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What is Kudoz abuse?
Thread poster: Marcus Malabad
Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 18, 2002

I write this is in response to Karin Gartshore’s post (German to English pair, now):

http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&eid_c=2543&topic=1133&forum=23



as well as to several other forum messages on Kudoz abuse.



Before I begin I refer everybody to rule 3 of Kudoz etiquette:

“While it may be considerate in some cases to write to an asker privately, inquiring or commenting to an asker regarding his or her grading decisions is forbidden. It is also not appropriate to comment on an asker\'s decision to post a certain question; policing the site is an optional role of moderators, not of regular members.”



I and my fellow moderators are discussing this and many other issues at the Yahoo moderator board. Apart from the job bidding area, Kudoz is one of the most contentious issues on Proz, judging from the frenzy that is stirs up and the frequent heated debate instigated by some alleged errant member.



Abuse may pass through the boards not by design or neglect but for the simple reason that mods are not always on line. I also assume that Henry does not have time to deal with individual cases such as Kudoz questions because he is just too busy with other more pressing affairs such as site management and administration. Here is where moderators come into play.



Karin, if you think something in Kudoz needs to be addressed, your court of first instance is the moderator, in this instance, Ralf Lemster and myself for the De>En SC and Dierk Seeburg for the En>De SC. If the issue breaks out into general warfare, the ultimate referee is the Boss himself. He usually comes in his inimitable way to shoot down the wayward in one fell sweep to the satisfaction of all except the fallen.



The alleged abuser you mentioned, Virginia, writes that she’s translating a text from English to Spanish and the text has some German words: http://www.proz.com/kudoz/134494. This may be spurious to some but I presume good faith and so will not squash her questions. Klaus confirms this in his reply to Karin’s message.



Besides maintaining a general atmosphere of camaraderie - a no mean task given the frequent impolitic remarks let loose by some, one of the functions of moderators is to weed out cases of proven(!) abuse. We have read a myriad of forum posts on this subject, the most recent of which was the Salto affair in the Es>En SC. You could predict the sequence of events by clockwork: someone posts a dozen technical queries, possibly beyond his/her competence, members indulge the asker and provide answers and then, almost invariably, another member posts a forum message crying foul.



The fact that the scenario repeats itself is probably not because moderators are tolerating it but because, by the time an incident that may be considered abuse is detected, it is already a fait accompli: the queries posted, some answers already given and even graded. What to do then? Squash the whole lot?



I am really loath to wield my squashing rights like a wizard’s wand (you posted 20 questions? There, you’re history, brotha!). Perhaps my colleague is away from his dictionaries at the time of asking. Maybe she’s posting for somebody else. I would rather let the ball roll, watch in admiration as learned colleagues display intellectual fireworks. What I see all too often are sidewalk judges and self-yclept arbiters who are swift in their conclusions but short on empathy.



Nonetheless, there ARE instances that I personally would consider abuse:

1) Someone posts an entire paragraph, letter, etc.

2) Someone posts contiguous parts from one text into several consecutive Kudoz

3) Someone submits a measly bid for a job, undercutting qualified colleagues, gets the job and then posts consecutive questions from the same job



I would probably act immediately if I see 1 and indeed I have squashed several. Detecting 2 is easy, allowing members to take action swiftly and alert the moderator.



But how can we really prove 3? Ok, so you didn’t get the job and you don’t want others answering the culprit’s questions to dissuade him/her from undercutting again. But do you really think this will stop it? Has your call to solidarity been heeded by all or was there some happy fella who had time in his hands and was glad to indulge the asker, further infuriating you and ruining your lunch? Isn’t there always someone among the 20,000 who is awake at 2 am and happy to rummage through his dictionaries? It obviously wasn’t painful to Dorothy to answer the question so if it annoys you that she answered, then tough shit, Mary.



Why doesn’t the moderator take action? Yes…we could but this is an optional function. I personally would rather focus on keeping the exchange professional, the language cordial and the pursuit intellectual. The road between where I’m standing and the judge’s chair is full of pitfalls and I’d rather not walk it.



The explanation could just as well be the following: a) company management gives, say, an in-house finance translator a text about biochemistry and he’s in a quandary, he has to do it since the meeting’s in an hour (this has happened to me); b) an agency has no time to find a translator skilled in taxation esoterica and is forced to give the job to a translator-engineer; c) a translator posts several questions for a non-member colleague who works in a different language pair, etc.



My point is that the vast majority of members act responsibly. Crying wolf is easy but will only give you laryngitis.



My intention for this long message is to spark amicable debate and reach some semblance of consensus. There are other issues in Kudoz (such as posting a reply in a language pair that is not yours) but that is another drama.



Back to yoga…



Marcus

De>En co-mod

Ru/De/Fr>Tl mod



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:58
Member
German to English
+ ...
That's told me! Jan 18, 2002

Quote:


It obviously wasn’t painful to Dorothy to answer the question so if it annoys you that she answered, then tough shit, Mary.







Well I guess that\'s put me in my place



Seriously - very well put, I agree with almost every word!



Regards



Mary

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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:58
German to English
+ ...
Same here. Jan 18, 2002

Have posted my response on the related thread.





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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let there be peace Jan 18, 2002

Kudoz is an extremely valuable resource (those of us who have been around for a while can especially appreciate this). However, the result of all this \"in-fighting\" is that one is sometimes reluctant to post Kudoz queries out of fear of being chastized by one\'s peers (for whatever reason).

Abuse does exist, I suppose, but we should not make assumptions. Some, like myself, post questions as a last resort, while others post their queries before doing any research at all to \"get the ball rolling\" so to speak.

As I have stated before, I am so glad that Kudoz exists as a potential resource (whether I use it or not, it is comforting to know that it is there) that I do not feel the need to overly concern myself with those who choose to abuse it. In my opinion, if someone accepts a job that is beyond their ability, even if they receive excellent answers to 20 or even 50 terms, their translation is still not going to be very good because the terms are the easy part, you still have to know how the processes and systems work (is component x attached/installed/mounted/adhered/affixed to/on/over/under/around/parallel/counter-clock wise from component z?)

In short, they will not fool anyone for long.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:58
German to English
Well said, Jeff Jan 18, 2002

Real KudoZ Abuse



Yes, above all let’s be civilized. I think a fundamental consideration all colleagues should have is for the image projected at the site to the “customer,” the folks seeking translation help. They are looking for help not an embarrassing quarrel among KudoZ pros. I believe strongly in a healthy debate, including frank opinions about a colleague’s choices. But when I see people castigating colleagues at length, questioning their right to be asking or answering questions in a most hurtful manner, I cringe. Ad hominem attacks have no place at KudoZ. Let’s find a way to express out opinions about colleagues elsewhere, not in public. Let’s work together to create a professional, cordial atmosphere.





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xxxVadney
German to English
+ ...
Jan 18, 2002

Dear Marcus:

I read your Moderator\'s Opinion and would like to ask, with specific reference to your statement on the number of allowable questions:



\"I am really loath to wield my squashing rights like a wizard’s wand (you posted 20 questions? There, you’re history, brotha!). Perhaps my colleague is away from his dictionaries at the time of asking.\"



As you know, I work out of several languages (DE, ES, FR, IT) into EN and in the fields of medicine/pharmaceuticals and law/patents in all of my languages.



While medicine/pharmaceuticals is pretty straightforward for me I sometimes get some real winners in the law/patent field and there may be times when I am working on an extensive project that I may post quite a few questions (Kudoz) to elicit the opinions of colleagues. Whilst I have no knowledge of anyone faulting me for sometimes numerous requests, I do want to be careful not to violate a \"rule\" restricting the number of questions asked.



Is there some sort of rule regarding this issue?



Also, sometimes a single word is not the culprit, but an entire passage -- I had recently posted a passage with a request that the responder contact me directly by e-mail with suggestions on how to handle it. I did this only because there is, to my knowledge, nowhere else on ProZ to get help on an entire sentence or so. Perhaps that would be useful in addition to the \"one-word\" Kudoz help.



Quite frankly, Kudoz and the fine people making their generous contributions of help is INVALUABLE, and those guys and gals have really saved my life and my reputation (what there is of it\' ) more times than I can count. And I am VERY grateful.



While we must admit that it is only natural that such a large assembly of special-interest professions will include some with ulterior motives and arguable ethics I, like others, would be loath to offend inadvertently or out of ignorance and have someone \"wield that wand.\"



Thanks in advance for your guidance!



Harold


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:58
English to German
+ ...
Spot on. Jan 19, 2002

Thanks to Marcus for summarising what I think is very much the essence of trying to keep ProZ the valuable resource that it is for most of us.



One way of avoiding the more or less heated debates we\'ve seen is adding some information on the situation that may have led to a string of questions being asked. I recently noted a series of accounting questions being posted (sorry, can\'t quite remember when...) - there was no aggravation because the asker pointed out from the start that he had been landed with a document which was somewhat off his focus of experience, and apologised - in advance - for any inconvenience.



I realise this won\'t help with newcomers to the site - but what we can do is this: whenever some suspected abuser is spotted, we can check what\'s going on, inviting the asker to give some more background. If no explanation is given, or if what\'s provided is unsatisfactory, we can still \"wield the magic wand\"...



Trouble is, IMHO any firm parameters we attempt to set (such as a max. number of terms anyone can post in a given timeframe) will probably do more damage than benefits.



Each \"case\" will therefore have to be checked on its merits - do not hesitate to contact the moderators (or ProZ staff if you don\'t know who the moderator is for the respective SC).


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Rusinterp  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
Marcus, thank you! Jan 19, 2002

Quote:




I am really loath to wield my squashing rights like a wizard’s wand (you posted 20 questions? There, you’re history, brotha!). Perhaps my colleague is away from his dictionaries at the time of asking. Maybe she’s posting for somebody else. I would rather let the ball roll, watch in admiration as learned colleagues display intellectual fireworks. What I see all too often are sidewalk judges and self-yclept arbiters who are swift in their conclusions but short on empathy.



Nonetheless, there ARE instances that I personally would consider abuse:

1) Someone posts an entire paragraph, letter, etc.

2) Someone posts contiguous parts from one text into several consecutive Kudoz

3) Someone submits a measly bid for a job, undercutting qualified colleagues, gets the job and then posts consecutive questions from the same job



I would probably act immediately if I see 1 and indeed I have squashed several. Detecting 2 is easy, allowing members to take action swiftly and alert the moderator.



But how can we really prove 3? Ok, so you didn’t get the job and you don’t want others answering the culprit’s questions to dissuade him/her from undercutting again. But do you really think this will stop it? Has your call to solidarity been heeded by all or was there some happy fella who had time in his hands and was glad to indulge the asker, further infuriating you and ruining your lunch? Isn’t there always someone among the 20,000 who is awake at 2 am and happy to rummage through his dictionaries? It obviously wasn’t painful to Dorothy to answer the question so if it annoys you that she answered, then tough shit, Mary.



Why doesn’t the moderator take action? Yes…we could but this is an optional function. I personally would rather focus on keeping the exchange professional, the language cordial and the pursuit intellectual. The road between where I’m standing and the judge’s chair is full of pitfalls and I’d rather not walk it.



My point is that the vast majority of members act responsibly. Crying wolf is easy but will only give you laryngitis.



My intention for this long message is to spark amicable debate and reach some semblance of consensus. There are other issues in Kudoz (such as posting a reply in a language pair that is not yours) but that is another drama.



Back to yoga…



Marcus

De>En co-mod

Ru/De/Fr>Tl mod







Marcus, this was a wonderful message and a welcome relief from everyone fighting and being jealous about who got the job and who has more points, and why people answered the question while the writer thought they ought not to. It is such a fragile world, and this is such a fragile site, I think, and really it is so much better if we stop fighting for a moment and just talk.

Thank you very much again, and good luck in everything,

A.T.

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xxxJon Zuber
Spanish to English
+ ...
How about this? Jan 19, 2002

Posted to French>Zulu, Telugu, Rajasthani, Latvian, Pushto, Icelandic, Azerbaijani, Hausa, Farsi, Amharic, Albanian, Marathi, Malayalam, and not for the first time. My apologies to those of you who don\'t read French.



Paroles de plume

Bonjour, je suis écrivain public; le nom de mon cabinet est \"Paroles de plume\".

Je souhaite une traduction de cette expression en plusieurs langues.

Il convient de comprendre le terme \"plume\" comme \"plume de stylo\" ou \"plume d\'oiseau\" (ou les deux à la fois si cela est possible puisque autrefois la plume d\'oiseau était utilisée comme outil d\'écriture).



Je n’ai pas sur mon ordinateur les polices de caractères de la langue demandée.

Vous serait-il possible de m’adresser par e-mail (adresse : paroles.de.plume@waika9.com) une image (réalisée avec un scanner) de votre traduction de « Paroles de plume » avec la police de caractères originale ou même écrite à la main par vos soins.

D’avance, merci !



On my computer, I do not have fonts of the required language.

So, could it be possible for you to send me by e-mail (address: paroles.de.plume@waika9.com) an image (created with a scanner) of your translation of “Paroles de plume” with original fonts or even written in your own hand.

Thank you very much indeed!


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
let it be Jan 22, 2002

[quote]

On 2002-01-19 22:40, Jon Zuber wrote:

Posted to French>Zulu, Telugu, Rajasthani, Latvian, Pushto, Icelandic, Azerbaijani, Hausa, Farsi, Amharic, Albanian, Marathi, Malayalam, and not for the first time. My apologies to those of you who don\'t read French.



Let is be, Jon. There will be people who will be glad to answer (and I\'m sure you won\'t be one of them, seeing how you wield your wand). Mats, Sven and Rich get it. It\'s so easy: if it\'s not offensive, not a repetition, racist (see the choices under the squashing options), then don\'t squash it. I refer you again to the Kudoz rules.


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xxxJon Zuber
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let's have a look at the reasons that can be checked for squashing. Jan 24, 2002

[quote]

On 2002-01-22 05:56, marcushm wrote:

Quote:


On 2002-01-19 22:40, Jon Zuber wrote:

Posted to French>Zulu, Telugu, Rajasthani, Latvian, Pushto, Icelandic, Azerbaijani, Hausa, Farsi, Amharic, Albanian, Marathi, Malayalam, and not for the first time. My apologies to those of you who don\'t read French.



Let is be, Jon. There will be people who will be glad to answer (and I\'m sure you won\'t be one of them, seeing how you wield your wand). Mats, Sven and Rich get it. It\'s so easy: if it\'s not offensive, not a repetition, racist (see the choices under the squashing options), then don\'t squash it. I refer you again to the Kudoz rules.





My intention with this post was to, as Marcus says, spark amicable debate, not to seek permission to squash. (I didn\'t, by the way.) I consider it abusive, and I wanted to know what others thought.



Very curious that Marcus says \"let it be\", when by the critieria he cites, which include repetition, it\'s squashable. Note that I clearly said \"Posted ... not for the first time.\"



Marcus has also misrepresented the squashing options to which he refers me. They are:



-Is offensive (sexist, racist, etc.)

-Is of an adult nature and/or is profane

-Is unprofessional and lacks both literary and technical merit

-Is nonsense

-Repetition

-Other (specify):



as anyone can see by clicking on a garbage can. \"It\'s so easy: if it\'s not offensive, not a repetition, racist ... then don\'t squash it.\" doesn\'t begin to cover the question. Of course there is much honest disagreement about what falls under the third, fourth, and last reasons; that\'s why we need to keep hashing this out.

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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
rules Jan 26, 2002

Quote:


Of course there is much honest disagreement about what falls under the third, fourth, and last reasons; that\'s why we need to keep hashing this out.





I agree, Jon. The rules can be open to the broadest interpretation. What may be offensive to one, could only be silly to another. We just saw that in a recent forum post. This is the reason why the Kudoz point restriction was upped to 500. There is even talk of restricting this right only to mods.



I reiterate: let\'s all err on the side of caution and let the asker have his/her day. If you really think that something needs to be squashed, let the mod know (or do it yourself if you have 500 points but be prepared to defend your case). The cases of abuse are so minimal that we can all be entertained by the exchange. I go by the rule: if I\'m not having fun, then I leave.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
French to English
Reply to Harold Jan 26, 2002

Harold wrote :



\"I had recently posted a passage with a request that the responder contact me directly by e-mail with suggestions on how to handle it. I did this only because there is, to my knowledge, nowhere else on ProZ to get help on an entire sentence or so. Perhaps that would be useful in addition to the \"one-word\" Kudoz help.\"



The \"rules\" which are basically an honour thing on this site DO enable you to post an entire sentence. The rule states up to ten words. No-one is going to go wild if your phrase contains 11 or 12 words; I suppose a different view might be taken if you post twenty 17 worders.



It all comes down to reasonableness and mutual respect.



So do post your sentences.



Nikki French>English Moderator

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-01-26 16:42 ]


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Tao Weber
German to English
+ ...
It amazes me again and again and again. Feb 14, 2002

The KudoZ wars rage on. Here for my two cents. It surprises me again and again how an issue like Kudoz can heat the spirits like this. I see some certain members who\'s \"policing-habits\" border on obsessive, and I wonder, how could I possibly be upset by the fact that somebody else received the help he needed?



Remember mom or the teacher who always said: \"the only stupid question is a question not asked?\"



Therefore I totally agree with the sense of Marcus\' well written statement. As long as KudoZ questions do not fall into the 5 \"no-no\'s\" any outside intervention would be censorship. The very opposite of intellectual exchange. Also ProZ is not the \"regulatory institution\" which is bestowed with the office of protecting the hardworking American Translator from the evil undercutting 0.35c translator. Considering such facts are way out of the universe of the original purpose of KudoZ terms. What would be next? Anti Kudoz for placing the lowest bid?



As professional freelance translators we are usually people who sit in our home the whole day long hacking on our keyboards without a lot of social interaction. Even in teams communication is reduced to emails. Anyone with some background or even only a bit of common sense in sociology knows that this is against the competetive nature of ambitioned individuals. And ambitioned we are, otherwise we would work for a boss 9 to 5 robotting in a cubicle.



To reduce my meaning out of this message. I think some individuals need to do a reality check and ask themselves if they are abusing the whole KudoZ point system as substitute for those little testosterone- squabbles, territory-victories, and all these little intriguing human interactions a \"regular\" office worker has. There is nothing wrong with being competetive, but for my two cents, I help, because I want to help. If you don\'t like a question, don\'t answer it. It keeps my mind open to new fields, reminds me that there are other things out there but my field of specialisation, and keeps my recherching skills up to date since I frequently use them. So this way I abuse answering questions by myself, by using it for my own advantage with the asker only being my second thought. A gain-gain situation.



One last note to those who really believe many points mean getting the job; just lately a friend of mine and agency owner visited me in the hospital and we discussed the whole KudoZ thing amongst others. He asked me if the translators with thousands of KudoZ points don\'t have anything to do the whole day long but answering \"translation-quizzes\"? At first I had to laugh, but hey, think it over one more time.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-15 02:15 ]


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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:58
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
A suggestion--what are your thoughts? Feb 14, 2002

Well, I have to throw my opinion out there, too.



First, a personal history lesson:

I am a member of Compuserv\'s Foreign Language Forum (FLEFO) and have been for more than a decade. Back then, it was virtually the only place a translator could ask a terminology question online and get an answer. It was JUST like KudoZ with one, in my opinion, very important distiction: CS was an expensive service.

As a result, we were almost never bothered by the \'Help me with my homework\' questions. We were never, to my knowledge, bothered by low bidders trying to get a translation done on the cheap. We were, and still are, mostly professional translators who knew the value of what they had and prized it highly. I never saw any discussion of abuse, at least not in the German sections.

End of history lesson--------



Now for my suggestion: Why not give everyone some number of free questions per day, say 5, and then, if they need to go over that number, charge them in a manner similar to what is done now for bidding?



In this way, an occasional question causes no problems. Several questions from one source will also cause no problems. A lot of questions will start to cost the asker.



I believe that this will have several benefits.

The serious asker will review his questions and not just submit them all willy-nilly.

The serious asker (read: professional translator who really needs help--for whatever reason) will PAY for the extra questions, probably without a second thought.

The less than serious asker (low bidder, high school kid, whatever) will be restricted from asking too many questions in one day or will also have to pay for it.

Henry may be able to help pay for better servers for the site from the income generated in this way



Of course, an abuser can just create 1000 new logon ids and ask 5 questions per id. This will probably be more trouble than it is worth but if not, then we will have to revist this topic when that becomes a problem.



Well, folks, end of my constructive thought for today. What do you think?


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