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.

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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.