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Feature proposal: Vote for "automatic content request"
Thread poster: Jabberwock

Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:48
Member (2004)
English to Polish
May 9, 2005

I have noticed that when asking a Kudoz question, it is often easy to omit important information (which is against the Kudoz rules). It happened to me more than once - when I am totally immersed in the translation for a few days, the context for me is absolutely obvious - for others it may be totally out of the blue!

It happens to others, too, of course. The usual course of action is that the question is pointed to the moderator (which is not that practical - sometimes there are many of such questions, and mods have lives too!), or, much more often, the Asker is rebuked nicely (or not so nicely) by other Prozians.

I think it would be good to have an automatic system, just like the "Pro - nonpro" voting system, that would allow to file a request for the Asker to supply context, specify the areas correctly, etc. If there are enough votes, the request would then be mailed to the Asker. Of course, the typical limits for voting, such as a minimum Kudoz points, might also apply.

One obvious advantage would be to depersonalize the request (as the people asking for the context sometimes show some impatience...) and to put it into a more formal frame, with the reasons for requests selected from a list.

What do you think?


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:48
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Great idea May 9, 2005

I love the idea, Jabberwock! In my pair, the issue of the lack of context given by askers is highly relevant.

And you have a good explanation on why this should be implemented:

quote
One obvious advantage would be to depersonalize the request (as the people asking for the context sometimes show some impatience...) and to put it into a more formal frame, with the reasons for requests selected from a list.
quote

[Edited at 2005-05-09 13:58]


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
+ ...
The only issue is.... May 9, 2005

What do you do with those who flat out refuse to provide context? We've all seen these questions, posed with little or no context (often in the wrong language pair). Answerers will all but beg for some context and their cries fall on deaf ears. These are the questions that wind up being graded by the robot.

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Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 12:48
German to English
+ ...
Deaf ears May 9, 2005

Robert Donahue wrote:

Answerers will all but beg for some context and their cries fall on deaf ears.


I'd be inclined to take it one step further and make it impossible for anyone to propose an answer if someone else has already requested context.

I find it plain rude the way numerous people ignore requests for more/any context. If they don't realise its importance, they don't deserve any answers IMO. I wouldn't mind if they only had to be asked once and then corrected their ways, but that's more the exception than the rule.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:48
Member (2004)
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
If the reqest is declined... May 9, 2005

I think that disabling the option to answer is a bit too radical. After all, the askers in such cases already get punished - if they do receive the answer, it may not be valid at all for their purposes.

I am more concerned for the future searchers - they might not be aware that the question is ambiguous or has other flaws. I think it might be more useful to "flag" the questions where the request for confirmation has not been replied (in, say, 24 hours?) as "incomplete", to warn people who might stumble upon them in their searching.

[Edited at 2005-05-09 14:33]


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
+ ...
Cilian's point is valid though May 9, 2005

Jabberwock wrote:

I think that disabling the option to answer is a bit too radical. After all, the askers in such cases already get punished - if they do receive the answer, it may not be valid at all for their purposes.

I am more concerned for the future searchers - they might not be aware that the question is ambiguous or has other flaws. I think it might be more useful to "flag" the questions where the request for confirmation has not been replied (in, say, 24 hours?) as "incomplete", to warn people who might stumble upon them in their searching.

[Edited at 2005-05-09 14:33]


I don't think it's that radical at all.

Under the current system, there's no penalty for Asker's that don't provide context. If they're typical of the abusers then they most likely won't even bother to grade and the answer will be auto-graded down the line. From there it goes into the glossary. How dos that help future searchers?

Under your proposed idea for requesting context, give them 24 hours to clarify or at least state outright that there isn't more context. If they don't provide context/respond/grade it within that period then the question is removed.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:48
Member (2004)
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
Unfair to those who reply... May 9, 2005

Robert Donahue wrote:

Under your proposed idea for requesting context, give them 24 hours to clarify or at least state outright that there isn't more context. If they don't provide context/respond/grade it within that period then the question is removed.


The system has to allow the Askers some time to respond to the content request (as we know, the mailer might take some time to send the request). When the request is pending, it should be possible to answer those questions, as what some people think to be an incomplete question (and vote for request), might be considered a perfectly clear question by a specialist in the field.

Removing a question because of lack of response is totally unfair to those who answered the question. They still took time to answer (and it could be even harder without the context!) and they deserve their hard earned KudoZ points.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
English to Arabic
+ ...
Leave some room for common sense... May 9, 2005

I do agree that the way some people behave on Kudoz is enough to drive you mad, but I don't think the way to deal with this is to impose more rules, to make it automatically impossible for people to do this or that.
After all, the vast majority of Kudoz-contributors do apply their common sense to decide whether or not more context should be provided, or whether or not it would be appropriate to give an answer under the circumstances. But, just like in real life, some people will just not understand, or will continue to refuse to understand, no matter how many rules you spell out or how hard you yell at them.
I think we're all so fond of Kudoz, that we wish it was a perfect place in an imperfect world. We'll all be a lot more content if we accept the fact that it can never be...


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:48
Member (2004)
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
Rules are rules, reality is reality... May 9, 2005

Nesrin wrote:

I do agree that the way some people behave on Kudoz is enough to drive you mad, but I don't think the way to deal with this is to impose more rules, to make it automatically impossible for people to do this or that.


I agree that imposing limitation is not a way to go. That is why my original proposal was in fact meant to moderate what is a reality: people often request Askers to provide more context, often quite bluntly... "Flagging" the questions considered to be vague is also not meant to "punish" the askers, but to make the future readers aware of that fact...


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:48
English to French
+ ...
What if the asker himself has no context? May 9, 2005

While I agree that the asker should provide as much context as s/he can, we should also keep in mind that sometimes you have very little context to go around. That's when I, for one, post a kudoz question: when I don't have much to help me start my research, and I hope someone here will be familiar enough with the subject matter to at least steer me in the right direction.

That's actually another point I have been wanting to bring up for some time, even if it's not 100% what this thread is about. I feel that kudoz help should be just that, help. Ideas, brainstorming, etc. We shouldn't provide the translation for the asker, i.e. a fully translated sentence, complete with references and the whole 9 yards.

But that was not the topic for this thread so I'll stop here.

Sarah


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:48
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
A request for more context doesn't mean anything May 9, 2005

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
I'd be inclined to take it one step further and make it impossible for anyone to propose an answer if someone else has already requested context.


Sorry, but I've seen many cases when the question itself is very clear for `specialists', but those who are not specializaing in the field, require for more context. Sometimes I try to ask my questions in such a way so that only those who really know the corresponding field or subject can answer (in this way I'm trying to limit a flood of dozen answers, 10 of which are really useless, or are wild guesses or quotes from general dictionaries).

The only fact that I don't (or anyone doesn't) understand a question doesn't yet mean the asker should provide more context. The question may be oriented on specialists, the colleagues who have an experience in this or that field.


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
+ ...
Excellent point Kirril, but... May 9, 2005

Kirill Semenov wrote:

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
I'd be inclined to take it one step further and make it impossible for anyone to propose an answer if someone else has already requested context.


Sorry, but I've seen many cases when the question itself is very clear for `specialists', but those who are not specializaing in the field, require for more context. Sometimes I try to ask my questions in such a way so that only those who really know the corresponding field or subject can answer (in this way I'm trying to limit a flood of dozen answers, 10 of which are really useless, or are wild guesses or quotes from general dictionaries).

The only fact that I don't (or anyone doesn't) understand a question doesn't yet mean the asker should provide more context. The question may be oriented on specialists, the colleagues who have an experience in this or that field.


You aren't the issue Kirill : ) It's questions/Askers like this one;
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1024647

Zero context, has nothing to do with a specific term but it led to a lot of specialists arguing over silliness.

I don't have a problem answering questions without lots of context if the Asker is upfront about it. How hard is it to say "Sorry, I don't have more context than this. Thank you in advance for your suggestions"???


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:48
Member (2004)
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
No context at all? May 9, 2005

As one of the colleagues in the English-Polish pair observed, the cases when the asker stares at a blank page with just the term written over it are quite rare. In other cases every piece of information, even insignificant to the asker, might prove valuable for those who answer. And even if there is no valuable input, it is good to point it out - this may be valuable information in itself.

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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:48
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sure, Robert, I perfectly know that there are ambiguous questions :) May 9, 2005

Robert Donahue wrote:
I don't have a problem answering questions without lots of context if the Asker is upfront about it. How hard is it to say "Sorry, I don't have more context than this. Thank you in advance for your suggestions"???


Sure, there are questions which are so ambiguous that the only way is to propose wild guesses. Just recently I've seen a great example -- an asker asked to translate "How are you?" into Russian, but marked his question as "Medical". The field is also the context! I mean there is a general translation of the phrase into Russian, but if it happens in an hospital, there is another very usual way to translate it, but specifically if someone is addressing an ill person. The example highlights at least three points:
1) any question or expression, however simple it may look, is context-dependent;
2) the context may be provided in subtle ways, like the general or specific field selected by askers;
3) we cannot prevent people answering kudoZ questions basing on the fact that *someone* do not understand a question and asks for more context. This is a potential way to kill *a huge* number of good answers. If an asker doesn't provide a context on demapnd sent via "Asker's Area" there are little chance that the asker will react at an `official proZ request' to provide more context. Cilian was too radical here, I agree.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:48
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Responsibility May 9, 2005

By the way, this thread is yet another aspect of what is discussed in another forum topic. As I had stated there, *responsibility* is the key point and the main problem of proZ. Irrseponsible conduct is the common feature of many unpleasant things which happen at kudoZ: abusing the site with dozens of questions in a row, ambiguous questions without a context, hasty answers, thoughtless peer comments, and many-many others.

The reason is that kudoZ is `free-for-all'. Due to the fact, we have `visible-to-all' abuses.

Now, when proZ has reached it's quantitative (more than 100,000 registered profiles & more than 1 million kudoZ questions) and qualitative (new, more sophisticated design of the most important features) threshold, we are at the crossroad, with two paths leading either to a community of real professionals or to a general uncontrollable language forum pretty like many existing on the Web. I believe, that if proZ is to become a trade mark and one of the leaders among translation directories, it has to be more professional than other sites.


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