT photographs!) and the other half is obviously course materials--they even provide the chapter numbers (from the online ebooks) so that we can follow along. How does this qualify as "in-depth, media-rich, useful, original content"? This hubber receives no comments (because there is nothing to which anyone else can relate). But the hubber score is 89.

I’ve never had a Hub of the Day, nor have I had a featured Hub or Editors Choice. Discouraged? Yes, sometimes—especially after I read the ones that do receive HP staff endorsements.

OK, enough about me. Let’s just talk generalities for a moment. I have a few beefs with what the HP staff gives us to work with:

Recipe--Ingredients and Instructions Capsules and Other Gripes

Well-written, professionally constructed recipes present the list of ingredients in the order in which they are used. The current recipe ingredients capsule does not allow for corrections or additions. If an ingredient needs to be added, the capsule must be completely re-typed starting at the insertion place for the new ingredient. The same is true of the instructions capsule. Why not modify these capsules so that they are easier to revise and update?

I have said it before, and I'll say it again--we need to be able to print recipes. Go out on the internet, find any one of a zillion food/cooking/recipe blogs and you will find that they include a PRINT feature to capture the ingredient and instructions portions as a PDF. If that can be done by a blogger who creates his or her own website, why can't it be done here?

And while we are on the subject of recipes—one can insert only one recipe rating, recipe ingredients, or one recipe instructions capsule per hub. What if you want to include more than one recipe in your hub? C’mon, give us a break!

Hub Groups

We can assign only one hub group name to a hub. I honestly believe that all of my hubs touch on more than one topic. Make the selection of multiple groups a possibility.

Basic Layout

While we are on the topic of “how pages look,” let’s take a moment to consider the formatting of hubs. All photos must be right-aligned or full width. There is no way to present two photos side by side. There is no way to present a photo to the left of a text block. Text is black only, left justified. No centering of text (even within headings).

I believe that visually attractive content is more likely to be read in its entirety, not merely clicked on and then abandoned. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

And, while we’re talking about things we like. What about the…

Accolades (Beyond the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down)

HP has said that the “interesting, beautiful, funny, etc.” accolades were under-used and so this feature is no longer available. I used them when I responded to hubs, and I appreciated the feedback on the hubs I had written. Now, that history is totally lacking. What was the harm of having it there? Not enough room for advertising??!!

So there you have it--my thoughts in a tidy little package.

But, the HP staff probably won’t even give it a glance—there are no photos, no recipe, map, poll, or quiz capsules and no videos (homemade or otherwise).

At least I wrote 1,250 words!

An Update

Since writing this hub a few days ago I have received several positive messages from Hubber friends. And, today my email inbox contained the following message from the Hub staff:

Hi Carb Diva,

You have hit a pretty impressive milestone—your 5 Year Anniversary on HubPages! You've stuck with us through thick and thin. You've braved the writer's block, rode the traffic waves, and hopefully made some lifelong friends. You are truly a veteran Hubber. Happy Hubbiversary!

Fun fact: Couples traditionally exchange wood gifts on fifth anniversaries. Maybe today is the day for getting a gorgeous new writing desk!

Take a look at our Learning Center guides to creating a Stellar Hub with a successful, search-friendly title to make your next Hub a real blockbuster. Already have an idea? Start your next Hub now!


Wow, that really warms my heart...not!

© 2015 Linda Lum


FlourishAnyway from USA on November 21, 2017:

Thanks for your kindness, Linda. I wrote them directly a diplomatic email and have been ignored which is why I am now mad. No bothers for you. I am done pinning all of your articles, some of them multiple times. I had started Flipping them but Flipboard kinda paused so I will return to the task at a later juncture. Hope it results in fruitful traffic boosts, even if down the road, for you.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 21, 2017:

Flourish, maybe this dialogue will be seen by the powers that be at HP and your problem will be resolved by more sensible people.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 21, 2017:

Two weeks ago (I think ) billybuc had a link to an explanation of hub scores in his weekly Mailbag.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on November 20, 2017:

Back here again. The more things change, the less rewarding/satisfying they seems to be. If the honing has been accomplished, then write and submit to the pros for compensation. Anyone who is writing material that is legitimately 91, 93, 95, 96, 98. and 100 by HP standards (whatever those are) should be able to sell their material...or Hub Scores for Hubs don't really mean what we thought they were intended to mean.

I suspect the Hub Score is based somehow on how much the attached advertisements are seen, lingered on, and reacted to. After all, HP is in business. They cannot be expected to constantly modify their business to make HP more satisfying, rewarding, profitable, and exciting for the endless supply of Hubbers they don't go out of their way to attract or even motivate by an understandable system at our end of the line.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 20, 2017:

THANKS, John! The email came from an editor late Friday afternoon. I am still so MAD I could lob half-rotten bananas HP's way (but they'd make excellent banana bread so I won't do it). I've dealt with other editors who are more reasonable and responsible.

HP takes something FUN like writing playlists with extras or recipes/poems and instead of selling changes through reasons and rationale they make it boring and work. Just because it's work for them doesn't mean it's work for me. They should've just given me a sound sensible rationale and LISTENED to my point of view. But oh, no. They know better. Just like they knew better with John.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 20, 2017:

Jodah, are we proving that there is a difference between being an editor and being a writer?

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 20, 2017:

I just read Flourish's comment and I feel for her and relate. Flourish's music hubs are so unique and we'll set out that she shouldn't be made to change them in any way. I feel the table and map are a huge part of what makes them special. One of my hubs "How to Make the World's Best Scrambled Eggs" was considered for a niche site providing I removed the poem from it. I refused because poetry is a big part of my writing, but I compromised and moved it to the end so those who just wanted a recipe didn't have to read it. That wasn't good enough so it wasn't moved. It is still one of my highest traffic hubs.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 20, 2017:

Flourish - Some of this rant is outdated now that we no longer have even the right-hanging photos. However, I feel your frustration and I feel FOR you over the changes that HP is recommending (forcing) for your articles.

My daddy used to say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." That certainly applies here.

Have you established a relationship with a specific editor on the HP staff? Someone who works in your genre? I might help to reach out to that particular person and see if the suggestions are coming from them, or if it was a weekend substitute going rogue.

I wish you well and really hope that you can keep your hubs just as originally designed. I think they're awesome and look forward to and enjoy each one.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 20, 2017:

I am a person of measurement and standardization and this long ago hub rant of yours struck a common nerve with me. I am so mad now I could lob old refrigerator leftovers HP's way. There is SO much inconsistency and randomness. I don't often get mad, but I'm miffed again.

I've written about 100 Spinditty music hubs (!!), was plugging along nicely with a goal in mind, and had a standardized template going that used the following:

1) a lead photo usually from Flickr (I carefully select them and artfully add titles so they're social media shareable)

2) no more than 15 videos because the site cannot handle too many, as it becomes very s-l-o-w after that point

3) a poll, quiz, or table if I feel like it -- added for engagement because that's what HP recommends for stellar hubs

4) some extra photos to break up blocks of texts

5) and a feature that HP hates but my readers have positively commented on: a map of 10 locations with names that are connected to the song topics. Sometimes the locations are funny (like Intercourse, Pennsylvania) or interesting for other reasons, and I get comments specifically about the maps at the very bottom. Being at the end of the article, it's not like they keep the reader from reading further.

After about 100 song hubs on Spinditty, NOW they tell me there's too much going on and please just cut the polls, stock photos, and maps from here on out.

They've taken all creativity out of it. It's what I feel sets me apart!

And those meaningless hub scores? Have you noticed they're bumping up close to 100? This summer I couldn't get over 93 but now I'm at 98 and I was even at 100 briefly this weekend. What!?! Nonsense. I've now got a gazillion hubs with hubscores that are 100. What a bunch of bunk.

What you can't measure, you cannot control. These numbers are not measuring. They are "magic."

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on October 10, 2015:

Perhaps I can add (if it hasn't already be posted) the observation that Hub scores change over time and are typically lowered, even after improvement!

I am one of those marginal hubbers who has some hub scores lower than a new Hubber who has yet to post their first Hub! I do write for the enjoyment of writing, and a few of my 515 Followers do actually pop in from time to time to see whether or not I have finally gotten around to improving.

I don't bend my efforts to meet HP's criteria of excellence. I bend them to meet my own improving criteria based on the old adage "To thine own self be true.... ."

Perhaps by my 5th anniversary I will have earned enough to buy the rug guards for the wooden writing table I can splurge on in year 25.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 28, 2015:

Peg - Congrats on the Editor's Choice. It seems (with further analysis) that Hubber scores are a reflection of the aggregate hub scores. And hub scores are higher on those hubs that have photos taken by the hubber. Lots of photos. Photos of what cake batter in the pan looks like (groan!)

I thought that what was supposed to distinguish hubs from mere blogs is that they contain quality writing. If one does a good job of writing, dozens of photos are not necessary. In fact, I get tired of scrolling past the photos to get to what is being said.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 28, 2015:

Dear Carb, I understand what you're feeling and share some of the same sentiments about meeting those feedback goals and then earning a score that in school would have been embarrassing. Score doesn't matter, people will tell you. Well then, why do we have it? I have Editor's Choice hub which has been chosen for a contest winner and still ranks in the low eighties. That is frustrating and confusing.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 25, 2015:

Lawrence - Sorry if I spoiled the surprise about the wooden desk. But look what you have to look forward to!! Happy times. Have a great evening my friend.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on September 25, 2015:


I loved this 'rant' as I can relate to some of it. By the way I do a lot of reading the hubs on my phone that never had the feedback features and it made giving 'feedback' difficult!

i've only been here a year but what you're saying is at five years I can look forward to a wooden desk? But I'll have to buy it myself!

Got to be honest I'm loving just researching the hubs I write so I'm just happy to have a place to post them, and the fact that some folks even like what I write (okay they read them!) is the proverbial icing on the cake!


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 24, 2015:

Paula - Thank you so much. You are correct--it IS the people who make this "place" bearable. By the way, traffic on this hub is trending up today; at present it has an underwhelming score of 77. (???) Is anyone other than Editbot looking or listening?

Suzie from Carson City on September 24, 2015:

OH YUK! The DREADED "Hubber" score. It is, always has been and will continue to be a thorn in every writer's side! It's so easy to say, "It doesn't mean anything...." That's BULL. I agree with Bobbi. If it's so insignificant, why is it there??

If it means something to individual hubbers...then excuse me but IT MEANS SOMETHING! Don't we matter? Are our opinions and feelings totally unimportant?

We don't know what our Hubber score is actually based on....nor how it is arrived at and by whom for what reasons.....We damned sure don't know WHY it fluctuates continually, regardless of what we do or do not do. It IS upsetting and frustrating, especially when it drops after we've worked our tails off.

The old timers or worse, those with hubber scores 96 & above, seem to be the ones who repeatedly tell us not to worry about it. This is akin to someone who lives in the Hamptons, telling the people in the ghetto....."Don't worry about it. It means nothing."

I also agree with Bobbi about the main reason MOST of us stay here. Each other!!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 24, 2015:

Bobbi P - You will never know how much your words this morning have meant to me. It is kind people like you who encourage me and prompt me to "write another day". Thank you.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on September 24, 2015:

My philosophy is if the Hubbers score means nothing then get rid of it because it is causing an unpleasant writing environment. And, the Hubbers who write recipes are some of the greatest hubs on this site. I don’t write mine here because I have a recipe blog. I just visited your hubs and they look attractive, inviting and should be rated very high.

One of my hubs that was doing great with traffic and had a high hub score became unfeatured after four years of being updated and refreshed; I could not see why so I moved it to one of my blogs. The Hubbers are great on here and that is the reason most people stay.

Keep writing your recipes and have a wonderful day. Not everyone can bake as well as the great recipe writer---so you are helping many people including me.

Bobbi Purvis

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 15, 2015:

Jodah - Thank you for your kind words. I wonder if anyone on the HP staff will read this?

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 15, 2015:

You have touched on many questions that concern a large number of hubbers Carb Diva in this worthy hub. The much asked questions of how the hubber and hub score are determined may never be answered satisfactorily. I too have often ticked all the boxes and got the same message as you "Great job! A beautiful Hub that includes well-written text with engaging and interactive capsules establishes a great foundation for success" including my latest hub which has a score of 75.

I have three Editors Choice hubs, but they were written over 18 month ago...nothing since..and never a HOTD. As for getting rid of the voting buttons...I used them all the time and found them a great guide to what other people thought of our hubs. My hubber score fluctuates between 88 and 91 idea why. Now I am off to read your onion hub. Good luck with your future hubs and I hope you get an Editor's Choice accolade soon.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 14, 2015:

I'm not a professional at anything, so I don't know if what I'm doing is good or not good. I just right about my recipes with an honest heart and according to what I know. How I get grated, I don't know. I do know that I'm not making much money. After about 7 months I only made $5 so far. But I keep doing it anyway. It's sort of like a hobby for me now. Maybe I should be more concerned about my hub scores. Thanks for bringing this to light.

Blessings to you.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 14, 2015:

I think it's definitely worth keeping going, if only to express oneself and work at the art of writing. Who knows what mighty oaks could grow from such little acorns? You give pleasure to your readers; that's worth it in itself.


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 14, 2015:

Ann my friend thank you. I appreciate your support and kind words. Don't know if I'll keep at it or not. Seems rather pointless at times. Perhaps tomorrow will look better.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 14, 2015:

I agree absolutely with everything you say and I've often wondered why I can't arrange photos a little differently. What makes me mad is when the badly written hubs gain HOTD or some other accolade.

I also agree that the hub hopper system became useless as soon as they changed it to 'peer marking'!

It is frustrating and annoying and, let's face it, totally incomprehensible! However, I just get on with writing what I want to write in the way I wish to write it, regardless.

We know whether we're good or not, don't we?

More power to your elbow, I say! You write well, you present your case well and you have hundreds of supporters. Brilliant!


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Dear Venkatachari - You are in the list of those whom I consider a friend. I thank you for your kind words and support.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 13, 2015:

Carb, a good job done by you. At least HP should know what feelings their writers are having towards their entire system of scoring and accolades. I endorse all your rants and understand the state of mind.

But, personally, I have become much indifferent to all these things. I do not worry at these scores and rankings. I simply enjoy my writing at my own time and at my free will.

And, one point I would like to comment is that readers might not be paying attention to the scores. If they want real content, they should concentrate on their subject only, in my opinion, and that's what I do when searching for matter.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Jennifer Mugrage - I am glad that you stopped by and commented today. Most of my hubs are food related, and contain recipes. When I have more than one to share, I just plod along with text inserts and don't rely on the recipe capsules. Writing about food is my passion, and so when I create a hub it is more than just "here are the ingredients and here is how you cook them." To me, food should be more than just something you eat to keep body and soul together. Food, good food, should tell a story, should leave a memory. That is what I attempt to do with my food hubs. I always tell a story--something to remember long after the food is gone.

Thank you for your kind words and support.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Flourish - You are very sweet. You always are. You are one of the people on Hubs whom I consider to be a friend. Thank you for your kind words.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

fpherj48 - Thank you for your support.

Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on September 13, 2015:

Thanks for writing this. It may only have a score of 67, but I certainly clicked on it. :)

I'm really surprised that none of your Hubs are featured. In fact, with the number of Hubs you have, I'm also surprised none of them made Hub of the Day, because the Hubs of the Day always strike me as being pleasantly eclectic.

I have a few recipe Hubs, and they do the worst of all my Hubs in terms of traffic and score. In one, I included multiple recipes, but I just didn't use the recipe hub template. That allowed me to include them.

It's just a guess, but I wonder if the Hubs that touch on controversies tend to score better. That might explain why your Hubs did better back when you just wrote about whatever you wanted ... and why I came to this Hub! Another explanation is that, compared to when you started, they keep changing their algorithms to make it harder and harder for a Hub to get a good score.

Regarding the role of scores, I too have shared your confusion regarding how the scores are arrived at. As a reader, I certainly don't choose which Hubs to read based on their score. I go by the level of interest the title and summary evoke in me. When first checking out someone's profile, I might glance at their author score to get a sense of how experience a writer they are compared to me ... but usually, reading their actual Hubs gives one a much better sense.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 13, 2015:

Do not let this stuff bother you. I think it all has to do with the terrible rating system they ask people to use in the hub hopper. I wonder whether it's a reliable system of measurement. If having a featured hub is important look at your "formula" for writing hubs and adjust the structure.

Suzie from Carson City on September 13, 2015:

Carb Diva.....I march right along next to you Fellow-Hubber! You got my total attention when you mentioned the ever-fluctuating hubber score within a few hours. One day last week, as I cruised from Hub to hub, read & commented, etc.....I noticed as my hubber score went from 90 to 93 to 91 to 92 to 90 to 89 to kidding! In a matter of 4 hours. How is this even possible?? LOL I felt as though I must have been hallucinating!

This is just plain CRAZY! Hang in there. We're all in it together!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Bill, perhaps I suffer from childhood insecurities, workplace harassment, etc. All I know is that I strive to do my very best, and my best isn't enough.

You, my friend, receive (well deserved) accolades from Hubs and hubbers. Your scores soar. I am happy for you.

I have a daughter who needs me (and always will), new physical pains and challenges that will not go away, and a life that feels very sad if I look to HP for encouragement and consolation.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 13, 2015:

Linda, I'm one of those people who pays no attention to hub scores or hubber scores. I can't tell you what mine is idea...and I don't look at the scores of other writers. I think it's all very silly, just one more way HP tries to dangle carrots in front of us to make us work harder. But I understand your rant and I'm glad you wrote it, for you and others who are dissatisfied with this HP nonsense.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Jackie - You and I are old school I guess. Thank you for your support. Oh, by the way, this particular hub has a score of 67.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 13, 2015:

Galleryofgrace--Oh my goodness, I never thought of that! You might have totally nailed it on the head. Thank you (and are the HP staff members taking this in?)

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 13, 2015:

I know exactly what you mean. I use to just write what I wanted and not even read what HP wanted and I was always in the high 90s and got 100 at least twice. Now I try to evergreen everything and do all listed above as a general rule and I am lucky to get you are the lucky one to me. lol

I look at others to compare my work to and it makes no sense whatever; I have such a hard time. Of course everyone who never has to worry about this will tell us score means nothing but possibly many others like me still go by our grades in school where we refused a bad score and our hard work prevented it. Here we can work as hard as we want and nothing makes sense no matter what anyone says and looking at different hubbers work and scores prove it.

Gracie L Sprouse from Virginia on September 13, 2015:

Take a good look around the hubs. Remember the ones that seem atrocious to you have an author who is doing hub hopping and grading our hubs. These are definitely not professional editors. That explains the hub scores!

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