Monday, June 29, 2015

UPDATED: HubPages Bans Top InfoBarrel Author, Vic Dillinger, For 23 Hours (From Their Forum)

Cartoon About if Kids See The Title of Hub with Mindf**k in Related Hubs
Satirical cartoon about author's children seeing a "Related Hub" on their parent's article. Created July 3rd, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge)

Could HubPages be any more idiotic?

One of the best authors I've ever had the pleasure of meeting online was just banned for 23 hours from the HubPages forum.

In case you didn't know, Vic Dillinger is an accomplished author who has so many articles on InfoBarrel's Top 100 that I lost count. [It's at least 40 articles.]

He tells the truth and he's fairly new to HubPages.

Well, I just found out about a forum thread he began titled Use of Profanity in Titles (and other vulgarities . . .). Shown below (click to enlarge):

Vic Dillinger Asks in HubPages Forum About Swear Words Used in Hub Titles
The gist:

Vic mentions that he found a Hub [article] that used the word "mindf**k." He wanted to know what was allowed and not allowed on HubPages.

TIMETRAVELER2 chimed in. She checked out this author's other questionable Hubs and found similar language (in titles and within the text of articles). She reported it and emailed the HubPages team.

The response from HubPages (over 6 hours ago)?

"I have reviewed these articles, thanks for notifying us." 

TIMETRAVELER2 asked, "and what are you planning to do about it?" [No one knows, but as of  2:15 am ET, the article with "mindf**k" in the title is still published.]

Obviously Vic understands Google's AdSense rules. He is well aware that someone else on the site jeopardizes everyone by using profanity. And, as Vic pointed out:

"I'd hate to see anyone lose out on G money because of one dipwad who can't read a site's TOS and abide by it, instead going for the "click bait" word in the title (and I wasn't searching for it, that piece of garbage came up as a "related" hub on one of my pieces)."

What does HubPages do?

Apparently, when Vic Dillinger tried to thank TIMETRAVELER2 and tell her "keep fighting the good fight," Vic received a prompt that he was banned from posting in the HubPages forum for 23 hours.

Yeah.

HE points out there is a Hub with profanity in the title and HubPages bans Vic but keeps the article up!

Classy.

Addendum July 2nd, 2015

Sometimes I feel like the shills on HubPages are just too obvious. 

Vic Dillinger couldn't be clearer. He was trying to point out a Hub that had the f-word in its title. The four-letter bad one. NOT the others (which Vic explained are probably "not as bad" in Google's eyes). The F-word in a title is probably the most offensive, don't you agree?

It's the word "mindf**k" which (it turns out) shows up in not one, but in 56 other articles on HubPages.

That equates to 56 more times that Vic Dillinger's Hubs may be impacted if (again) any of these show up on his pages in the "related Hubs" section.

It's 56 more reasons for Google to pull the AdSense earnings away from other authors because someone cannot adhere to the Terms of Use on HubPages. Or worse, moderators on HubPages refuse to pull the offending material off of the site.

But it astounds me how derailed this forum thread has become. Not only was Vic "punished" for a day but he's being beaten over the head by a HubPages expert.

She seems oblivious to the fact that HubPages decision to keep "Mindf**k" in the title (or within the text) of 56 articles on HubPages jeopardizes everyone's earnings.

Here are some of her responses to Vic (my thoughts are in italics):

"I have used AdSense for many years and I promise you that HP knows the rules too." [Really? Then why is the word "F**k" in the title of a Hub?]

"I've also been here for a few years and know the ropes [a few years? Vic has been an established author for more than that!] She continues, "so... take a few deep breaths and listen to what I and others are saying." [What? Vic doesn't need to take a few deep breaths and who are these "others"?]

"Those who have a periodic curse word in their hubs are not going to kill your revenue stream... everything is going to be OK." [OMG, we are not talking about a periodic curse word. And Vic isn't just being protective of himself and his revenue stream.]

She carries on like she doesn't believe that "Mindf**k" is a problem. In her condescending tone, she advises Vic, "Hubs you feel cross that line can be reported - and if they do in fact violate the terms HP will remove those hubs or unfeature them."

She goes on and on about it "not affecting your ability to earn money" (since obviously everything on HubPages is about money – not about our kids reading "Mindf**k" aloud or about maintaining a level playing field for all authors on HP).

And gee, thanks for reminding us all that "Google does not care if a periodic mild swear word is used."

That was NOT at all what Vic Dillinger's post was about. Read the title of his post. He was talking about the word "Mindf**k" in the TITLE of a Hub which also appears in 56 other places on HubPages.

Hmm, perhaps Google no likey that!

But this person is far too important to absorb even the gist of Vic's point. She reminds us, "People don't want to listen, they want to get offended. That's fine be offended, I have better things to do with my day."

Charming.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: Moina-Arcee (Mark Fellows)

This week, I decided to take the blog "on location." A friend of mine, Hugh Hefner, offered me the Playboy Mansion grotto as the perfect setting to interview InfoBarrel author Moina-Arcee (Mark Fellows).
Playboy Mansion Grotto Where RoseWrites Interviews Moina-Arcee (added with Pixlr)
Playboy Mansion Grotto Credit: Dirsmith1 (CC-by-SA 4.0) | Body of Woman by John (jamaicajohn on flickr) CC-by-2.0 | Moina-Arcee provided by Mark Fellows and my head added with Pixlr

Oh, I never did any nude things (that were published) and I didn't date Hef. I'm in my 40s – I'm far too old for him. 

I asked Hef his advice about a magazine for women. Not like Playgirl, something even more erotic. One that showed hot men doing housework. There were even XXX-rated videos of men asking to help fold laundry and wash dishes.

Back to Mark

I vaguely recall Mark visiting one of my articles on InfoBarrel. At the time, I thought he was female since Moina is similar to Mona. But it was more than that. He had an avatar that was pattern-like which reminded me the crafting articles that Squidoo kept pushing. At one point, I think I counted 13 of these pieces on the homepage of Squidoo (which only showcased 16 features).

So, I feel bad for not becoming more familiar with his work, until now. Plus I figured the Playboy mansion's grotto might make up for it.

Moina-Arcee (Mark Fellows) Gets a New Look

Moina Arcee on InfoBarrel (Old Avatar and New Avatar)
Both images provided by Mark Fellows (June 18th, 2015)

Nothing screams fun guy (or fungi) like a man enjoying himself inside something inflatable.

Without Further Ado

I present to you my interview with Moina Arcee (Mark Fellows). And he too answered inappropriate questions.

Writing-related questions:

Q: What writing topic gets you fired up the most? What niche(s) do you cover best?

A: I have a wide range of interests. All sorts of topics interest me enough to research and write about. I gravitate to history and religion. I have several niches: professional wrestling, science, boxing personalities, boat wrecks, rock bands and entertainers, legends and conspiracies, and so on.

Q: How did you end up on InfoBarrel?

A: By accident. I signed up a couple years ago, but didn't write anything for months. I forgot I was even a member. Then I remembered and started writing regularly, and here I am now.

Q: What is the most entertaining comment you ever received on one of your articles?

A: Vic Dillinger's harangues are always fun. Once I mentioned the Grateful Dead in passing in an article, and Vic lost it, started bitching about hippies and deadbeats. It was great.

Q: If you could change one thing about the online world (Internet), what would it be?

A: Make it easier to make money writing. [Nods. Good one.]

Personal and highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: I notice you have a rubber dinghy around you, do you spend a lot of time in water? But more importantly, I want to know if you've ever "done it" in water?

A: Not touching this one. [I agree, it sounds like a good idea. But in reality . . .]

Q: If you were a musical instrument, what would you be (and why)?

A: A piano, because it is a beautiful and versatile instrument.

Q: What pisses you off the most about other writers on the Internet?

A: Nothing really. I'm live and let live. I admire good writing and I wince at bad writing, but it is not personal. [Ah, come on Mark. Doesn't anything get under your skin?]

Q: Who was your first "famous person" crush?

A: Huh? I don't think that's happened yet. [Look around here at the mansion, I'm sure you'll fall in love at first sight – plenty of times.]

Back to you and your work:

Q: What are three articles of yours that you wish everyone would read?

A: I'd like people to read all my articles, because each one is a labor of love. I'd like everyone to read about Floyd Patterson because he was an extraordinary, humble man. And an article I wrote about my favorite musician, Tim Story. And an article I wrote about musician Warren Zevon. Part of the fun in writing is finding out so much about individual people, their lives, their passions, their failings.

[I read all of these and I must say you seem to connect with the struggles of each of these men and their music brings you back to a special time in your life. It's touching how you portrayed each of these men.]

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: Facebook (Mark Fellows) and InfoBarrel (Moina Arcee). I don't have my own website right now.

Q: According to your InfoBarrel profile page, Moina Arcee is the pen name of a writer who has had two books and dozens of articles published on the same topics you write about (history, religion, culture, movie and book reviews, profiles of historical figures, entertainers and sports figures, and topics like addiction and mental health).

You also mention that "Moina" was the pen name of poet priest Abram Ryan. Moina is also the name of a genus of crustaceans known for their ability to survive in difficult situations.

It's self-explanatory why you chose this pen name, is there anything else to know about it?

A: Let me add something about my last name, "Arcee". Arcee = RC = Roman Catholic, but I am not Catholic in an exclusive way. I am Catholic (which means universal) in an inclusive way, in that God has infinite love for every creature. [Well it's a good thing I told you the interview would be at Wally's Water World. Do you think I'm going to h*ll now?]

Q: Why do you write?

A: I write because I have to. It is a form of expression I love, I love shaping articles, blending together all the twists and turns in a story, and doing it in a concise, professional, readable way. I take great care with everything I write. I go over every sentence, cutting out every unnecessary word, kind of like pulling weeds. And I try to keep my tone professional but also genuine. [Nods. You come across professional and genuine (and somewhat poetic).]

As a writer, I stay out of the way and let the story speak for itself. I've been writing all my life and I can't imagine not writing, really. It is nothing I'd ever make a living at. It reminds me of a joke:

How do you make a small fortune as a writer?

A: Start with a large one. [HA, ha, ha.]

Q: Is there any other other writer on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, is there any question you'd like me to ask him or her?

A: Sorry, can't think of any. [Well you get out there and explore InfoBarrel. If you find someone you want to know more about, shoot me a line.]

Q: Vic Dillinger was the one who recommended you to be interviewed. He wanted to know:
a) How much he means to you? [Do you two have a little bromance thing going on?]
b) Your shoe size? [Hmm, I want to know too now. You know what they say: the bigger the shoe, the bigger the foot.]

A: My shoe size is eleven. Vic wants to know how much he means to me? What?? 

Okay, maybe try this. Vic and I have some sort of connection. I'm not really sure what it is, because I often disagree with his views and opinions. [Nods.] But I respect a person who just says what's on his mind and lets the chips fall where they may. And I think Vic is a good writer and an excellent researcher, so I like reading his stuff. Except about the bunnies . . .

Q: Most writers have day jobs. What are yours?

A: Right now I work in state government as a licensed social worker with mentally ill and chemically dependent adults. I have had other careers: painting houses, landscaping, I was a lawyer once, a manager at McDonalds, ran a printing press, worked in corporations doing quality control, I've probably forgotten a few careers, I've been around. But with all the careers I've always been writing, for myself or for publication. I'm a work junkie, ha ha.

In Closing:

I want to thank Moina Arcee (Mark Fellows) for joining me today at the Playboy Mansion. 

I get the sense from reading his articles that he connects deeply with those who struggle in life (especially from an early age) and has found numerous ways to help people overcome life's difficulties. 

I feel like I could tell him anything, really. 

Be sure to tune in next weekend when I feature another worldly InfoBarrel author.

Monday, June 22, 2015

HubPages: Low Quality Hubs and Why Reports Are Ignored

In a HubPages forum thread started by Don Bobbitt, many authors expressed their dismay at the massive number of low quality articles on the site. Some people supported the idea of having two separate HubPages sites: an HP site and an HP-PRO site.

Apparently, Hubbers are flagging content, yet most of it remains on the site. Over the past few months, I've made note of the statistics people have provided.

I understand the HubPages business model and I've tried numerous ways to explain it. In short, HubPages will likely ignore the reports of anything that is making them money. Especially the accounts of those they deem "inactive."

Why? The answer is simple: HubPages keeps ALL of the earnings on "inactive" accounts and doesn't need to share it 60/40 with the "active" writers.

Well today, I felt that TIMETRAVELER2 was the voice of reason on a thread with a few shills.

Someone mentioned that 47% of her reports were acted upon to which TIMETRAVELER2 replied:

"You're lucky. Of all the hubs I've reported, only one ever got removed!"

She later stated: "I will add it is not the job of the writers here to serve as teachers for those who come here without the appropriate skills any more than it is HP's job."

FatFreddysCat suggested that HubPages pay out (even a penny per flagged article) to entice authors to help clean up the site.

But I found it rather amusing that Dressage Husband would praise and defend Paul Edmondson. I can only imagine that he is poor at math or has a bad memory (or both).

You see, on May 19th, 2015 Stephen Parkin (aka Dressage Husband) began a dialogue with me on Google Plus. In it, he revealed that only 40% of those he reports get sanctioned. (Shown next). Click to enlarge.

Dialogue with Stephen Parkin on Google Plus about 40 percent of Hubs he reports get acted upon
Screenshot of Google Plus conversation May 19th, 2015 with Stephen Parkin
(aka Dressage Husband on HubPages) / Click to enlarge


Yet today he stated in the HubPages forum that "most of what I report is actioned."


Hmm, 40% before has since magically become "most." 
What could that number be? 51%?

But he's an expert, apparently. Just ask him or (better yet) let him tell you in the HubPages forum.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: mommymommymommy (Hannah Gold)

I'm joined in the studio today by InfoBarrel author mommymommymommy. Wait, what studio? Yeah, I decided to class things up for this lady since there were numerous requests for her to be on InfoBarrel Author of the Week.

Welcome Hannah. Ignore the guy behind the couch, it's Vic Dillinger (not sure how he got in).

Avatar of mommymommymommy (Hannah Gold) interviewed by RoseWrites
Credits: Black and White photo background by wonderlane on flickr CC-by-2.0 | Photo of my head (RoseWrites), avatar of mommymommymommy, and image of Vic Dillinger added using Pixlr

Hope you found the green room relaxing. First of all, I have to say, I love your hair style. Those angled cuts are great for the summer (keeps your neck cool). 

One of the first things I discovered about Hannah is she is far more organized than I am. I remember reading about how she crafts her articles and thinking 'gee, I do it totally backwards.' I get the sense she is a morning person.

One statement of hers I'll never forget (and was relieved to hear): "My family needs me." 

I realized how much healthier and happier my family is too (since I also work from home). 

Brownie (Girl Guides of Canada) gets helped by Scout putting on snowshoe
Photo: Ray Christiansen (Girl Guides of Canada)
on flickr CC-by-2.0
When I visited mommymommymommy's profile page on InfoBarrel, I couldn't help but notice all the references to the Girl Scouts

I never made it out of Brownies [is anyone surprised?] but I loved that little change purse that came with the uniform.

And what's the deal with that toadstool and owl that we had to skip and dance around? 

Guess the earliest Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) troop leaders hauled in the real thing. 

I found the following photo in the GGC National Archives titled: Brownie Enrollment circa 1924 - 1934.

I'm sure Hannah and her troop look happier.

Brownie Enrollment c.1924-1934 from GGC National Archives
"Brownie Enrollment" c. 1924-1934 Girl Guides of Canada on flickr CC-by-2.0
 Source: GGC National Archives

Without Further Ado

I present to you my interview with Hannah Gold (aka mommymommymommy, triple mommy, mommy x 3, and mommy cubed).

Writing-related questions:

Q: I couldn't help but notice all the Girl Scout references on your IB profile page. What compelled you to get involved in Girl Scouts?

A: My oldest daughter was a Girl Scout until fifth grade, and I was unable to be a leader because I had my twins to take care of. When my younger daughter received a flyer about a Girl Scout Round Up in October 2008, I went to the meeting and sat with a bunch of other kindergarten moms I knew from her class. Everyone wanted their daughter in a troop, but no one would step up and be the leader. One woman was already co-leader for her older daughter's troop and would co-lead this one, so I said that I would lead under one condition – no camping and no cookies.

No cookies? Now Hannah, I don't want to brag, but in the '70s, Brown Owl let me be portrayed on the 1978 GG cookie box. See the red arrow in the image below? It points to me.
Girl Guides of Canada Girl Guide Cookie Box 1978
 Image Credit: 1978 Girl Guides of Canada on flickr | Taken April 9th, 2012
(CC-by-2.0) | Red arrow added by RoseWrites using Pixlr
As you can see, I went AWOL once I realized I had to be nice to people and help seniors.

Hannah cont'd: All agreed and I became the leader of six adorable little girls. Since I have two teaching degrees and have been in the classroom since 1987, leading a Daisy troop was in my wheelhouse. I started writing about what I did with my girls because Girl Scout leaders have no guides, unlike teachers who have Teacher Guides with lesson plans they can use and tweak to make their own. The response was very positive. I added level specific blogs and websites because there is a need for this.

Our troop has been pretty stable over the years, but I see a change coming. My girls are going into seventh grade, and with all of their competitive sports and activities, we will be losing a few next year.

Q: For over five years, you've been an InfoBarrel author. What has kept you on InfoBarrel this long?

A: That's an easy one to answer. InfoBarrel has evolved over the years in a very positive direction. The old SEO driven garbage is no longer published. Quality articles with photos and sources are encouraged and featured.

Kevin and Ryan are very hands on and communicated with the writers on the site. We do not go months without hearing from them, and they answer private messages and emails as well. Forum threads are shut down when they get heated and personal, and that kind of behavior is not tolerated at all.

Before implementing changes, they are Beta tested by actual authors on the site. What other writing platform has done that?

In addition, my work will not magically disappear one day due to traffic falling. Seriously, no one is looking for Chanukah gifts in June, so of course the traffic will be non-existent. But to unfeature it for that reason serves no purpose.

Q: Is there some topic that you'd like to write about but haven't (and why)?

A: I want to write more about the middle school years and the dynamics between girls this age. Living through it again with my younger daughter has me seeing it through a different lens than with my older daughter. The only reason I have not had time to delve into this topic more is because I have spent the last twelve months moving content around to different sites when I'm not working my two real world jobs, volunteering or taking care of my family.

Q: If you could change one thing about the Internet (online world), what would it be?

A: Besides getting rid of trolls, scammers, get rich quick schemers and perverts, I would like to see garbage taken out of the search engine results and have quality writing rise to the top. [Nods.]

Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to a new InfoBarrel writer?

A: Give it time! With the microwave entitlement mentality that so many of the younger generation have, it drives me crazy that people think that just because you write something, thousands of people will be flocking to read it and help you earn money. It took time to get to the point that I am at now. If I gave up after a few months like so many writers do, I would be working a job with mom hours.

Bonus piece of advice: Read The Top 100 articles. There is a REASON they are there! These are not generic how-to save money, how-to get rich on the Internet, how-to lose weight articles. They are in-depth, off the beaten path topics that have photos, videos and sources.

Q: What newbie mistake(s) make you cringe? And if you could, what would you say to "repeat" offenders?

A: The first mistake a newbie makes in not reading classicalgeek's Newbie's Guide. She goes into great detail of the IB's do's and don'ts in a language that is easier to read and understand than the Terms of Service.

I also cringe when a new person to IB complains in the forum that their articles are being denied. Typically, they are making an easily corrected mistake that, if they bothered to read the above mentioned article, they would not be making. Other times, the grammar used in a forum post tell us exactly why it was denied without ever having to read the article.

To repeat offenders, I would tell them to stop thinking of denial messages as a bruise to their ego, but to take it as a big piece of advice. The article approvers are trying to tell you something, not hurt your feelings. Make the necessary changes to see your desired results.

Highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: Best way to spice things up (in the bedroom) with a longtime partner?

A: A couple needs to remember that they are more than parents. There is a reason you fell in love with each other.

You need to get away from the kids, even if it is just for the night, and go to the most luxurious hotel you can afford. No contact is allowed from the kids or from whomever is watching them unless it is an emergency. Treat yourselves to an expensive meal at an elegant restaurant and order a bottle of wine to go with it. Talk about everything except the kids. Do this as often as possible!

[One question, Hannah. Does it really have to be with the father of the child(ren)?]

Hannah cont'd: If you can't get away, take advantage of any alone time. Take a day off from work together while the kids are in school. Go out or stay in...you just need some "we" time that does not include others.

Q: If you had a choice between eating in a fancy restaurant a few times a week or having your home professionally cleaned a few times a week – which one would you choose?

A: Cleaning...no contest! My kids are pigs.

[Psst, that's all I really want too. A clean house.]

Q: If a boy wanted to join Girl Scouts, what would you say?

A: Hmmm...I would wonder why. There are so many options available to him with Boy Scouts and other organizations. There is something to be said about girl power and an all female environment. When the children are younger, it might not matter. As the girls get older, this might make some of them uncomfortable, a normal feeling for tween and young teen girls who are not confident around boys.

Q: What famous person, TV character or cartoon character do you most relate to (and why)?

A: Frankie Heck from ABC's The Middle. It is like watching my life on television. First of all, Frankie is middle-aged with three kids, just like me. When the show started, she was taking care of her kids and her elderly aunts, making her a Sandwich Generation woman like myself. My mom is disabled and with my brother a plane ride away, all of her needs fall on my shoulders.

The personalities of her three children are similar to mine (except my son does not have quirky tics like Brick does). Mike, Frankie's husband, is a hard-working man who has worked for the same company since college. Not only has my husband done the same thing, he also resembles Mike as well. He is almost a foot taller than I am, has a head of premature gray hair and loves to wear flannel and jeans as he watches sports on television.

The major differences between Patricia Heaton's character and me is that I cook and she does not and she procrastinates and I plan. They do a lot of take out, and they could probably fix up their house more if she just made pasta a few times a week and banked the money.

Back to you and your work:

Q: Which three articles are you most proud of?

A:  Does My Daughter Have an Eating Disorder? 5 Warning Signs Every Parent Must Know. I was able to finally write this article after my daughter outed herself with an article she wrote about her journey and shared with the world on Facebook. Until then, it was a secret that only a handful of people knew about. [Nods. It's an incredibly insightful, raw, honest piece.]

Why I Am Not a Cool Mom. If you Google "uncool moms" my photo will pop up! You will also find my image under "Meanest Mom" as well. [Hmm, I used to show up under "the most uninteresting woman in the world" but not any more.]

The Negative Impact of Homework - Why Teachers Need to Stop the Madness. I am writing a follow up to this article because I am not looking forward to doing this again with my younger children. I know many successful adults who did not have eight hours of homework each night.

Q: Where can readers find you?

InfoBarrel: mommymommymommy The place where it all began!

Goody Guides: mommymommymommy Hannah

Spacial Anomaly Posts By Hannah Gold (aka mommymommymommy)

Pinterest: Hannah Gold

Twitter: GirlScoutBlog

My Girl Scout blogs are:

Girl Scout Leader – This blog is for all levels of scouts.

Daisy Activities – This site is for brand new leaders who need help.

How to Earn Brownie Badges – A site with lesson plans for every single Brownie Try It badge. [Hmm, I might just see if I can finally get through Brownies then.]

Cadette Girl Scout Journeys – A website with lesson plans for each of the three Journeys.

I have a Girl Scout Junior site in the works and hope to have it up over the summer.

Q: Both HLesley and DebW07 wanted me to interview you. Lesley wanted to know "How on earth do you find time to do everything that you do?"

A: How do I do it? I am very organized and never leave a pocket of time unused. There is always something you can do! For example, when my twins were younger, I would make their lunches for the next day as they did homework at the kitchen table. I was with them if they needed me, but also being productive at the same time.

I also do things in bulk. For example, I use Sunday as a baking and food prep day so that I do not have to deal with making dinner for most of the week. When writing articles, I stay in the same niche so that my brain is focused on it. I cannot write about unrelated topics at the same time!

I am also a planner. I used to plan out my Girl Scout meetings months in advance so I could get all the materials I needed organized and ready to go.

You might think that a woman like myself who juggles so much is great at multi-tasking, but I really don't like to do that. I choose to focus on one major thing at a time. I have worked on several fundraising committees over the years. When I am doing that, other things will slide as I pay attention to that project. When I worked on my new Brownie Girl Scout website, I took an entire month to work only on that. When my schedule is packed with substitute teaching assignments, I do not even try to write an article.

Most importantly, I have learned to slow down, say "No", and to ask for help. If I choose to sit and read the Sunday paper for two hours, the world will not collapse if I am not doing something that would be considered "productive". We all need to stop and recharge our batteries. Then I am ready for the week ahead!

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, are there any questions you'd like me to ask him or her or them?

A: I would love an interview with classicalgeek and Deborah-Diane. Both have been on IB forever. I would also like to know more about newbie Leigh Goessl. She has had a lot of great featured articles. How did she find IB? [Yes, all three of those fine women have been on my mind (and a couple more). I asked Leigh but (at the time) she was too busy. I'll keep asking, though.]

Q: Is there a writer you would like to give a "shout out" to?

A: I hope he doesn't mind, but I owe a debt of gratitude to Vic Dillinger. It was Vic who prodded me out of my writer's shell to write more in-depth articles. Before that, I was content to write things that would hopefully make money. In addition, it was Vic who saw my series of articles about eating disorders and messaged me to ask if something was going on in my real life, as those kinds of articles were unlike anything I have ever written about before.

The message made me cry because I had real world friends who knew what was going on and never inquired about my daughter. Either they were afraid to ask or were just too busy to care. Vic can be a real softie....but don't tell anyone! [Nods]

In Closing:

I want to thank Hannah Gold, aka mommymommymommy, for joining me today. I learned a great deal from reading her articles. Tune in next week when I interview another incredible InfoBarrel author.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In Anticipation of Panda 5 and What Happens to HubPages

Paul E. Warns How Panda 5 May Affect HubPages
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson explaining how Panda 5 will affect Hubpages. Created June 18th, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge)

Today, I was checking out the HubPages forum and found out that Paul Edmondson wrote a Hub (not a post) about the pending Panda update.

After a promotional sentence or two, there is an impressive looking line graph.

Impressive – until you find out how the Net Promoter Score works. It only measures respondents to a survey. It doesn't take into account bad word-of-mouth (such as complaints to Consumer Affairs and the FTC) and those not recommending the company it measures.

Furthermore, the y-axis scale on his upward line graph only ranges from 24 to 28.5. As stated in Gert Van Dessel's article Net Promoter Score (NPS®) – Best practice: "..no distinction is made between a 0 and a 6 score..."

A study by Kai Christensen and Jacob Eskildsen in the TQM Journal concluded:
"The NPS® is a very poor predictor of both customer loyalty and customer satisfaction."

So what's a good NPS® score anyways? 

According to Erica Douglass's December 2014 article What Is a Net Promoter Score, and Should You Implement It in Your Business, typically, a score between 50 and 80 is considered "good."


Okay, Paul tries to show some type of upward trend, what's next?


After reminding us that Squidoo content may have contributed to HubPages "getting whacked hard" during the September 23rd, 2014 Panda update, he tells us that out of 310,000 indexed Hubs, 45,000 are from Squidoo. 

That means only 14.5% of the indexed content on HubPages are former Squidoo pages.

I will add that my profile, identity and 277 of my Squidoo articles and those of (at least) four other authors were imported without authors' consent and/or knowledge. And, HubPages is currently collecting any and all of the ad share, Amazon, and eBay royalties on these. 

Unconscionable isn't it?

Then Paul Edmondson states in his Hub: "...we have been following Google's advice to either fix up or remove pages (avoiding merging because of HP's structure)."

Avoiding merging? Why is that? 


Because credible authors who are in good standing with Google are the only hope for the damaged HubPages domain. Paul Edmondson desperately needs to keep these subdomains on the site (even if he broke federal and state laws by importing, posting, and profiting from content he clearly does not own).

Next, he mentions layout changes but avoids the possibly fatal decision to hide the share buttons. Yes, it's assumed that readers know they need to zoom out to find them. And according to Marina Lazarevic, "...approximately 10% of all desktop visitors (5% of all visitors) will not see the new buttons."

Yeah, even if 5% was accurate (and I highly doubt it), you'd think a sinking ship like HubPages would want to keep those visitors sharing. Unless, of course, HubPages is trying to make life easier for scrapers.

Then, Paul Edmondson glosses over the "few partial manual site penalties." 

What? 

I never heard of a partial manual site penalty, I'm guessing it's like being "a little bit pregnant."

Oh but here's where things start to become clearer


If HubPages "goes under" then you've been forewarned that it will have nothing to do with the HubPages business model.

In fact, Paul Edmondson states that Google doesn't provide any specifics. Hmm, I would think a manual penalty (even a "partial" one) would be clearly written by Google's team.

The best Paul can do is guess at whatever issue Google has with HubPages. Oh and cross his fingers.

Don't forget, HubPages can only survive (according to Paul):
"As Long as Google Doesn't Kill Us." 
Poor Paul!
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson blaming Google for HubPages demise
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson blaming Google for HubPages demise and what Google probably thinks. Created June 19th, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why HubPages Will Not Fix Stats

I've been reading the HubPages forum lately and there are currently six threads about their stats being inaccurate.

A plausible reason could be glitches, of course.

But the absence of HubPages staff chiming in tells me there is something more dire going on.

It could be part of an exit strategy and sudden closure.

Why?

Because in the HubPages Terms of Use it states:
"In the event that the Agreement is terminated by You (pursuant to HubPages' receipt of Your written termination notice) the entire amount of an Earned Balance in Your account will be permanently forteited by You (and You hereby waive any claim relating to the dispute of such payment and disclaim any and all such interest in such funds)."
In layman's terms:

If you get frustrated with HubPages and quit, they keep all of your earnings and you can never collect on it – ever.

What better way than to frustrate users (if you were to close down a site) than to provide inaccurate statistics?

Lose the trust and people leave. Get them angry enough and they don't care about their deserved earnings, they just go.

I'd be prepared for a sudden closure of HubPages (if I had joined the site).
My former Squidoo profile and 277 articles on HubPages June 15, 2015
June 15, 2015 My former Squidoo profile and 277 articles are STILL on HubPages. 
Oh sure, my former Squidoo profile and 277 of my articles are still on the site making money for HubPages (not me). But you see, I never posted my author content or my Squidoo lenses [articles] on HubPages.

HubPages imported them – illegally. And pretty soon, I predict this house of cards will come tumbling down.

My advice: get your content off of HubPages and collect your earnings asap.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: TanoCalvenoa

If there was anyone I'd consider my best friend online, it would have to be TanoCalvenoa. When we were both writers on Squidoo, I remember him commenting on a piece I did that made me laugh so hard that I cried.

Avatar of TanoCalvenoa is also Jonathan Nielsen
Image of TanoCalvenoa and photo provided by Jonathan Nielsen (June 9th, 2015)

Later, I found out he's a big Calvin and Hobbes fan. (I am too). His sense of humour captured my attention first and then I discovered his incredible articles.

Every time I read his work, I am thoroughly impressed by his research, attention to detail, and the way he explains things in layman's terms.

The moment I realized that TanoCalvenoa (aka Jonathan Nielsen) was a true friend happened when Squidoo sold out to HubPages. Jonathan had only known me for about a year, yet he went out of his way to make sure my voice was heard.

I felt enormously let down (and betrayed) by former Squidoo people (and staff) that had followed my work for years. They remained silent or worse, they impeded my efforts to have Squidoo come clean with the details of this "business deal."

One of the most disgusting examples was the exchange I had with Susan Deppner (former Squidoo staff) in her Google post on August 22nd, 2014 titled: UPDATE (Friday): Critical information and dates for the Squidoo/HubPages transition.

Susan Deppner refuses to let Corey Brown my wishes (Rose Webster)
Hundreds of writers saw this exchange, but only TanoCalvenoa acted on it. (Click to enlarge).

Above is a snippet of the exchange that probably hundreds of other Squidoo writers saw (including Robin Svedi who I used to have the utmost respect for). Others who knew me for years on Squidoo were silent. No one helped me but TanoCalveno. He ensured my intentions were known on Corey Brown's post:

TanoCalvenoa Tries to Get Clear Answers From Corey Brown (and informs of sousababy's intentions)
Wonder how many former Squidoo authors and staff also saw this? (Click to enlarge).

Since this time, Jonathan (TanoCalvenoa) and I are both enjoying writing for InfoBarrel. I am always thrilled to see him win accolades like the homepage or the extra $100 monthly cash bonus. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.

Without Further Ado


I present to you my interview with TanoCalvenoa. (And he also answered the inappropriate/personal questions).

Writing-related questions:

Q: What platforms have you written for? And why do you like InfoBarrel?

A: The first that I ever wrote an article in my life was the last weekend of November 2012 on Squidoo. My aunt was a Squidoo writer and had urged me to write on the site for a few years. Finally I decided to try it, although it was right when the platform was heading off a cliff. Prior to the final end of that site in August 2014, I'd written over 100 articles, and was the Science Rocks contributor.

I had joined InfoBarrel in March 2014 after having searched for another platform to write for, and being persuaded by you to try it (thanks!) – and the first thing I really liked about it was how much more professional it was compared with Squidoo. You had to actually know how to write, and there were real human editors to approve your articles (until I learned to do them well enough that I got pre-approved status). When Squidoo announced their demise, I immediately saw that as the perfect excuse to get out, and I deleted all my articles. I have put the majority of them up on InfoBarrel.

InfoBarrel has been very kind with giving quite a few of my articles homepage features. This started soon after I began writing for the site. On Squidoo, it seemed to take far longer to get recognized or receive any awards. So that's another reason I really enjoy using InfoBarrel.

Q: Can you explain your avatar and name? What does TanoCalvenoa mean or where did it come from?

A: I get asked that occasionally. Tano Calvenoa is the arctic hare with a blue cape that I use for my avatar on InfoBarrel and the social media pages that I have on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest that are connected with my InfoBarrel work. He is the main character in a book that I've partially written and hope to eventually finish.

The story is very wild and creative, and to sum up the plot super concisely, it's about animals from Earth that are taken by an alien race to another planet – and Tano Calvenoa becomes the leader of a war against them by another alien race that lives on that planet.

[Sounds like something the kids would love. What age group will this book appeal to? And do you think it could be made into a movie, TV series or cartoon?]

Q: Is there any topic you'd like to write about but haven't (and why)?

A: One topic very important to me that I haven't written much about is health and how it is that I was able to overcome some very serious health problems – including ones that the medical industry describes as incurable and having no known cause. I've thought about whether I'd like to write a series of articles or possibly a book.

A couple of reasons why this is difficult for me to write about are that first, people tend to get upset when they hear health information that varies from what the mainstream organizations and authorities tell them. I'm very much on the side of alternative health and integrative medicine, because that's what cured me. I've had people get very hostile, sarcastic, and just plain disbelieve me or accuse me of lying when I've said anything about it. And second, it involves more than just science and health information – it also involves spirituality and my religion, which are always sensitive topics that have the potential to offend people.

I suppose what I'm waiting for is to feel more certain about how to go about this. I believe I have an important story that I'd like to share with others, but so far it's only been shared on a small level with close friends and family, and I've made a few social media posts that relate to it. I've done just a few articles on health topics. And that's it.

For anyone reading this and wondering, I completely 100% overcame the following: rapid cycling bipolar disorder type I, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless legs syndrome, chronic allergies, a weak immune system, and a chronic low back injury. Each of these was severe and doctors failed to help me over many years. It's a miracle I survived the bipolar problems. At one point I was nearly approved for federal disability, but then I overcame everything on my own. I was determined and found the answers – and I very much believe I had help from God to do it. As part of it, I also lost over 50 lbs.

[Nods. Incredible Jonathan, I know you are sincere in trying to help others too.]

Q: What are your niches or what do you enjoy writing about the most?

A: I mostly write about science topics. My #1 favorite thing to study since childhood has always been geography. I've always studied and drawn maps, and drew my city and labeled all the streets at age eight. Not long after that I was drawing the USA and the world and labeling all the states and countries. I got to where I could do it from memory.

Geography can serve as a gateway to science as a whole, since it overlaps with many other sciences. So I've also always been interested in all the natural sciences, and this is the main thing I write articles about.

Q: If there was one thing you could change about the online world (Internet), what would it be?

A: I would want it to remain completely free and open without governments and corporations spying and trolling. I'm a huge advocate of freedom and freedom of speech, and I think it's critical that this be preserved online. There is a huge effort underway to censor and silence voices that certain authorities don't want heard. One example that is very important to me is the effort to silence and slander alternative health information. It's relentless, and many people unfortunately think that things which are false are true, and things which are true are false. This is why I get so much hostility when I share what I've learned, and what helped me with my health problems.

It would be nice if dishonesty and fraud were disallowed. That's one government function I support, although currently I'd say that governments are complicit in the widespread dishonestly and fraud – in relation to health information and quite a few other matters as well.

So what really needs to be changed isn't necessarily the Internet itself, but those who would seek to harm or control its use, and take advantage of it for nefarious purposes.

Personal and/or highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q. If we were to play "spot the Canadian" in your hometown, what clues scream "Canadian" to you?

A: One good clue (and I've seen this before) is someone wearing shorts and a t-shirt on a winter day that Californians would consider "freezing" – which would be a day when it stays cooler than 60 degrees (16 C). That's unusually cold where I live in Southern California. That makes it immediately obvious that they're either from a northern state such as Michigan or New York, or from Canada.

Probably the next best indicator is the use of "eh" on the end of sentences.

[Hmm, not too shabby. At 17 C, I wear shorts; sometimes say "eh"; but the "aboot" instead of "about" pronunciation never applied to me or my Canadian friends.]

Q: What childhood book character do you relate to the most?

A: I was a weird kid. I didn't like books written for kids. I found them highly predictable and boring. The same was true of TV shows. I never liked the ones made for kids.

So I tended to read books often meant for teens or adults. In junior high I read all of Michael Crichton's books, and Jurassic Park became my favorite, and still is my favorite work of fiction.

My pick for a character I relate to is the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. The reason is because they were smart to the point of constantly surprising the humans. There were consistently underestimated and misunderstood. I'm not trying to brag, although I've had this same sort of effect on people many times.

Q: If you had to pick one of my cartoons about HubPages to be printed in the LA Times, which one would it be?

A:  There are so many that are so funny. One that definitely made me laugh out loud is on your InfoBarrel article titled Dear Federal Trade Commission. It has Paul Edmondson saying, "Seth, I told you we should've gone to sousababy's house and FORCED her to click that green button!" – and then has a hilarious picture with stick figures of you being forced to press the button on your computer.

Here it is, for anyone who hasn't seen it:
Satirical cartoon of Seth Godin and Paul Edmondson forcing sousababy to agree to the Squidoo transfer
Satirical cartoon of Seth Godin and Paul Edmondson forcing me to agree to transfer my content to HubPages. Created by RoseWrites / All rights reserved

Q: As the father of four girls, are there any women's rights issues that you feel strongly about? And BTW, Happy Father's Day.

A: Probably the one issue I feel the most strongly about (not that others aren't also important) is the issue of rape, and how lightly it is treated by so many. In some countries, girls who are raped are punished, as though they caused it by supposedly being too irresistible or something. It's difficult to fathom such illogic. I'm also appalled at how there have been muliple cases recently of men victimizing teenage girls, and the punishments have amounted to pathetic slaps on the wrists.

What I would like to see is much more severe punishments and condemnation for anyone who forces anything sexual on any woman or who takes advantage of any young girl. I mean way, way more severe punishments. In fact, I'd like to see rapists and child molesters banned to an island way out in the ocean where they only have one another to victimize.

[Hmm, there could be some practical use for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch after all].

Q: What rock star do you most relate to (and why)?

A: I'm going to pick my favorite guitarist, Dick Dale. I've played guitar for 19 years now, and I actually didn't discover instrumental surf rock until a few years ago. It has taken over as my favorite, and I particularly love Mr. Dale, who invented the style in the early 1960s. Besides enjoying his guitar-playing, and how much fun it is to play that style, I've enjoyed learning about this man and his life.

Besides inventing a new style of music, which dominated the USA for a few years before the Beatles and the whole British invasion took over, he has a love for animals and even kept pet jaguars, leopards, lions, an elephant, and more. I can't say I'm quite that brave, but I very much love animals and have always had a variety of pets.

He also practiced martial arts for three decades. I've been studying martial arts for over a year now, and love it. He also loves surfing of course, and the beach. I also love the beach. And he overcame serious health problems that doctors told him would kill him. More than once. That also reminds me of myself. Overall I find Mr. Dale very inspirational – in his music, and in many other ways as well.

Back to you and your work:

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: Readers can find and follow my work at the following sites:

My InfoBarrel Articles: TanoCalvenoa on InfoBarrel
Facebook Science Page: Tano Calvenoa Writer
Google+ Science Page: +Tanocalvenoa
Pinterest Account: Tano Calvenoa on Pinterest

Q: Do you have any strange (or helpful) writing rituals?

A: I always have a list of articles I'd like to write. They're articles that I know I would like to see, that as far as I know don't exist – at least, not how I would want them to be. When I feel like writing a new one, I'll look at the list and choose one. Sometimes I want to get an article done quickly so I'll pick one that is on a subject I already know really well and can get done in no more than a couple hours or so. Other times, I'll pick ones on subjects that I don't know as well, intentionally chosen so I can research and learn more about the topic. In a case like that, I'll expect that it could take up to a week to finish, spending time on it each day.

When I finish an article, I have my wife read it. She's a pretty normal person with her understanding of science, so if something isn't understandable to her, I'll think of how to change it. My goal is to make each article interesting and understandable for anyone – whether they know the subject well or not at all. I've also had my 11-year-old daughter read some of my articles to see how well she understands them.

I also will most often finish an article, then wait until the next day to read it over again. I typically find ways to improve the wording whenever I do this, and sometimes completely rearrange the sections or think of an entirely new angle to write the article from. I don't publish anything unless I believe it is really good.

I'm not sure how strange or helpful these methods are, but it's what I do.

Q: What are three articles that you would like readers to check out (of yours)?

A: Okay, the first is my most successful. It's currently #83 on InfoBarrel's Top 100The Top Five Places to See the Giant Redwoods in California [Nods. Love that one Jonathan.]

The second is one I really like because it has photos taken by my dad and I, and it was a 'Lens of the Day' when it was on Squidoo: Grand Tour of Nevada's Incredible Valley of Fire State Park [Agree, an excellent choice.]

And as a good example of what I write about with my background in geography and Earth sciences, here's one I'm particularly proud of: Mount Tambora in 1815: Largest Volcanic Eruption of the Past 10,000 Years [Yes, yes, this one fascinated me.]

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, is/are there any question(s) you'd like me to ask them?

A: A couple of writers I like and follow on InfoBarrel, who I would like to see interviewed, are Yindee and Leigh Goessl. I'd love to ask Yindee how she got involved in learning about natural health, and I'd love to ask Leigh Goessl about her interest in volcanoes – because she has awesome articles on the topic that remind me of the ones I've written, and also how she writes so many really good articles so quickly.

[Okay, I will certainly ask those ladies (and Leigh again) to see if they are willing to be interviewed by me. I agree, great choices and I loved learning more about you Jonathan.]

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is HubPages Becoming Bubblews?

Cartoon of Robin Edmondson about HubPro edits to earner's article
Satirical cartoon of Robin Edmondson as she address a forum post about HubPro edits. Created June 12th, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge cartoon)

I found it entertaining to read a HubPages forum post titled 255 Words in my Hub..... Er .... Enough? Because the OP, earner, stated exactly what every seasoned web writer would think:

"Go away and write more you moron."

Apparently, the professional team of HubPages editors (and photographers) redid what was a 600-word "masterpiece" and created a 255-word article that "answers the question" according to Robin Edmondson.

Now remember this: HubPro only edits successful articles that garner a minimum of 500 visits a day.

Why HubPages doesn't just get rid of substandard articles instead seems like a reasonable question. Until you understand their business model. They reap 100% of the profits from "inactive" (or abandoned) accounts.

Hence, the urgency to "edit" high traffic Hubs (especially those that put all the money back into the Edmondsons' pockets).

But once this forum post caught Robin Edmondson's attention and she looked over the Hub in question, suddenly she wanted earner to change some things.

What?

The original author has to "fix" their oversights now?

Yeah, she actually stated: "...we should have added a section on why it's not safe to reheat chicken more than once. Maybe you can add that bit..." and "I think we should have changed your title to 'How to Safely Reheat Cooked Chicken'. I'd suggest doing that."

Oh but I truly hope that this author simply takes his (or her) original version and posts it elsewhere online.

Earner promised to "sit by the money pot to see what happens next."

Could this finally cement the reality for some people on HubPages?

HubPro is not about the writers, their work, or their consent. It's all about profit and catering to (what I believe) to be scrapers and identity thieves.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

InfoBarrel Newbie of the Month: HLesley

I'm not sure if Lesley knows this or not. But when I was perusing the HubPages forum at the end of 2014, I caught her forum post (since removed on HubPages). I was impressed by her honesty (but not surprised by the backlash she received from the same people in my Why on Earth Is Any Squid Filing a DMCA With Google? article).

So, when she reached out to be the first InfoBarrel Newbie of the Month in this series, I was excited. She was the first person I had in mind for it.

Here's Lesley in her early years, about to enjoy her birthday cake. I met with her for this interview and I have to say, she hasn't aged a bit.

Lesley Hebert, InfoBarrel Author, Photo for Interview by RoseWrites
Photo provided by HLesley (June 7th, 2015)

After I read The Silbury Hill Mystery, I remember thinking Lesley obviously knows how to write for the web. I was impressed with her layout, organization, and use of headings.

Later, I read her Five Health Benefits of Drinking Beer and I thoroughly enjoyed how she presented the history part (even though I don't drink beer). Her writing style was both informative and entertaining. She even included some wacky beer ads at the end. I knew she would appeal to readers of all ages.

Since I've traveled a bit, I found Lesley's article Five Important Travel Safety Tips to be spot on. I also sensed that she'd be perfect for InfoBarrel since travel pieces tend to do quite well on the site.

Without Further Ado


I present to you my interview with HLesley (as she is known on InfoBarrel). Again, I was pleasantly surprised that she also answered all of my questions, including the inappropriate ones.

Writing-related questions:

Q: How did you find out about InfoBarrel? And what (so far) is your opinion of it?

A: An InfoBarrel writer invited me to be her Facebook friend (actually it was you, Rose). I used to write for Helium.com and when the site went down I was feeling abandoned and homeless and had been looking for a new writing site for a while. I tried a few other places, including HubPages, which left a sour taste in my mouth, but never really discovered "the one" until I joined IB. I was immediately delighted to meet other former Helium writers and found the community wonderfully helpful and supportive. I also like being able to write about anything that takes my fancy and am pleasantly surprised at the way my earnings are starting to come in.

Q: Is there any topic you'd like to write about but haven't (and why)?

A: I actually write on a range of topics - pretty well anything that catches my interest. At the moment, in addition to writing new material I am also reworking a lot of my old Helium articles. I take pride in crafting well researched and accurate articles. Most of my topics are pretty conservative but I have a secret yearning to write something totally original, shocking and sleazy that will go viral. [Oh I likey.]

Q: If you could change anything about the online world, what would it be?

A: Companies and websites seem to come and go at the drop of a hat and the environment is changing all the time. This can be exciting and challenging but as I get older, I am beginning to think that more stability would be good. Not only did my previous favorite writing home, Helium, disappear and abandon its faithful writers, but other writing websites have done the same thing. I have also experienced disappearing websites in my other online life as an ESL teacher.

Q: Are there any spelling/grammar errors that make you cringe?

A: When someone says "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less."

Inappropriate and personal questions (completely voluntary):


ziplining at Papa Kits at Liloan Cebu
whologwhy on flickr CC-by-2.0
Q: What is the most daring or dangerous thing you've ever done?

A: I went ziplining once. I would never have chosen to do it by myself but my husband talked me into it. It was really exciting and I'm glad I did it once, but I don't think I'll ever do it again.

FYI: For those who don't know, a zip-line is a cable and pulley system with a suspended harness. Users strap themselves in (securely) and start from a high point at one end and allow gravity to swing them across to the other side. Photo shown at right is of a zip-line at Papa Kits at Liloan Cebu. 

The photo author, whologwhy, stated: "It is a 2 minute thrill, 800 meters ziplining to the other island dangling over Silot Bay."

Hey Lesley, this was my zip-line:
Clothesline with Wet Jeans by Patrick Lentz on flickr CC-by-2.0
Photo credit: Patrick Lentz (violentz) on flickr (CC-by-2.0) Wet Jeans From the Front

Q: If you had to spend a week with just one celebrity on a secluded beach, who would it be and why? 

A: I had a serious crush on Paul McCartney when I was young, but I think he's getting a bit long in the tooth now. However, I wouldn't consider anyone younger than my eldest son either.

I think George Clooney would be the perfect choice. He's mature enough without showing signs of decrepitude, a nice guy with a social conscience, and darn nice to look at.

[Next time George in in Toronto, I'll give him your number, Lesley - if you like.]


Actor George Clooney in Toronto 2009 at the TIFF "Men Who Stare at Goats" premiere
Photo credit: Courtney on flickr CC-by-2.0
Q: Have you ever had a crush on someone you couldn't have?

A: Since Paul McCartney, quite a few times.

Q: What pisses you off the most?

A: Narrow mindedness.

Q: What character on any TV show past or present best portrays who you are?

A: Tough question. I can't think of anyone who captures my uniqueness.

Q: Which three articles of yours do you want people to read first?

1. My first charity article, "Why is Childhood Obesity a Worldwide Problem?" because I want to raise funds for InfoBarrel's current charity, the Canadian Diabetes Association.

2. "Adventures in Eating: Breakfast in Japan" because it's a fun article. [Nods]

3. "What Happened to the Aral Sea?" because it deals with an important topic.

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: I am Lesley Hebert on Facebook and LinkedIn. And HLesley on InfoBarrel.

Q: How else do you spend your time online?

A: My main online job is teaching English as a Second Language via Skype. I have been a cyber teacher since 2004 (see my article Life as an Online Tutor).

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed and are there any questions you'd like me to ask him, her, or them?

A: Mommymommymommy - How on earth do you find time to do everything that you do?

Cheers.

Monday, June 8, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: DebW07

Hey, does anyone else notice the resemblance and sense of style?


Jacqueline Kennedy at Fort Worth, Texas beside a photo of online writer DebW07 (aka Introspective)
Photo of Jacqueline Kennedy by Cecil W. Stoughton (Public Domain) | Right photo provided by DebW07 (June 7th, 2015)

I am thrilled that Deb contacted me for this interview (because I would have kept on asking her anyways). She's the reason I write for InfoBarrel and Paw Mane Fin.

I never told Deb this: she's the first writer that helped me see how incredibly spammy the majority of Squidoo lenses [articles] were - even some of my own (gasp). I remember reading one of her lenses and thinking 'this is so thorough, everything is properly credited and her attention to detail is impeccable.'

I secretly wished she replaced Bonnie Diczhazy (Squidoo's community organizer). Deb and her work stood out from the crowd (more than I think she ever realized).

After absorbing myself in her work, I started to pare down my Amazon products and soft sell instead of being an overly enthusiastic lunatic.

And her commentary is just as thought-provoking (and kind). Deb comes across as someone who accepts everyone and who has an open mind - yet is firmly rooted in her beliefs. I respect that. A lot.

Without Further Ado


I present to you my interview with Deb. And yes, Deb also answered all of my questions (even the highly inappropriate ones).

Writing-related questions:

Q: How did you end up on InfoBarrel?

A: A few years ago, when my oldest daughter was a high school senior and preparing to leave for college, my husband noticed my gloomy mood. He encouraged me to take a class he'd found in our local paper on "how to make money online." The four-week course covered several topics, including revenue-sharing sites. The instructor shared his favorite websites with the class and InfoBarrel was on the list. IB was the second site I submitted my work to and it quickly became my favorite. I was drawn to the friendly atmosphere, and I liked the way Kevin and Ryan ran things. Since joining IB in 2010, I've written for several other sites, but InfoBarrel remains one of my favorites.

Q: Do you have any strange (or helpful) writing rituals?

A: Hmmm, not that I'm aware of . . . . Sometimes, I'll turn on the television for background noise. I also keep a notepad, pens and pencils on my nightstand in case I get some ideas in the middle of the night (it's happened). [Yes, I can relate Deb, but I keep other things on my nightstand.]

Oh, and I use a note app on my cell phone to jot down thoughts, ideas, sentences, and occasionally entire articles when I'm away from home.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing online?

A: First, I like the freedom to choose my topics, write from my point of view, and work when I want. I also like seeing the finished product in the form of a published article; it's quite gratifying. Lastly, I enjoy the positive feedback and interaction with other writers.

Q: If there was one thing you could change about the online world (Internet), what would it be?

A: I would ban plagiarists, trolls, scammers, and predators. These folks either need a life, psychiatrist, prison sentence – or all of the above.

Q: What are three articles that you are most proud of?

A: "You Must be Born Again - 5 Compelling Christian Conversions," because there's a personal element to it and the subject speaks to the core of my being.

"Introspective Book Review: The Pilgrim's Progress," because the book is absolutely amazing, awesome, incredible, marvelous . . . you get the picture.

"The Wizard of Oz ~ A Political Statement?" because it highlights an allegorical theory of the beloved classsic that few people have heard.

Personal and highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q. Ever fart in church?

A: No, but I've had the misfortune of sitting behind someone who did; talk about your hazmat situation! My husband and I took the first opportunity we had to "make a run for it" and find other seats. [Gee Deb, I was wondering where you guys went!]

The next example has nothing to do with church but when I was in college, I worked for a high-end department store and had the unpleasant experience of someone expressing air in front of me. One evening, an elderly Asian couple walked by my register and as they were pacing along slowly, the heavy-set gentleman let one rip. I couldn't believe it. [Hmm, I think I know him.] Later, my friends and I had a long belly laugh about it, but it was really gross.

Oh, and for the record, I don't fart; I'm an alien from outer space. [That's good Deb, there's an alien friend of mine I hope to interview soon – for that reason.]

Q: What's the worst food or drink you ever ate (but pretended to like)?

A: Curry – many years ago, my boss and I took some clients out to their favorite restaurant – Indian.

Q: If you were an animal, what would you be (and why)?

A: I would choose any animal that made it onto Noah's Ark. "Why?" Duh . . .
[Come on Deb, what about those two mosquitoes? Don't ya wish Noah swatted them?]

Q: If you could have a coffee with anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be? [And for some people who follow me, yes, I mean the dead person when he or she was alive.]

A: Clive Staples Lewis aka C.S. Lewis. He is widely regarded as one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth-century and one of the most influential writers of his day.

Although he was raised in a Christian home, Lewis' faith was shattered when he was ten after his mother died of cancer. His atheistic beliefs were strengthened after he volunteered for the British Army and witnessed the carnage of the First World War. Lewis believed one of the strongest arguments for atheism was a quote he often cited, "Had God designed the world, it would not be a world so frail and faulty as we see."

Lewis met J.R.R. Tolkien while teaching at Magdalen College, after joining a group of writers and intellectuals known as "The Inklings," Lewis credited the influence of Tolkien and the writings of G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald for his conversion to theism but he described himself as, "The most dejected, reluctant convert in all England." He eventually converted to Christianity and became a member of the church of England. Lewis was a prolific writer with several titles, including The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe. His book Mere Christianity is considered the best twentieth-century Christian apologists treatise.

C.S. Lewis (along with Pilgrim's Progress author John Bunyan) is my favorite author.
My top five Lewis books are:

1. Mere Christianity
2. Surprised by Joy
3. A Grief Observed
4. The Great Divorce
5. The Pilgrim's Regress

Q: What are your thoughts about the "Free the Nipple" campaign?

A: I must admit that until now, I was unaware of this campaign. I'd have to say that I would definitely side with the opposition on the issue. My position is that whatever body parts are required to be covered by law should remain covered.

I believe that the proponents have it all wrong when they use the word "free," as if this is somehow liberating for women. It isn't. It's quite the opposite; it causes an atmosphere of self-degradation and reproach for women whose bodies are less than ideal. Look, women are already extremely self-conscious with clothes on, and now these folks want them to go shirtless?!! Right now, women can wear pushup bras or other body enhancing clothing to level the playing field, but without the aid of these garments, women will most likely feel intimidated and inferior to other women, not free.

We know that, for the most part, the type of woman who will embrace this campaign and go topless is either the young gal with the perky set or the slightly older woman who's had breast augmentation surgery. Older women with natural breasts, women who are post-childbirth, and women who've undergone mastectomy or have other issues will probably not want to expose themselves in public. That's not to say there won't be the occasional woman who will let it all hang out no matter what. But, can you imagine Hillary Clinton whipping out her C cups (or whatever size she is) on the presidential campaign trail? Also, I, for one, do not want to see the likes of "Mama June" out in public exposing her enormous mammary glands (or anything else). This initiative may lead to women feeling pressure to undergo breast augmentation surgery. Hmmm, makes me wonder if, behind the curtain, the plastic surgery industry is behind this campaign . . .

To any woman who claims she has a right to go topless I counter with I have a right not to see your breast in public. Instead of "free the nipple," let's be free of these shortsighted campaigns.

Q. Do you secretly enjoy the satirical cartoons I've done about HubPages?

A:  It's no secret; I do enjoy them. I used one (with your permission) in an article.

Back to you and your work: 

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: You can find me on the web under the pen name of "DebW07." In addition to InfoBarrel (where I go by "Introspective" and DebW07), I write for HubPages, Wizzly, SeekyT, and a few others (not to mention a few private clients).

I'm also an avid photographer, and a photo contributor on Shutterstock and Pixabay. I recently put together a photography blog: "Introspective Pics" where I post new photos Monday through Friday – feel free to follow.

Oh, and don't forget Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, are there any questions you'd like me to ask him, her, or them?

A: Well, since you've already interviewed InfoBarrel heartthrob Vic Dillinger, I would recommend "MommyMommyMommy" (although she's probably "Mom, Mom, Mom" by now) and "Debra-Diane." These two women are top-notch writers and good folks. We can all learn a thing or two from them. I would also include you, Ms."RoseWrites" but I don't think you can interview yourself – well maybe you can . . .
[I will ask the women you mentioned, but no write up needed on me, there's enough of me "out there" already Deb – much of it I'm trying to get removed. No nipples though.]