Sunday, September 20, 2015

Can the HubPages' Editbot Fool Google and the Public?

"The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded." ~ Gustave Flaubert (1821 - 1880).

The above quote is over a century old and you'll soon understand why I began with it.

A few days ago, HubPages' product manager, Marina Lazarevic, announced the arrival of Editbot.

The gist:

Editbot will automatically fix so-called "common" spelling and grammar errors on both Hubs [articles] and their comments.
Yeah, Edibot will be changing original commentary!
In fact, Marina Lazarevic even emphasized this point in her post stating:
"Lastly, it's worth noting that the majority of Editbot fixes are in Hub comments."
Now Vic Dillinger's signature "wimmen" will become "women" and other changes will sterilize otherwise colorful content.

And any commentary I deleted on my 351 articles on Squidoo (the site I joined), was deleted for good reason: a moron (or similar type) wrote it.

But now, the content that Paul Edmondson imported (with and without the permission of content owners) will be edited by a machine.

Paul Edmondson discusses Editbot Advantages (Satirical Cartoon) by RoseWrites
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson explaining how Editbot benefits him. Created September 21st, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge)

What Editbot accomplishes for HubPages:

  • Search engines, Google, and the public will be tricked into determining that content (that Paul Edmondson took without owners' permission) has been edited. (It's been newly updated, somehow).
  • Search engines, Google, and the public will interpret dubious comments made by morons to be an "intelligent, credible endorsement" of HubPages. 
  • The work of "inactive" authors (you know, where Paul Edmondson keeps 100 percent of any earnings) is revised, updated, and has outside commentary that sounds reasonably intelligent or, at least, believable.
  • Now monkeys can be trained to type commentary and editbot will make their comments sound good enough to fool Google and the public. And yeah, Paul Edmondson gets to keep 100 percent of those earnings on those "inactive" accounts. (Which I believe outnumber "active" accounts).

In the meantime, the minority of active authors on HubPages will be drawn into checking and rechecking every possible edit on their work. Even the edits that authors cannot change themselves, their commentary.

Perhaps it's time that Google revises their Webmaster Guideline violation which states:
"Additionally, creating links that weren't editorially placed or vouched for, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines."
To include:
"Addendum: Creating or editing content that wasn't editorially placed or vouch for (or that was artificially changed) can be considered a violation of our guidelines."

11 comments:

  1. They are definitely not going to fool anyone who knows what's really going on!

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    1. Yeah, but I fear that somehow old content (and HubPages is STILL posting 277 of my former Squidoo articles WITHOUT my permission) will start to outrank the newer, (truly) updated content online.

      And frankly, when the Federal Trade Commission completes their investigation of HubPages (and I DO get my content off of HubPages - without having to join the site permanently), I wouldn't dare post my old work "as is." It ALL needs to be updated and revised before I post it on InfoBarrel.

      I'm guessing that those people Hubpages pays a nickle per Hub to "approve" (or whatever) might get offered some coin to "make fake commentary" on Hubs. Especially the Hubs that Paul Edmondson reaps 100 percent of the earnings from. And Editbot can just "fix" up commentary as needed. No need to hire "smart" people at all - monkeys would do a stellar job.

      Thanks "Unknown" for commenting. I really appreciate it.

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  2. Oh, f' crissake, now I gotta look at my stuff, see what the non-creative, non-thinking Editbot may have done, and undo it. Goddammit, no one has time for this picayune tweaking constantly .Thanks for the posting, Rose. I'll let you know what I find.

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    1. Vic, I left a detailed comment for you and CG below.

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  4. So far the editbot has corrected only minor spelling errors, mostly in comments. I don't misspell things, but I really don't object to correcting truely to truly in the comments. The authors do have the ability to change it back with a single click.

    I changed some of them back (the bot was correctly putting accents in foreign words, and I left them alone except in the title and in brand names). Because spelling errors really annoy me I kept the edits in the comments.

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    1. Three of my pieces got hit by the 'bot. Of the five corrections scattered among those three articles only one was legitimate, a minor syntax error (which I WAS grateful to have corrected). The rest were spelling corrections in comments, which I care little about (I wish they'd leave those alone--we can't have commenters looking as brilliant as the writers now, can we? Tee hee).

      The fact they have allowed us to undo the bot's changes suits me fine. And the Editbot, while goofy for some, will certainly help those who can't write or spell, sort of like how auto-tune helps those who can't sing. That is a good thing, right? (chuckle-snort).

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    2. CG and Vic, I think you two may have missed the broader issue here.

      Consider this scenario:

      Work from "inactive accounts" (where Paul Edmondson reaps 100 percent of the earnings) can now be artificially updated.

      Suppose my music articles on HubPages (and none of them have been updated by me since 2013) outranks your recently updated work?

      And Edmondson decides to unfeature yours (since he needs to share revenue with you).

      I think it's clear that HubPages is all about money. And I think he's been dying to find a way to update content (that some authors aren't even aware has been automatically transferred to HubPages).

      He'd much rather keep 100 percent of any earnings than share it 60/40 with you.

      But I'm sure HubPages is happy to have all the extra traffic and buzz from the "active" authors continually checking their edits and comparing how well they did against Editbot.

      I think automated updating without the oversight of the original author is completely unconscionable and this program is designed to both trick search engines and put more money in the Edmondsons' pocket.

      Hope you two see my point,

      Rose

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  5. No, Rose, I got your point about the false impression left with G by these automated updates. I was responding to CG and also letting people know thee is an annoyance FD acyor in having to go back in and look at material and possibly having to undo their edits, that was all I was adding extra.

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    1. Oh fair enough then Vic. I wasn't sure I made my points clear enough.

      I sense plenty of Hubbers will have their work unfeatured simply because Edmondson can now "tweak" work that he keeps all the revenue from. I'd hate to see the "Mindf**k" series of articles outrank yours.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I value your input more than you know.

      Warmly,

      Rose

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