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Proposal: experimental KudoZ environment without points
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:13
German to English
Jan 24, 2004

I think KudoZ is great. I usually get fine suggestions when I'm in a bind, and it's reassuring to know that when I accept a new translation assignment, the chances are good that if I really get stuck on a term (after consulting all the dictionaries, online glossaries and researching the subject matter), I'll probably get some useful help in KudoZ.
But KudoZ also has considerable downsides to it. The race to be first to answer the question frequently results in poor answers: either simply wrong, non-native abominations or unsubstantiated wild guesses. I suppose it's inevitable that a system based on competition – the points and the money associated with those points - will also attract answerers who are unreliable and basically dishonest and foster the sometimes horrible atmosphere created by point hunters instead of a community of linguists working together on the basis of trust.

So do others think it would make sense to create a separate KudoZ, maybe called KudoZ Pro, for practicing translators? It would emulate the calmer, more thoughtful and well-researched contributions found in FLEFO, Foreign Languages Educational Forum or ATA's German Language Division mailing list, for example. It would be a true workplace for practicing translators.

Instead of the current system of separating between easy and pro questions, we would have KudoZ and KudoZ Pro. Higher standards for participating in KudoZ Pro would need to be established. With this separation, I think more working translators would be comfortable coming to ProZ for linguistic help. Maybe the only way to ensure that KudoZ Pro is more professional is to eliminate the points system.

Here are a few comments on KudoZ recently made in the forums:

Ian Winick
... that the atmosphere has been tense, heated and even downright poisonous on many occasions leading up to the universal season of goodwill.
Healthy discussion between real translators is interesting and enlightening, something from which we all benefit. The ideal KudoZ scenario is one where a number of intelligent answers are put forward, evaluated fairly and constructively by peers and where the most suitable answer is finally chosen by the asker.

CMJ_Trans
My suggestion would be to change the system and do away with ProZ.com points altogether. It would probably be quite a shock to see how fast some people would abandon the site if they had nothing to 'gain'. This would also mean changes in the bidding system.

Lenkl
Thank you Ian and the others who are trying to restore KudoZ to its original intended purpose. I sincerely hope that something can be done. At this stage, all that is being produced is a frequently embarrassing glossary of little or no value to translators.
I made the suggestion a little while ago that the system ought to be adjusted so that no one would be able to post an answer until after a brief waiting (or “cooling-off”) period, in the hope that this might encourage those who wish to make suggestions to (1) carefully read the question (2) do whatever research may be required, and (3) draft a succinct answer.
Like others, as things stand now, I am no longer interested in participating in what is all too frequently a charade, very far from the idea of shared knowledge and experience.

Steffen Walter
I think that quite many a personal attack or non-factual/non-linguistic remark seen in certain KudoZ pairs can be attributed to the point-grabbing (and IMO overly competitive) attitude some people develop(ed). Without calling names, you might all know that I mean members trying to collect as many points as possible without taking the slightest trouble to come up with a well-founded/researched answer, with the only intention to rank top on the KudoZ leader board. However, that does not mean that I would do away with the entire points system.

Cecile Watrin
+ let's not overlook the fact that occasionally people pop up on the KudoZ who really have nothing doing there and suggest answers that are consistently off the mark (like me pretending I can translate German when I only have a basic knowledge of the language). I confess my attitude to such cases is a little ironical in the peer-grading.

http://www.proz.com/topic/17053

Ailish wrote: Example, I want a translation for 'SEÑAL' in a highly specific context and I get 'sign, indication' as an answer. Now please explain why I bother to post a question to get this kind of answer? I know that already, otherwise I wouldn't be translating now would I?

Rowan says: "A final note to answerers (while I'm on my soap box a little): to give askers the best possible help, EXPLAIN yourself. Make a case for your answer. You don't have to write an epic novel or anything, but a paragraph explaining your suggestion, plus a decent reference or two if you can find it, would make an enormous difference."

http://www.proz.com/topic/16213


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
Kudozs is really great, with a few exceptions Jan 24, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

I think KudoZ is great. I usually get fine suggestions when I'm in a bind, and it's reassuring to know that when I accept a new translation assignment, the chances are good that if I really get stuck on a term (after consulting all the dictionaries, online glossaries and researching the subject matter), I'll probably get some useful help in KudoZ.
But KudoZ also has considerable downsides to it. The race to be first to answer the question frequently results in poor answers: either simply wrong, non-native abominations or unsubstantiated wild guesses. I suppose it's inevitable that a system based on competition – the points and the money associated with those points - will also attract answerers who are unreliable and basically dishonest and foster the sometimes horrible atmosphere created by point hunters instead of a community of linguists working together on the basis of trust.

So do others think it would make sense to create a separate KudoZ, maybe called KudoZ Pro, for practicing translators? It would emulate the calmer, more thoughtful and well-researched contributions found in FLEFO, Foreign Languages Educational Forum or ATA's German Language Division mailing list, for example. It would be a true workplace for practicing translators.

Instead of the current system of separating between easy and pro questions, we would have KudoZ and KudoZ Pro. Higher standards for participating in KudoZ Pro would need to be established. With this separation, I think more working translators would be comfortable coming to ProZ for linguistic help. Maybe the only way to ensure that KudoZ Pro is more professional is to eliminate the points system.

Here are a few comments on KudoZ recently made in the forums:

Ian Winick
... that the atmosphere has been tense, heated and even downright poisonous on many occasions leading up to the universal season of goodwill.
Healthy discussion between real translators is interesting and enlightening, something from which we all benefit. The ideal KudoZ scenario is one where a number of intelligent answers are put forward, evaluated fairly and constructively by peers and where the most suitable answer is finally chosen by the asker.

CMJ_Trans
My suggestion would be to change the system and do away with ProZ.com points altogether. It would probably be quite a shock to see how fast some people would abandon the site if they had nothing to 'gain'. This would also mean changes in the bidding system.

Lenkl
Thank you Ian and the others who are trying to restore KudoZ to its original intended purpose. I sincerely hope that something can be done. At this stage, all that is being produced is a frequently embarrassing glossary of little or no value to translators.
I made the suggestion a little while ago that the system ought to be adjusted so that no one would be able to post an answer until after a brief waiting (or “cooling-off”) period, in the hope that this might encourage those who wish to make suggestions to (1) carefully read the question (2) do whatever research may be required, and (3) draft a succinct answer.
Like others, as things stand now, I am no longer interested in participating in what is all too frequently a charade, very far from the idea of shared knowledge and experience.

Steffen Walter
I think that quite many a personal attack or non-factual/non-linguistic remark seen in certain KudoZ pairs can be attributed to the point-grabbing (and IMO overly competitive) attitude some people develop(ed). Without calling names, you might all know that I mean members trying to collect as many points as possible without taking the slightest trouble to come up with a well-founded/researched answer, with the only intention to rank top on the KudoZ leader board. However, that does not mean that I would do away with the entire points system.

Cecile Watrin
+ let's not overlook the fact that occasionally people pop up on the KudoZ who really have nothing doing there and suggest answers that are consistently off the mark (like me pretending I can translate German when I only have a basic knowledge of the language). I confess my attitude to such cases is a little ironical in the peer-grading.

http://www.proz.com/topic/17053

Ailish wrote: Example, I want a translation for 'SEÑAL' in a highly specific context and I get 'sign, indication' as an answer. Now please explain why I bother to post a question to get this kind of answer? I know that already, otherwise I wouldn't be translating now would I?

Rowan says: "A final note to answerers (while I'm on my soap box a little): to give askers the best possible help, EXPLAIN yourself. Make a case for your answer. You don't have to write an epic novel or anything, but a paragraph explaining your suggestion, plus a decent reference or two if you can find it, would make an enormous difference."

http://www.proz.com/topic/16213
Hallo all!
I am very new to Proz and Kudoz, infact the first few weeks I had just observed without even participating. Later had to experience very egoistical comments passed by a few established Kudoz masters, unnecessarily on a personal level, (whom I had to shake-off), more moving towards insulting manner, which was most uncalled for. If something could be done to improve the general atmosphere amongst the participants, then it should be done and I am for it. S.R.Bandi


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:13
SITE FOUNDER
Not to be forgotten: we have EASY and PRO sections already Jan 25, 2004

Kim, before this discussion picks up, I would like to point out something you have glossed over in this and a previous thread:
we already have "pro" and "easy" sections.

Therefore, unless I am missing something, your proposal should be not to create a "pro" section, but to somehow change or distinguish it. If you really want to do that, please put forward a concrete proposal (beginning with a straightforward subject line.) Otherwise, this is likely to go in circles.

Thanks!


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Abdellatif Bouhid  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:13
English to French
+ ...
My 3 steps to a PRO contribution Jan 25, 2004

1. research;

2. substantiate with a valid reference or link;

3. never use confidence level 5


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Professionalism Jan 25, 2004

I think the level of professionalism on this site is fantastic, not to mention the opportunity to actually get to know other fellow professionals virtually or even personally. The Internet is the medium that enables us to do this.

The Internet is also a medium that can make it possible for anyone to participate for any purposes, good or evil, due to the anonymity it affords. Because of its nature, no requirements, limitations or rules can be imposed or enforced with any degree of effectiveness. The freedom we all enjoy can therefore be taken advantage of by some individuals to do things that are disagreeable to the rest.

However, such incidents appear to be minor at least in my languages. I do not know about the others, but I think the freedom and merit of the forum as it exists is something that should be maintained even though we may have to put up with aberrations from time to time.

Such is the trade-off that we have to make to live in a free society, and it's worth it!


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 14:13
English to French
+ ...
Kudoz pro Jan 25, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

So do others think it would make sense to create a separate KudoZ, maybe called KudoZ Pro, for practicing translators? It would emulate the calmer, more thoughtful and well-researched contributions found in FLEFO, Foreign Languages Educational Forum or ATA's German Language Division mailing list, for example. It would be a true workplace for practicing translators.



Metzger, the kind of forum you want exists already, you mention them yourself.

Why would you change proz in an ATA forum ?
Is the ATA forum as popular ?

There are all kind of places for all kind of taste.




[Edited at 2004-01-25 06:09]


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nyamuk
United States
Local time: 06:13
Indonesian to English
+ ...
re Kim's suggestions for improving quality Jan 25, 2004

Kim,

I think there are ways that the current system can be modified, without creating a entire new division. Your point about the problems that come about from competition is where I would suggest change.

1. A que system where answers are held for 15, 30, even an hour before being printed. People are eager to gain points, they jot down the first thing that comes to their minds, I think a delay would allow people to remain competitive and focus on giving the best quality answer.

2. anonymous answers. I see a lot of agreeing and disagreeing that seems more about forming alliances or metering out retribution than about giving thoughtful feedback. The identities could be revealed after the answer is chosen.

3. Because people are eager to be rewarded a more complex point system where points were awarded based on peer feedback and not just on being selected win or lose.

4. I would like to see a button on each question that says [participate in an open forum on this question] If people select the button the first time it will start a thread in the appropriate forum for the language pair with the question as a new thread, there people could sort out their differences over semantics usage, or just plain back biting. The threads would be expunged at a fixed interval after they become inactive. This way people could participate in a discussion without committing to a graded answer, and people could work out their personal differences in the forum and not on the kudoz query page as is now the case.

5. One way to deal with irrelevant answers would be a bounce feature. If enough participants decided that a submission was ridiculous and a distraction they could vote to have the response bounced out. I would suggest that the threshold should be pretty high like 10, 15 bounce votes before the submission gets bounced.

These suggestions don't do anything towards your suggestions about improving standards by more stringent verification however I think they could help improve the quality of the replies in Kudoz.

[Edited at 2004-01-25 06:23]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:13
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Good suggestions but ... Jan 25, 2004

nyamuk wrote:
1. A queue system where answers are held for 15, 30, even an hour before being printed.
Very good suggestion being discussed several times and supported by a moderator majority (24 hours).
I thought it had been implemented. HENRY??

2. anonymous answers. The identities could be revealed after the answer is chosen.
You definitely have a point BUT one of the good characteristics of non-anonymity is that I learn to trust certain answerers and distrust others.
One solution could be to have a KudoZ identity (name or number) completely unrelated to the normal identity. This name should also be unsearchable/scrambled and only useful to you if you after 24 hours made a note of who e.g. 'Aries' is.

3. Because people are eager to be rewarded a more complex point system where points were awarded based on peer feedback and not just on being selected win or lose.

Good idea. One way could be to let peers assign the answer a peer grade. Awarded points would be the average of the points from asker and peers.

4. I would like to see a button on each question that says [participate in an open forum on this question] If people select the button the first time it will start a thread in the appropriate forum for the language pair with the question as a new thread, there people could sort out their differences over semantics usage, or just plain back biting. The threads would be expunged at a fixed interval after they become inactive. This way people could participate in a discussion without committing to a graded answer and people could work out their personal differences in the forum and not on the kudoz query page as is now the case.
If time and interest suffice, why not try it.
No reason to expunge the discussion though. Traceability is a golden characteristic of the KudoZ system.

5. One way to deal with irrelevant answers would be a bounce feature. If enough participants decided that a submission was ridiculous and a distraction they could vote to have the response bounced out.
Disagree. You and I might think that an answer lacks merit. You can never be sure that others do make another judgement, especially teh asker, the answere and the question peers.

Best regards

[Edited at 2004-01-25 09:43]


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
Some comments Jan 25, 2004

nyamuk wrote:

1. A que system where answers are held for 15, 30, even an hour before being printed.


I don't think an hour is a good idea. If the question is relatively simple for people who work in that field, you could end up with lots of similar answers and not many agrees, which defeats the object of your point in no. 3.

2. anonymous answers. I see a lot of agreeing and disagreeing that seems more about forming alliances or metering out retribution than about giving thoughtful feedback. The identities could be revealed after the answer is chosen.


As already mentioned, we often rely on knowing that so-and-so knows his/her stuff in this particular field. If I get an answer from one of the many people whose knowledge I respect, I will think again if it clashes with my original idea.

3. Because people are eager to be rewarded a more complex point system where points were awarded based on peer feedback and not just on being selected win or lose.


Here I agree with you. Another reason to keep answers open for a minimum of 24 hours. The more feedback, the better.

4. I would like to see a button on each question that says [participate in an open forum on this question] If people select the button the first time it will start a thread in the appropriate forum for the language pair with the question as a new thread, there people could sort out their differences over semantics usage, or just plain back biting. The threads would be expunged at a fixed interval after they become inactive. This way people could participate in a discussion without committing to a graded answer, and people could work out their personal differences in the forum and not on the kudoz query page as is now the case.


For me, one of the plus points of the KudoZ system is that it's all on one page, warts and all.

5. One way to deal with irrelevant answers would be a bounce feature. If enough participants decided that a submission was ridiculous and a distraction they could vote to have the response bounced out. I would suggest that the threshold should be pretty high like 10, 15 bounce votes before the submission gets bounced.


Whoops, didn't realise at first what you were driving at. In my experience, most people would hide their answer long before they clock up 10 disagrees.

Kim, are you referring to a SUPER PRO section, which has been suggested before? Anyway, I'm all in favour of getting rid of points, or otherwise radically changing the ranking system, if it encourages more people to particpate and improves the quality of KudoZ.

[Edited at 2004-01-25 10:46]

[Edited at 2004-01-25 13:27]


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lim0nka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Member (2004)
English to Polish
How about... Jan 25, 2004

Leaving the 'easy' section the way it is now, and changing just the 'pro' section, not by holding the answers for 15 minutes, but by making it impossible to answer such questions. Those of us who think their question is not that complicated and the correct answer/word just slipped their mind, would be able to ask an 'easy' question and get help immediately. Those who would rather wait for a considered and well-founded answer, could ask a 'pro' question.

Just an idea...


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:13
SITE FOUNDER
Thoughts on nyamuk's suggestions Jan 25, 2004

nyamuk wrote:

1. A que system where answers are held for 15, 30, even an hour...

2. anonymous answers...

3. ... a more complex point system where points were awarded based on peer feedback and not just on being selected win or lose.

4. ... a button on each question that says [participate in an open forum on this question]

5. One way to deal with irrelevant answers would be a bounce feature.


Great set of thoughts, nyamuk! I like two of them:

(3) An interesting idea. Not sure how it could work (given that there is variation in number of agrees by language pair)

(5) Also creative: forcing out bad suggestions. But do you (or others) find 'disagrees' insufficient?

As for the others:

(2) We tried anonymity before--agrees/disagrees used to be anonymous. The tendency to go negative was greater, at least among a few, and this made it unworkable.

(4) Generally opposed. KudoZ is fundamentally a supplement/complement to the open format of mailing lists. The structured nature gives it a unique value and allows it to scale.

(1) This would be too confusing. There would also be duplication of effort, delays for askers, support requests, etc.

Thanks for your fresh thinking!


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:13
SITE FOUNDER
24 hours before grading occurs is a *guideline* in KudoZ beta Jan 25, 2004

Mats wrote:
nyamuk wrote:
1. A queue system where answers are held for 15, 30, even an hour before being printed.

Very good suggestion being discussed several times and supported by a moderator majority (24 hours). I thought it had been implemented. HENRY??

No, what we discussed was allowing 24 hours before grading occurs. This was implemented as a guideline (but not a rule) in the beta design.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
What happened to the grading system based on agrees and confidence levels? Jan 25, 2004

Henry, I seem to remember a while ago reading something about a new ranking system based on the number of agrees and confidence levels, etc. (can't quite remember all the details). What happened to that idea?

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:13
SITE FOUNDER
Back to the drawing board Jan 25, 2004

Nikki Graham wrote:

Henry, I seem to remember a while ago reading something about a new ranking system based on the number of agrees and confidence levels, etc. (can't quite remember all the details). What happened to that idea?

There was a fair bit of resistance to the idea as it was presented. We took the "agreement ratio" project back into the labs as a result. It will be implemented in a different form.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:13
Spanish to English
Some agrees with explanation Jan 25, 2004

The answers being anonymous would defeat the real kudos effect. Over the last year that I have been in ProZ I have been able to form a pretty good idea about the major participants and there areas of expertise and levels of responsability when putting forward answers, which is over and above their kudoz points and, as Nikki says, this is often an intelligent aid in deciding which is the right answer.

As for agrees, the answers to highly specialised questions usually do not get many agrees at all, because there are not many people in a position to answer the question, let alone know if the answer given is the correct one. I have seen a lot of good, highly technical answers go unmarked, because the asker didn\'t bother to mark it and not enough people understood the subject to give an agree at the right time.

Personally I have no complaints about the members of the Spanish-English site which I participate in.

What might help is for us to continue to work on the glossary, and when we find that a wrong answer has been entered into the glossary, get in touch with a moderator to correct the error.


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