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Why I Won't Reapply for Giant

I've been thinking to that giant renewal since Friday. I haven't slept for a few nights, I'm knocked down to say the truth. I devoted a lot of my time to the Squidoo community and seeing the way I'm treated, makes me sad. 

It's a first time for me as I'm not accustomed to sharing my state of mind and very few things actually touch me deeply. I mean things as trivial as those, of course.

Not so long ago, I made a post in SquidU stating why I loved Squidoo - yep, loved... in the past. To be honest, today, I don't believe a single word I wrote at that time. And would really like to remove that post because it was what they wanted us to think and believe. Not the truth.

Oh, well, after all, Squidoo is just Squidoo. Nothing more, nothing less. Not being a giant any more won't change anything in my life. 

I can live without Squidoo and I can live without that giant status. After all, the only thing that's important, is the way I consider myself. Not the way unknown people consider me.

If they're stupid enough to believe that, because I don't have a "giant" badge, I'm not interesting... good on them. They aren't worth my interest.

So, last night, still awaken at 3:30 AM, I made my decision on not reapplying.

Here are a few motives that helped me making my decision:

1. I've already worked hard for making giant and 100 clubber and don't see the point in reapplying for something I earned the hard way and that they're literally stealing from me: giving is giving, taking back is stealing! I know, this is a childish expression but it speaks the truth.

2. I just can't fill this application form: questions don't match my culture, my personality and my mentality and I do NOT allow Squidoo to force me to change my mind and adopt another culture. After all, Squidoo's filled with worldwide members and should respect everyone's culture and modesty.

3. If I reapply for giant, I feel like I'd be ready to agree with whatever Squidoo comes up with even if it's detrimental to the entire community. So, let's say that, tomorrow they require from us to pay a $50 monthly fee to keep our accounts active, are we going to all be OK? Me... I won't, for sure!

4. HQ tends to more and more consider lensmasters as their employees... Sadly, those lensmasters don't get fixed monthy wages to justify the treatment.

5. Several threads have been opened yesterday, in which "new giants" claim that they have been granted the status once again. So, let me sum up: a very small team of 2 community organizers carefully checked thousands of lenses for quality, duplicate content, copyright violation, spam, etc. in only 5 days (if they took the weekend off, it would mean only 3 days!!!!)? 

I'm really surprised to learn that it didn't take more than a few days to separate bad apples from the good ones! Wow! It's better, quicker and more effefctive than Samantha would have done in Bewitched!

I'm sorry but 5 days weren't enough for all those lenses to be deeply and carefully checked. Even so, I know giants who have their accounts filled with legit AND illegal lenses... 

This new giant programme looks more like some kind of alibi for some unknown future.

I've made a list with my personal thoughts regarding this mess. In this very long list, I could only place arguments against my application.

However, yesterday, there was a post on HQ's blog that made me see things differently:
  • Not being a giant any more would allow me to split my account into a myriad of different ones: one account per niche I have built. 

  • Losing my giant privileges by the end of the year will also reset the famous - and infamous - 9 outbond links limit on my account. This means that, by the end of the year, I'd rather stop updating my lenses. As, if with this limit I happen to update my lenses, they'll get locked! Which translates into... having more time to dedicate to something else...

I already deleted all my work in progress lenses as well as a few low performing lenses. I will continue deleting low ranked and no traffic lenses. This will clean up my account and leave me with a more accurate view on my work. It will also ease the process to split this account into several ones.

I thought HQ wanted us to be active in the community. This giant programme change will have me stop being active on Squidoo because I'll lose my privileges. Opposite effect, then...

I'll just check new lenses looking for bless worthy ones because, and unless they revoke my status, I'm still an angel on Squidoo.

To sum up my Squidoo membership, I'd say that, I devoted a lot of my time helping people in the forum with critiques, helping people in Fresh Wonders with critiques, suggestions, tips, etc.

Fresh Wonders is becoming a place for some to drop links and go away, doing what they wanna do, leaving us with links to check, vain suggestions, waste of time. Critique Me section of the forum is also more a place to drop links and certainly not speaking our mind as it seems that honest opinion isn't welcome.

I also volunteered for angeling during the first quarter of 2010; how much time did I spend on lenses, checking them for duplicate content, checking proper graphic credits, proper module edition, etc. I remember, checking the daily digests - which I quickly called "daily indigestion" - took me three hours per day! None of these hours were never paid! I didn't want to be paid for this, but consideration would have been welcome right now... seeing the conditions of the new giant programme.

And Squidoo has become more of a place to promote ourself than an actual helpful community.

No, instead, their thankfulness translates into taking back my status.

As said earlier and posted on HQ's blog: I've never thought that, one day, Squidoo would chase me away. 

There is definitely an ocean between us.


Random Thoughts Giant Smack Down - Take 3

I'm still undecided as to whether renew my Giant status or... not. To tell the truth, I'm more inclined to not renew it then renew it as I think that Squidoo's standards regarding quality lenses have been dramatically lowered while mine haven't changed - or have even been increased.

These days, I've witnessed many things that shocked me and made me angry. A recent lens of the day that was just filled with posters and links to Yahoo and NO personal content at all, praised as if it was a gem. The community organizers who acted to make ding impact (angel's thumbs down) lower than ever, even asking for us to overlook junk, refrain from dinging dingable lenses, to the point that we should think doing something wrong when reporting a TOS violation, spam or else. Yeah, let spammers, cheaters, liars, losers the benefit of the doubt. 

What about those who ethically work on Squidoo, devote their time mostly on their free time and for free, who abide by the rules and get never, never, NEVER thanked for their dedication but, more often than not, get smacked by new rules?

Nobody talks about them. They're even kept away from speaking their mind, censored in the forum, banned if they dare to insist, obliged to move their freedom of speech to Facebook or Twitter.

What's my problem with the new Giant rules?

Well, let's say that, at the time I applied for Giant and 100 Clubber, we had to have 50 or 100 outstanding lenses. Not that I mean mine were outstanding, but at least, I've always built lenses with content I personally wrote, graphics I carefully chose and credited. 

Now in order to make Giant, lensmasters don't need more than 25 lenses. The motive being that in the past we could have built 50 or 100 lenses but may have sold or deleted them. Hahaha! Rolling on the Floor Laughing My Ass Off! --> Any lensmaster who cares about their Giant or 100 Clubber status never sold their lenses or never deleted enough lenses to not have enough to keep their status.

And even so... what prevents HQ from removing their Giant status from accounts that don't have at least 50 lenses????? There's no need for new guidelines neither for forcing us, existing Giants, to reapply!

Oh, but newbies are so disappointed to not be able to make Giant under 50 lenses! Well, we also were newbies at one time. We also had to wait until we were able to build 50 lenses. We're still alive...  It takes times to learn to create great lenses. 25 lenses aren't enough for them to make outstanding pages. The Giant club will be filled with a bunch of junk - as if the current number of junk wasn't enough!

With the new Giant club, only outstanding lenses will be taken into consideration and lensmasters who are the best writers will be granted the status.

Hahaha! ROFLMAO once again! What about those that are HQ's or community organizers' friends? Are they going to be rejected? Don't lie to me, please! Copycats, idea stealers, copyright violating lensmasters (and there are a few that are known for doing so but lick the boots so much that they just can close their eyes on their behaviors and accept them), well known cheaters, those that bet on Squidoo's popularity game, etc. are they going to be rejected with their lenses that violate the TOS multiple times? 

I'm pretty sure they won't. And will certainly post when they'll get their new status! Just to prove my point!

Believe it or not, but although I'm not a bragger neither a self-licking lollipop, even though I'm not the kind of person who'd praise her own work and even if I'm unable to tell HQ why I want to REMAIN a Giant and which lens of mine I consider worth a Lens of the Day, I have respect for myself and am really worried about seeing my name associated with cheaters, TOS violating lensmasters, spam and junk producers.

When we see the level of quality descreasing day after day on Squidoo, we definitely wonder why we would remain Giant, 100 Clubber of whatever new status they came up with! 

And, because I worked hard, with English as a third language, building what I thought were and still are, quality lenses, I feel insulted.

This was my rant of the day... See you later for another post. 

And in the meantime, if you wish to see what I consider quality lenses, then, I urge you to check out these outstanding pages built by first quality lensmasters on Squidoo:


Squidoo Smack Down - Take 2

There are days I'd like to not have been on the Web, keeping my computer turned off, enjoying some garden activities instead of maintaining my stomach ulcers. Days when I'd rather be blind and not see things that shocked me so much that the cold person started to burn so much that I had to take a cold shower as well as a grog - or two - just to calm down.

After the Giant smack down, I had to see THIS and THAT! As if the smack I got right on my face on Friday wasn't enough for a weekend!

While on my angeling duties, I came to a lens that was filled with stolen content. Yes! STOLEN content! Stolen content is content that's taken from another website and not credited! And that is one of the many Squidon'ts! Seems that Squidon'ts don't bother anyone on Squidoo these days.

Moreover, Squidoo TOS requires from us to use only UNIQUE content when building lenses. This means that content taken from another website, properly credited is a big NO-NO!

Third thing that thrilled my attention was that the lens looked like most lenses made by a highly respected lensmaster, who has a thing to create lenses that look like a luxury magazine or a real store... and, at first sight I thought "Oh, she built a fantastic lens!". Then a second look taught me that it wasn't "her" lens but a lens made by someone else who I reported a thousand times to HQ since January 2010 and whose Squidoo accounts should be locked for good for multiple TOS violations - especially stolen content.

I definitely lost my mind when I saw high level lensmasters signed the guestbook! It seems that even angels blessed this abomination!

I made a post about this in the forum, got a few interesting answers, one that questions the angel programme and makes me wonder why I am a Squid angel and why I waste my time looking for bless worthy lenses, recognizing great work when I could just bless garbage and praise sh... It would take less of my highly precious time!!! in addition, I volunteer for angeling, after all, I'm not paid for being honest and having ethical practices, am I? Why do I devote my time?

I mean, everything cited above makes me seriously question my devotion to Squidoo and makes me feel like if I lost four years of my life.

I eventually went to bed at 2 AM and had hard times falling alseep.

However, when I woke up in the morning, I wasn't stressed, almost happy. I watched TV instead of turning the computer on... Don't know why, some unconscious protection of my spirit?

Any way. I finally opened my computer, read the news while drinking my fourth cup coffee, then went to... Squidoo to find out that the Lens of the Day was just a list of movie titles, countdowns and posters.

Now that is a wonderful lens!

Where have Squidoo's high standards gone???????

Is there all what it takes to get awarded: building a lens with movie titles, countdowns and posters?

What a weekend!

Smacked down on Friday... Knocked out on Monday. What's the programme for the rest of the week?

I wonder - and fear - for the future... After all, it took only three days to have me down.
Heart attack. Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! I'm dead!

See you... for more (bad, worse?) news.

Posted by Squidoo Angel Prosperity66


Feeling Demotivated with Squidoo's Changes

It's been a while that I haven't posted on this blog. I have to say that I'm quite demotivated with all the Squidoo changes these past months and totally smacked down with the new Giant programme.

I'm a 100 Clubber on Squidoo;  which means that I worked hard in the past to build 100 outstanding lenses. Well, I thought I was a good lensmaster, I thought my work was worth a special status. I thought... Oh well. They just put everything in question and I feel smacked down. 

The new Giant programme has entirely changed and we have to reapply to get a status that we worked hard to get in the past. I'm really demotivated because of this. First, they took my oustanding badge back; it looked like a shield, it was a very classy badge, that they replaced with a horrible and silly looking so-called "monster badge". Yeah, monster... for a monster, that is a monster. There's nothing more horrible than that!

As for the new changes to the Giant programme, here are a few of the motives behind it:

Quoting Megan, from Squidoo HQ:

The Giant Squids is a club. You have to earn your way in, and you have to work to stay in it.

Ok, I worked hard to earn my way in, I have to work to stay in the club - why would I work when you always come up with demotivating decisions?

"It’s about access, reputation, and acknowledgment that you are part of a group of the best writers on Squidoo."

How can I even believe I'm a good writer when you require from me to reapply for a status I already earned the hard way? You question my status and at the same time, want me to think I'm a good writer. There's some kind of contradiction here, hm... Worse: if I don't reapply, I won't be considered as a good writer any more!

Quoting Robin, community organizer:

"The positives are that once we get through the renewal process, we'll have a club full of great writers.who are active, inspired, and inspiring within the community".

How do you want us to be positive when you question our earned and deserved status. How do you want us to be gladly Squidoo-ing when you demotivate us so often?

Quoting Fanfreluche, a lensmaster:

"I suspect this new system is also a disguised way to get ride of some bad apples".

How are they going to get rid of some the bad apples? How are they going to select the good lenses in the millions of existing lenses? Are the community organizers going to work 24/24 and 7/7? Are they going to take drugs to stay awaken? Or are they going to "greenlight" and award the status to everyone, just like they did before, when the number of Giant applications became so huge that they weren't enough with 2 people to check the accounts in three days?

Quoting Bonnie, community organizer:

"We feel strongly that the new changes will benefit the entire community".

How is this going to benefit the community? We're supposed to agree but we didn't receive any detail, explanation, apart from promises that HQ's not sure to be able to keep.

"...a lot of people have either gone below 50 lenses (in which case they can apply for Level 25) or they haven't logged in for years. By renewing a Giant is showing us that they are an active Giant who logs into Squidoo and keeps things updated and fresh".

I'm sorry but I don't want to refill a form to prove that I'm active: my lenses are constantly updated, I log into my Squidoo account every day. The system knows it. It's easy to find out who hasn't the minimum lenses required and those that never log into their account.

And then, the form to fill - that doesn't match my culture and my personality: they ask me why I wanna be a Giant... perhaps because I'm already one?

They also ask me to praise my own lenses: I'm not a self-licking lollipop and love all my lenses but it is NOT in my culture to shout it at the world. I do NOT nominate my own lenses for LOTD or purple star and certainly do NOT bless them either, once again, judging my own work is NOT in my culture

Squidoo members come from all parts of the world and HQ should take it into consideration.

Personally, I feel like HQ is trying to punish me for the mistakes THEY did:
  • Allowing Giants to do whatever they wanted right from the start - no rules, no check, freedom and then, problems. The situation has become worse over years mostly because when you see that someone seems allowed to do something that's supposed to be a no-no, what do you do? You do the same, especially if you don't have a high respect for ethics!
  • Another mistake was to not DEEPLY check future Giant accounts because there were too many applications! Everybody and their dog have been pushed to apply for the Giant status! How can a small team of 2 people DEEPLY check 100s of different accounts filled with 50 up to 150 lenses?
Many lensmasters reapplied already. I'm still hesitating... Reapplying would mean that I agree with the new decision and that I'm ready to accept whatever HQ comes up with, even if it doesn't benefit me. Right now, I just can cite a childish quotation which says "giving is giving, taking back is stealing". And I feel like if Squidoo is stealing my Giant status.

Upstet, disappointed, smacked down.

Taking a break for the entire weekend. See you :)