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Under what circumstances one can "disagree" with a Kudoz answer?
Thread poster: Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.

Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 09:21
Member (2004)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Jul 1, 2005

I have got a "disagree" in one of my Kudoz answers and did not know why. So, I asked my colleague, "...why you disagree with my translation? Do you think my translation is incorrect?!"

He replied to my private email, "I only DISAGREE with your translation, I didn't say it was INCORRECT."

I replied, "In this Kudoz forum, "disagree" is a strong word, which implies that the translation is incorrect and unacceptable. You can translate a sentence in many ways, may be some are better and some are not so good but also not incorrect. That’s why anyone can answer any question and the asker can choose the best one he/she likes. If you think some answer is not incorrect, and you have some better option, you are always welcome to post a new answer. Please don't put "disagree" when you think the translation is not incorrect."

And then he replied, "...at my age and experience it is simply not possible for me to accept any kind of wrong and unwanted advice and advise which cannot
differentiate the meanings of two simple words ("incorrect" and "disagree") wherever you use those be it at Kudoz forum, so it naturally becomes illogical."

Well, I am not interested to continue this debate. I just want to know the opinion of my colleagues. What do you think? Under what circumstances a peer can disagree with a Kudoz answer? Can a peer put a "disagree" mark to a Kudoz answer when s/he thinks that the answer is not incorrect?

I have got only the following reference in the KudoZ FAQ:

http://www.proz.com/index.php3?sp=about/kudoz&show_mode=faq#kudoz_total_dropped

"23. Can I agree with more than one answer to a question?

Yes. You are encouraged to agree with as many answers as you consider correct, and disagree with as many answers as you consider incorrect."


[Edited at 2005-07-01 14:20]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 22:21
SITE FOUNDER
Terminology: "disagree" vs. "incorrect" Jul 1, 2005

Can a peer put a "disagree" mark to a KudoZ answer when s/he thinks that the answer is not incorrect?


When I created the agree/disagree option, my assumption was that people would disagree when they felt answers were incorrect. That is why one can "agree" with multiple answers - because there can be more than one correct translation.

However, strictly speaking, one could "disagree" without feeling an answer was incorrect. For example, I might disagree with an official translation, even though I recognize that as an official translation, it is by definition "correct".

It is an interesting distinction, philosophically. I don't think it is worth splitting hairs on, though. A disagree is, in the end, the peer's own decision.


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Ziad Marzouka  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
I agree! Jul 1, 2005

Hello Saleh,

I totally AGREE with you, the word "Disagree" is very strong it even hurts sometimes, recently I've been using the "neutral" option, it's much better,nicer and even more polite in my opinion, and just write my comment, and I really would prefer that other people would do the same when they disagree on an answer that I propose.

Ziad


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Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 09:21
Member (2004)
English to Bengali
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I also think that "neutral" is a more "polite" way to express a disagree... Jul 1, 2005

Ziad Marzouka wrote:

...recently I've been using the "neutral" option, it's much better,nicer and even more polite in my opinion, and just write my comment, and I really would prefer that other people would do the same when they disagree on an answer that I propose.

Ziad

Thanks, Ziad. I also think that "neutral" is a more "polite" way to express a disagree, specially when you think that the answer is not incorrect.


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hirselina
Local time: 04:21
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
Continuing the debate? Jul 1, 2005

[quote]Saleh Chowdhury wrote:

"Well, I am not interested to continue this debate. I just want to know the opinion of my colleagues."

Isn't wanting to know the opinion of your colleagues continuing the debate in some ways?

In Kudoz it is for the peer commenting on an answer to choose between "agree", "neutral" and "disagree" and ideally the comments should only reflect how that person feels about a particular answer in a particular context. A "disagree" can have many meanings as translations can be "wrong" in many ways (sometimes a translation doesn't fit the context or the style, or has the wrong connotation without being an incorrect "out of context" translation). Therefore, limiting "disagree" to "really wrong answers" is tricky.

This being said, there seems to be a general tendency to use "neutral" to express even strong disagreement and it might be a good idea to stick to "agree" and "neutral" is you feel "disagree" is too offending. If anything, it might be a way to avoid time-consuming personal mails from colleagues demanding an additional justification of a "disagree" awarded.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:21
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Disagree should not be regarded as agressive Jul 1, 2005

Disagree could be used with this implicit meaning:

I do not agree with your translation because......
I do not think that your translation expresses what the original
texts intends to express because......
Your translation is good but in the given context, George's
translation fits better because.....
Your suggested expression is correct per se but the word X is
normally not used. The word Y is IMHO the correct one.
etc.

Mats Wiman


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Sarah Steiner  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:21
Spanish to German
+ ...
small speech for the defense of "DISAGREE" Jul 1, 2005

Hi,

From my point of view, it probably may be considered (and intended) as inpolite to put a "disagree" instead of a simple new answer to a KudoZ question. In any case, if we use KudoZ for asking (and answering) questions (and this is a really helpfull platform sometimes, who would say the opposite?), we should also live with the posibility to get a "disagree". That is part of the "game", isn´t it? When a simple "agree" does not necessarily mean we are great translators (or that the answer is necessarily correct), why should we feel disappointed with a "disagree"? It is still a comment which may help to reconsider the translation of a term.

Peace on this platform!!! Not hipocrisy ... and saying "neutral" when we - more or less - disagree, does it make any sense?)

Kind regards
Sarah


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 04:21
English to German
+ ...
Neutral is really neutral Jul 1, 2005

H! I think neutral is good, when the answer is uncertain and lies somewhere between agrees and disagrees, an uncertain answer that is probably open to agree-pulls and disagree-pulls. Brandis

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:21
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Positive feed-back Jul 1, 2005

The agree, neutral and disagree options allow Proz members to give helpful feed-back to suggested answers. A disagree is not a personal attack, but an opportunity to learn.

I do, however, feel that the disagree option should only be used for answers that are incorrect, or otherwise unacceptable.


My thoughts,
Michele Fauble


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Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 09:21
Member (2004)
English to Bengali
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I wanted to open a discussion Jul 1, 2005

hirselina wrote:
Isn't wanting to know the opinion of your colleagues continuing the debate in some ways?


I did not want to continue the debate with "that person". I wanted to open a discussion so that everyone can share their feelings.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 05:21
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
My opinion: disagrees are offending Jul 1, 2005

As an active kudoZer, I want to say that getting a `disagree' gives a hard feeling even if you understand that the peer was well-intended and didn't want to abuse you. Let's face it and admit it -- a `disagree' IS unpleasant.

Moreover, as an active kudoZer I know perfectly (and other active kudoZer knows it, too) that the disagree option is often used by some proZians either in a "too" regular way (meaning they almost never agree, but they are always ready to disagree with anyone) or as a way to settle a score with someone personally. You may be lucky, or objective enough, or looking through rose-coloured glasses, or pretending to be objective, and so deny the fact -- but this happens more than often.

In a private discussion Dusty (I hope he's not against me mentioning his name) suggested that maybe a grade scale from 1 to 5 would be better than the current "disagree-neutral-agree" system. I'm inclined to think that this is a great idea. Numbers are less emotional than words, and, what is even more important from the psychological point of view, such numbers may be only _added_.

The current system adds up agrees then substracts disagrees from the confidence level stated by an answerer. Any disagree not only psychologically `damages' our ego, but also puts our question lower in the list of answers. But if peers grade their comments from 1 to 5, any addition, even a negative one, _still adds_ at least a point to the score. This is a positive approach, and it's less likely to bring a negative reaction of the answerers.

I think, Dusty's idea is worth considering. I'm sure it's better than the emotion-stirring system of disagrees & agrees which is used at kudoZ now.

[Edited at 2005-07-01 20:34]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:21
English to Russian
+ ...
it's not about politeness, really Jul 1, 2005

but more about professional opinion / judgement. If I am sure I am absolutely right with my own answer [but, actually, I can be mistaken)] I am using "Highest - I am sure" and if I am sure that someone's answer is incorrect - I disagree. However, personally, i strongly believe that 'disagree' can not be "granted" without any relevant explanations... ('disagree' only without any comments or 'neutral' only without any reasons added - this is really impolite).

There is absolutely NO offence anywhere within the KudoZ system. Neither 'disagree' nor 'neutral' replies can hardly be offensive - if submitted with pertinent subject-related opinion/explanation. Besides, working with a language which is always developing, changing, transforming - it's a life-long learning. The negative (but well-grounded) response adds to this learning anyway, thus making quite a positive impact)

I believe, that ignorance IS offensive, and, by the way, less(er) knowledgeable people are always taking offences more eagerly. Who can offend a sage, a wise man...)


Thanks, Ziad. I also think that "neutral" is a more "polite" way to express a disagree, specially when you think that the answer is not incorrect.


[Edited at 2005-07-01 20:42]

[Edited at 2005-07-01 20:43]

[Edited at 2005-07-01 20:43]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:21
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
I disagree ;-) Jul 1, 2005

Kirill Semenov wrote: As an active kudoZer, I want to say that getting a `disagree' gives a hard feeling even if you understand that the peer was well-intended and didn't want to abuse you. Let's face it and admit it -- a `disagree' IS unpleasant.


As an active KudoZer, I want to say that getting a `disagree' DOES NOT give you a hard feeling - it awakes your curiosity and makes you reconsider your suggestion, which is a very edifying and educating, to be appreciated and not feared.

KudoZ is among other things a linguistic discussion club, where participants contribute in a variety of ways, exchanging ideas and displyaing beliefs and demonstrating knowledge sources.

It is not and should not be an arena where shame, inferiority other disheartening feelings has any place at all.

A 'disagree' is a personal linguistic assessment always to be accompanied by a justification, otherwise it is impolite and degrading.

Mats


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:21
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
a disagree is not the exact opposite of an agree Jul 1, 2005

I firmly believe that one should only disagree for linguistic reasons. This means that a disagree should indicate your opinion of the answer provided with regard to the question asked.

When I first joined Proz.com I assumed that the disagree option was there to be used in exactly the same way as the agree option. I generally avoided disagreeing unless I saw something quite clearly wrong (we get a lot of that in Rus->Eng with native English speakers making up about 5% of the answerers). I was unlucky enough to send a disagree to a rather arrogant person's extremely poor answer. He took it personally and bombarded my answers with totally unfounded disagrees for about 3-4 months and even squashed a question I asked after I declined his answer to it. At one point, after I disagreed with him again on an equally wrong answer, he went through all my answers (to long-since-closed questions) for the previous 2 weeks and placed a disagree on at least half of them.

At this point I realised that since he wasn't reprimanded by moderators or banned from Proz.com it was clearly me that did something wrong or broke some unspoken rule (I read the spoken ones quite carefully). Evidently, disagreeing was a very bad thing to do and one should refrain from doing it as much as possible. Instead the neutral comment can be used to express your concerns about the answer without offending anyone. This, whether we like it or not, is the unspoken Kudoz system and consequently the points system does not work. If nobody ever uses the -1 option, the +1 option is also less valuable.

In this non-disagreeing unspoken arrangement disagreeing is a very rare and embarassing thing (if there is one disagree a week and it was to your answer it doesn't make you look or feel very good). Therefore, some people feel offended and humiliated and post all kinds of irrational things in response.

For example, yesterday I posted a disagree to a colleague who suggested that "second-string quarterback" was a baseball term. I then wrote a detailed answer explaining various details of American Football, the position and the "second-string" aspect. The answerer with whom I disagreed then replied to my disagree saying "Yeah, it's very nice disagreeing and then posting your own answer". There is no logic to this comment, since "disagreers" often get accused of "disagreeing but not posting their version". Surely, if you don't agree with someone the best thing you can do is explain your understanding of the issue in question? This was simply an emotional response of someone who felt embarrassed and publicly humiliated, a product of the unspoken system described above.

For this reason a disagree is different from an agree with a negative sign in front of it in the following ways:

1) A disagree often causes a very strong, personal emotion unlike agrees which may create a little gratitude but nothing on the disagreeing scale
2) A disagree is considered something exceptional and is avoided by most - generally people prefer not to get involved even if they see that the answer is quite clearly wrong
3) A disagree can often "kill" an answer completely, even if a number of people have agreed with it. An agree on the other hand will not help, if 5 people have disagreed with an answer
4) Unlike an agree, a disagree is often used as an expression of one's emotion rather than a genuine comment on the answer itself. (see above example with person going through 2 weeks' worth of questions)
5) Most people feel that a disagree must be explained in detail, while few believe that one must justify an agree

If we continue to work and play in this unspoken system I think the best thing to do is to actually keep almost everything the same. Perhaps moderators should be a little on the heavy-handed side with those using disagrees and other comments to express their emotions but apart from that keeping disagreeing as something for exceptional circumstances doesn't seem that bad, given the typical reaction to one. However, in my view, all peer comments absolutely must be based on the answers' merit or lack thereof.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:51
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
I find disagrees offensive too, but... Jul 2, 2005

Hi Saleh,

I have got a fair share of disagrees too in my time and can’t say they were all unjustified. But a disagree is offensive nevertheless, whatever Mat may say to the contrary. Some of my colleagues who have had occasion to disagree with my answers have often been kind enough to sweeten the bitterness by preceding their comments with “Sorry, but I must disagree with this answer…” or “I know you are well-intentioned, but on this occasion your answer is…”. I also know of colleagues who have considerately refrained from giving my answer a disagree even when it would have been quite justified, but have used only a neutral.

As you become known in the kudoz circle, your colleagues get to know you better and begin to recognize in which subject areas you have expertise. You also build up an image for yourself as you progress in the kudoz game which is based on the quality of the answers you put up. Colleagues tend to take this into consideration while evaluating your answers. For examples, when I was new to the kudoz system, my answers got a lot more neutrals and disagrees, while now they are (thankfully) not that many. I don’t think this is because the quality of my answers has improved, but because my colleagues have come to know me a little better and are being considerate towards me! Also, generally, new kudoz answerers are treated with a gentleness that is almost motherly! I have had my share of this affection in my time too.

I have disagreed with other’s answers too, though on very rare occasions, and have always noticed that the answerer with whom I disagreed reacted with spirit! So, emotion-wise, it is wrong to say a disagree is just the opposite of agree. Agrees make you mildly feel good while disagrees stir up passions.

There are two ways one can avoid having to use a disagree. One is the neutral, which is a more polite way of saying “I don’t agree with your answer”. As you rightly say, in translation, there are many ways of saying a thing, one may be better than the other, but the less better ones are not necessarily wrong. The second way is to put up a separate answer. By the very act of putting up another answer you make a statement that you don’t agree with the ones already up there, or you have something more to say on the subject.

I like Kirill’s and Dusty’s suggestion of a 1-5 point scale for grading the answers. It will make the system much more impersonal and fair.


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