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Dealing with those who repeatedly give wrong answers
Thread poster: Fiona Robson

Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:01
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apr 11, 2007

While I'm here, I have another grievance, which I'm sure has probably been raised before. I have noticed that many of the answers offered on Kudoz (in my language pair at least) are blatantly wrong – some are even accepted as the “correct answer”. It seems to me that there is a little group of full-time, dedicated Kudoz answerers who seem to have little else to do but try and win Kudoz points – nothing wrong with that, but often the answers given are incorrect, either grammatically, or revealing a lack of understanding of the word or phrase. I realize there is an option to reject an answer, but I personally feel reluctant to use it - that bright red tick seems such a harsh rebuke, especially if someone has made a genuine effort to answer the question (albeit wrongly). Judging by the many wrong answers that are left uncorrected, I guess many others feel the same way. How should we deal with members who constantly give wrong answers in Kudoz?

[Edited at 2007-04-11 21:44]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:01
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Don't award points / ignore / disagree when necessary Apr 11, 2007

Oh, there are many answerers like that in every pair.

I think it's pretty simple: dont reward such activity.

If a peer is NOT hopeless, it would make sense to point them in the right direction.

If they are hopeless, don't award points to them, ignore them as peers, and disagree when necessary to educate the asker.


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PB Trans

Local time: 03:01
French to English
+ ...
Disagrees Apr 11, 2007

Personally, I do not hesitate to give a disagree, as long as I am able to provide a clear explanation for doing so. I think people are too sensitive with their disagrees. It's there to help people, not criticize them.

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:01
German to English
Disagree drive Apr 11, 2007

Fiona Robson wrote:

I have noticed that many of the answers offered on Kudoz (in my language pair at least) are blatantly wrong – some are even accepted as the “correct answer”. It seems to me that there is a little group of full-time, dedicated Kudoz answerers who seem to have little else to do but try and win Kudoz points – nothing wrong with that, but often the answers given are incorrect, either grammatically, or revealing a lack of understanding of the word or phrase.

... harsh rebuke, especially if someone has made a genuine effort to answer the question (albeit wrongly). Judging by the many wrong answers that are left uncorrected, I guess many others feel the same way. How should we deal with members who constantly give wrong answers in Kudoz?


Hi Fiona - although some point grabbers make "genuine efforts" to answer questions, I think most of them don't. The typical point grabber is in too much of a hurry to get something in before anyone else has a chance to.

In a previous thread on this subject, Catherine Bolton wrote:

Why are we afraid of the "disagree" button? I admit that I have tended to prefer "neutral" in the past, as a way of being polite while letting the answerer know that maybe some rethinking is in order.
But the fact is that a clearly wrong answer deserves an onslaught of disagrees.
The disagree option is there for a purpose... so let's use it!

http://www.proz.com/topic/52678


[Edited at 2007-04-12 01:11]


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 10:01
English to Indonesian
+ ...
kudoz for helpful tips Apr 12, 2007

imo there's nothing wrong if the wrong answer was given in good faith. what's more to be watch out for is if the answer was given without any research or explanation.
but then, as i always say, the nature of kudoz in itself doesn't have any sufficient filtering mechanism to sort out the real correct answer. if kudoz is supposed to be helpful for translator, then why not give kudoz to those who give helpful tips on the forum? most of the time, helpful technical tips is the one who saves the day. just a thought...


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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 19:01
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
The blessings and curses of KudoZ Apr 12, 2007

Hi,

KudoZ, in my opinion, is an interesting beast. And I must admit to having contributed 2 or 3 translations that Kim himself disagreed with...correctly, by the way. However, I must admit that he never posted a "Disagree," but rather a "Neutral" with a comment or a different translation option!

So getting the guilt out of the way, here's my take on it and on a couple of aspects that I believe are related:

1) Those who repeatedly give wrong answers: Yes, it's true, it's very annoying. I've seen (no names, of course) people who translate KudoZ questions in every single field of expertise when they can barely translate general text, and every single answer is given within a few minutes of the question being posted. It's not only annoying; it can be potentially damaging when it comes to legal or medical texts.
I agree that sometimes people give wrong translations in good faith, and, like I said, I've done that a couple of times, only to realize, after further translation options or comments to my answer are posted, that I was obviously wrong and somehow my brain didn't click in or I was overhasty when I saw a term with which I was familiar. I usually then post an "agree" with the translation that is adequate or respond to "disagrees" by saying that they are right (I'm starting to consider adding a note to the original translation saying "DON'T USE THIS"). But certain people leave a swath of wrong answers behind them and never come back.
I tend to post my "disagrees" with neutrals instead. I was mostly raised in Mexico, so it's a cultural thing up to a certain extent. But once, I posted a "neutral" saying that the answer was not conveying the original meaning (it was a legal document, so I did not dare post an alternate translation), and the poster answered by saying "Well, got any better ideas?" or something to that extent. Not only that, but he did it twice, since someone else posted another "neutral" with pretty much the same comment as mine. So I decided to post "disagrees" in this person's case, since they kept (and keep!) providing wrong answers for all kinds of fields and obviously don't care whether they're wrong or right.
The saddest thing, in my opinion, is that it's just KudoZ points. I would think (and hope!) that potential employers pay more attention to our actual work than the shiny Internet bonuses on our profile (nothing against the shiny bonuses, by the way). But in contrast to the small value of the points, there is the enormous value of helping other people get their translations right....and as kitschy as it sounds, that's also a responsibility. I think that posting a wrong answer every once in a while in good faith is OK, but being a "point-hogger" who doesn't care if they screw up someone's translations is simply not.

2) Those who don't wait for other answers at all and those who actually choose the obvious wrong answers: Unfortunately, there's not much to be done about this. Some people are overhasty in accepting an answer (I've seen people accept an answer - a wrong answer - in less than half an hour when no one else posted...I usually send them a message through ProZ with my translation suggestion and a little warning regarding the other translation), and then there are people whose knowledge of either the source or target language term is so limited that they end up choosing the wrong option (that's understandable....the problem is when the wrong option gets a bunch of "agrees" from other people. This usually happens more often when "tone" is involved.). I would simply suggest that people wait longer...I know this is sometimes impossible because a translation is urgent, but it's a general suggestion. I would also suggest that people think a little bit more about their "agrees" as well and whether or not they are "qualified" to actually agree, as fascist as that may sound.

3) Posting "disagrees:" I think this is perfectly fine. I've gotten about 2 or 3 myself. However, there are "disagrees" and there are "disagrees," and it all comes down to the comment that is added. Some people are downright rude with their comments, and that is annoying. Unfortunately, the Internet is a great place for people who want to be rude without having to face the consequences. So yes, "disagrees" are completely fine AND necessary, but rude comments are not.

PS. The "answer snatchers:" This is extremely annoying and, well, it honestly is a bit of a stretch as far as the topic is concerned. I know that sometimes we are posting our answer at the same time as someone else and end up posting the exact same answer with only a few minutes difference. I've done it and I'm sure everyone else has at least once. It's an innocent mistake. But then, some people (recurringly and methodically) post the exact same content of a previous post with minor "cosmetic" alterations a long time after the original was posted. It's really annoying and I know it's not that relevant, but I had to get it off my chest



[Edited at 2007-04-12 02:02]


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Gabrielle Bannard  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
French to English
Freedom, Feelings and Justice (so much for alliteration!) Apr 12, 2007

I agree with Mikhail about just not rewarding those who behave that way.

I like that Kudoz isn't filtered. In my opinion, it should be "free" of such encumberances. Interestingly, I've run into answers that were wrong, but sent me on a path that eventually led me to an excellent answer; it was like those answers "broke me out" of my rut.

As for the disagree button, yes it's intimidating. I'm always afraid of hurting people's feelings. And yes, it does seem as though some people are quite sensitive to receiving a disagree, but you can't do anything about that except ignore it as well. **sigh!**

Marcelo does make the point that some disagree-ers seem downright rude, and I won't deny that I've felt that way about some of them too, but we must remember that email/Internet is just not the best way to convey feelings. Some people are just abrupt but certainly don't mean to be rude. Others may not be writing in their native language. I know that when I'm writing in French I sound very blunt and humourless, but I'm not like that at all! So maybe give them a break, or just ignore them too (hmmmm.....will there be anyone left to interact with?!).

All in all, I strongly believe that what goes around comes around (even if I don't get the satisfaction of seeing it happen), and those who "abuse" any system will eventually get "theirs" in the end (or see the light I suppose, but I don't have much faith in human nature!).


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:01
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What's wrong with disagreeing? Apr 12, 2007

I judge people's actions, not their personas.

If I say that I think suggestion 'X' is wrong, and that 'Y' would be correct, it's just my opinion, just as good as the other person's. Let the asker consider both and choose.

However if I state that whoever said 'X' is a @#$%^&, no matter how wrong 'X' actually is, it won't be as wrong as my saying so.

I've seen translators who'd apparently kill for a handful of Kudoz or Browniz. It makes me wonder if I should include the few I have in my will. I've seen - and this was not only here at Proz - translators who are hopelessly obdurate to defend their opinion beyond any reasonable death... I mean doubt!

Fiona, you are in Brazil and work with PT>EN, so we have two things in common. Therefore maybe you've come across the old Michaelis ENPT dictionary of the 1960s. It's the most misleading source of information I've seen in my life. Nevertheless, it sold out and still can be found on shelves everywhere.

I worked with one secretary whose bilingualism was based mostly on her amazing speed in finding any word in that dictionary. So, on one sunny day it eventually happened. The company manufactured "slurry pumps", which the Brazilian market had chosen to name "bombas de lama". As she had to back-translate it into English, her business proposal was about so many "mud bombs"!

Three days later, the commercial director couldn't yet hold his boisterous laughter every time he saw her.

So, just like using the old Michaelis (or any other dictionary, or Kudoz, for this purpose), it's up to the asker to make a right or wrong choice. This will make them a competent or a bad translator.

I recently "proofread" a translation - the quotes mean it was not a standard proofreading job - made by someone who had the weirdest - and largest - collection of ingrained mistakes. A typical one, just as a sample: over and over again "aloud" was used instead of "allowed", e.g. "People were not aloud to do...".

Most of all, translation involves CHOICES, one after the other. We often have a chance to make our translated text sound better than the original. Every time we do, let's go for it!


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Satto (Roberto)  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 22:01
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
ProZ can start by limiting the people that answer Apr 12, 2007

Fiona Robson wrote:

While I'm here, I have another grievance, which I'm sure has probably been raised before. I have noticed that many of the answers offered on Kudoz (in my language pair at least) are blatantly wrong – some are even accepted as the “correct answer”. It seems to me that there is a little group of full-time, dedicated Kudoz answerers who seem to have little else to do but try and win Kudoz points – nothing wrong with that, but often the answers given are incorrect, either grammatically, or revealing a lack of understanding of the word or phrase. I realize there is an option to reject an answer, but I personally feel reluctant to use it - that bright red tick seems such a harsh rebuke, especially if someone has made a genuine effort to answer the question (albeit wrongly). Judging by the many wrong answers that are left uncorrected, I guess many others feel the same way. How should we deal with members who constantly give wrong answers in Kudoz?

[Edited at 2007-04-11 21:44]


For me the most annnoying is people that do not even work the language pair and dare to disagree and constantly give wrong answers. So what is my solution..EASY VERY EASY:
ProZ can limit the people that can answer the question, if I try to answer a question that is not even close to my language pairs I SHOULD BE BLOCKED!


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:01
Portuguese to English
agree with Satto Apr 12, 2007

If I recall rightly, there is an option when asking questions to restrict notifications to translators who work in your own pair, and perhaps (my memory isn't accurate) a facility to restrict them to native speakers. Of course, this depends on the asker checking those boxes and it still doesn't prevent 'strangers' from suggesting answers.

On the rare occasions when I pose a question, I now always check these boxes and it does seem to discourage answerers who don't work in the pair. Unfortunately, my pair (Portuguese-English) has more than its fair share of answerers whose native language is neither of these.

This has been raised before (by me and others) but it is instructive to contrast Kudoz with the Forums. It's extremely rare to find a rubbish answer in the Forums, and we don't have to look very far for the answer: you don't get points for helping other folk with their problems, so the 'points tarts' stay away. And most Forum postings attract far more answers than a Kudoz question, which testifies to the huge store of unselfish goodwill out there.

It would be interesting to see what the effect would be of abolishing Kudoz points and relying on people's goodwill. I think we might be surprised by the improvement. Unfortunately, the staff are still hung up on ranking translators (heaven knows why they think this is necessary) and on using a very crude method of doing so.


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Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:01
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Using the "disagree" option Apr 12, 2007

In light of your comments, there does seem to be a general reticence among many (myself included) towards using the "disagree" option, but perhaps this would be the most effective way of weeding out incorrect answers. Perhaps those who just rush off the first thing that comes into their heads, to win points, deserve to see a long line of red ticks! I encourage Kudoz users, therefore, to use this option more, rather than resorting to the "neutral" option when what we really mean is is that the answer is downright wrong - of course we should qualify our "disagree" by giving a reason. If we all do this, I'm sure we will soon be waving goodbye to those unscrupulous points grabbers.

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 19:01
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Interesting note about KudoZ Apr 18, 2007

Something that I noticed in the past couple of weeks (and which is admittedly going off on a tangent) and that by now I've simply found amusing:

The En>Sp and Sp>En pairs are "vicious" KudoZ fields where, during a certain part of the day, questions are answered within 1 or 2 minutes for hours - it's like a race with death. I personally am too lazy and have other work to do, but it's all good. Here are the interesting things:

1) During that period of time, all the really difficult translation (technical, for instance) questions are left unanswered. Unanswered, that is, until someone posts an answer (even if it's a couple of hours after the "race answering" has started) and suddenly everyone starts posting the exact same answer with slight (very slight) cosmetic adjustments. I know that sometimes a translation can give us an idea of an even better one, but in this case, it's shameless piggybacking.

2) During the same period of time, while questions are being answered left and right, the "not-for-points" questions are left alone, even if they are incredibly simple.

I know that the KudoZ system is not perfect, and neither are other features of ProZ (don't even get me started on people claiming to have two native languages when it is obvious that one of them isn't...of course this is nearly impossible to verify without much closer inspection though). But I also realize that this is the Internet, and as such, it's impossible to build a foolproof system. After a scarce month and a half of being part of this website, I have come to the conclusion that KudoZ, even with its shortcomings, is a very powerful and useful tool, and that ProZ is a truly well-designed site. Unfortunately, I have also come to the conclusion that a lot of "point-grabbers" simply have no KudoZ "code of ethics," and that we simply have to live with it! (although, like mentioned before by several people, a couple of "disagrees" here and there wouldn't be too bad)

[Edited at 2007-04-18 00:09]


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Nancy Burgess  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:01
French to English
+ ...
Just say no Apr 21, 2007

I see nothing wrong with disagreeing, especially when the answer is just wrong in any context. (Some answers are OK, but wrong in context, which I suppose you could honour with a 'neutral' rating).

My own personal bugbear is the queries where you have puzzled over a term for quite some time, and even after extensive research are still foxed, only to post your query and have someone give you a completely random guess which frankly anyone could have made by thinking about it for, oh, two seconds. It not only insults your own intelligence but contributes nothing to the query. In these circumstances I think it's inappropriate to award a "correct" rating to any of of several inadequate or vague ones. The problem is that these queries are then searchable afterwards by other users, which means wrong and inadequate answers can effectively still be out there in the search database. Perhaps a useful feature would be the option to discreetly ask the moderators to delete the whole entry if you feel that the results do not merit being recorded.

Obviously, part of the problem with proz is that in the case of highly technical or obscure subjects, you're often unlikely to find anyone who will really know the answer, *and* who is looking at the forums in the window of time when you are asking, and you need to be aware of this when you're asking.

[Edited at 2007-04-21 11:48]


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Deschant
Local time: 03:01
Reply May 14, 2007

Marcelo Silveyra wrote:
1) During that period of time, all the really difficult translation (technical, for instance) questions are left unanswered. Unanswered, that is, until someone posts an answer (even if it's a couple of hours after the "race answering" has started) and suddenly everyone starts posting the exact same answer with slight (very slight) cosmetic adjustments. I know that sometimes a translation can give us an idea of an even better one, but in this case, it's shameless piggybacking.

2) During the same period of time, while questions are being answered left and right, the "not-for-points" questions are left alone, even if they are incredibly simple.



That's exactly what I have noted in that particular pairs - at least in the En > Spa, I don't do the reverse pair. The most frustrating thing, in my opinion, is when the asker makes an effort to provide the right context and explanations, and some answerer ignores them just to be the first answerer, sometimes in 0 minutes! And sometimes with an answer which is plain useless for the asker, as the context and explanations suggest!


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