An Update to HubScore

Happy Thursday, Hubbers! Today I’d like to announce some updates to the HubScore algorithm. As you may already know, HubScore is the score that is assigned to an individual Hub. It is displayed privately in My Account > Statistics and is not visible to other Hubbers or search visitors. Up until fairly recently, HubScore was intended to measure both a Hub’s quality and activity— things like the amount of traffic it receives, comments, shares, and Hub Feedback. These days, we want HubScore to be mostly a reflection of the quality of a Hub and not the amount of traffic it receives. Sometimes those two things are correlated, but many times they are not.

Before I get into the changes, I want to highlight the fact that HubScores and the factors used to compute them are updated regularly to improve their accuracy and usefulness. Please expect fluctuations—  both HubScore and Hubber Score are dynamic and will change often, particularly as we collect more information about your Hubs. Apart from fluctuations, there may also be anomalies from time to time. Anomalies are more common with HubScore than with Hubber Score. This is because we have more data at the account level, so Hubber Scores tend to be more reliable and stable overall.

Please keep in mind that HubScore was never intended to be be looked at in a vacuum or as a grade for a particular Hub. In fact, it’s much more useful to look at the range of scores across all of your Hubs so that you can prioritize the ones that need improvement (when reviewing your lowest-scoring Hubs, for instance, consider whether they are making readers happy; is there something you can change to do a better job at answering their queries?) To further illustrate this point, please take a look at the distribution of HubScores across all published Hubs on HubPages:

HubScore Distribution

As you can see, a score of 70 is above average and considered pretty good! OK, so what are these changes to HubScore? The table below shows the factors that made up HubScore before the update, the factors that will be deemphasized as part of the update (i.e., traffic), and factors that will be emphasized as part of the update.

Screen shot 2015-02-26 at 3.51.18 PM

If you notice your HubScores adjust in the next few days, it is probably a result of this update. And since HubScores are used in calculating Hubber Scores, the latter might change as well. We just want to give you a heads-up so that you don’t worry if/when you notice your scores change

That’s it for now!

HubPro Editor: Meet Emily Drevets

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You spent some time in Egypt. What did you like most about living there?

It was magical to live near the Nile. One of my friends lived in a houseboat. Occasionally, he would host parties and there was something so special about getting to watch the city lights of Cairo in the river water.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

I worked in digital marketing at a tech company for almost two years where I was responsible for editing the abstracts, titles, and content of professional webinars. In some ways that work reminds me a lot of what I get to do at HubPages, where I help subject experts get their message across clearly to as many people as possible.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in International Relations, focusing on the Middle East and Arabic. A large portion of my studies involved writing long academic papers—often at the last minute. I was also nominated for a writing award for a paper I did on T.S. Eliot and Cubist art.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

I love working with words. I wish I had something more profound to say, but it’s really as simple as that. I’m a believer in the power of words to change hearts, minds, and the entire world. To me, the editing industry is vital to the new media landscape.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

I love editing Hubs because of the variety of topics. In a typical day, I might edit an article on the symptoms of pregnancy, how to save a failing marriage, or how to fix a guitar string. I feel like I’m constantly learning. Hubbers are a diverse bunch!

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

Each Hub is unique, but there are some similarities in my process for working with them. First of all, I make sure that the organization of content is as reader-friendly as possible. How do the images look? If I clicked on the article from a Google search, would I want to continue reading it or would I click the back button? Once the article looks good, I make sure that the reader can get the information they are looking for as fast as possible. Finally, I read the article out loud to myself to make sure I catch all the spelling and grammar errors. Reading it out loud slows down my eyes so I don’t skim over any thing.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I want to make you and your articles look as good as possible. Also, I live in San Francisco and have a plant named Deb.

HubPro Editor: Meet Helena Bonde

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You’ve lived in a number of places. Which was your favorite and why?

I’ve lived in Washington, DC, Stockholm, Sweden, Concord, NH, a small town in northern Germany, and San Francisco. There are things I love about all of those places, but I live in San Francisco now, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I love the culture here the most. Out of all the places I’ve lived, San Francisco is the most accepting of weirdness. In fact, it even celebrates it! In San Francisco I feel like I can be myself without ever worrying what anyone else thinks.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

Most of my professional editing experience has been in academia. In grad school and in undergrad I worked as an essay tutor helping students plan and revise their research papers. I loved that job because I got the opportunity to work with each student closely and experience first-hand how their confidence in their writing grew and improved over time. As a freelance editor, I’ve also edited short stories, poetry, cover letters, resumes, and even an application to a PhD program in Electrical Engineering (I’m happy to report that my client was accepted to her program).

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

Sure. I have a BA and MA in English from Stanford University. I minored in Ethnic Studies (at Stanford it’s called Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity). I’ve always been interested in literature and pop culture’s effect on society, and vice versa. Though there are many traditional works of literature in the Western Canon that I love, I’ve had the most fun applying critical theory to works that seem less academic at first, like comic books, and applying feminist and race theory to all literature.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

I get a strong feeling of satisfaction from taking a piece of writing and trying to make it the best it can be. This is connected to the fact that I’ve always been a writer and avid reader, and so having a job in which I can employ those skills makes me feel like I’m doing exactly what I should be. When I edit, I sometimes like to think of myself as a writing fairy godmother. We all know that Cinderella had the beauty within her the whole time, but her fairy godmother helped her bring all that beauty to the surface and show it off to the folks at the ball. That’s what I do: I find the message in a piece of writing and I bring it to the surface.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

I love the huge variety in subject matter at HubPages. Since I started working here, I’ve learned how to fix an Xbox, how to make all sorts of Halloween costumes, how to hypnotize somebody, and, at least in theory, how to exorcise a ghost. I know a lot about language and writing, but I’m completely ignorant about most of the crazy, fascinating topics addressed on HubPages. My favorite Hubs are humor pieces that deal in satire, but I find myself unintentionally learning from everything I edit.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

First I read over the whole Hub and decide if it could use any additional photos or illustrations, since we like to commission these from our artists early on in the process. I then ask myself, “What question is this Hub trying to answer?” Some Hubs have a very clear message all the way through, but in others the essential information can be harder to find, and so I sometimes reorganize the structure of the article to make the most important information stand out.

This usually involves breaking up long paragraphs and text capsules, organizing instructions into lists with proper titles, and adding subtitles to grab the eye of the reader. I also look at the search engine stats for the article and make sure it’s got the main keywords featured prominently without sounding awkward. Throughout the process, I check the text for spelling, grammar, and general word flow. My final decisions usually involve me adding interactive elements such as a chart or poll, but that depends on the article.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

If you’re anything like me, your writing isn’t just a creative project: it can feel like part of your soul. If I’m editing your piece, I want you to know that I respect you as an author, that I will treasure your unique voice, and that I am super stoked to learn everything you can teach me.

If you’d like to bribe me, send fish to the HubPages office c/o The Sea Goddess. I prefer herring, but mackerel and sardines will also suffice.

HubPages Welcomes Back an Old Friend: Introducing Engineer Tim

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Today I’m pleased to announce that an old staff member from the early days of HubPages has returned to the Team. After some time off traveling the world with his lovely wife, Engineer Tim Martin is back with us! We’re sure happy to have him. You can get to know Tim better in his interview below:

What made you decide to come back to HubPages after a few years away?

I just couldn’t stay away any longer. :)

What will you be working on at HubPages?

I’ll mostly be working on server infastructure. HubPages has some great infrastructure but the servers are nearing the end of their useful life. We are using this an opportunity to both upgrade them and take advantage of more cloud services. The upgrades should allow us to more quickly respond to changes in demand, be more resilient against hardware failures, and build and deploy new hubpages.com features more quickly.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy cycling around the Bay Area, woodworking, travel, and Scrabble.

What are your favorite Scrabble words?

I’m glad you asked. My favorite Scrabble words are ones that are both fun words that also score a lot of points. Some examples are SQUAWK, KLUTZ and JAMBOREE. My vocabulary isn’t as broad as most players so in general I try to make good use of the short “Scrabble words” like QAT, ZA, JO.

What’s your favorite HubPages feature?

I really like the question and answer area. When it was first released I think I asked at least one question every day for the first couple weeks.

Editor’s Choice Gets an Exciting Upgrade

Hi there, friends! I have some great news today. We’ve been saying for a long time that we want to give more exposure and recognition to the Editor’s Choice Hubs on HubPages, and I’m thrilled to announce that we’re finally doing it! As part of our long-term commitment to the Editor’s Choice program, we’ve decided to offer these additional benefits to participants:

  • Editor’s Choice Hubs will soon display an EC banner label over their thumbnail image on Related Hubs, Topic Pages, and Profiles.
  • The Editor’s Choice Accolade will now be a numbered Accolade.
  • Hubs of the Day will now be selected exclusively from the corpus of EC Hubs (Starting Friday, January 30th).
  • The best EC Hub of the previous week will now be highlighted in the Weekly Newsletter.
  • EC Hubs will now have preference among Hubs shared on the HubPages Facebook Page and Tweeted on the HubPages Twitter Account.
  • Each month for the next year, an EC Hub will be chosen randomly to receive a bonus of $50 to reward the author’s commitment to quality (Hubbers must be enrolled in the HubPages Earnings Program to receive their winnings).

Here’s what the new EC banner will look like:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 11.46.32 AM

Pretty awesome, right? If you’re interested in writing Hubs that have a very good chance of being chosen as Editor’s Choice, be sure to check out the last section of the EC announcement Blog post.

On a related note, it is with a twinge of sadness that I must also announce the imminent retirement of the Rising Star Program. This program was intended to offer encouragement and recognition to promising new writers on HubPages, but it never received the traction we hoped for. New users will still have the opportunity to participate and gain similar recognition by creating EC-worthy Hubs (and will receive a congratulatory email and accolade for their first Hub chosen as EC), and Hubbers who have already won a Rising Star Award will get to keep the Accolade. The last Rising Star Contest ended today (results are in this week’s Newsletter). Farewell, old friend, it’s been fun! Onwards and upwards. :)

HubPro Editor: Meet Brandon Gordon

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Who is your all-time favorite author, and why?

Oh, man. I have a Ph.D. in English, so asking me my favorite author is a bit like asking a parent to pick a child. If forced, I think I’d have to go with the late David Foster Wallace. I chose him partly because of the breadth of his writing: in addition to writing novels and short stories, he was also a prolific essayist, writing on subjects as varied as tennis, the films of David Lynch, cruise ships, grammar, the mathematical concept of infinity, and hip hop. Yet what I love most about Foster Wallace’s writing is how much of himself he puts into his writing: he has a truly distinctive voice that conveys an enormous amount of empathy for his subjects — even when he’s writing about the lobster he’s about to eat for dinner!

And since I can’t choose just one, I have to mention James Baldwin, Kazuo Ishiguro, Joan Didion, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Zadie Smith, all of whom are — to use a book review cliche — unflinchingly honest and beautiful writers.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

After graduating from college, I worked for a company that did editorial projects for educational publishers like Houghton Mifflin and McGraw-Hill. I really liked working there because I got to work on a bunch of different things, including economic textbooks, a series of inspirational biographies of people like Sally Ride and Cesar Chavez, and – my personal favorite – a collection of science experiments for kindergarteners. I learned a lot at that job about what it actually means to be an editor, but the most important thing I learned was that great editors should be invisible. I realized that I had to subordinate my preferences and my voice in order to help the author accomplish his or her goals and to meet the needs of the work’s intended readers. Since then I’ve also done a fair amount of freelance copy- and developmental editing, working on grant applications, essays, and web content.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where I graduated cum laude and with department honors for my thesis on Toni Morrison’s Beloved and nineteenth-century slave narratives. After working for a while, I began a Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Irvine, which I completed in 2012. A large chunk of my research focused on how contemporary American writers understood their writing as work and their own relationship to it as such: is writing a craft? a profession? a calling? a service? a political act? an art? So I’ve always been interested in thinking very granularly about the actual labor that goes into producing a particular piece of writing.

For the past seven years, I’ve also taught first-year writing to college freshman, which really helped me refine how I work with writers. The most effective way I’ve learned to help people improve as writers is to get them to really sit and think about what they are trying to accomplish with their writing and who they are trying to reach with it. In those years of teaching, I’ve spent countless hours thinking and talking about what good writing is and how to make it even better.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry and about editing Hubs, specifically?

I enjoy editing because it’s another forum to teach writing. I like to think of editing as not just about the particular article or essay or I’m working on, but rather helping the person I’m working with improve as a writer. I especially enjoy editing Hubs because I get exposed to a lot of interests and information that I never would have otherwise. I’m continually amazed at the breadth and depth of Hubbers’ interests and passions. I especially enjoy reading and editing “how-to” hubs and have definitely bookmarked a number of those as reference for the next time I get a hankering for homemade wine or need to install a porch roof.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

First, I read through the hub so that I can get a sense of what I think the author is trying to accomplish. Then I look at Google analytics to see what search terms people are using to get to the hub, which usually gives me a pretty good sense of what kind of information readers are actually looking for when they navigate to the hub. After that, it varies, but it typically involves seeing how to make it easier for the readers to get the information they want while still being true to the author’s voice and intention. I often find myself focusing a lot on the layout and organization and working to create a consistent and more pleasing reader experience.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I’m an open book. If you want to know anything, please ask!

An Update on Spam and Product Capsules

Happy New Year, Hubbers! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. As we get back into the swing of things at HubPages HQ, I want to share a bit about what’s in store this upcoming year. Our focus continues to be on improving the overall quality and health of the site. To that end, I’d like to talk about product capsules.

Our policies on product capsules have become stricter over the years, and we will continue to tighten the rules on how products can be used on HubPages. At this point we have definitive evidence that on average, Hubs with fewer words per product have less satisfied readers.

This graph shows the average search visitor rating (1-10,  "How good is this article?”) by words per product.

This graph shows the average search visitor rating (1-10, “How good is this article?”) by words per product.

Thus one of the biggest changes we implemented recently was in the way that the Quality Assessment Process evaluates product-oriented Hubs. If you’re not familiar with the phrase “spammy elements” by now, you should be! Spammy elements are things— products, links, text— that tend to make Hubs (even totally innocent ones) spammy, regardless of the intent of the author.

Hubs that seem spammy detract from HubPages’ mission to be the best place to publish original, in-depth, media-rich pages on topics you are passionate about. While we have a ways to go, we want all Featured Hubs to reflect this mission statement. Sadly, many Hubs do not use products judiciously. They tend to:

  • Lack depth
  • Borrow too much information from the seller or manufacturer’s site (e.g., Amazon)
  • Use products excessively
  • Use products that are unrelated to the content

OK, so what do these points mean? The first two are related to one another and have more to do with the content in product Hubs than the product capsules themselves. If you include products in your Hubs, make sure that they supplement your content and not the other way around. One litmus test you could run is this: if you were to remove all of the product capsules from your Hub, would the remaining content satisfy your readers? Would the Hub even make sense? If not, you know you’ve got a problem.

The last two bullet points above are probably familiar rules, but they continue to be important. When we use the word “excessive” we are not thinking of a magic number or a specific Hub-to-content ratio. It all depends on context. A Hub may have 20 products and still be excellent (admittedly, it would take a lot of work). In general, though, you should avoid placing description-less products in big blocks (e.g., two or more in a row). This makes Hubs appear spammy even if they aren’t. Similarly, only use products that are directly related to your Hub’s content— or, in many cases— to the reader’s search query. For more tips on best practices, please check out the Appropriate Use of Product Capsules section of the HubPages Style Guide.

We have a few more tips to help you decide whether or not your Hub should include products:

  • Only include products that are directly mentioned in the Hub, recommended by you in context, and useful to the reader. Ask yourself: if you were a reader, would you want to be shown this product and would it be valuable to you?
  • In a Hub that’s a curated list (“The Best Ski Poles for Kids”), you should show first-hand knowledge about the items on the list (the different ski poles and their nuances). Simply researching the topic and pulling information from Amazon or other sources is not enough. Curated lists with products need information that comes from hands-on or unique experience.

To further help illustrate the difference between spammy product Hubs and OK product Hubs, we have compiled a list of examples. The spammy product Hubs were specially created by HubPages’ moderators, and you may recognize some of the authors of the OK product Hubs as successful fellow Hubbers.

Spammy Product Hubs

Example 1: The content in this Hub is fluff and there are an excessive number of description-less Amazon products:

http://hubpages.com/sample/aj0hb

Example 2: This is a product review Hub (about multiple products) where the content is a regurgitation of Amazon’s product details page(s):

http://hubpages.com/sample/aj0Il

Example 3: This is a product review Hub (about multiple products) where the content is stolen from Amazon:

http://hubpages.com/sample/aj1Ce

Example 4: This is a product review Hub (about one product) where the author is more interested in selling the product than informing the reader:

http://hubpages.com/sample/aj1DN

Example 5: This is a product review Hub (about one product) where the review does not seem balanced or genuine:

http://hubpages.com/sample/aj3pa

OK Product Hubs

Example 1: The author actually bought and used the products in this Hub. They are being recommended from personal experience:

http://hub.me/acvpb

Example 2: This is an in-depth, instructional Hub on making a bracelet where the reader needs the products to make the bracelet:

http://hub.me/aiRx7

Example 3: This is an in-depth, project-based Hub (similar to the bracelet Hub) on decorating a nursery where the reader needs the products to complete the project:

http://hub.me/ahheh

Example 4: This is a product review Hub (about multiple products) where most of the products being recommended have been used by the author or suggested by her daughter. Products are used sparingly and content is original and in-depth:

http://hub.me/aj2QA

We hope those example Hubs are helpful. Next, we invite you to discuss and ask questions in this staff-monitored forum thread. Paul E, Robin, and I will be around to answer your questions. Thanks for your help keeping HubPages awesome and spam-free in 2015!

HubPro Editor: Meet Rebecca Schuetz

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What is your ideal vacation?

My ideal vacations involve visiting people who mean a lot to me and letting them show me their favorite things about the city. Right now, a friend is in med school in Baltimore, a city where my dad used to live, so I would like to visit there. Some of my family from Taiwan has been spending most of their time in China; I would like see them as well.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

I have professional experience as the editorial assistant for FourTwoNine, a national print magazine. I also have experience on the writing side—I still freelance for various Bay Area publications. So I understand what it’s like to have my work edited and take my job as a second pair of eyes seriously.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I graduated with honors in English from Harvard University. I also taught Reading and Language Arts after my time with Teach For America (quick shout out to the readers and writers of KIPP South Fulton Academy), so I have not only studied English, but I am comfortable explaining points of grammar and writing as well.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

My favorite part is reading about so many various topics—I feel like I am always learning.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

I especially like editing Hubs because of all of the strong and unique voices I encounter. When working with a print publication, you often try to get all of the writers to share the feel of the magazine. Here, people are funny, informative, tongue-in-cheek, scientific, or something else altogether, and I can help them work within that voice.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

Sure. First I read through the Hub to get a feel for the structure of the piece and the author’s style. Next, I think about the purpose of the Hub, what the writer did that really worked, and what was most helpful for the reader. I then work to make sure all the details—grammar, active voice, clearly organized subtitles, etc.—allow the writer’s strengths to shine through. If I think that the reader would benefit from any extra information, I consult the expert. (Hint: If it is your Hub, that expert is you!)

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I’m a nerd for reading and writing. Can’t wait to see your work!

HubPro Editor: Meet Kate Rix

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What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

That’s a fun question to answer. I studied English literature in college and I still like to read the classics, because there are so many of them! I recently read Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, quickly followed by Light in August by William Faulkner. That was amazing because both stories are set in similar places and situations, and each has a magical quality, but the perspectives are so different. I also have two daughters, each of whom has influenced my reading taste. My 16-year-old likes a lot of the young adult fiction that’s popular now, so I check it out sometimes. I devoured the Hunger Games books. I was completely hooked. Then my 10-year-old recently got interested in the Percy Jackson series about a boy who is half-god, half-human. I enjoyed those books so much more than I thought I would too! I love the way the author writes about Greek gods in the voice of a 12-year-old boy in 21st century New York.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

Sure. I ended up getting my undergraduate degree in Journalism, mostly because I had so many course credits for the work I did at the college newspaper, editing stories about the arts. So, I guess I started editing in college. I loved it because I love collaborating with people to make something better. It was also a challenge, because writing about art isn’t always easy, because lots of artists aren’t particularly verbal about what they do. So, together with the other student writers, we had to figure out how to interview people about their passions and draw them out, even if language isn’t their main mode of expression.

My next editing job was completely different, yet similar in some ways. I worked for a big research organization called WestEd where professional researchers write about education and teaching. The researchers wrote drafts of their work and my job was to help them make sure that anyone—from a policy maker to an educator or even a parent—could understand what they were saying. So while the content was completely different from the college paper, the idea of working with people to make sure their ideas come across as clearly as possible was the same.

I worked as an editor again, years later, at a magazine in Berkeley called The East Bay Monthly. With another editor, we worked with writers who wrote about a whole range of news and other subjects. Looking back, that was some of the most fun I have had at a job. I loved working with the writers, who were all very passionate about their writing and really worked hard to make sure that their unique voice came through in the articles.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

In addition to my BA in Journalism from U.C. Santa Cruz, I have a Master’s in Journalism from U.C. Berkeley. What does that mean? Well, it may not be true for everyone who studies writing in an academic setting, but for me it means that I’ve spent thousands of hours writing, editing other student-writers’ work, and talking about what makes for good writing in a seminar setting.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

Writing is hard and mysterious. It’s not easy to figure out what we want to say and it’s even less easy to figure out how to say it. I guess my favorite thing about editing is that there are certain basic things that are always helpful, whether it’s a newspaper, paper magazine, or website: Ask yourself, who are you writing for? What would you say to them, if they were standing right in front of you? And finally, what can you add to what you already know that will really make the piece you are writing unique?

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

Ok, this is my favorite question. I like editing Hubs because this publishing format is just fascinating. It’s like a puzzle that’s moving around while you’re putting it together. The audience is the world and there is a constant flow of information about what the audience thinks, wants to know, and doesn’t like. As an editor in this format, I have access to more data about what readers are looking for and which content they are really satisfied with, and which they aren’t. All of this is entirely new. When I am editing a Hub, I think about what types of queries the Hub can answer and how to best position the Hub to come up at the top of a search. I really like figuring out what the unique values are of the Hubs I edit: What makes them special? Then, the fun is figuring out how to highlight the strengths and even add to them.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

I read through the Hubs before I “unlock” them and put them into edit mode. One of my goals is to keep the Hubs locked for a little time as possible. I can assess whether custom illustrations or photographs would strengthen the Hubs value without locking it, so that is one of the first things I do. After I have assigned custom art, I assess whether any other graphical elements will help with the Hub’s presentation. Could it use a table or chart? Are there quotes that could be used in a Callout Capsule? These are quick changes that can improve reader experience right off the bat. If I think that new information needs to be added, I send an email at this point to the Hubber to let him or her know I am considering this and to get his/her input. Then I open the Hub and begin editing, creating any tables I think are necessary and moving capsules around if needed. I do this “bigger picture” edit first, looking at the order that information is presented and fixing any capsules with broken links. After this is done, I go through and do a close edit. If I have the green light from the Hubber to add content, I do the research and add information that will make the Hub more complete and competitive. I go through again twice, closely checking for typos and anything that isn’t clear.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I have recently taken a class about how to tap into dreams to boost creativity. I’m not really a “class” person (the last class I took before this one was pre-natal yoga, and my daughter is now 10), but this class has really jump-started my creative writing. If you’ve ever felt stuck with your writing, or feel as if you have no good ideas, consider how free and uninhibited your brain is when you’re asleep. You’re making up stories (ok, maybe weird ones!) all night long! Writing down my dreams has been super inspiring and fun for me, as a creative writer.

HubPro Editor: Meet Katie Harper

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You have a history degree. What is your favorite time period to learn about?

My undergraduate degree and my in-progress Ph.D. are both in 20th-century European and British history. I like thinking about how societies deal with enormous change or sudden catastrophe, and modernity’s recurring dream of rebuilding society from the ground up. To that effect, my dissertation centers on the recasting of British society in the aftermath of World War II. I also have an ongoing fascination with utopianism and social experimentation: Robert Owen’s worker cooperatives, anarchist communes on England’s rural fringes, experimental boarding schools, urban squats, and even public housing projects and urban planning in the twentieth century.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

Most of my experience as an editor has been in a university setting. This past year, I assisted a Berkeley professor with his forthcoming textbook in British history. I proofread, fact-checked, and did a little supplemental writing. I’ve also been a graduate student instructor since 2010, and have been part of the writing and rewriting process for about 300-odd undergraduates.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I received my B.A. in history from Wellesley College, a women’s college near Boston. I graduated cum laude and with department honors in history for my thesis about Indian and Irish intellectuals in London in the early twentieth century. After working for a year I started a Ph.D. in history at the University of California at Berkeley. I received my M.A. from Berkeley in 2011 and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in 2012. I’m still an active historian and continue to research, write, and present my work while being an editor at HubPages.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

My favorite thing about editing is also my favorite thing about teaching. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping someone organize and communicate their thoughts effectively. Everyone is an expert in something, as showcased on HubPages. An editor is just another kind of expert who can help lend language to ideas and intent.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

This is corny, but I like learning new things. My favorite Hubs to read and edit are tutorials for fixing, crafting, or building. I’m not very handy or mechanically-minded, and I really enjoy following an expert through the steps of making something. I just worked on a great one about building beautiful wooden-gear clocks which made me want to try my hand at woodworking!

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

My process is pretty straightforward. First, I read through the Hub and take notes. I ask myself, what does it seem like the author trying to say? Where do they succeed? Where do they fail? At the same time, I try to put myself in the position of a weary Internet traveler in anguished search for answers. How can this Hub serve their needs as well?

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I think editing is a collaborative process and I value open communication with writers.