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Cap on the number of questions a member can ask?
Thread poster: Robert Donahue
Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
+ ...
May 8, 2005

In a recent posting this topic came up. I would like to solicit the input of my fellow Prozians on this. Should there be a cap on the number of questions a member (basic/platinum) can ask?

If so, why and how many? Should it be per day, week, month, year? Should there be a price to pay (monetary or otherwise) for exceeding this?

If you disagree with that, why not?

As I stated previously I have mixed feeling here. Obviously if no one poses questions then there are no Kudoz points to go around. The flip side to this coin would be the serial abusers of the kudoz game. I am referring to those who pose multiple questions day after day essentially having others do their work for them a word/line at a time. The homework/test ones are bad enough. That just speaks of a lack of academic integrity on the Asker's part (not that I haven't answered some myself). The ones who are presumably receiving a paycheck are worse. Aren't we really punishing ourselves by answering? Let's take the example of an unqualified translator who bids on and wins a job by undercutting their competitors. This individual has a poor or nonexistent grasp of the material, so they pose a ton of questions thereby using experienced translators to cover up for what they lack. The company that hires this person is pleased that they received an acceptable (or even poor but adequate) translation and moreover they got it cheap. They gladly seek out this person's services in the future. Sounds like a vicious circle to me.

Is there a solution? Should there be? Should we find a way to brand those who take more from the site than they give? A scarlet "T" if you will. Maybe something could be worked out like this; first 10-20 are freebies. After that, If you have asked substantially more questions than you've answered those numbers would be displayed in BOLD OVERSIZED font right under their name on the profile. What do you think?

Oh, and I'd like to go on record as saying that not everyone who asks a lot of questions is abusing the system. There are a lot of people out there who both give and take equally.


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Asking Kudoz questions May 8, 2005

http://www.proz.com/kudozrules
It does not set a limit, though.
This is an old issue here at Proz. Personally, it bothers me a lot to see many questions from the same asker open at the same time. One goes to the list of questions and there one can see ten or fifteen open questions from one asker, sometimes more. Although there is no obligation to answer them, I find it imposing, and it suggests to me that maybe the job should not have been accepted for lack of knowledge about the subject, or laziness.


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
No hard number is specified...true. May 8, 2005

Luisabel wrote:

http://www.proz.com/kudozrules
It does not set a limit, though.


You're right Luisabel, it doesn't. It says this;
2.4 - In general, askers should refrain from posting a large number of questions in a short period of time. Bear in mind that a question may be send to several thousand people, and use your judgment.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:57
German to English
Cap on the number of questions a member can ask? May 8, 2005

Robert Donahue wrote:

The flip side to this coin would be the serial abusers of the kudoz game. I am referring to those who pose multiple questions day after day essentially having others do their work for them a word/line at a time.

Oh, and I'd like to go on record as saying that not everyone who asks a lot of questions is abusing the system. There are a lot of people out there who both give and take equally.


You raise a number of important points, Robert. I don't think anybody should be surprised when translators object to various types of abuse of KudoZ because no matter where they're from, there are some fundamental ethical considerations that all professional translators subscribe to.

I think the American Translators Association Code of Professional Conduct & Business Practices has some relevant things to say:

I. As a TRANSLATOR, I stand between two languages and act as a bridge for the free passage of ideas from one side to the other. Because my knowledge, skill, and discretion are essential to intellectual commerce, I commit myself to the highest standards of performance, ethical behavior, and sound business practice.
• I will endeavor to translate with utmost accuracy and fidelity, so that I convey to the readers of the translation the same meaning and spirit the original conveyed to me. I acknowledge that level of excellence requires:

1. Mastery of the target language equivalent to that of an educated native speaker;
2. Up-to-date knowledge of the source language and the subject area sufficient to understand the message;

I will be truthful about my qualifications and business and will not accept any assignment for which I am not fully qualified, without the express consent of my client.

http://www.cta-web.org/ataethics.htm


[Edited at 2005-05-08 01:51]


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
German to English
+ ...
Kim May 8, 2005

"I will be truthful about my qualifications and business and will not accept any assignment for which I am not fully qualified, without the express consent of my client."

This paragraph says it all! Unfortunately, too many translators are either too inexperienced to realize their limitations or too eager to "make a buck." Either way, this can only lead to disaster.

I'm sure that all of us, when we first started out, thought we "knew it all." It takes a while to realize which subjects we're comfortable with and which ones we aren't. Eventually this leads to some degree of specialization. Until then, please think long and hard about the job you're accepting!

Trudy


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Kim & Trudy May 8, 2005

You make excellent points, but where do you stand on the cap vs. no cap issue?

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:27
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
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Make them pay with browniz May 8, 2005

Maybe we could fix a limit for free questions that one can ask in a day, say five, and for every additional question that a person asks, he/she may be made to part with 10 browni points. This way a small cost could be affixed to asking too many questions, which would deter indiscriminate use of the kudoz forum.

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:57
German to English
Cap on the number of questions a member can ask? May 8, 2005

Robert Donahue wrote:

You make excellent points, but where do you stand on the cap vs. no cap issue?


I think there should be a cap, Robert, and I believe one will be implemented before long. I don't envy the staff and programmers when I think of all the improvements that they want to make and have been making over the years. Here's one of many lively discussions on the subject you've raised here.

http://www.proz.com/post/147289#147289

[Edited at 2005-05-08 03:47]


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
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Browniez you say.... May 8, 2005

Balasubramaniam wrote:

Maybe we could fix a limit for free questions that one can ask in a day, say five, and for every additional question that a person asks, he/she may be made to part with 10 browni points. This way a small cost could be affixed to asking too many questions, which would deter indiscriminate use of the kudoz forum.


I agree with Balasubramaniam here. I think 5 is an appropriate number if we're talking limits. I like the browniez idea because besides the initial 300 everyone receives to start, you have to earn them through participation on the site.

Maybe we could go a step further and just charge browniez for every question asked? For Platinum members they don't have a ton of significance (except for discounted membership renewal). For those who don't participate they'd find themselves out soon enough and would be restricted from asking more questions.


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Lesley Clayton
France
Local time: 02:57
French to English
+ ...
Paying with browniz May 8, 2005

Browniz are very easy to get - you just have to agree with answers. If an unscrupulous person needs browniz to ask a question all they have to do is agree with just about any and every answer, thus devaluing answers and the whole kudoz system.

I haven't contributed to the kudoz debate so far because I think the system is fine as it is. We have the choice not to answer but I wouldn't want to restrict anyone's freedom to ask.

Lesley


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
The non-logged users May 8, 2005

I think the system you propose, Robert, would only be effective if non-logged users were no longer allowed to ask questions. Do you also suggest preventing non-logged users from asking questions?

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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
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Do you mean non-logged as in unregistered? May 8, 2005

Mihai Badea wrote:

I think the system you propose, Robert, would only be effective if non-logged users were no longer allowed to ask questions. Do you also suggest preventing non-logged users from asking questions?


If you mean unregistered users then yes I do suggest that. A good number of them, not all, are some of the worst offenders. You should be a member to ask a question on proz IMO. If this loophole was removed then we would do away with a lot of the problems that we encounter now such as ungraded questions, questions without context, etc. It only takes a half hour or so to register properly and as we speak it's completely free. There should be no excuse not to.


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Yes, I meant unregistered members May 8, 2005

Maybe it would be a good thing to oblige registered members to have their profiles completed. At this moment, there are lots of empty profiles. On the other side, there is nothing to prevent people from having multiple profiles. One could register with different identities in order to ask more questions than allowed (assuming a limit would be established). We should first find a way to solve this problem. The only thing I can think of is to limit the right to ask questions to members with ID verified, but I don’t know how feasible this would be.


[Edited at 2005-05-08 13:13]


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:57
English to French
+ ...
too many Kudoz questions for the same job May 8, 2005

Luisabel wrote:

Personally, it bothers me a lot to see many questions from the same asker open at the same time. One goes to the list of questions and there one can see ten or fifteen open questions from one asker, sometimes more. Although there is no obligation to answer them, I find it imposing, and it suggests to me that maybe the job should not have been accepted for lack of knowledge about the subject, or laziness.


I do feel exactly the same. Practically whole pages of a book were recently waiting to be translated on Kudoz. And very kind members did help day after day. I feel this is wrong.

I also feel a limit of five questions for the same job should be a reasonable limit. As to how to enforce such a rule, is best left to the wisdom and experience of the ProZ staff.


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
How can you tell? May 8, 2005

Claudette Hepburn wrote:
I also feel a limit of five questions for the same job should be a reasonable limit. As to how to enforce such a rule, is best left to the wisdom and experience of the ProZ staff.


I think five per day is fine. I don't know if you can make it per job since a) there's no way to tell what job it's coming from and b) not all jobs are created equal. If someone is translating a one page love letter 5 questions might be overboard. If someone is translating a novel, it would be way too restrictive. I suggest five per day because it's realistic and fair (in my opinion) and it keeps other people's questions from being pushed off of the page.


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