Web Surfing through Junk: An Open Reply to Kaylar

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 9th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3noh6l3_/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Writer Kaylar is very critical of Wikinut and what she sees as it's future. This open letter is written to respond to some of her criticisms and to encourage a full and frank discussion of the concerns. Of course a site like Wikinut needs development and that has to be a part of any discussion.

Crap Writing Wins - Or Does it?

In her article "Crap Writing Wins" writes criticising Wikinut "It is clear... that this site is going down. It is going down because of the crap writers who fill the Star page with rubbish" and further "it is going down because the moderators do not have the power to prevent seven pieces of crap by the same crap writer from filling the Star Page".

Clearly any writer can write all the criticism they wish, about any subject they wish, because that is what I am about to do and I will not criticise Kaylar for having an opinion nor for publishing that opinion, which is her right to do, however when making a statement it should be supported by fact rather than wishful thinking. I know that I am a tough moderator, but I also know that each of the moderators on this site are tough, and when moderating articles there are many that are rejected because they are copies, have bad English, or for many other reasons and star pages are tough to get if you write poorly. Of course Wikinut members never seek the things that are rejected.

I wholly support the raising of writing standards, which is one of the reasons I write many articles designed to assist writers improve in the use of their craft both here on Wikinut and on 2 Drops of Ink, I believe that anyone has the ability to write but in doing so they need to improve the standard of the language they use and check everything before pressing that "Publish" button.

Readers and writers together should be aware that Wikinut moderators do not have the ability to edit or change any material posted, they only moderate material provided by writers. That said there are times when I reject probably 30% of the posts because they are not fit for publication or they have broken the originality rules and a writer thinks it is good to copy other people's material, which is actually illegal and can get any site closed.

Filling the Star page with Rubbish?

Let's be very clear here to get a star page on Wikinut you have to firstly write using good English, excellent grammar and spelling (and yes we all make the occasional error so some allowance is made for that), but also a page is more than the sum of the words used, indeed Kaylar's page gets a star page despite overuse of the slang term "crap", which is used 11 times during the course of the article by someone who clearly is not used to leveraging debate to raise the level of language use and prefers using terms from the gutter and remain emotional rather than develop a rational debate - a trait which in my humble opinion is NOT worthy of a star page anywhere, so on this occasion Kaylar leads this category of work, a pity for someone who normally does write so well.

A page is more than the sum of the words used and as I started explaining a star page comes by good use of language, grammar, an imaginative title, page summary that highlights to the reader what it is all about, has sections, pictures, and links and a few other things, it is possible for every writer to get a star every time they write a page, but in truth few on-line writers pay attention to writing well, and it is clear from a great many blogs that poor language is the modern trend in writing. I have seen many Blogger articles with appalling language usage, yet feature highly in search engine results, so poor quality articles are not generally downgraded in search results.

There is a formula for attaining a star page on Wikinut and there are some writers that know how to take advantage of that formula despite demonstrating an average level English comprehension, but you should also be aware that there are some writers on the site that write using perfect prose, yet they are NEVER awarded star pages because they fail to use sections, add pictures, for use any formatting for their work.

An Unfounded Accusation

Kaylar also took the step of sending me a message that included the following allegation (which I assume to have also been sent to other moderators who commented on the article):

    Take a look at anything posted by X. All... items are bits of another item and say virtually nothing. If you match the decline of Wiki to the advent of the X you'll have a pretty near perfect fit.

Clearly I will not repeat the name of writer Kaylar is talking of, but I have spent some time reading through several of this writer's recent published work, I even checked the whole of one out against software which I use that specialises in finding duplicate content and this was classified as 87% unique. This particular writer has published similar content on another site but there is a difference between publishing similar content and identical content. Everyone should be aware that Wikinut's terms & conditions actually allow for material to be republished. Yet if it were up to me I would not allow republication at all. Moderator Mark Gordon Brown frequently advises writers that when re-publishing things they should change their piece around a little to alter the focus and effectively make it an new article and not have the new or old articles performance on search engines degraded. If you intend to republish something then a writer must think about the publishing requirements of Wikinut rather than the other site and adjust their article to fit in with the Wikinut sections.

Please be aware that I have also checked my own original material using the same software and was told it was only 76% unique, because the piece used several phrases that were common to a specialist area that I was writing about these commonly used technical phrases reduced the uniqueness factor for something I wrote completely independently. In essence few people ever attain 100% uniqueness because they adopt common colloquialisms and phrases that have been adopted by a large percentage of the population.

Of course it is quite possible to use a lot of words and say nothing at all, indeed some people specialise in doing precisely this, I once heard an actor talk about his life and how he loved using a lot of words but saying very little of any worth, it was actually his stock in trade. I am not sure you can fault a writer for making money out of saying nothing if they so wish and I doubt it has any impact on the readership of the whole site, It could be said that Kaylar's piece is somewhat like this, adding little to the overall impact of Wikunut.

OVERALL there is little evidence that star pages are filled with rubbish.

Content Farm

Google's labelling of sites as a content farm has little to to do with the quality of the articles published and more to do with the volume of articles published and the associated advertising, which was the foundation of its attribution of several general publication sites, such as Triond where pages were overloaded with advertising - in truth many "pay for content" sites have a very high proportion of advertising for the amount of content displayed - there may be 2 or 3 adverts covering an article of 150 to 200 words and in truth many people reading these pages spent very little time on them because the content was too short to be of any value.

This is one of the primary reasons why Wikinut moderators are encouraged to reject short pieces (less than 300 words) to be published (other than poetry). In all honesty it is these short pieces that say nothing of any value because it is simply not possible to do anything but skim a subject in 100 words.

It is possible to take a Wikinut page title or even the whole of the page summary and paste it into Google and search on that item and on most occasions the results are on the first page of results, HOWEVER it must be noted is you have only just published an article then it can take 24 to 48 hours for results to show up in search results. One of the things I do to improve ranking of my articles is to post them on Social Media and when I do that I have recently been doing that using the #Wikinut hashtag, something I recommend every writer do.

Blogger versus Wikinut

One thing everyone needs to be aware of if the way that Google treats Blogger/Blogspot. You should be aware that Blogger or Blogspot is owned by Google and if you have a blog on this site you will get preferential treatment for your pages as follows:

  • Keywords are immediately integrated into Google the moment you publish as is the search description.
  • Blogger pages are generally prioritised over other blogs (although persistent bad grammar and spelling will result in a marking down of specific pages).

Generally search engines prioritise pages in the following order:

  1. Product or service pages
  2. Information rich pages (e.g. directories)
  3. Government organisations in your location
  4. Universities/Professional organisations
  5. Newspapers, professional journals, on-line magazines (e.g. Lifehacker)
  6. Blogs (whether or not advertising supported)
  7. General Content sites supported by advertising
  8. Other Pages

The order of this list is based upon my own research and not based on any other similar lists that may have been published in the past. Also Google prioritises sites that are 3 or more years away from renewal.

For product or service pages most search engines will improve the ranking of those that also advertise with them. Also many smaller companies will create their web page using blog software, such as Wordpress, such sites tend to be downgraded a little because Google knows these are likely to be smaller corporations or may be self-employed people trying to compete with larger corporations and often these pages do not include all necessary components e.g.About and Contact. At the end of the day Google prefers large corporations.

Information rich pages like directories (such as Yellow Pages or Ask) are very much favoured by Google because of the links that they have embedded in them, trouble is unless you are looking for a plumber they are of little interest for most searches.

You will note that Blogs and General Content pages are much lower ranked than most other pages and in general if you are competing with a topic discussed on a page owned by a large corporation for example General Motors, Microsoft, Major League Baseball, etc. Blogs that are successful in their ranking tend to have owners that are clued up on the requirements of SEO and all pages are appropriately indexed to ensure peak performance.

In truth a poorly indexed page on either a blog or a general content website will perform badly against professionally created sites covering the same subject matter and this is what acts against any pages created on sites like Wikinut. Put together an article with a single word title, like Kaylar's "Tamerlane" and it will NEVER perform well, it is not a good SEO match, unlike “The History of Tamerlane”, “The Invader; Tamerlane” as those titles provide search engines with more to work on - this is simple mechanics of SEO and has nothing to do with whether or not Google likes Wikinut - single word titles ALWAYS perform badly.

Other works by Peter Giblett

Peter Giblett regularly publishes here on Wikinut and contributes a semi-regular column on 2 Drops of Ink, a site dedicated to the improvement of writing, grammar, and prose and his own blog called GobbledeGoox. Recent works on Wikinut include:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Crap Writing, Junk, Kaylar, Star Page, Unfounded Accusation, Wikinut, Wikinut Community, Wikinut Writers, Write Using Good English

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2015 (#)

There is some very useful information here.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Sep 2015 (#)

I moderated the article in question, and I must say in my own defense that I lingered long before making the decision to award a star to Kaylar, for the precise reason you mention - the overuse of the word 'crap.'

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author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Ah, so: the moderator is the one who chooses to award the 'star' rating. I wondered when you, Peter, moerated a recent page about the Jedi "Force" being spiritual, and gave it a 'star' even though there was hardly any formatting or links. That also explains why Mark's moderation of my pages tends to lack stars. There's a bias, then. Thanks for helping me understand that, Steve.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Christopher, the moderator doesn't really award the star, it all about the difference between the "Good" and "Excellent" markers during the moderation process and the sometimes complex choices as to whether an item falls one or other side of the boundary.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Steve Thanks. I had my suspicions.

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author avatar Carol Roach
10th Sep 2015 (#)

I know the word crap is not a good one, but does it have seo backing.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Carol, I accept what you are saying, it may, but in terms of pure English usage it is not seen as acceptable, it lowers the tone of what is said.

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author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2015 (#)

I wish you would use fewer words to say what you're saying, Peter. I get lost in the unbroken, un-paragraphed, rambling text that goes way too long in making your point. I wish also that you used a five-point star rather than the Star of David to illustrate Wikinut's symbol for featured star-status pages. It suggests you don't know the difference, don't recognize your error, nor know of the offense you might engender among some readers.

If you can give unsolicited advice to Kaylar about her opinions of Wikinut writing, I can give you unsolicited advice about your writing on Wikinut. I, however, don't have the same star-bestowing or star-retracting privilege that you do.

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author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Interesting response, LeRain, but quite right, too. (Did I just agree with you?)

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Sep 2015 (#)

So LeRain you are not a fan of long, flowing sentences. OK! I can live with that. Of course you can give unsolicited advice, that is your right and the reason why sites like Wikinut exist in the first place.

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author avatar M G Singh
10th Sep 2015 (#)

I wonder if you have read Mark Twain and O Henry ? I am sure you have. Mark Twain wrote " Damm, would have written a shorter letter , but never had the time". So there it is -brevity is important and this is a rambling post that at the end looks to me meaningless.
Coming down to what I understand. Kaylar has a grouse about star pages. The lady must realize that star pages have no value in the writing world especially as far as views are concerned. Otherwise, I would not have chalked up 1.75 million page views. I get very few stars.
Coming to star pages, my opinion is that star pages are not on content but on presentation.. This is bad . Some of the sites I wrote on give equivalent of stars or editors choice to content. This certainly needs a review, otherwise I rarely involve myself with clashing swords. Wikinut is OK and one must realize that nothing is perfect. The best moderator in my view is Steve followed by Mark.

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author avatar M G Singh
10th Sep 2015 (#)

Lastly, I forgot to add. I am surprised Steve gave this post a star. Maybe Kaylor has a legitimate grouse.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Sep 2015 (#)

Madan, I used to write short sentences, but to read them (especially out loud) was like hearing a metronome move. Today I write sentences with deliberation, the length is planned, as is the pace and rhythm. I am a fan of the long and meaningful sentence, which helps the reader through the story.

As you well know, sir, a star is no impediment to gaining readership, your 1.75 million views is a testament to that. If I owned this site I would do away with star pages, keep the featured page, but have the moderators nominate their choice pages e.g. the best one they have moderated this week. But then I would also ensure the site played a greater role in publicising the work on the site.

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author avatar kaylar
11th Sep 2015 (#)

Fine. Everyone get their rotten fruit and throw at me.

Now, calmly, let us do a compete.com and let Peter explain to me how Wikinut went so far down within such a short time.

45k to 30k views.

Considering other sites which score in the Millions, I'm sure Peter has a facile answer.

And why shouldn't I have gotten a star page? I had something to say, I said it clearly and tersely, and didn't need to stuff paragraph after paragraph with lots and lots of words.

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author avatar kaylar
11th Sep 2015 (#)

btw...blogjob went from 20k to 220k in the same period.

Over to you, Peter

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author avatar kaylar
11th Sep 2015 (#)

and Hubpages went from 5M to 6M.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Sep 2015 (#)

Kaylar, I am not interested in people throwing fruit at you, but I am very interested in improving the performance of Wikinut and the performance of other sites is irrelevant in that regard. The problem here in my humble opinion relates the the lack of site development by the owners and their lack of willingness to publicise the site, I have written to them about this, as have other writers. To take you example of Hubpages the owners are actively improving the site as well as promoting it.

As for sites like BlogJob, let's see whether it's performance is long lasting, remember Bubblews, it ballooned to over a million, then collapsed to under 30k.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th Sep 2015 (#)

BTW Blogjob cannot be compared to Wikinut because it is a blogging site, not a general writing site.

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author avatar Retired
11th Sep 2015 (#)

As I understand it, moderators have no say in whether a page gets a star or not - it all depends on whether the page ticks the right boxes in terms of its appearance and minimum content.

Whether that is wise or not is another matter, because the system as it stands does give the appearance of rewarding certain writers and castigating others.

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author avatar Retired
11th Sep 2015 (#)

I agree, John. There is an apparent bias, and it makes some of us concerned.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Sep 2015 (#)

John, Christopher, if moderation is performed according to the rules it is about ticks in the right boxes, but the question is the dividing line between "POOR" and "GOOD" or the dividing line between "GOOD" and "EXCELLENT" and that is where the moderator's opinion comes into play.

Any such system like this has potential for bias to apply, but in order to check that it is possible to look at the moderation of contentious articles and articles by writers like LeRain, or Jessica Russell when moderated by their political opponent, Steve Kinsman, are moderated fairly which should show that moderators do not act with bias.

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author avatar kaylar
11th Sep 2015 (#)

The issue is the decline of Wikinut. Even if Peter closes his eyes and puts a plastic bag over his head, Wikinut will Still be a Content Farm with a Declining market.

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author avatar kaylar
12th Sep 2015 (#)

I am concerned and remarkably, Peter has expressed my views.

I had suggested, and I believe you would concur, that the very best items on Wiki be on the Front page. Yes, they can be moved from point A to point B, to C or so every 24 hours, so as to give a fresh page.

Hence if there are items written in 2010 which are excellent, they can be on the Front Page.

New stuff would be there, some more highly rated than others, but what you want is that the new viewer sees 'must read' stuff of Excellence.

The Automatic 5 bold, 5 link, 5 images Star should be abolished.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th Sep 2015 (#)

To me there is no "Automatic 5 bold, 5 link, 5 images Star" write very bad English you get rejected, even with bold/italic text, 5 links, 5 images and a video.

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author avatar Ptrikha
14th Sep 2015 (#)

May be, Kaylar can be given the post of one of the moderators- that might change her opinion about Wikinut- which I won't say is the best site around- but better than say a Triond, which rejects even fine quality articles without giving a solid reason.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Oct 2015 (#)

Thanks Peter for taking the bull by the horns - just a figure of speech.

Wikinut has a place in my heart and I like it for the whole package. Moderators are hands on individuals, respond to brickbats even and still keep smiling. And fellow contributors are encouraging but keep me on my toes.

I would rather be associated with a site that does not prove a flash in pan. I had success at YCN, but it is history now gong down with all our efforts lost in cyberspace. Wikinut looks to be for the long haul - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Oct 2015 (#)

I think everyone has had success and heartache at those flash in the pan sites. Of course Wikinut is not without its problems, but I do hope it is here to stay, overall it is the community (including diverse views like yours) that matters most to me.

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author avatar Retired
6th Oct 2015 (#)

'Bull by the horns' - even in your innocent remarks, you speak volumes, siva...

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author avatar kaylar
23rd Jan 2016 (#)

What I love about commenting now, is that you don't get a cent.

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author avatar Retired
23rd Jan 2016 (#)

Not that you ever did for commenting...all the money was based on views of your pages.

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author avatar shelpeare
19th May 2016 (#)

You know, we should not assume that we know someone’s gender by their username even when they do not protest being called a “her” repeatedly. I do not blame the writer in this as anonymity is a good thing sometimes but the said writer gave away his gender in one of his screenshots. It just goes to show how little we all know about the people we communicate with online.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
20th May 2016 (#)

shelpeare, I would have used gender neutral language had I not know the person's gender. However this writer and I are well acquainted, and despite the anonymous username her gender has never been at issue.

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