How HubPages Moderation Works

Moderation Work Flow I attended a launch party for a new user generated content startup here in San Francisco three months ago. I asked one of the co-founders how they were going to handle undesirable content. His answer was to make the platform as open as possible and use automated systems to take down rules violations. He figured that they would eventually need to get a part-time person, perhaps an intern, to help review the more tricky issues. He even used the dreaded word “outsource” to describe what would happen if the site outgrew this process. His response was not an outlier. This is an unfortunate and common approach to content moderation among budding web companies. Having no plan for consistently and thoroughly enforcing a website’s Terms of Service results in user confusion and advertiser dissatisfaction. Maintaining a high standard of quality for a large user generated content site requires a dedicated, trained team of moderators.

The HubPages moderation team is six people strong, more than enough to handle our current workload and enough time for some of us to take on fun side projects, like being a judge for the HubPatron of the Arts contest. We handle most of the support emails sent through the contact us form, and ensure that at least three moderators are working every day.

Of course, an issue every company has to face is scalability. To review all 1,700 Hubs published every day, our moderation team would have to become larger than the full staff of HubPages. For a scrappy startup, growing a single department to this size is not possible.

To help bring the review process to scale, our engineers have built many wonderful and fabulous tools. First, they created several automated systems that run at all times. Our main system is affectionately known as the Maddie Bot, so named for Maddie Ruud, the HubPages Community Manager and first dedicated content moderator. Along with the Maddie Bot, we have over 40 filters that crawl all content on HubPages as it is created. These filters are fed words from several sources, including moderators who notice a pattern of negative behavior associated with a word or phrase (“umpteenth” is favorite of article spinners, for example). Anything the filter feels is suspicious may generate a warning for the author, and will be flagged for our review if it is published.

Another tool that might look familiar to Hubbers is the Moderation Hopper. Though it shares some DNA with the Hub Hopper, it is much more robust. This hopper is a HubPages moderator’s home base. From this tool, a moderator is taken to a flagged hub, where the content is reviewed and a moderation decision is entered into the database. Once this decision is saved, the moderator is taken to the next Hub in the queue automatically. This repeats until all the Hubs have been cleared, moderated, or republished.

Unfortunately, moderators and our trusty robots can only do so much. Along with our automated systems, we rely on Hubbers who familiarize themselves with the rules and flag content for moderator review. These flags are necessary for ensuring HubPages remains a high-quality option for authors seeking an open publishing platform.

HubPages Behind the Scenes – Word of the Day

It has been a while since we’ve given you a sneak peek at HubPages HQ, so here’s a good one – our fearless moderator Maddie gave us a real vocabulary nugget some Thursdays back, and we thought you might enjoy it as much as we do!  Watch the video for the big reveal:

The word?  Defenestrate! To throw out the window.

It’s quite the fun word to use – perhaps you might include it in your next hub! Many of your fellow Hubbers already have, as a matter of fact.

Happy Hubbing 😀

HubPages Behind the Scenes: Larry and the HubPages iPhone App

With this installment of HubPages Behind the Scenes, HubPages’ very own Larry Freeman shares his experience with creating and working on the HubPages iPhone app!  If you listen carefully enough, you can hear Ren in the background 😉

If you don’t already have our fabulous iPhone app (which, BTW, is totally free), you can download it here.

Also, you might be interested in a more detailed walkthrough of the current iPhone app features that Larry shared earlier on the HubPages blog, and you might also like to have a peek at Appceletator’s Titanium software development kit that Larry mentions in our interview.

As you’ll see in the interview, Larry is already hard at work on some awesome new features that shall come to the app soon, so keep checking back- plenty of awesomeness is in store.

Happy 4th Birthday HubPages!

That’s right, HubPages is now four years old!  It is strange to think that only four years back, the site had only just launched- especially because today we’re ranked 58th on Quantcast with 1.2 million daily global visits.  Not bad, eh?

The most impressive thing about the past four years, at least in my opinion, has been the amazing community of writers that has sprung up around the site.  Over its short existence, HubPages has become an impromptu family, a place to sharpen writing skills, an online article-writing academy, and a vast pool of information for millions of people. Who knew that HubPages could be so many things to so many different people!

To honor this momentous milestone, the HubPages team got together yesterday to celebrate!

Paul Edmondson gave a speech, we sang in honor of HubPages and ate delicious cake…

… and Mellie wanted to try a piece too!

Celebration is taking place online as well.  From a festive forum thread to well-wishers sharing kind words on our Facebook page, we’re feeling quite appreciated, and want to share the love with you too.  We’ve got some really amazing surprises in store this September, October, and November already- and more is being planned every moment!  Keep a sharp eye out- this past four years may have been great, but you ain’t seen nothin‘ yet!