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jcullinan
Community Member

Can we talk about the Upwork Blog?

The endless carousel in the right sidebar of EVERY PAGE of the Community has been highlighting one of the latest posts on the Upwork Blog about how to use email.

 

"5 Psychological Hacks" to improve efficiency in email, to be exact.

 

Let's ignore the poor coding that means one can't simply click on the headline to read this article (you have to click the green "Learn More" link), and focus on the content.

 

Oh, wait, word salad. Just in the first few graphs, it's unclear if the unnamed writer is quoting Robert Cialdini or just paraphrasing him (poorly, with terrible structure and missing words).

 

Is Upwork really advising freelancers and clients to compose email messages as if we were Hare Krishnas in an airport?

 

It gets worse.

 

"These mental tricks make your email communications more humanized, it encourages building trust and a strong bond."

 

I just. Can't. Even.

21 REPLIES 21
mwiggenhorn
Community Member

The 5 Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses is dreadful and really not applicable to freelancing at all .  Sigh...

Quote: "Oh, wait, word salad. Just in the first few graphs, it's unclear if the unnamed writer is quoting Robert Cialdini or just paraphrasing him (poorly, with terrible structure and missing words)."

 

In addition to terrible structure and missing words, add: clichéd phrases abounding ("arm and a leg"?  puh-leaze!!!); lack of orignal phrasing to balance out hackneyed phrases; and 8th-grade-level writing errors such as use of the flat, boring, vague word "big" in the first sentence.

 

Also: The writing suffers from terminal ambiguity: as in: "The psychology of reciprocity empowered volunteers to persuade people in doing what they wanted to do." Does this mean that volunteers persuaded people to do what they, the volunteers, wanted to do? If so, that's rather odd. Why didn't the volunteers simply go ahead and do what they wanted to do, on their own, by themselves? Why the need to involve other people?  OR does the sentence mean that volunteers persuaded people to do what they (the volunteers) wanted them (the people) to do?  Unclear antecedents coupled with poor control of prepositions and a lazy use of verbs makes this a rather oblique sentence.

 

If only Upwork had access to people who know how to write with verve and originality... Or, at a minimum, with clarity and correct grammar.


@Janean L wrote:

Quote: "Oh, wait, word salad. Just in the first few graphs, it's unclear if the unnamed writer is quoting Robert Cialdini or just paraphrasing him (poorly, with terrible structure and missing words)."

 

In addition to terrible structure and missing words, add: clichéd phrases abounding ("arm and a leg"?  puh-leaze!!!); lack of orignal phrasing to balance out hackneyed phrases; and 8th-grade-level writing errors such as use of the flat, boring, vague word "big" in the first sentence.

 

Also: The writing suffers from terminal ambiguity: as in: "The psychology of reciprocity empowered volunteers to persuade people in doing what they wanted to do." Does this mean that volunteers persuaded people to do what they, the volunteers, wanted to do? If so, that's rather odd. Why didn't the volunteers simply go ahead and do what they wanted to do, on their own, by themselves? Why the need to involve other people?  OR does the sentence mean that volunteers persuaded people to do what they (the volunteers) wanted them (the people) to do?  Unclear antecedents coupled with poor control of prepositions and a lazy use of verbs makes this a rather oblique sentence.

 

If only Upwork had access to people who know how to write with verve and originality... Or, at a minimum, with clarity and correct grammar.


 Upwork does have access to people who can write with verve and originality, and they don't even have to search for them. Some of them are right here, in the community.  

yitwail
Community Member

I thank Jess & Janean for bringing for focusing my attention on the blog article about email communication. Otherwise, I might never had encountered the concept of Empathetic Blending. Calling it "the combining of aura among people involved which is caused due to resonance." doesn't do it justice. You'll just have to go directly to the source -- http://drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/EMPATHIC%20BLENDING.htm

I'm not endorsing Dr Lawrence Wilson's claims in anyway, but I presume someone at Upwork took the time to read his article, before publishing a blog article that links to it.

 

I don't want to hog bandwidth so I'll just give a few highlights that barely scratch the surface of this topic:

  • It (ie. aura) has various layers, and may extend from several inches to miles around a person, depending on one’s level of mental development.
  • A skilled hypnotist can get a person to do almost anything, including kill their parents or have sex with him
  • If a woman feels impure and perhaps too masculine, she can often steal some of the innocence of her children, and exchange it for some of her more masculine traits that they now begin to feel inside of themselves.
  • Sometimes a person actually has several souls attached or blended into him or her.
__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
kfarnell
Community Member

I know more about auras and such things than is probably good for me, and think I can be confident in saying that even people who are really, really into  this concept would despair after reading  that article. Maybe more so...

I just read (well, skimmed) the empathic blending article. I will never be the same.

computerhxr
Community Member

 
datasciencewonk
Community Member

Don't get me started on the treachery of "pop" psychology...

 

Ugh. 

Let's leave it at the "conundrum of stupidity and cheapness has me laughing hysterically ..." 

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member

I've been happily ignoring that thing for however long it's been there. Prompted by this thread, I took a look at a couple of the articles (the marketing tactics for small budgets and the email 'hacks'). That's three minutes of my life I'll never get back, thanks a lot!

 

It's even worse than I assumed it would be. The writing is atrocious in too many ways to contemplate. The content is variously illogical, inconsistent, indeciperable and plain silly.

 

I'm going back to ignoring it.

renata101
Community Member

@Jess C 

Following on John's lead I'm going to thank you for your brilliant summary.  

Can we talk about the Upwork Blog? Since I'm finding that I have to save BANG HEAD ON DESK for special occasions these days, I'm going to have to pass on that one. I'm also going to have to pass on the Empathetic Blending article, although I thank John for summarizing it so I don't have to go there either. 

Personally, I like language topics, so my suggestion for a starting point for an article might be this one: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/29669/what-does-x-his-way-out-of-a-paper-bag-mean

 


Serious note to the mods:
I think that anything advising "mental tricks" or "psychological hacks" for "influencing the mind" in terms of freelancer or client communication should be immediately removed, since this really reflects poorly on this site in ways no one should have to explain to the UpWork management (but since I'm going to have to explain it, both the title and the exerpt suggest you're recommending manipulative tactics over clear communication and that's not something clients who are new to the site would really find appealing if they happen to stumble onto this part of the platform. I know I wouldn't if I were looking to hire here). I'd really like to see people working to raise the bar on the level of professionalism reflected on this part of the platform.  That includes hiring writers who can produce work that will encourage rather than detract from clients' willingness to hire here. 


Edited to add: On a professional level, I found this bit especially offensive: "With a little condescending tone and you might be able to motivate your team members to get the task done."

Really? Use of a condescending tone is als a great way to get people to drop you as a client.

Not to mention that it's grammatically incorrect. To maintain a professional appearance on a corporate blog, these pieces should be proofread to weed out mistakes like this at the very least. On a platform that supposedly offers professional services, that's embarrassing. Are people completely missing the idea that this is blog is attached to a corporate website? And that the lack of appropriate content management is making the corporation look really bush league? Seriously, it's time to raise the bar. 

@ Renata -- WOW! You mean: "Sell the steak, not the sizzle"??!?!!?  

 

Upwork:  Present this platform as one that connects professionals who have well-developed and marketable SKILLS with clients who need these skills and are willing to pay appropriately for them. DO NOT blather on about "hacks" and "tactics."

 

Once again (following up on John's and Renata's excellent postings, above): SKILLS, not GIMMICKS !!!

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi All,

 

Thanks for your feedback about articles in Upwork Blog. I'll share it with the team.

 

 

@Reinier B. wrote:

 


 Upwork does have access to people who can write with verve and originality, and they don't even have to search for them. Some of them are right here, in the community.  

We encourage users and guests alike, to submit their content for a possible article feature in Upwork Blog or Hiring Headquarters. Users participating in the Community are welcome to submit their content as well if they are interested. Check out this page for more information.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Isn't that considered "Free Work" and against ToS?  Cat Surprised

 

Seriously ... you, Vlad, and Lena have read enough posts from "Users participating in the Community" to suggest names of providers who are professional writers to the U. person in charge of blogs, etc. Wouldn't it make sense for U to initiate conversations based on the compunded insights of the three of you?

 

 

 

Wendy, please refer to the section 14.2 of the User Agreement and Content Terms for information about User Content posted on Upwork site.

 

We do reach out to Community members when there are opportunities to be featured, provide or receive specific feedback and collaborate. We prefer to use the process I referred to in my earlier post for Upwork Blog and Hiring Quarters submissions. Anybody who is interested in featuring articles they have written in Upwork Blog are free to use it.

 

Thanks.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Wendy, please refer to the section 14.2 of the User Agreement and Content Terms for information about User Content posted on Upwork site.

 

We do reach out to Community members when there are opportunities to be featured, provide or receive specific feedback and collaborate. We prefer to use the process I referred to in my earlier post for Upwork Blog and Hiring Quarters submissions. Anybody who is interested in featuring articles they have written in Upwork Blog are free to use it.

 

Thanks.


This kind of reply is exactly the problem I'm pointing to.

 

If Upwork isn't willing to PAY for QUALITY content, in an effort to elevate the professional image of the platform, then please just take the whole blog down. It's embarassing.

 

 

The blog should reflect the best of what's available at Upwork, in terms of both substance and style. The writing should be impeccable and the content should be coherent and relevant. This community is crawling with smart, creative, skilled writers. But does UW reallly think the best ones are going to submit articles for free, simply for the thrill of going into rotation with the dreck that's up there now?

 

Whoever figured out how to generate content for that blog does not understand this community (not the Forum, but the user base). I'm beginning to think if we wanted to gather all the decision-makers at UW who don't actually understand what they've got here, we'd need a very, very large room and lots of chairs.

Valeria, I believe this is the bit from ToS you are referring to:

 

"You may submit comments or ideas about the Site and Site Services, including without limitation about how to improve the Site or Site Services (collectively, “Ideas”).  By submitting any Ideas, you agree that: (a) your disclosure is voluntary, gratuitous, unsolicited, and without restriction and will not place Upwork under any fiduciary or other obligation, (b) your Ideas do not contain the confidential or proprietary information of third parties, and (c) we are free to use the Ideas without any additional compensation to you and to disclose the Ideas on a non-confidential basis or otherwise to anyone.  You further acknowledge and agree that, by acceptance of your submission, Upwork does not waive any rights to use similar or related ideas known or developed by Upwork or obtained from sources other than you."

 

However, to the best of my understanding, this has nothing to do with Upwork negotiating with qualified professionals to produce top-quality and relevant to buyer and provider work for blogs or anything else. 

 

Am I missing something?  And I'm sincerely not being argumentative or trying to give you a terrible end to your Sunday.

@Wendy @Valeria --

 

It seems that what Wendy is saying is that, yes, the User Agreement certainly allows for Upwork to publish material that is freely offered by Upwork users, and to do so without payment and without restrictions. There seems to be no question about that... But such a fact does not PRECLUDE Upwork's also, simultaneously, and/or on a parallel track, soliciting professional writers (of whom there are many available on this platform) to create meaningful blog content for remuneration.

 

Do I have that about right, Wendy? (Also not intending to be argumentative.)

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