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Mud slinging on Kudoz questions
Thread poster: Berni Armstrong

Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Member
English
+ ...
Apr 27, 2002

Hi all,



It has come to my notice of late that comments in the agree/disagree boxes are becoming less professional and far more personal.



[...personal references removed by site staff...]



The main point is that the agree/disagree column is meant to aid the asker in choosing an answer, it is NOT supposed to turn into a forum for a slanging match between opposing views. Sadly, this has become very common on some language combinations - ENG/ENG being one of them.



I know that some people are very unhappy when answers they perceive as \"amateur\", or just plain wrong, appear on Kudoz pages. However I think we should ALL refrain from

letting our frustrations over such issues boil over into insults in the

agree/disagree boxes.



In such cases, it is surely enough to tell the asker that as a \"native\" speaker of the target language in question you feel that the suggested answer is lacking in

authenticity - or some other more neutral phrase. However, we must remember that in the end it will be up to the questioner to gauge the authenticity/correctness of the suggested answer(s).



I would also plead with people to resist the temptation to rise to the bait of

anyone who DOES use insulting comments.



It appears that this is a genuine problem

throughout the Net. The very nature of the medium seems to invite a level of aggression that would not be tolerated in a face to face meeting. I am reminded of the \"car\" analogy. How many mild tempered people

become screaming, vengeful, violent and dangerous maniacs when they get behind a wheel?



I do not know of any obvious answer here, except to say that this is a case

where individuals CAN make a difference by choosing NOT to join a bad tempered row or by choosing to calmly remind the participants in such a row that they are stepping beyond the bounds of netiquette.



I am not talking here about the occasional attempt at a joke or a tongue in cheek comment, but rather about deeply personal comments made about members which should never be said in any public, or even perhaps private, forum.



Anyone any suggestions as to what to do? And do you agree with me that this issue is increasingly becoming one we should deal with as soon as possible?



Berni Armstrong

Cat/Eng Mod.



PS I am not claiming any moral high ground here. I too have occasionaly forgotten the obvious fact that even native speakers cannot know ALL the nuances of a language.



My \"mea culpa\" came about when I made a flippant comment that I lived to regret on a recent question. In that case, a non-native English speaker eventually backed up her assertion that the word \"joint\" was indeed a verb by reference to a dictionary. I had blithely commented that the word was not a verb - without consulting my dictionary!!!



She, good naturedly, pointed out my error and I realised that I had been completely unaware of both senses of the verb she quoted. It was a humbling experience.


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Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Member
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Let's NOT get personal Apr 27, 2002

Hi Maya & Mike,



I really do NOT want this to turn into a witch-hunt of anyone in particular... \"there are two sides to every argument\"... and all that.



I just want to plead with people to STOP abusing a neutral system by personalising disagreements and mud slinging.



Without mentioning individual personalities, what do YOU think can be done to calm the waters?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-27 13:56 ]


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Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:21
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Not getting personal Apr 27, 2002

Bernie, I absolutely agree with you. But what to do when a lot of people are attacked personally (and I mean a lot) and some almost reduced to tears? Disgusted that proZ does not do anything? Noit answering questions anymore for fear of retaliation? I received a lot of emails (mostly from women) telling me that.

And I agree with Mike as well. You and me can laugh if off, Bernie take the serious approach. But can that person learn? He has been warned so many times. This need to denigrated is simply stronger than his reason. [... personal reference removed ...]



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Christine Healy-Rendel  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
My 2 cents.... Apr 27, 2002

I second Berni\'s opinion.



We all (and I include myself) should not forget that potential customers can see any mud slinging in the forum. What will they think....?





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Ursula Peter-Czichi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:21
German to English
+ ...
Competition in the translator market place Apr 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-27 13:49, Berni wrote:

Hi Maya & Mike,

....

Without mentioning individual personalities, what do YOU think can be done to calm the waters?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-27 13:56 ]





KudoZ and forum sites are also part of a market place. Unfortunately, a large percentage of us are often told that we have no right to be part of this market place. It is right and normal for people (who are. for example, called \"unprofessional interlopers\") to react to it.



I agree with you: It is wrong to be caught up in those \"discussions\". However, it is absolutely right and necessary to ask:




Do these negative labels hurt my business?

Can I market myself here under these conditions? Can I afford to get angry at this kind of activity, which will, in the final analysis, hurt all of us?




I am a member of ProZ, and I do think that restrictions are necessary. Members should not collectively be called unfit to be translators by anyone, simply because they have the right to market themselves under equal conditions.



In most cases \"professionalism\" is the question behind those unpleasant \"fights\". Lets not discuss the qualifications of groups of ProZ members anymore. That will help to achieve civility.



About the hate mail: There is always the blocked senders list.







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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:21
SITE FOUNDER
lets look for solutions Apr 27, 2002

Without taking sides, I have deleted or edited all of the postings in this thread that violate our rules of etiquette.



Instead of using this thread as an opportunity for further denigration, wouldn\'t it be better to brainstorm concrete steps that can be taken--systematically and across the board--to reduce the incidence of negativity in KudoZ ?



That clients can see the exchanges is a good point--perhaps we should make certain exchanges visible only to answerers.



Any other suggestions?


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Mike Sekine  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:21
English to Japanese
+ ...
Proz staff talked the talk, when will they walk the walk? Apr 27, 2002

We must all admit: some people NEVER EVER learn. \"HE\" for one, is a prime example.



If all of us had common sense, there is no need for police establishment of any kind in this world. Proz needs to start \"enforcing\" the rules it set out, period.


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Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:21
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
What can we do? Apr 27, 2002

I think that Henry has been very patient with all of us, sometimes too patient.



People with a need to dominate, to administer, to denigrate and to hurt others are found on every forum now and then. When they are banned, the move to another site and start their little game again. For let\'s call a spade a spade, it is a sadistic game. You find them on pp, tcr and the other translators list. They won\'t be allowed to stay long. Because we all know and watch.



Now, should they be banned? Yes, if they cannot abstain.



The hate mail, Ursula: of course you can block their mail if you can\'t stand the heat. I do not, for what they write gives me an insight to their personality. And that is often interesting.



A lively discussion does not hurt our business if it is professional. What does hurt, is people insisting they are right just to get the points.



I would even go a step further and propose that we all abstain from disagreeing. The red flag goes up with a lot of people when they see the word. I put the \"neutral\" in almost all cases. That already indicates that you are not in agreement.



What else? I simply do not know.

Greetings

Maya


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Klaus Dorn
Local time: 01:21
German to English
+ ...
The problem is caused by the "native" speakers Apr 27, 2002

I have seen much of that mudslinging on the KudoZ community and in most cases, it seemed to me, the problem was caused by the \"native\" speakers themselves and this in two ways:



a) Regarding English and German, I feel that the only people who can rightfully claim to be native speakers are the English and the Germans themselves. Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Canadians as well as Swiss and Austrians to be classed as native speakers is somewhat a farce - native writers, maybe, but certainly not native speakers. But this only is one side of the coin.



At the same time, these so-called native speakers are sitting on a very high horse when it comes to discussions about terms or phrases and claim, because they are native, they know best. Well, I don\'t agree - the fact that most foreigners can spell English better than the natives partly proves it.



Furthermore, if the countrymen mentioned above are classed as native (because some kind of English is their first language), then surely foreigners can acquire an as-good-as-native status, in which case there\'s no difference between them and therefore no reason for the natives to sit on their high horses any more.



Personally, I am accepted as a as-good-as-native speaker of English in both Italy and Turkey, where I teach English (as well as German) to children and business people alike, because I don\'t have an accent in either language. However, will countries like England ever admit that a foreigner can speak and write their language as well as they can, if not better? No, they won\'t, and that\'s why people like myself are being refused the relevant certifications, important for both translation and teaching.



I get slightly apprehensive when I see a job posting on ProZ asking for an English native speaker, therefore excluding myself and then someone from Australia or South Africa gets the job instead. The poster probably isn\'t aware, that the person chosen might be worse at English than the foreigner he turned away by his demand for a \"native\" speaker.



Now to my second point - some of the very same \"native\" speakers are also not trying to protect their language by allowing foreign terms into translation. This seems to happen in German a lot - I can agree with using a foreign term if there isn\'t any feasible equivalent in one\'s own language, but not if there are terms available and just because of globalization or fashion reasons, the English term (Anglicism) is used.



I see it like this - first the language changes, then the culture and if you wait long enough, you get people behaving like the 19-year old German, who yesterday killed 14 teachers, 2 fellow students, a policeman and finally himself. I asked my friends and relatives in three countries of which country this kind of crime reminds them of and they all said unisono \"America\". Enough said, I think.


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Maya Jurt  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:21
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Can you remove the comments? Apr 27, 2002

Henry,

The question asked and the answers given still stands, and so do the nasty remarks.Would it be possible to take the comments out?


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:21
SITE FOUNDER
staff position Apr 27, 2002

Quote:


If all of us had common sense, there is no need for police establishment of any kind in this world. Proz needs to start \"enforcing\" the rules it set out, period.





You have a point about some people lacking common sense. That is indeed why we need rules.



We review cases involving troublemakers. When rules are broken, and the offense merits it, we take action. Sometimes people are expelled.



When rules are not broken but the spirit of the rules is broken, I (for one) write to the parties involved. My notes will progress from opinions (from one professional to another), to requests, to a warning. After the warning, the next step is expulsion.

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:21
SITE FOUNDER
Good suggestion Apr 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-27 15:12, mayagyan wrote:

Henry,

The question asked and the answers given still stands, and so do the nasty remarks.Would it be possible to take the comments out?





Good suggestion. I am going to add a function that allows moderators to remove peer comments that violate the rules.

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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 23:21
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
No Prevention? Then, Treatment! Apr 27, 2002

Hi,



perhaps it is a silly suggestion, and I don\'t know whether it is technically possible, but don\'t we have moderators? Why not providing them with the option \"hide\" nasty personal comments?



The best would be, if we all thought first and then acted, but I agree that \"some people never learn\", therefore I\'m suggesting \"treatment instead of prevention\".



Should a Prozy keep on adding those unpleasant comments, ProZ staff could take further steps.



My two €cents...



Giuliana
[addsig]


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Mike Sekine  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:21
English to Japanese
+ ...
You're the MAN, Henry (at least for now! :P) Apr 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-27 15:46, Henry wrote:



Good suggestion. I am going to add a function that allows moderators to remove peer comments that violate the rules. In the meantime, I am closing that question.





Kudoz to that.

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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 17:21
German to English
+ ...
Berni: leading by example Apr 27, 2002

Kudos to you, Berni: for raising the issue and for admitting your own mistakes. And I say this as someone who\'s dished out some bad things himself and who\'s also been at the receiving end of abuse.



Mats Wiman and I recently had an off-site discussion on what to do about things like that, and here\'s what we have come up with:





  • Accept the fact that there are bad translators. Nature will take care of them.



  • Do not attack more than what is explicitly said. Do not jump to conclusions. This goes for all of us.



  • Always substantiate the content of your disagreement. Be specific! This helps to create a meaningful discussion.



  • Always allow for the possibility that misunderstandings may occur.





And I do like the idea of creating an additional feature to hide comments.







[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-27 16:17 ]


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