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Proposal for a new forum (or alternative handling of off-topic posts)
Thread poster: Gillian Scheibelein

Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:50
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
May 29, 2007

At the moment there are 6 (out of 20) off-topic posts visible that are totally off-topic (places to visit, airlines, quizzes, etc. etc.). Although they are often entertaining and good for a few minutes of relaxing, they are getting out of hand. At present, the only way of getting them off the list is to switch off "off-topics" altogether, which I am reluctant to do.

Would it be possible:

1) to have a new forum for "fun stuff"
2) to have it linked directly from the start page so that these topics aren't visible in the topics list - this is a website for (professional) translators and I feel these off-topic topics are giving the wrong impression to translators/outsourcers/general visitors who rarely visit the site.

Best regards,
Jill

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-05-29 15:27]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I agree May 29, 2007

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:
Would it be possible:
2) to have it linked directly from the start page so that these topics aren't visible in the topics list...


I do enjoy some of the off-topic posts, and I don't mind seeing them in the recent posts list, but it can be distracting, so my suggestion would be to place them at the bottom of the list, even if they're brand new topics.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:20
German to English
Maybe even a separate area of the site May 29, 2007

I've enjoyed some of the recent off-topic forum discussions and even participated in two or three, but I agree that it can be distracting and that the forums should actually be used to exchange views and tips on professional issues.

However, I think relaxing and taking a break from work is equally important. Maybe there could be a separate page on the site for the off-topic forums, just as there is one for the translation contests, so that the "fun" can be separated from more serious matters.

[Edited at 2007-05-29 08:02]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 07:50
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Seconded! May 29, 2007

Mats

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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
German to English
+ ...
yes indeed May 29, 2007

I don't even bother to look at most of these postings that have practically nothing to do with translation (and I'm surprised that some of them even get vetted).

[Edited at 2007-05-29 08:34]


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 07:50
English to German
+ ...
Yep May 29, 2007

They do take up a lot of precious space...

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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 07:50
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Newcomer's view May 29, 2007

Having been a proz member for all of almost three weeks, I have spent some time looking around here.
The off-topics discussions are often funny, and has certainly made the site, and joining it less frightening.
Having a break and a laugh now and then is important indeed.

But I also agree that too many of these, especially on the front page, may give the wrong impression of a serious translators' forum. So I totally agree with the suggestion of giving them a separate place. Good idea!


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:50
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Click the toggle button May 29, 2007

That is why the forum area has a toggle which allows you to turn the off-topic threads off. Therefore those who do not like to see them, do not have to. I prefer to see them...

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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
French to English
+ ...
Not a problem May 29, 2007

I really don't have a problem with this. The very fact that they're called "off-topic" surely means that they are not associated with the main topic. No-one has to look at the forums and I'm sure outsourcers/potential clients don't, so giving the "wrong impression" is hardly an issue. I personally only glance at the forums when I'm quiet or when I want a bit of light relief / a change from what I'm doing and so I'm equally interested in the on- and off-topics. Those subjects I'm particularly interested in - Wordfast/ speech recognition - come through as alerts and other than that it's up to me to read them or not as I choose. I also think that the latest off-topics about travel destinations and children's books do actually have considerable merit (and interest) for translators.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:50
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Absolutely! Please make a new forum! May 29, 2007

I'm getting quite annoyed at the sheer volume of Off-topic notifications, although I, like Gillian, would not want to turn them off.

I'm also ticked off by people posting in non-English languages in common forums. It's OK if you are contributing to someone's thread - no problem at all - but sending e-mails to thousands of people a majority of whom cannot read your language is very inconsiderate. What are people thinking?

[Rant over]

[Edited at 2007-05-29 10:16]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:50
Member (2004)
English to Polish
New forum? May 29, 2007

But there is the "Off-topic" forum already? And most of the "off-topic" topics are posted there... Also note that you can turn its visibility independently of the "off-topic" setting.

Also, I do not quite get the idea of "I do not want to see them, but I do not want to turn them off". I thought it is one or the other? What is it really that you want?

The only improvement I see is to add an option on the notification page to turn off mail notifications for "off-topic" threads.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I agree, Jabberwock May 29, 2007

Jabberwock wrote:

That is why the forum area has a toggle which allows you to turn the off-topic threads off. Therefore those who do not like to see them, do not have to. I prefer to see them...


I'd be sorry to see the "off-topic" threads banished. As it is, they are shown in an easily recognised grey box and anyone who wants to ignore them can do so. Most of us freelancers lead solitary lives while at work, and a little light relief (plus interesting or amusing information) helps brighten the day.
Might I suggest, by the way, that ProZ start a separate forum section for Trados questions which seem to dominate the forums?
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
English to Arabic
+ ...
How to differentiate between "off-topic" and "totally off-topic"? May 29, 2007

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

At the moment there are 6 (out of 20) off-topic posts visible that are totally off-topic .


I foresee endless discussions on whether this topic should have been classified as "off-topic" or "totally off-topic/fun stuff/ whatever"!
Off-topic is just that: not directly related to the main purpose of this site. Anyone can see that these discussions are extremely popular at the moment.
The only suggestion I would back would be to place them at the bottom of the topics list, as suggested by Samuel, if some colleagues are finding them distracting.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 00:50
English to Russian
+ ...
Is there such thing as "unrelated to translation"? May 29, 2007

Off-top...

Seriously, do some of you guys really keep the entire email traffic on? This is insane:-).

I open and browse the site whenever I feel like it and the only notifications I actually get relate to interpreting job offers. Oh, Kudoz replies too. Everything else is one click away - questions, answers, forums. Otherwise it must be taking a cleaning crew to keep the mailbox in order. Oh, well, none of my business...

As far as "what the neighbors might think" part is concerned - sorry, Gillian, it just made me smile... Anyway, I'll go with the majority.

**Also, I do not quite get the idea of "I do not want to see them, but I do not want to turn them off"*** - neither do I. Only a doctor can prescribe an individual dosage. The site can't guarantee it but it provides the tools for a full control of mail/notifications traffic.

Let's see if the staff is worried about the site space.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
English to Arabic
+ ...
Not email notifications May 29, 2007

IreneN wrote:

Seriously, do some of you guys really keep the entire email traffic on? This is insane:-).

I open and browse the site whenever I feel like it and the only notifications I actually get relate to interpreting job offers.


No Irene, I don't think Gillian and the others are upset about receiving off-topic email notifications. It's about the fact that off-topic postings are taking up a lot of space in the "recent topics" list which you find on the Proz.com homepage.
You can toggle between Offtopic shown/hidden, as pointed out by Jabberwock, which I think is a very sensible option.

[Edited at 2007-05-29 12:17]


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