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Enhancement of the KudoZ system by discouraging questions without context - A proposal
Thread poster: Ángel Domínguez

Ángel Domínguez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 3, 2008

Hi all,

I just closed a browser window with a KudoZ question; there's been a good exchange of thoughts, and I expressed an idea I've had in my mind for several days now, that would discourage people from posting questions without a single trace of context.

My idea is as follows:

Add a button to the current form buttons already present (Answer / Ask asker / Track / Edit ...). The new button would be called "More context needed", or something to that effect. When, say, 3 or more prospective answerers click that button, the system would disable that KudoZ question, keeping it from appearing in the site; the asker would be notified that more context is needed, so he/she would have to provide it to have the question show up again (my thought is that it would have to be moved to the top of the KudoZ list, so it is not missed if the asker provides the necessary context hours later - that's the web designer in me speaking!).


Why this? Well, I guess many of you will agree that there are some users, that are easy to spot, who ask questions of a level that makes you raise an eyebrow, then you check their profiles and they're so empty that you would hear the echo of your voice if you spoke to the screen; and the icing on the cake is that, when they ask a question, many times no context is provided. In my opinion that just shows two things:

1) Utter _laziness_
2) Complete disregard for the answerers; when you just won't make the ridiculously small effort to provide a MINIMUM context, that shows you have no respect for the answerers, who provide you with their time and knowledge for free. At the very least, the asker must have that in mind for the sake of politeness towards the people whose help you need.

Phew, that's about it.
Regards,

Ángel.


[Edited at 2008-07-03 16:40]


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 15:54
SITE STAFF
The "Ask the asker" box is already there Jul 3, 2008

Hi Ángel,

I would not implement this button because:

a) The main objective of KudoZ is to provide term help to the asker, and blocking the question would be against this goal.

b) The "ask the asker" box is already provided for this situation

c) The context provided could be enough for some answerers and deemed not enough by others. With the proposed feature the latter could prevent the former from providing useful term help.

Regards,
Enrique


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:54
French to Spanish
+ ...
I would add 2 more points. Jul 3, 2008

I don't know if Ángel's proposal is possible in ProZ, but I'd add two more points:
1.- provide more context...;
2.- please check ALL possible sources before asking a question (it's a suggestion, now, in ProZ, but we know a lot of people think "Well, let's folks on ProZ do the job for me");
3.- always include, in your question two simple words: "Please" and "Thanks".

How about it?


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
YESSSSSS!!!! Please!!!! Jul 3, 2008

Yes, this would really make a difference!

So very often we as answerers we have to ask for more context or an explanation of the doubt, that I sometimes feel like a bored parrot: "Context please!", "Context please!", "Context please!". But in so many cases my request, along with may other people's similar comments, is simply ignored by askers, who tend to think that we are some kind of magic on-line dictionary!

Filtering is not a solution. It does not educate askers and can be considered unfair as some askers to make an effort after being advised to do so. I have some 35 people filtered in my list and still keep seeing unacceptable questions, while those who I have filtered could be now making better questions (I will never know unless I un-filter them).

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Proz.com team: Implement this and help us straighten this situation once for all! It will be the only way to make askers produce better questions, leading to better answers and a higher quality in Kudoz glossaries.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 15:54
SITE STAFF
Comments on the asker Jul 3, 2008

Juan Jacob wrote:

2.- please check ALL possible sources before asking a question (it's a suggestion, now, in ProZ, but we know a lot of people think "Well, let's folks on ProZ do the job for me");


This would not be in line with site rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

Regards,
Enrique


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:54
English to Finnish
+ ...
In support of an impunitive button Jul 3, 2008

Angel Dominguez wrote:

Add a button to the current form buttons already present (Answer / Ask asker / Track / Edit ...). The new button would be called "More context needed", or something to that effect. When, say, 3 or more prospective answerers click that button, the system would disable that KudoZ question, keeping it from appearing in the site; the asker would be notified that more context is needed, so he/she would have to provide it to have the question show up again


I agree that such a button would be useful.

However, I am unsure about actually disabling the question. Would it not suffice to send, at the third (or fifth, or something) press of the button, an email to the asker, who would thus be notified that they are unlikely to receive an answer until they provide more context? After all, a respondent with a very specific set of skills may be able to provide a useful answer despite the lack of context.

While I agree that providing context is the polite thing to do, I would not want to penalize those who--perhaps even for a very valid reason--choose against it. The reduced likeliness of receiving a prompt and useful reply should be punishment enough.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"Ask the asker" box...... no result with many people! Jul 3, 2008

Enrique, what you say makes sense..... theoretically. Let me comment on your statements and explain what our every day life is for us the answerers:

Enrique wrote:
a) The main objective of KudoZ is to provide term help to the asker, and blocking the question would be against this goal.


Yes, but what kind of help can we offer to askers who simply say "I don't have any context" as their sole explanation of their doubt? In that situation, we can only guess, and the result is exactly that: it blocks term help as anything we answer will be simply a guess. What is worse, our "guessing" ends up in the Kudoz glossaries and, apart from being pretty useless, creates quality issues and customer complaints to other people in the future.

Enrique wrote:
b) The "ask the asker" box is already provided for this situation


Many askers just don't pay attention to our comments or questions or our requests of context. During the last month I have been tracking and filtering people who simply don't pay any attention to our queries. I have filtered some 35 people so far, in just a month, and only in English>Spanish... But lazy askers keep appearing. How many people must I filter? On the other hand, filtering does not educate askers to show a better behaviour.

Enrique wrote:
c) The context provided could be enough for some answerers and deemed not enough by others. With the proposed feature the latter could prevent the former to provide useful term help.


Yes, EXACTLY. And this is why the "More context please" feature is so necessary: people who are good and experienced in the matter at hand usually ask for more context, as they see far more possible meanings than other people. If someone asks for more context, it is precisely because the term has more meanings or implications than initially expected by the asker or by less experienced people.

So this new feature would make perfect sense and would be the only way of promoting good answers that can be useful to the community in the long run.

[Edited at 2008-07-03 17:10]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:54
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Ignore them Jul 3, 2008

If a poster doesn't give any context and then when asked to give more, still doesn't, then just ignore their question. Nobody is holding a gun to our heads to make us answer anyone's question.



Amy


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 15:54
SITE STAFF
My view Jul 3, 2008

  • The "ask the asker" box sends notifications to the asker. If askers decline to provide more context they risk getting inferior quality help, but this is their choice.

  • Potential answerers have the choice of refusing to help if they consider that the context is not enough.

  • Blocking the question would be incompatible with the main objective of helping the asker.

  • People blocking the question could be wrong, the context may be enough for a specialist. The opposite situation could also happen, but in case of doubt allowing is better than blocking.

    Enrique

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  • Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 20:54
    Member (2005)
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    "Who cares" or "What the hell"... not good in translation Jul 3, 2008

    Enrique wrote:
  • The "ask the asker" box sends notifications to the asker. If askers decline to provide more context they risk getting inferior quality help, but this is their choice.
    Enrique


  • Yes, but unfortunately the inferior-quality answers remain there forever, and not only create a problem for the asker: they create a problem to all other people naïvely trusting the glossaries in future jobs. Isn't this at all a concern at Proz?

    Enrique wrote:
  • Potential answerers have the choice of refusing to help if they consider that the context is not enough.


  • Yes, but even if all quality-conscious answerers refuse to cooperate, there will always be someone risking "pantalla de roca" for "rock screen" just to have a chance to reap the points... This happens all the time. Well, it certainly provides some laughs, but it effectively keeps the asker from getting the help needed.

    Enrique wrote:
  • People blocking the question could be wrong, the context may be enough for a specialist. The opposite situation could also happen, but in case of doubt allowing is better than blocking.


  • I think nobody meant blocking here. Just returning the question to the asker so that he/she has a chance to improve the question and receive better help. All askers would be happy to prepare their questions better if that means better answers, less customer complaints and a brighter future.


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    Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 20:54
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    my two cents Jul 3, 2008

    Blocking the question, no

    "more context, please" button, yes (so there is no need to write anything, just a click)

    if a question had more than "x" activations of said button, no glossary entry allowed !

    BTW, I find it useful to see who gives which answers to questions without enough context !


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    Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 20:54
    Member (2005)
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    Smashing suggestion Jul 3, 2008

    Pablo Grosschmid wrote:
    if a question had more than "x" activations of said button, no glossary entry allowed !


    This is a fantastic idea. My main concern is what will happen to future users of the glossaries, and this would certainly keep ridiculous or plainly hilarious answers from making it to the glossaries.


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    Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 20:54
    Member (2005)
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    Exhausting all resources, *already* one of the rules!! Jul 3, 2008

    Enrique wrote:

    Juan Jacob wrote:

    2.- please check ALL possible sources before asking a question (it's a suggestion, now, in ProZ, but we know a lot of people think "Well, let's folks on ProZ do the job for me");


    This would not be in line with site rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

    Regards,
    Enrique


    But it would be in the line of rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.1#2.1, right?


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    Enrique Cavalitto
    Local time: 15:54
    SITE STAFF
    Priorities Jul 3, 2008

    The main goal of the KudoZ system is to provide those in need of translation assistance with access to timely help. The fact that an archive of previously posted terms with suggested translations has built up is a planned, yet peripheral, benefit.


    I think nobody meant blocking here. Just returning the question to the asker so that he/she has a chance to improve the question and receive better help.


    This is in fact blocking the question (even if it done conditionally until it reaches a level of quality considered good enough by third parties).


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    Enrique Cavalitto
    Local time: 15:54
    SITE STAFF
    Rules Jul 3, 2008

    Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

    This would not be in line with site rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

    Regards,
    Enrique


    But it would be in the line of rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.1#2.1, right? [/quote]

    Rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.1#2.1 is more a guideline than a rule, as it is not enforceable in practice. Rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7 is fully enforceable (and enforced).

    Enrique


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