Removing the "questions per day" limit: a proposal.
Thread poster: Stuart Allsop
Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 10:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 18, 2005

I recently refused to renew my Platinum membership in protest against what I consider to be the ridiculous "15 questions per day" limit for platinum members, and the arbitrary decision to impose this rule on platinum members DURING their existing period, rather than upon renewal, which would have been the ethical thing to do.

I do understand the need for limits on non-paying members, who often cluttered up the system with numerous questions, in some cases practically posting their entire document in the hopes of getting a free translation! I have no real beef against that, but even so the new limits do seem a little harsh for new members, and do make non-paying membership rather less attractive than it used to be.

However, I do strongly disagree with placing limits on PAYING members, particularly at the highest level of membership, and ESPECIALLY in the case those who have never abused the system. By limiting everyone like this, you are punishing the offenders as well as the innocent.

I would therefore like to propose a solution.

Please don’t misunderstand me: Personally, I have never needed to ask more than 15 questions in a day, but I have seen others do so, and I can envision that it might be necessary for me one day, due to the method that I use when translating complex documents (especially when they are poorly written): I often simply sideline “tough” terms while I am working, just marking them in the text and carrying on with the translation in order to not interrupt my concentration and work flow at that moment, then when I've finished the first draft, I go back and check all those terms at once before I start on my corrections and proof reading. So I could conceivably accumulate 15 questions in a document over a few days, and need to ask them all over a span of a few hours or so. Like I said, I've never accumulated more than maybe 10 or 12, but it is possible that one day I might end up with more than 15.

Besides, I simply object to the idea of placing limits on paying customers, where there were no limits before!

Sure, I could change the way I work to fit the arbitrary rules that Proz has imposed, but why should I do that, if I'm a PAYING customer?

In any event, enough bitching: On to my proposal: I'd like to suggest that, since the purpose of the rule is to prevent abuse, and since actively helpful members are not the abusers, why not implement a simple system whereby those members who DO participate actively in answering questions, earn the right to ask more questions themselves?

For example, start with the same base limit of 15 per day, but if a member is actively answering questions all the time, then increase that limit proportional to how many he answers per month, and DECREASE that limit if he NEVER answers questions.

Alternatively, to make it even easier, set a 10-per-day limit as a baseline for everyone, but also take into account the total number of questions that they have answered, less the total number they have asked. So if you try to ask more than 10 questions in a day, the system then checks if you have answered more questions than you have asked, and if so allows your additional questions. If you ask more than answer, you only get 15. If you answer more than ask, you get unlimited questions.

This way, those Platinum members who only join in order to be "parasites" on the rest of the community, and never bother helping out other members by actually answering questions, will be stuck with the limit, while those who do spend the time to help their peers, will be rewarded in kind, and allowed to ask the questions they need to ask.

Either of these systems would be a VERY simple algorithm to implement, especially the second alternative, since it doesn’t need to keep track of any additional information at all: Everything it needs is already in the data base. It simply calculates “ANSWERED” - “ASKED”, and if the result is greater than zero, you get a green light. VERY simple.

Sure, some determined abuser could try to fool the system by just posting any old junk answer to a few questions in order to build up his “answered” score, but I reckon he would soon tire of having to take the trouble to do that, and in any event it would VERY soon be spotted, so moderators could take appropriate action.

I think this would be a fair and just system for preventing abuse, while also not punishing sincere Platinum members who really do participate, and at the same time it is very simple to implement.

Perhaps a similar system with lower limits could even be introduced for non-paying members, to encourage them to join once again. After all, the real purpose of these new limits was to prevent abuse, and not to discourage potential new non-paying members from joining, or even worse, as in my case, to discourage PAYING members from NOT renewing…

As Steven Sidore commented in the new “Platinum Only” Forum: “I selected to go with ProZ.com in no small part for the very reason that it wasn't closed off like the other sites to non-paying members. … I'm concerned that with the developments that I hear you announcing, … Might you not be opening up the door to the competition again?”


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
A possible danger Nov 18, 2005

Stuart Allsop wrote:



In any event, enough bitching: On to my proposal: I'd like to suggest that, since the purpose of the rule is to prevent abuse, and since actively helpful members are not the abusers, why not implement a simple system whereby those members who DO participate actively in answering questions, earn the right to ask more questions themselves?




That would encourage compulsive answering, and we're already seeing some of that. There are people who just don't know what they're talking about, intrude in languages and specialities that are not theirs (and I've been guilty of that occasionally) and just answer whatever in order to grab the points.
It's already happening but it would make the quality of the whole system appalling to force people to provide answers.
J.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:56
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Hi Stuart :) Nov 18, 2005

Hi Stuart,

Before I almost always agreed with you ( I think you still remember those days of debating reliability ratio and so on), but now I beg to disagree.

I sincerely believe the limitation implemented was for better. On my opinion (the language pairs which I track), kudoz environment is much better now, without so many screams about utter abuses of the system.

Next, I believe you're wrong about putting an emphasize on PAYING members. I think ProZ is not a commercial company which guarantees anyone a precise, correct and quick answer on any possible question. ProZ is just an opportunity to get (or to not get) the help from your fellow colleagues. No answerer is paid for his or her answer at kudoZ, so we should not think of KudoZ System as of a paid service. Period.

Still, I believe proZ and kudoZ as any complex systems are open to further development and sophysticating, but I want to say once more: KudoZ is not a paid service, it's based on give-and-take and volunteered efforts, and, being an open source, it needs a protection from misuse and abuse. The limitation serves the goal - and, I have to admit, I'm among the ones who would like to see the limitations even more strict, like 1/3/5 questions per day. Even 1 question per day for ANY member would suit me perfectly!


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 11:56
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disagree with proposal Nov 18, 2005

Stuart Allsop wrote:

I recently refused to renew my Platinum membership in protest against what I consider to be the ridiculous "15 questions per day" limit for platinum members, and the arbitrary decision to impose this rule on platinum members DURING their existing period, rather than upon renewal, which would have been the ethical thing to do.


Benefits of Platinum members go far far beyond the number of Kudoz questions a day. No need to explain further.

Stuart Allsop wrote:
I do understand the need for limits on non-paying members, who often cluttered up the system with numerous questions, in some cases practically posting their entire document in the hopes of getting a free translation! I have no real beef against that, but even so the new limits do seem a little harsh for new members, and do make non-paying membership rather less attractive than it used to be.

I strongly support the new rules and new limits. Quality of questions have increased and abuse has disminished. You can check many forums and polls about it.

Stuart Allsop wrote:
However, I do strongly disagree with placing limits on PAYING members, particularly at the highest level of membership, and ESPECIALLY in the case those who have never abused the system. By limiting everyone like this, you are punishing the offenders as well as the innocent.
I would therefore like to propose a solution.
Please don’t misunderstand me: Personally, I have never needed to ask more than 15 questions in a day, but I have seen others do so, and I can envision that it might be necessary for me one day, due to the method that I use when translating complex documents (especially when they are poorly written): I often simply sideline “tough” terms while I am working, just marking them in the text and carrying on with the translation in order to not interrupt my concentration and work flow at that moment, then when I've finished the first draft, I go back and check all those terms at once before I start on my corrections and proof reading. So I could conceivably accumulate 15 questions in a document over a few days, and need to ask them all over a span of a few hours or so. Like I said, I've never accumulated more than maybe 10 or 12, but it is possible that one day I might end up with more than 15.


15 questions a day is a fair number. Let`s put it the other way around: while you are translating and run into a difficult term, you mark it and AT THE SAME TIME place a kudoz question. You won´t need more than 15 a day. That `s what I do.


Stuart Allsop wrote:
Besides, I simply object to the idea of placing limits on paying customers, where there were no limits before!
In any event, enough bitching: On to my proposal: I'd like to suggest that, since the purpose of the rule is to prevent abuse, and since actively helpful members are not the abusers, why not implement a simple system whereby those members who DO participate actively in answering questions, earn the right to ask more questions themselves?
For example, start with the same base limit of 15 per day, but if a member is actively answering questions all the time, then increase that limit proportional to how many he answers per month, and DECREASE that limit if he NEVER answers questions.
up with more than 15.


Dangerous. Some people already complain that some members answer any questions in anyways just to try to earn Kudoz points. And agree or disagree just for the brownis. Imagine this with this incentive. As Javier stated, "That would encourage compulsive answering".


Stuart Allsop wrote:
Alternatively, to make it even easier, set a 10-per-day limit as a baseline for everyone, but also take into account the total number of questions that they have answered, less the total number they have asked. So if you try to ask more than 10 questions in a day, the system then checks if you have answered more questions than you have asked, and if so allows your additional questions. If you ask more than answer, you only get 15. If you answer more than ask, you get unlimited questions.
This way, those Platinum members who only join in order to be "parasites" on the rest of the community, and never bother helping out other members by actually answering questions, will be stuck with the limit, while those who do spend the time to help their peers, will be rewarded in kind, and allowed to ask the questions they need to ask.
Either of these systems would be a VERY simple algorithm to implement, especially the second alternative, since it doesn’t need to keep track of any additional information at all: Everything it needs is already in the data base. It simply calculates “ANSWERED” - “ASKED”, and if the result is greater than zero, you get a green light. VERY simple.

Sure, some determined abuser could try to fool the system by just posting any old junk answer to a few questions in order to build up his “answered” score, but I reckon he would soon tire of having to take the trouble to do that, and in any event it would VERY soon be spotted, so moderators could take appropriate action.

I think this would be a fair and just system for preventing abuse, while also not punishing sincere Platinum members who really do participate, and at the same time it is very simple to implement.

Perhaps a similar system with lower limits could even be introduced for non-paying members, to encourage them to join once again. After all, the real purpose of these new limits was to prevent abuse, and not to discourage potential new non-paying members from joining, or even worse, as in my case, to discourage PAYING members from NOT renewing…

Disagree. Most of the reasons already explained. I believe the new system is fair and is supported by most of the members.
Carry on!

Walter



[Edited at 2005-11-18 16:35]


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
views Nov 18, 2005

What I find really puzzling is prefacing a proposal by a statement of non-support: "I withdrew my financial support for this site in protest of...but I would like to propose...". If I protested so much I would simply leave and withdraw my complete suppport. Proposals and recommendations from members are always welcome and many times implemented, sometimes instantaneously. However, why staff would be amenable to proposals from someone who so publicly decries the site is beyond me.

Stuart, the fact that you are still here means that you are still deriving some benefit from this site. Stating publicly that Proz.com does not deserve your 120 bucks borders on the mean. Henry has stated - and it is true - paying members subsidize non-paying members. So your continued use of this site's features as a non-paying member, Stuart, is subsidized by the {edited} paying members.

Marcus


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 10:56
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Not so easy from here Nov 18, 2005

Stuart Allsop wrote:
This way, those Platinum members who only join in order to be "parasites" on the rest of the community, and never bother helping out other members by actually answering questions, will be stuck with the limit, while those who do spend the time to help their peers, will be rewarded in kind, and allowed to ask the questions they need to ask.


Platinum members are not parasites, they are full members, having paid their dues.


Sure, some determined abuser could try to fool the system by just posting any old junk answer to a few questions in order to build up his “answered” score, but I reckon he would soon tire of having to take the trouble to do that, and in any event it would VERY soon be spotted, so moderators could take appropriate action.


What appropriate action is there for a moderator to take against someone answering a question who claims a sincere desire to help?

As for an individual "soon tiring" of playing games with KudoZ, well, you'd be surprised what can happen in a public forum open to access from all kinds of people, all over the world...

The limits were introduced in response to complaints by members over abuse. This did not happen overnight. Poor Stuart, you're not getting many "agrees" to this proposal... but I have to agree with what others have said here, that is, the quality of KudoZ has risen whilst the numbers have diminished, and mainly the numbers have diminished in the so-called "abuse" questions. Many compulsive askers must now pause and wonder where they could research their terminology before posting simplistic questions on KudoZ. The decision was not taken lightly, but rather came at the end of a long, fruitful discussion which can be found by searching the fora.

I'm sorry you have decided not to renew your membership, Stuart, but now that the limits have finally been implemented (at the request of a large number of paying members) I can't see going back.

Give it time; perhaps in a few months the other benefits of platinum will encourage you to change your mind.

Enjoy your weekend

Nancy


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gad
United States
Local time: 10:56
Member
French to English
I completely disagree Nov 20, 2005

Stuart Allsop wrote:

I'd like to suggest that, since the purpose of the rule is to prevent abuse, and since actively helpful members are not the abusers, why not implement a simple system whereby those members who DO participate actively in answering questions, earn the right to ask more questions themselves?



Some people need to answer questions more than others do. Some others are more able to answer questions. It is unfair to think that everyone and anyone who uses this site has to do an equal amount of both. Also, what if someone is a Platinum or even just Community Platinum member and tends to ask more questions than s/he answers? It's a very professional approach for a translator to query terms and ask questions while working, and many good translators post questions as a way to simply confirm that they were on the right track with their research and ideas. And then the term goes into the KudoZ glossary, so everyone else can benefit from the term being there, forever. Even simple questions serve that purpose. So askers add a lot to the site.

Furthermore, I have posted this before and will say it again: the site staff have worked hard at updating the KudoZ part of this site, and they have put this work into these updates based upon feedback from site users. It may need to be updated again eventually, but can we give them a break for now and just appreciate the improvements that have been made? Suggesting that they scrap the whole concept and implement another system now, well I don't understand the point of that.


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