Update to the Quality Assessment Process: Improving the quality of ALL Hubs!

As you may recall, in late March we raised the quality bar for all newly-published and edited Hubs. This heightened bar has not been applied to older Hubs that were published before the QAP. Beginning this week (and continuing gradually over the next few months), older Hubs will be subject to our quality thresholds.

What does this mean? All Hubs on HubPages, new and old, will be assessed in accordance to the same high standards. But don’t fret, we all have Hubs written in our first days on HubPages that aren’t of the same quality as our Hubs of late. Hubs that are no longer Featured because of quality reasons can be updated, improved, and reassessed. Hopefully you see this as an opportunity to improve those older Hubs in need of a good spring cleaning!

There will be some Hubs that appear decent that will not pass the QAP and some Hubs people feel shouldn’t pass that will.  These Hubs are on the border.  To ensure Hubs pass, it’s a good idea to shoot for above an 8+ on our rating scale.  Hubs rated in this range  are the type our community is proud to have Featured and are rated well beyond passing.

You may also want to revisit two of our most helpful Learning Center guides on the subject of quality – Elements of a Stellar Hub and How To Improve the Quality of a Hub – to get an idea of what standing your Hubs are currently in and how you might go about improving them.

Alongside this update, we’re releasing a couple of new features with regards to alerts on Featured and non-Featured Hubs:

  • Two new icons in My Account > Statistics showing which Hubs are de-Featured for getting low quality (orange icon) ratings and which are de-Featured for low engagement (blue icon)

  • Email alerts when Hubs lose Featured status for quality reasons

These changes are part of our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of content on HubPages and ensure that original, long-form, media-rich Hubs see the success and attention they deserve!

49 thoughts on “Update to the Quality Assessment Process: Improving the quality of ALL Hubs!

  1. So how does this affect creative writing, Paul? I notice I had one of my fiction pieces idled yesterday and promptly deleted it as usual. I sincerely hope you have someone qualified to judge fiction properly but I fear not.

  2. Thanks Christy, but do you have any raters qualified to judge creative writing and how are they tested to be sure they are qualified. In other words, who at HP is educated in the art of creative writing, not just grammar or sentence structure? I’d like to read some of their work if you would point me in the right direction. Thanks.

    • Hi Randy,

      We do test the raters to make sure they can rate Hubs accurately according to our creative writing and informative writing scales. Those scales are the only criteria we’re using to rate the quality of Hub content (since creative writing is largely subjective), so yes, we’re confident that our raters are qualified to rate creative writing accurately for the criteria we’re interested in.

  3. I appreciate having the new icons to show when hubs are not featured, and the reason they are not featured. It feels much more open and honest this way.

  4. If all of my hubs published before the end of 2012 have been edited and have ‘Changed Dates” after 1 January 2013, have they all been QAPed?
    Do the revised thresholds apply to these edited hubs?
    If so, I guess this means that I will not see any of my old hubs be de-Featured (strange new term that) via this process. True?
    I guess some could be de-Featured due to low traffic if Grace Period’s wand gets low batteries.
    Confirmation of these issues would be appreciated.
    Thanks and Cheers,

  5. Have all hubs with “changed” dates later than December 2012 been through the QAP process (old ones been edited)?

    • Hi John,

      Because of the difficulty with getting sufficient ratings when we first launched the QAP, it’s impossible to apply a specific threshold date to individual Hubs (since some took longer to be rated due to the shortage). But if any of your Hubs are no longer Featured for quality reasons, you will receive notification via email and that Hub will display an orange icon in the Statistics section of your My Account page. Should any of your Hubs lose Featured status due to quality, you can always improve and resubmit them as many times as you like. I hope that helps!

  6. The authors who have just started learning and earning will find the icons very useful to know the quality assessment of the published articles. It is in the interest of both that is HP and its authors.

  7. While I appreciate the attempts to improve the quality, this is really a pita situation, because for people that have been here writing for a few years, that leaves a lot of hubs to go through and update, and who really has time for that?

    Some of us are serious about what we started off doing when we joined this site, which was to get our writing out there and promoted, and some of us have more than one or two blogs or websites to maintain. This just adds more headache.

    I’ve already been trying to correct articles that you have unpublished, which have caused link problems in several other articles. But, my God, how many more changes are you going to put us through? I’ve been trying to update my articles since last year, and actually had to hire help to try to get this done. It’s ridiculous.

    Again, I appreciate the efforts to make things better monetarily for us, but isn’t there any other way that doesn’t keep putting us through this? I don’t have time to write any new articles because I’m having to spend so much time fixing the old ones! I think its better to correct me on the new articles and content I have than to keep rehashing over the old ones.

    • Hi Sandra,

      I’m sorry the upheaval is so frustrating for you! I know fixing up old Hubs represents a significant time commitment (I’ve had the same experience editing some of my own). But our goal is to increase traffic by improving the overall quality found everywhere on HubPages, which involves making sure all our Featured content (including the older stuff) is up to our new standards. It’s unfair to new Hubbers to allow older content to remain Featured when it does not adhere to the same requirements, and it detracts from the overall quality of the site to let those Hubs remain available for readers to find.

      The only advice I can offer that might make it a little easier on you is to take advantage of our wonderful community. We have many talented Hubbers in the Forums who are happy to help with suggestions and specific feedback on getting your older Hubs Featured again.

  8. Thanks, Christy. I assume creative writing is not long for the HP world if you are idling it for lack of views the same as the other how-to and commercial hubs. Too bad for the CW community here as CW gives the site a bit of class which is otherwise missing. As you may or may not know, editing CW is not the same as editing the other hubs with your scale failing miserably in the attempt to classify it.

    Why don’t you guys simply not allow CW here as it’s obvious you don’t want it on the site anymore. Off to delete more of my fiction before it is idled by the “wonderful” raters. What a dull place this has become. 😦

    • Hi Randy,

      We do think creative writing is valuable and our community definitely has many talented and skilled writers. We don’t presume to make absolute judgments on what is “good” and “bad” creative writing. But in order to improve traffic and revenue for Hubbers, we do need a widely-applicable objective scale that allows us to rate content based on its likelihood to succeed (or hurt us) in searches (which is, of course, not a judgment on its actual literary value).

  9. Anything to get back into the good graces of Google. Seriously. It is just so difficult to get anything to show up in searches except in the most untapped of subjects.

  10. I suppose I don’t understand your goal, Christy. I believe you are referring to the lack of views and traffic many CW efforts achieve on HP. Most fiction and poetry will not garner lots of views at first because no one is searching for the particular titles.

    If you guys are idling CW for the lack of views only, then the problem will eventually solve itself with almost all of the CW being idled. As I suggested, why make CW die such a slow death when you can put it out its misery with one fell swoop?

    I’ll leave you alone now.

    • Well, Randy, the goal of the QAP is to improve the quality of Hubs that are actively hurting HubPages with search engines. We want to provide Hubbers with a greater audience, and in order to do that we must work with a criteria that will improve the search standings of our Hubs and our site as a whole. Hope that helps!

  11. Oh that’s right! I keep forgetting quality means traffic in the QAP. I keep confusing it with the real meaning of the word “quality” everywhere else. My bad! 🙂

  12. This really makes little sense. HP is going to assign a “quality rating” to my article on the basis of “your opinion” thus yielding a quality score. It is my job to figure out what is wrong with the article by stabbling the dark because you do not choose to relate your findings….I find that a gross lack of appreciation for my time. If you are going to have an opinion and yield a grade then be specific enough to justify what you are doing. At this point I have 39 articles with your “low quality – no featured rating”….20 of them happen to be political essays with a conservative viewpoint….which troubles me greatly. This is about the last straw with me in terms of changes around this place. ~WB

    • Hi Wayne,

      We do use an objective scale which is applied in the same way to every Hub. This is the scale our ratings are based on. So long as your subject matter does not violate our terms of service, it does not effect your quality rating.

      As for the quality we are looking for in terms of individual Hubs, we ask Hubbers to shoot for Stellar Hubs. Including the elements of a Stellar Hub usually results in high quality Hubs.

  13. Hp I’m sorry, I am so close to leaving it isn’t funny. I used to love this place. I have been writing for years, and now I have recipe hubs that have a low quality ratings. A RECIPE HUB! And I have to guess why it is low quality…

  14. I have several hubs that appears to fall into your new category ‘Low Engagement.’ I assume that means these hubs have low traffic to them? Ironically each of those hubs have broken/bad links and urls attached to them and all have no follow/index tags in support of those faulty urls which were allocated at the original time of publishing.
    Am I expected to believe that these hubs have at some stage been ‘fairly’ rated when in fact they were Never indexed and were subjected to the scrutiny of a staff moderator or alike, who unfairly ensured that they would never be subjected to traffic, as they were never originally indexed, which was only recently brought to my attention?
    Obviously Non Indexed hubs will not receive traffic when SE bots are directed to ignore them!!! Surely calling such hubs Low Engagement is a bit of a joke isn’t it, if they were manually loaded and manipulated in such a manner as to ensure they would never be subject to any Engagement by search engines??
    I would appreciate an honest and transparent answer to this… cheers.. PD

  15. Christy,

    Excuse me but I have a hard time believing that a person or group of persons is sitting around applying this criteria to every hub submitted and I seriously doubt the ability of any computer software to accomplish the task. In effect this is nothing more than a laundry list for search engine optimization and has little to do with the “writing” aspect of the content as long there is a “check-off” for the map, and the chart, the graph, the poll. Also I see no way that I can disassociate myself for your definition of quality if that which I write is shoved in some dark corner as a result of some status that is assigned to me. Then I go back in add a poll, a chart, and a map and wow….we have some stellar work here folks. Sorry but I have another name for that form of package engineering. Thanks for your reply. ~WB

    • Hi Wayne,

      I took a quick look at a couple of your Hubs. Your writing looks quite good, so I’d say formatting is probably the quality issue you’re experiencing (the QAP does assess the quality of writing, but there are other factors that may cause a low score even in cases where the writing is exceptional). Writing for an online audience is a bit different than writing academically or journalistically, so breaking up the text into easily-digestible segments with descriptive subtitles, adding scannable bullet points and charts for quick reference, and using eye-catching photos are a few easy fixes, if you’re interested. If you’d like more information on writing and formatting for an online audience, we have a great guide in our Learning Center. I hope that clears up some of your concerns about how we assess quality.

  16. I am with Randy, Duffsmom and Wayne on this issue. I have painstakenly unpublished lots of my 300+ hubs because of YOUR quality control issues. Making better quality hubs will not get us more views if they are made to conform to YOUR views, Ask the people what they want to read. I had one hub that had some personal story in it and it was unpublished and then you changed the rules that night and it was re-published the next day but not featured. I got many readers tell me here and on other sites that they like personal stories. So whose rating is that going for–yours alone. I think not.
    As far as doing what Google wants, that is very lame in my opinion because Google doesn’t know what it wants.
    Like Duffsmom, I am so almost ready to not re-publish any more of my hubs and put them on some other writing site. You have pushed me to the limit of how many changes that YOU think is going to do better that don’t and waste my time and effort. When HP begam and I came into it 5 years ago it was wonderful and I got lots of traffic and views, but now with all the changes people just don’t want to spend the time making those changes and it also deviates from the article a bit because of the many changes. I don’t think you have quality staff because they don’t do the stuff of checking the hub from grammar or spelling only. They seem to be putting their spin on the subject matter and rating it for their personal views, not anyone elses need for such information.

    • Hi Lady Guinevere,

      There are many online platforms dedicated to sharing personal stories and anecdotes, but HubPages is not designed for that type of content. We understand that the changes to the QAP can be really frustrating, especially to long-time users with many older Hubs. But we’re doing our best to keep up with the dynamic nature of online writing in order to provide Hubbers with as many views as possible. It’s a learning process, and we’re working to inform and educate Hubbers as we adjust to the changing demands of search engines as well.

  17. This is not a well thought of decision, I guess. De-featuring for low quality is acceptable, but for low-engagement sounds crazy.
    It’s not necessary that there is engagement by readers in every article!!!
    Just give a thought – how many of us comment on every article that we come across in the internet???

    Having good content and attracting readers is important and not making them comment or vote!! Please consider this and give some thought. It’s common sense!

    This wasn’t expected of a site like HubPages, unfortunately!
    Thanks

  18. Upon submitting a new hub, I noticed the new rule. I’ve become a Twitter freak lately and haven’t done any hubs lately. Shocked that only three of my 15 hubs were featured, I started clicking the new summary box at the hubs’ start and updating oldies. I even changed a couple of titles. Now I have six hubs ready to be re-evaluated.

  19. Thanks. I’m all for any positive change that collectively affects good quality writers and anything to increase profitability for contributors.

  20. Though I say it myself, some of what I had tended to regard as my best hubs have been relegated as hubs judged to be of poor quality. While this is good for my humility, no doubt, it does strike me that this is sometimes done in an arbitrary manner. It seems that qualitative issues are being handled in a computer-generated, quantitative way: if x, y, and z are present to an arbitrary extent, then this means ‘quality’; if not, then it’s of poor quality. For example, I wrote a hub about Leiden University and its Hortus Botanicus; both academically and botanically and in many other ways, this is a distinguished university which I visited and wrote about. Apparently someone thought it uninteresting or not concerned enough with matters of quality. Oh well, it can’t be helped.

    This is not strictly journalism, but I admit I labour under the semi-journalistlic assumption that unless there is a serious error of fact for rectification, a filed article is a filed article. I’m not so familiar with the idea of a published journalistic article being published and republished continually.

    Actually I have written over 900 hubs, and am grateful for the opportunity to do so. We have been told to increase the numbers of photos, etc. In actual fact, in my hundreds of travel hubs, right from the start I have tried to include flags of the various countries I have visited: flags having been an interest of mine for 40 years. (Actually a while back Hubpages even seemed to query my inclusion of flags.) Now apparently, the advice is, the more additions, the better, which presumably includes things such as flags. I would add that when I started writing hubs, it was more difficult than it is now to include large amounts of graphics, so I suppose the goal posts have changed to some extent.

    So I shall continue to try to write adequate hubs. I do think we are sometimes labouring under diverse notions of what is interesting and of quality. Maybe this is inevitable, to some extent.

    Regards.

    • Hi MJFenn, the QAP actually does include human ratings, so we do have individuals looking over each Hub using our quality scale as a guideline (which is part of the reason it’s somewhat slow going). We know that there are a lot of differing ideas of quality on HubPages currently, and we are working on creating clearer, more practical guidelines on what actually works and what will help Hubbers become more successful. To that end, a lot of the Learning Center entries have been revamped, and in particular, Robin created this fabulous guide to improving old Hubs. For help on issues with specific Hubs, I encourage you to visit the Forum and ask the community for tips. Our HubPages community is one of the best resources we have, and our Hubbers are generally very kind, helpful, and dedicated.

  21. I have one hub that’s been unfeatured for quality. It was really one of my favorite, and had once been HOTD. I think the main reason for it’s demotion is probably because it was less than 500 words long. It was even shorter when I wrote it, but it was clever and pithy and got many great comments. I’d hate to think that all short hubs will receive this treatment, after all the Gettysburg address was only 270 words, and nobody disputes it’s quality.

    Oh well, my hub never got much Google traffic as it wasn’t a much searched subject (also it was seasonal). I accept the judgement of QAP for the betterment of us all and will remove my cute little hub.

  22. Hi Hubbers,
    My Hub Hopping ventures of the week past have revealed a drop in the quality of hubs presented for grading. I expect Hubpages, as mentioned in this article, is indeed venting out hubs with scores lower than 80. Today the quality of hubs I rated were very low indeed. Some hubs were “cut & paste” articles with no author narrative or added visual media. Today I rated all bar one article less than 4.

    “Both thumbs up” for Hubpages for upping minimum criteria for an acceptable hub, it is just hard on the hub hoppers having to read un-engaging articles, but I am sure it will be worth it in the end.

    After having a hard look at the Hubpages alternatives I came away thinking how proud I was to be a part of the Hubpages community. The articles I read in these alternative sites were mostly internet trash. One site thought the hubs were Bubbles, and the other thought hubs were WikiNuts – you know who I mean.

    • Hi Que Scout,

      Are you hopping Hubs using the classic Hopper here on HubPages? It’s normal to see a wide range of quality in the Hopper. Have been seeing mostly low-quality Hubs?

  23. How will we know when our hubs have passed, or not passed, the QAP process? I mean, how will we know when it’s done?

    • Hi Fiction Teller,

      Most Hubbers think their Hubs have either been through the QAP or not, and that some Hubs have either “passed” or “failed.” But this isn’t really an accurate way to look at the process. Rather, we constantly collect data and improve our algorithms to feature deserving content.

  24. Oops! To clarify my question, I’m not asking when HubPages will be done assessing older hubs. I’m asking how we’ll know when our particular account(s) have gone through the process and are now “in the clear.” It’s pretty stressful not knowing if a hub that has recovered from plunging and is now getting good Google traffic is going to be unpublished or deindexed at any moment, or if a hub that has garnered many comments over the years will be unpublished and the comments wiped out.

  25. But don’t you have some system whereby all the older hubs have been reviewed? How would I know whether they’ve all been reviewed or not?

  26. So wait – not only is there no way to know what our score is, but now we don’t even know if they passed a quality assessment process? How is this empowering? How does this tell us we’ve “done good” or “done bad?” How does this give us any baseline for improvement?

    • Hi Fiction Teller,

      During the early days of the QAP we often had difficulties getting sufficient ratings, so it’s impossible to tell if individual Hubs have been rated or not, because there is no blanket date that applies to all Hubs edited after a particular period. Shooting for an 8+ on the rating scale when you edit old Hubs and write new ones is the best way to be sure your Hubs will not lose Featured status for quality reasons as they’re assessed.

  27. I am new here and my two hubs have been rejected but you guys do not show the ratings. Then how come I know where do I stand? And please mention the reasons in the email so that we can know what is the real issue.

  28. I would like to officially protest on behalf of my fellow writers and myself about the unethical “Related Search” ads HP has placed on our articles. They are nothing less than an attempt to steal visitors from our pages without sharing the earnings with us. To not classify them as “ads” is obviously a means to get around the agreement HP has with the writers to share ALL of the revenue with those actually producing the hubs for the site.

    None of us have given permission for this to take place and obviously HP is aware of this sneaky action. Perhaps we need to place a disclaimer on each page telling the readers to ignore this misleading program. I also find it telling that this has not been discussed by you guys. I think you realize why this is so. This does not engender trust in HP’s ethics nor any of the future actions they may take.

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