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Number of characters - Addendum to an answer in KudoZ
Thread poster: NatalieD

NatalieD
French
+ ...
Nov 14, 2003

I don't like this new feature in KudoZ, which limits the number of characters in an addendum to an answer.

I just tried to add two definitions to an answer I had given, which I think would have been helpful for the asker but I was unable to do it because I didn't have enough space....

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Natalie

P.S. one addendum, two addenda...

[Edited at 2003-11-15 03:27]


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:15
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
Yes, I do Nov 15, 2003

NatalieD wrote:

I don't like this new feature in KudoZ, which limits the number of characters in an addendum to an answer.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Natalie


Yes, Natalie, I do. While I appreciate that this is to stop people from giving an answer with only * . + or that's it, or whatever, for an answer and then adding a whole page of Google search results as the references later, 255 characters really isn't enough to say anything sensible. Askers can add more context, or make comments, which could mean that an answerer has to change the answer, adjust it, or simply add more references to prove the point. In my case, I often add things later because I don't have enough time to put it all at the beginning (because I have to leave the computer to see to my toddler NOW and prefer to send the answer I have on screen right there and then and get back to it later if possible). I am also on a dial-up connection which cuts me off every now and then, so I send part of an answer in with a sigh of relief sometimes that it's actually got there (I've been cut off just after hitting the send button so many times and have lost all the info)

I think the number of characters possible should be doubled or even tripled. Otherwise, I can see me hiding answers and starting again from scratch, or just simply giving two answers to a question on occasion, which surely isn't the point.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 12:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I also feel uncomfortable Nov 15, 2003

In fact, with 255 characters, we have as much allowed that for a peergrading.

I think I add comments quite reasonnably, and I also think that limit to 255 characters can affect the answer, making it less complete.
I agree, more space is needed.


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 16:15
English to French
+ ...
I am absolutely against Nov 15, 2003

but the worse is it just appear, nobody tell us or ask our opinion. And also for other gizmos in the question, someone did ask for them ?

Why limit the space for the answer ?


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lenkl
Local time: 16:15
French to English
The problem as I see it Nov 15, 2003

I tend to agree with your objection, even though I can also see why something ought to be done to encourage people to be more succinct. One of the problems, in my opinion, comes from those answers that quote entire pages of Termium or multiple Google sources, much of it not necessarily germane to the question or even in the right language. This may be due to the extremely hurried manner in which we tend to answer, leaving us little or no time to select and sort out the appropriate references. Meanwhile, there is no limit to the length of an original answer, so that throwing everything in at once is rewarded, while those pondering the issue are penalized, in a way.

My suggestion is that there should be a waiting, or cooling-off period of, say 15 or 30 minutes, or even longer, between the time a question is posted and the time answers can be given. This might discourage most of us from answering questions that are outside our field of expertise and force us to give a little more thought to whether we are familiar with a term or just good at looking things up.

Answers could also be limited to a reasonable length, as could additions to answers. I have been told that this was tried once but that it is impractical for some reason. The present system is also impractical as it results in too many hurried, sloppy suggestions.


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NatalieD
French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Waiting time before answering Nov 15, 2003

lenkl wrote:

One of the problems, in my opinion, comes from those answers that quote entire pages of Termium...


I agree, answerers should make sure that what they quote from Termium is relevant. When you look for a term in Termium, you can sometimes come up with 200
records, a great deal of them completely irrevelant. However, Termium is not a free service so, in some ways, KudoZ makes Termium accessible to people who can't afford (or don't want) to subscribe.

My suggestion is that there should be a waiting, or cooling-off period of, say 15 or 30 minutes, or even longer, between the time a question is posted and the time answers can be given.


This sounds like a good idea. Sometimes I think I know the answer but I want to make sure it's good (or not only good for Canada...) or I want to back it up with good references. When I get caught up in the race, I sometimes hit the "post" button a little too fast.

I'm curious to see what others think of this idea.

I'm sure pleasing everyone in ProZ is not an easy task...


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invguy  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 17:15
English to Bulgarian
Mixed feelings Nov 16, 2003

I noticed that novelty two days ago, when I realized the space in my own answer was not sufficient to answer another answerer's reply to my comment to his answer... oops... came out a bit complicated

In fact, it's not complicated at all. While answering questions, there happen to arise mini-discussions between two or more answerers, where each one needs to present new explanations and/or evidence to support their opinion against specific objections. These discussions fully utilize the 'answer - comment - reply to comment - edit comment - add note to answer - add note to own answer - etc.' chain.

BTW the recent introduction of the 'Edit' option for comments was extremely helpful for such discussions - the lack of it was previously a bottleneck in the above chain.

I value these discussions very much, especially when they refer to fine nuances in meaning, or to the appropriateness of a term in a specific context. IMO they are *way* more useful than looking up dictionaries (whatever they may be) or digging out Google references. A focused discussion of that kind actually provides synthesized professional experience, shared in good will (something you *cannot* get anywhere else). Particularly on that account, the KudoZ system is very helpful not only for the asker, but also to those giving answers... I sometimes browse the questions just out of curiosity - and I almost always find some interesting reading)

Given the above considerations, I would (albeit reluctantly agree with the 255 character limit on notes. Indeed, one should have (presumably) given the most important arguments in the initial answer. Having subsequently less space at one's disposal, one would try to be more concise and clear when discussing - which is beneficial to everyone (and definitely spares bandwidth

I would not, however, agree with the limit of two additional notes to an answer. Often the discussion exchange gets longer. Of course, there's always the option to post a new answer... but it 'chops' the explanation of your point in parts, and not every reader would have the patience to collect the pieces...

In short: YES to 255 chars/note (if you badly need more space, you can post two or more notes) - but NO to the limit of two additional notes.

Howgh!


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 12:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Funny! Nov 17, 2003

As Natalie says, it's not easy to please everybody

invguy wrote:
In short: YES to 255 chars/note (if you badly need more space, you can post two or more notes) - but NO to the limit of two additional notes.

Howgh!


For me it's just the opposite. I agree with everything you said about the discussions, but do like the limit to two notes and I think that 255 characters are not enough.
But if some people had used the notes option in a moderate way and not just to answer first looking for references after nobody would have asked for a change and a limit.


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invguy  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 17:15
English to Bulgarian
I wonder why exactly the change was introduced in the first place... Nov 17, 2003

Claudia Iglesias wrote:
But if some people had used the notes option in a moderate way and not just to answer first looking for references after nobody would have asked for a change and a limit.


Sure you're right about that, Claudia. I admit I wasn't considering it when I was writing my post - it's rather the effect of those new limits on the exchange of opinions (within a KudoZ question) that I was thinking of.

In fact, I wonder if the primary goal was discouraging 'quick draw' KudoZ point hunters. I think there's another goal, and it is quite reasonable, too: reducing bandwidth waste.

As the popularity of KudoZ increases, and the number of questions per day grows up, so does traffic - which could turn into a problem for the site maintenance team... or maybe already has. Besides, traffic costs money.

Sometimes people paste in whole pages of Google refs or lengthy paragraphs of which only one sentence is really relevant. Well, if you have the 255 chars limit, you'd have a good reason to select only text which indeed serves to prove your point... and you wouldn't be so wordy in your explanations either (a sin I know I'm sometimes guilty of... ).

I mean, if you have something *really* important to add, then it's worth sparing some more time (and clicking) to post as many notes as you find sufficient - but the limit would probably make you reconsider on pasting in heaps of info just for the sake of overwhelming your opponent. We have a good example: the grading/comment field. In it, everyone tries (and manages) to be very concise and to the point.


In fact, the '2 notes limit'... is not exactly a limit, as I just noticed It says "A maximum of two addendums IS ADVISED." - - so it turns out I have no objections...


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NatalieD
French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Limit to notes instead of limit to characters Nov 17, 2003

Claudia Iglesias wrote:

For me it\'s just the opposite. I agree with everything you said about the discussions, but do like the limit to two notes and I think that 255 characters are not enough.


I agree with you Claudia. I would prefer to be limited to two notes than to 255 characters. If someone has not been able to make his/her point with two notes, then maybe he/she should stop trying... And he/she can always comment on others\' answers.

However, I understand, as invguy mentioned, that this change may be for bandwidth considerations (or whatever it is that makes a site slower...). If so, I can\'t disagree, but I would prefer a limit to the number of notes than to the number of characters.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:15
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
255 is not enough Nov 17, 2003

invguy wrote:

Sometimes people paste in whole pages of Google refs or lengthy paragraphs of which only one sentence is really relevant. Well, if you have the 255 chars limit, you'd have a good reason to select only text which indeed serves to prove your point... and you wouldn't be so wordy in your explanations either (a sin I know I'm sometimes guilty of.

I mean, if you have something *really* important to add, then it's worth sparing some more time (and clicking) to post as many notes as you find sufficient - but the limit would probably make you reconsider on pasting in heaps of info just for the sake of overwhelming your opponent. We have a good example: the grading/comment field. In it, everyone tries (and manages) to be very concise and to the point.


You have to be so concise and to the point with 255 characters that's it's virtually impossible to quote any ref at all. I tried to quote one sentence and the page link and that was apparently way over 255 characters, so I therefore had to edit it considerably. That obviously took far more time than usual and quite frankly, I'm not prepared to do things like that on a daily basis! Both the paragraphs I have quoted above are over the 255 limit, but they're not very long at all! You can still stop people from posting the first 10 Google hits with a higher limit of characters.


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:15
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
A different kind of variable Nov 17, 2003

I don't know how ProZ was programmed, but in general database-related systems tend to store text in "text" variables, limited to 255 characters, and "memo" variables with a much higher (or no) size limit.

In general it is good programming practice to use text-type variables, since memo-type variables use a lot more space and can not be indexed. So a memo-type variable is not just bigger, but also a completely different kind of variable.

Therefore the 255 characters limit is not arbitrary. In practice you get up to 255 chars or no limit. If the notes have to have a limit, it is bound to be 255 chars.

Regards,
Enrique


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:15
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
If that is the case, then there shouldn't be a limit Nov 17, 2003

two2tango wrote:

Therefore the 255 characters limit is not arbitrary. In practice you get up to 255 chars or no limit. If the notes have to have a limit, it is bound to be 255 chars.


I didn't know that, but if that is the case, then I don't think there should be a limit.


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:15
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Trade-off Nov 17, 2003

Nikki Graham wrote:

I didn't know that, but if that is the case, then I don't think there should be a limit.


Each feature has a cost. When you consider the huge amount of KudoZ, a small "price" per question can be very "expensive" at a system-level.

I guess we are dealing with a trade-off between features and cost. Whoever made the decision may have concluded that the inconvenience of small "notes" fields was outweighted by a great ecomomy in system performance (or in investment).

Imagine a "text" field as your pocket and a "memo" field as a bag. Your "pocket" can contain only 255 characters while a bag can hold a lot.

So if you work with "pockets" you will travel light, but will be limited to 255-char notes (maybe splitting long notes in consecutive "pockets").

On the other hand if you work with "bags" you will have to carry a bag for every note, even one containing a single "OK" in it.

It is possible that most notes could be handled it less than 255 characters. In that case the "pockets-approach" looks atractive.

Regards,
Enrique


[Edited at 2003-11-17 14:50]


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:15
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
It's not a bug, it's a feature.... Nov 17, 2003

Sorry for mistaking this for a bug at first. Obviously, I think there shouldn't be a limit.

BTW, if it's a programming thing, how come I can enter more than 255 characters when I revert to the KudoZ standard design?


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