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Off topic: “Disagree” - Does culture play a part?
Thread poster: Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes

Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jul 13, 2004

I’ve noticed (and this is NOT a criticism, just an observation) that in my language pair, people tend to avoid giving a ‘disagree’ or getting offended when they receive one. They would rather go with a ‘neutral’ although they mean to disagree. Does that happen with the other language pairs?

I wonder if culture plays a part on this. I know that in some cultures, confrontation or explicit disagreements are meant to be avoided.

I would like to hear from the others.


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Annamaria Leone  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:05
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Good question! Jul 13, 2004

[quote]Sormane wrote:
I shouldn't say without thinking about for a while, but I thinkthisi is really an interesting point.
I'm curious to read the comments!


[Edited at 2004-07-13 15:57]


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 12:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's happened to me, too! Jul 13, 2004

Years ago, when I first began to answer Kudoz questions, I was shocked when I was notified of peer's disagreements. I took it as a personal insult. With time, I came to see these disagreements as a way of helping me to learn and develop my craft.

Personally, I only post a "Disagree" when the answer is so obviously wrong as to mislead the asker, and then, I make sure I have plenty of supporting information to back up my posting.


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xxxkire
Russian to English
+ ...
This is a PROZ thing. Jul 13, 2004

When I just started to play KUDOZ I used to place a disagree now and then, assuming that that was part of the game - or help. But very soon I noticed that people avoid giving "disagees", so I changed to "neutral" too. It happens in all language pairs here on PROZ, so I guess here it is international rather than cultural.

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Selçuk Budak  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:05
English to Turkish
+ ...
"Yes but!" The tendency is universal Jul 13, 2004

Leaving aside the habitual "disagreers," The phenomenon you draw attention seems, to me, a universal tendency, although its mode of expression differs from culture to culture.

And since there is only one mode of expression in kudoz system, which is a simple choice between "disagree and neutral," the negative answers tend to cluster around "neutral" in, I think, all language pairs.

It is almost instinctual, in almaost all cultures around the world, to avoid from attracting animosity.
Therefore, the tendency not to disagree, or rather avoid from expressing dissent stems from this fear.

And it has a good reason too. Because, when we look at the other side of the coin, we observe that in quite a high number of cases, disagreement is tended to be perceived as some sort of, at best, a challenge, a rivalry, and at worst, an attack, some kind of animosity.

In sum, the underlaying tendency in not expressing "disagreement" is almost universal, although it is felt and expressed in different ways in different cultures.

In this sense, there is not a qualitative difference between an American and a Turk, or between any other two cultures.
regards,



[Edited at 2004-07-13 19:56]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:05
Italian to English
Selçuk is right Jul 13, 2004

Selçuk Budak wrote:

Leaving aside the habitual \"disagreers,\" The phenomenon you draw attention seems, to me, a universal tendency, although its mode of expression differs from culture to culture.



Aferin sana!

There is no point in disagreeing outright because, as most Prozians realise, asker and answerer may not share the same information. The most polite strategy is simply to register a neutral opinion, and contribute one\'s own facts, opinions, links or whatever to the discussion.

Why be confrontational when there is no need?

Cheers,

Giles


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:05
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let's ban the "disagrees"... Jul 14, 2004

... and when the last of them was forgoten, people will feel offended when they get a "Neutral".

Some disagrees are offensive because of the text sent with them.

When an answer is clearly wrong, a polite disagree with the proper justification seems to be a reasonable option. After all it does not say "this is wrong" but "I do nos agree".

Besides, if you really need to make a neutral comment, it will be read as a disagreement.

Cheers,
Enrique


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xxxIanW
Local time: 16:05
German to English
+ ...
Disagree function is important Jul 14, 2004

In my opinion - humble as ever - the disagree plays a vital role.

Firstly, it acts as a deterrent to people who are wasting everyone's time by messing around with languages in which they can barely string a sentence together (a certain chappie in the English-French pairing a few months ago springs to mind, not to mention the occasional idiot who arrives on the scene armed with a machine translation program).

Secondly, and more importantly, the asker now receives notification if someone disagrees with one of the answers which is given. This makes sure that possible mistakes are brought to his/her attention. A neutral does not perform this function.

Otherwise, to answer the original question, most constructive criticism in my main pairings Ger-Eng and Fre-Eng is given using the "neutral".

All the best


Ian


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
No, it's not about culture... Jul 14, 2004

Disagree-s did not disappear and will never do. They exist in all language pairs I think (never checked other pairs than the ones I know).
It is not a matter of culture, but of their value.
A disagree means some red negative points and your answer will not be choosen. With neutral you don't gain, you don't loose.
There are cases when disagree-s are not given correctly. It happens that people have different sources of information where synonims may miss, or someone can view the question through another point, or the asker didn't give enough information so that interpretations may arise. Sometimes the answer is not entirely wrong,it has maybe a wrong formulation, a typing or grammar error.Still the ideas might be excellent. In all these cases you can not disagree,but have a neutral explanation with that answerer.
Some other people have a strange attitude: they answer too and give then a disagree to the others, so that he makes sure he will win the question. Finally sometimes they don't even answer theirselves, but just make comments to all the others, supporting one of them, or none, destroying some others.
Those red points of a disagree may be hated by most of the people. It looks like you are at school and got the worst mark, because you didn't learn and in many cases you don't deserve it.
So disagree-s may sometimes be helpful, but one must carefully judge before granting it and offend.
And points are unfortunately a part of your credential for a job.
That is the big problem.


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:05
German to English
+ ...
To some extent it depends on the individual Jul 14, 2004

Personally I don't like giving disagrees because there are too many people who take them the wrong way and then make some insulting comment (Ian, you know who I might be talking about ...;-)) If you're going to suggest an answer, you have to be able to deal with criticism.

However, some answers just seem so ridiculous or to have been offered by someone who's simply not qualified in that language pair that I would tend to be more ready to disagree with them.

Personally, I don't care about the points and I think you're wrong Ruxi - think on this: a lot of people might be just be too busy to participate in kudoz because they are successful and have lots of work (obviously I'm not saying that those who do aren't - it's a personal choice). I hardly ever answer kudoz questions - I usually don't get to them in time as I deactivated the email notification due to lack of time). So, I think that the kudoz points aren't really vital for you getting jobs - there are other more reliable ways of proving your skills.

If I give a kudoz answer, it's to help the answerer and I sometimes even agree with others if their answer is good - why not - I don't care about the points, it's just the fun and the helping that counts:-)

Have a nice day!

Sarah


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:05
German to English
+ ...
You're right, Tayfun BUT ... Jul 14, 2004

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:
Disagree is not punish or deterrent function
I am afraid you totaly misinterpreted Peergrading Philosopy.

Ian Winick wrote:

In my opinion - humble as ever - the disagree plays a vital role.

Firstly, it acts as a deterrent to people who are wasting everyone's time by messing around with languages in which they can barely string a sentence together (a certain chappie in the English-French pairing a few months ago springs to mind, not to mention the occasional idiot who arrives on the scene armed with a machine translation program).

Secondly, and more importantly, the asker now receives notification if someone disagrees with one of the answers which is given. This makes sure that possible mistakes are brought to his/her attention. A neutral does not perform this function.

Otherwise, to answer the original question, most constructive criticism in my main pairings Ger-Eng and Fre-Eng is given using the "neutral".

All the best

Ian


Hi Tayfun,

Obviously that is not the main function of a disagree, but I am afraid there are times when Ian is right. There are so many people who answer questions and just offer nonsense, because they are so desperate to get points - I feel that it is important to think carefully before giving any old answer, but obviously not everyone feels this way. As I said, there are plenty of people offering answers not in their language pair and their are plenty of people who think they can master a language better than native speakers only to harvest disagrees. There are also non-native speakers who offer very good answers, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here. Day in day out, my German customers think they know it better when it comes to English, so believe me I know what I'm talking about ...

I do not wish to offend anyone, but what I have just said is merely base on observations.

ATB,

Sarah


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:05
German to English
+ ...
Rules? Jul 14, 2004

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

You disagree them, all ok.
In fact you do not need to deter such answerers neither automatically disagree. Better just objectively you may agree/ disagree.

I know hopeless cases, poor answer has no chance or no competitive power against other stronger answers.

Well, the main topic was cultural difference. Yes there is.
If we stick to rules, as much as we can, there will be really a professional standard. Not yet perfectly attained.


Hi Tayfun,

I suspect you misunderstood my point. As I said there are people who propose answers when they simply aren't qualified (i.e. outside of their language pairs). That's improfessional and misleading, so I think there is a need to deter such answers - this has been discussed time and again and sometimes the user even ends up picking the wrong answer. I, for example, certainly wouldn't propose an answer in Turkish - maybe I could look in a Turkish dictionary, but seeing as I have no idea of the language, it's not really the same is it?

And as to rules - are there any for disagrees? Not that I know of. As I said it's up to the individual and thus I do not believe that a professional standard can ever be attained as far as this is concerned. There are always going to be people that are fervent O.T.T. disagreers and there will also be those who can't take the sting of a disagree and bite back with rude comments. Unfortunately, that's life.

ATB,

Sarah


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 16:05
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
It's partly cultural Jul 18, 2004

In the Swedish Forums we often diagree without anyone being offended - and we learn irrespective of if we agree or disagree with the disagree.
To me it's a simple non-value-laden opinion:

"I do not agree with your interpretation of the term or phrase."

It means nothing more and nothing less.

This is a Swedish trait, aiming at compromise, consensus or a lead to a better solution:
Without knowing the various opinions of the participants you cannot strike a good compromise. Consequently, you cannot start by being 'neutral'. Neutral is no creative basis for consensus.

One example of Swedish bluntness is 'Mind your own business' which in English evidently (http://www.proz.com/topic/16839?start=0) is more like 'Piss of' than its literal meaning, which it does in Swedish: 'Mind your OWN business rather than that of others' and is more like a friendly admonition or rule than an agressive statement.

When 'disagree' is seen as an exchange of thoughts it is easier to give and accept.

BR

Mats J C Wiman (July 13-28: See mobile number below)
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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:05
Member
English to Turkish
It may depend on Jul 18, 2004

factors like gender, age, and personality, of course, as well as on culture. I agree however, if a culture tends to be more indirect in its ways of expression, it may be a bit difficult to back up a disagree with courteous or at least non-harsh explanations (when the limited space in the comment boxes is considered). To continue with Mats's example: a word for word translation of "mind your own business" would sound harsh and even offensive in Turkish, too, if not something like "Piss off" at all. But it is possible to make it sound courteous with a little bit embellishment and indirectness. Another example that jumps to my mind now -though not related to our subject- is the "Bitte haben Sie etwas Geduld" which is a very courteous expression in German. When you translate it word for word to Turkish, you would definitely sound rude and harsh; as if reprimanding your addressee for their inconsiderate impatience

So, for the sake of avoiding the oft-discussed Kudoz wars, it might help to keep the cultural differences in mind and word one's comments accordingly. However, I absolutely agree with two2tango on the value of grades: a "disagree" is a disagree and a "neutral" is neutral. It is pointless and never useful to the asker (or to the answerer, for that matter) to substitute one with the other. However, it's a must in my opinion to back both up with explanations, even though such may not be a requirement when the grade is an "agree".


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Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. Jul 18, 2004

Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate it.

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