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Restricted questions
Thread poster: xxxBourth
xxxBourth
Local time: 05:27
French to English
Aug 28, 2008

I have recently observed that whereas in the past certain restrictions on who was invited to answer were informative only, and that one could answer nevertheless, of late they have become exclusive. (Do askers know this, I wonder). Several times now I have found myself confronted with a question with neither Answer, Post reference, Request clarification, or Discuss boxes. Strangely I can still Edit, Reverse Pair, and Vote non-pro.

To a certain extent I understand the point of having restrictions on who can answer questions such as "Declared to have a working knowledge of field" (however the system assumes that one can have a working knowledge of no more than SEVEN fields), and I can see the commercial and "morale"/self-esteem motivations for the "ProZ members only" restriction, though I do disagree with them.

But why, when such people have been blocked out, do they continue to see the questions? It is very frustrating when you want to help (one does feel one is helping), you see that your help is required, but you simply cannot answer. A bit like saying, "If you're Black / Gay / Asian /Catholic you need not apply for this position". Ouch!

I can understand that the ProZ people might be riled that non-members can be at the top of the league tables, thereby defeating the purpose of the Platinum Membership option which, needless to say, certifies that people are able, competent, and professional, and that the "ProZ member" criterion is a means of keeping them in their place. But why exclude people whose "working knowledge" extends across more than just 7 fields?

Could the system be changed?
- revert to restrictions of a purely advisory nature?
- increase the number of fields one can declare working/specialist knowledge of (since the fields are self-declared, it's pretty meaningless anyway)?
- make restricted questions invisible to the restrictees?
- introduce a new restriction : no answers from anyone in the the top 10 on the league table?
- introduce a new restriction : no answers from Joe Bloggs (or does that already exist?)
- introduce an anti-restriction : anyone in the top 10 on the league table is not restricted by any restrictions (other than nominative) - now that, by my books, would be an even greater "prestige incentive" than any fully-paid-up Platinum membership! A bit like having the key to the executive washroom.
- quite simply deny any future access to non-fee-paying members.

Alex


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 01:27
SITE STAFF
Targeted KudoZ questions Aug 28, 2008

Hello Alex,

Thanks for bringing this up. Note that questions which are targeted based on native language, language pairs and fields of expertise will not affect your ability to reply to them. Questions targeted at paying members will. The option to remove these questions from your view of the homepage and http://www.proz.com/kudoz if they have been member-targeted sounds reasonable, I will see what can be done. Thanks.

Best regards,

Jared


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 05:27
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
As I posted on August 2 Aug 28, 2008

I brought up this issue in a forum posting a couple of weeks ago, but no one from the Site Staff responded.
http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/111613-targeted_questions.html#910861

As I wrote there:

Askers are offered the opportunity to 'target' questions, i.e. restrict them to certain groups of people.
However, nearly all targeted questions (restricted language pair, specialization etc). also come with a message stating that although you do not meet all (or any of) the criteria you may answer this question anyway.
This effectively blows the whole purpose of targeted questions out of the water because groups that the Asker specifically does not want to hear from are then 'invited' to answer that very question!
I did say 'nearly' all targeted questions, because there is one select group that is completely prevented from answering at all. Answer slots are gone AND peer comment slots have also been removed, meaning they cannot answer and they are also ineligible/unqualified to make any peer comments. So they are fully blocked from any type of participation in that question.
Which group? These are the measures applied when it's targeted to 'Members only'.
My question: why this discrepancy? Why disregard/disrespect Asker's wish to target a question to a specific language, specialization etc. and 'invite' others to answer anyway, but fully back (including removal of answer slots) an Asker's request to target members only? Why not do the same for all groups an Asker want to target? Isn't that why targeted questions are there in the first place?

I am not criticizing or questioning targeting but I'd still like to know this isn't enforced equally for all targeted groups.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 01:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
How to shoot yourself in the foot in one easy step. Aug 28, 2008

I was also engaged in an exchange of views on this subject with a staff member some weeks ago.

I suggested, among other things, that we need a flag on the KudoZ 'TOC' page to tell us we are not eligible to answer the question. This would avoid the need to open the question, read it, understand it, research an answer to it, click on the "Answer but....' Wot! Where's the d***d 'Answer button?". Grrr - 'Members only may answer'. There goes another precious five minutes of my life down the drain.

I commented then - and will repeat here, for the wider (?) audience - that it is illogical to remove the 'Answer' and 'AtA' (now 'Clarification') buttons - but leave the 'Edit', 'Non-pro' and 'Reverse pair' buttons. Otherwise a non-member might feel tempted to vent his/her frustration at finding their answer cannot be entered by switching the language pair from 'French-->English' to, let's say, 'Urdu-->Quechua'.

Better still, I suggested it would be logical simply not to display questions to any user who is not eligible to answer. What the eye doesn't see the heart doesn't grieve over (or something to that effect...).

I was lead to believe that these ideas were being taken on board...

I was also informed that it had always been intended that the 'members only' restriction should be a full block on participation, but that it had not been functioning correctly; when I found myself blocked in unusual circumstances it was apparently because the 'bug' had just been fixed.

Be that as it may, with the 'members only' restriction now functioning 'as intended', I offer a word of warning to those who might be tempted to use it.

By way of example, let me mention an individual in one of my language pairs and specialist fields who is, apparently, allergic to non-members. His questions are systematically targetted for members only. He would do well, however, to look in the directory before he posts his questions. In that particular language/field combination, the total number of regular KudoZ players is around 50. Of those, only ONE is a member. Some of the 49 non-members have a hundred or more K-points in that combination; the ONE member has ... 3 K-points.

By restricting his questions to members only, that asker is shooting himself in the foot every time.

And I confess that I smile every time I see him getting - and accepting - dumb answers from members when there are plenty of far more knowledgeable and experienced non-members who would willingly have helped him get ahead in the world.

MediaMatrix


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xxxcmwilliams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
French to English
+ ...
While we're on the subject of targeted questions... Aug 28, 2008

What I find very strange is the message that comes up regarding native language. If a question is specifically aimed at native speakers of French, for example, I get a message saying something like..."you have not reported that you are a French native speaker". But right next to this is an 'Edit' button. So presumably, with the click of a button, I can become a French native speaker! I fail to see the logic of inviting answerers to change their native language.

Back to the topic of restricting questions to members, I really don't understand why anyone would want to restrict their questions to members only and agree with everything Kim said in the previous thread (quoted by writeaway). Also, as writeaway has pointed out, restrictions should be applied consistently. If an asker requests answers from those who have a specific native language or work in certain pairs only, why should this fact be ignored? Doesn't this just defeat the purpose of targeting questions in the first place?


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xxxBourth
Local time: 05:27
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry Writeaway Aug 28, 2008

I'm sorry I didn't jump in on the earlier thread, Writeaway. I simply hadn't realized - until I found myself being locked out - what these recent changes involved.

You asked "Why ... fully back ... an Asker's request to target members only?" It's obvious, isn't it? Sour grapes and money.

As an esteemed colleague said in a private email the other day: "... no doubt it is the people on ProZ (those who frequent it) who are conspiring to constrain ... accumulation of points. ... No one who is actually motivated to acquire KudoZ points wants to see someone ... with ... an insuperable lead ... No one who has paid for the ... privilege of ProZ membership wants to see confirmed non-members snagging most of the gold, silver and bronze medals!

I don't blame the people who own ProZ (Henry Dotterer) for giving paying members what they want. From his standpoint, it might induce holdouts to pay up, and if it doesn't, it's a move any manager of a sports league would understand: it makes things more competitive by handicapping those at the top of the leader board. Keep it interesting. It's boring when the same guy always wins."

Who knows, maybe they'll introduce new categories in the league tables, alongside "Pro" and "Non-pro" : "Unrestricted" and "Restricted to ProZ members". Somehow I doubt it.

I can see I shall have to take up (sign of Christian speech making angry discussion for puzzles [10]), or (Black bird's waste mixed up for newspaper amusements (anag.) [10]) or (Duel removed south for cryptic pursuits [10]) again.

Alex


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 05:27
German to Polish
+ ...
my 3.5 cents Aug 28, 2008

cmwilliams wrote:

I really don't understand why anyone would want to restrict their questions to members


Precisely. I did ask this question in the forum myself before. With no satisfactory reply... To me, it really seems daft to trust just the ones who paid their fee just because they did so.


All in all, I think that (in my language pairs) the "targeted question" option is often abused by newbies, who seem to be checking any box they please to make their question look "important".

Often the category of the term is also wrong. People would click on "TV, drama", just because a given term shows up on a dialogue list of a film, but has nothing to do with film/ TV production terminology. So, when they target their question at the experts in the field (film/ theatre production), they're really.... shooting themselves in the foot.

Actually, I'm a bit tired of all this.

I'd rather prefer just to flag off certain type of questions to show up on my screen, which I know I can do, but am too lazy to do it.
I can't see why so much freedom is given to Askers in terms of targetting and/ or choosing to award no points for answers before they even see them.
What IS the point?
Maybe I'm too blond, but I honestly can't see one. Point, that is.

Regards to all,
Agnieszka




[Edited at 2008-08-28 23:44]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
French to English
There's yer answer right there Aug 29, 2008

Bourth wrote:
I can understand that the ProZ people might be riled that non-members can be at the top of the league tables,....
Alex


So, you introduce a category of questions that cannot be answered by non-members, and for which only members can possibly get the points..... and I leave you to draw the logical conclusion.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Non-members/members Aug 29, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Bourth wrote:
I can understand that the ProZ people might be riled that non-members can be at the top of the league tables,....
Alex


So, you introduce a category of questions that cannot be answered by non-members, and for which only members can possibly get the points..... and I leave you to draw the logical conclusion.


Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of members-only kudoz questions, I doubt this is actually the reason behind it - as all paying members are automatically listed before all non-paying members in searches by language and/or field, even if the paying member has 0 Kudoz and the non-paying member has 3 zillion of them.


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xxxBourth
Local time: 05:27
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Points vs job seeking Aug 29, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:
I doubt this is actually the reason behind it - as all paying members are automatically listed before all non-paying members in searches by language and/or field, even if the paying member has 0 Kudoz and the non-paying member has 3 zillion of them.


Of course you're talking about the tables people can use to find a translator, hence the application for translators seeking work. I'm just talking about points ... which is all I'm interested in.

Alex


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xxxBourth
Local time: 05:27
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Improper categorization Aug 29, 2008

tygru wrote:

Often the category of the term is also wrong. People would click on "TV, drama", just because a given term shows up on a dialogue list of a film, but has nothing to do with film/ TV production terminology. So, when they target their question at the experts in the field (film/ theatre production), they're really.... shooting themselves in the foot.


Absolutely! Instead of giving Askers more rights and privileges, serious constraints should be imposed on them to protect them from themselves!

Maybe some sort of ranking system could be established so that those with X number of points won by answering Y number of questions (some sort of success ratio) can ask questions unhindered, lock people/categories out, etc., and those with less success should not be able to.

But then I live in a perfect world.

Alex


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 05:27
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
It depends on your Kudoz language pairs Aug 29, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Bourth wrote:
I can understand that the ProZ people might be riled that non-members can be at the top of the league tables,....
Alex


So, you introduce a category of questions that cannot be answered by non-members, and for which only members can possibly get the points..... and I leave you to draw the logical conclusion.


Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of members-only kudoz questions, I doubt this is actually the reason behind it - as all paying members are automatically listed before all non-paying members in searches by language and/or field, even if the paying member has 0 Kudoz and the non-paying member has 3 zillion of them.


I have 3 working language pairs and what Alex and Charlie are saying would be the case for Fr-En but not so much for the other two. So I think it depends on the language pairs involved.
As someone who only recently joined the ranks of non-paying members (as "users" were called in the old dayZ) after 5 years as paying member ('member' in today's speak), I was very shocked to see that 'users' are completely blocked from 'member' only questions. They are even blocked from making peer comments! But 'members' who are clueless about the field and don't master the targeted language are invited to answer nonetheless.
Over the years, some of the best and most professional translators have been 'non-paying' members. They made significant contributions to questions and to the glossary and were always ready to brainstorm with others to help sort out difficult terms. Sadly past tense has to be used here because many of these fine colleagues have stopped participating or have left the site altogether. Kudoz questions currently require little more than the ability to speed-dial a dictionary or Google. Which has a knock-on effect on the 'value' of those KudoZ pointZ.


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 05:27
English to German
With bourth Aug 29, 2008

Had the same restriction just now and had to send proposal directly to asker. A bit weird, ain't it? Perhaps just because I'm not competent in that field?

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
French to English
True dat, but... Aug 29, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:
I doubt this is actually the reason behind it - as all paying members are automatically listed before all non-paying members in searches by language and/or field, even if the paying member has 0 Kudoz and the non-paying member has 3 zillion of them.


True, true, and indeed, I noticed the other day that I am ranked 700-odd in my specialist field in Fr-Eng, despite being top o' the table
But I'm cool with the number of queries I get and the workload I have so no complaints as such....

I did actually take Alex literally (maybe mistakenly?) and thought we were really talking about the league tables, as linked from the home page "top scorers" panel. In Fr-Eng, there is a definite trend for the higher positions to be taken by non-members (I've just checked, and this is in complete contrast to Italian-English, where most top spots appear to be paying members), and I have often thought this must look a bit odd to outsiders/visitors.
It does kind of give the impression that the people who don't pay know more than the people who do. This is obviously reverse logic - the people with most experience (note: in Fr-Eng - the same clearly does not apply in your pair) perhaps feel that they don't need the benefits of paid membership, but it definitely looks odd. And stopping non-members scoring points would remedy that.

Alternatively, of course, I should spend less time seeing sinister motives where there are none, and perhaps someone just thought it would be a "good idea" [sic]...


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Too true... Aug 29, 2008

writeaway wrote:
Over the years, some of the best and most professional translators have been 'non-paying' members. They made significant contributions to questions and to the glossary and were always ready to brainstorm with others to help sort out difficult terms. Sadly past tense has to be used here because many of these fine colleagues have stopped participating or have left the site altogether. Kudoz questions currently require little more than the ability to speed-dial a dictionary or Google. Which has a knock-on effect on the 'value' of those KudoZ pointZ.


Can't disagree with you there.


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