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Suggestion for the vetting of messages in forums
Thread poster: Ruxi

Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Mar 14, 2005

I have noticed for a long time that communication in forum is very difficult because of vetting.
It is a very difficult and delicate problem to let only a few people interprete and judge a message.
It happens so often that messages are missinterpreted and considered offensive to others.
I have some suggestion in order to avoid missinterpretation and offends:
1. Put the messages in forum and let the members decide wether they have a problem with it. Many times people do not feel offend, only the moderators are exagerating in protecting them.
If anyone of the members feels offended he may call the moderator to help, or write directly to the writer to edit his/her message.
This way moderators are not needed for forums anymore and people cand decide for their best theiselves.
2. Let people talk free in forums. We are adults and human beings. There is no need for so much police in forums. It is the only forum on Internet where I can see so restrictive rules for writing in forums: don't write this, don't say that, don't, don't.
We can really not communicate, say what we think or feel. We have to be affraid all the time.
In about 75-80% of the cases messages are being missunderstand and missinterpreted.
Why? Do we live in a free world or in a prison?
We have to be responsible for what we do and write. If anyone has a problem he may politely write personally to you.
I don't believe it is someone here who really intends to hurt or offend. We are just human being.
Please, please ,please give up this censure and let us communicate.
Most of us are lonely in front of a computer and wish to share a feeling with a colleague translator.He/she may be angry, or happy or in tears and a message express such feelings wether we want it or not.
Please, let us be human beings again.
Moderators are also human beings, they are not police officers. They have work, families, other responsibilities.
There are forums which are lovely and at a high level and forums where every word is being censured and they are prisons.
Please let us talk free.

Thank you,
Ruxi


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:29
English to German
+ ...
Sadly, the world isn't that simple Mar 14, 2005

Hi Ruxi,
First of all, I believe your notion of censorship to be a misconception. This is because only messages posted by non-Platinum, non-VID members require vetting - IOW all members with a verified identity (whether or not they're Platinum members) post without vetting.

The vetting process was introduced in response to abuse of the ProZ.com forums for illegal purposes (specifically, offers of 'cracked' and hence illegal software copies). Vetting has proven to be a very efficient deterrent.

What I would suggest is to attend one of the upcoming powwows, to get your identity verified by the powwow organiser.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 03:29
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Rules Mar 14, 2005

Moderators' actions are based on the site rules. If you feel that a moderator does not go by the rules, please do not hesitate to provide evidence.

Statements like "moderators exagerate" are not a good ground for starting a reasonable discussion in my opinion. Would you care to be more specific?

Dan


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 04:29
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Forum rules Mar 14, 2005

IMHO Proz.com forum rules are not restrictive. I never felt hindered by forum rules, they are simple and straightforward. Usual rules that we would follow in any conversation or on any public site. These rules are there to help you and everyone on the forum, not constrain you in any way.

In my private messages I have tried many times to explain these rules to you, so that you can understand that there is nothing to feel constrained by or, most certainly not, be afraid of. It was my impression and I do belive that you did not understand the meaning of some rules and I have tried as clearly and as patiently as possible to provide you with the necessary explanation in every case.

Please feel free to ask if you have doubts about forum rules and we will try to explain them again to you or other Proz.com rules, if such is the case.

[Edited at 2005-03-14 18:50]


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:29
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Different visions Mar 14, 2005

Hi Ruxi, thanks for your suggestions.

I respect your vision, even though it greatly differs from mine.

Ruxi wrote:
I have noticed for a long time that communication in forum is very difficult because of vetting.
It is a very difficult and delicate problem to let only a few people interprete and judge a message.
It happens so often that messages are missinterpreted and considered offensive to others.


In fact I feel "so often" is not the case. The proportion of messages rejected by moderators is very small indeed. And I don't feel communication in Proz.com forums as being "too difficult".

Of course every issue has many sides and no true is absolute. What you see as a censure that prevent members to communicate freely will be perceived by other members as a way to communicate in a professional environment with a low level of agression.

And, in agreement with my felow mods that answered before, I find Forum rules very reasonable.

Regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:29
German to English
+ ...
A comment from a "non-mod"... Mar 14, 2005

Dear Ruxi,

I noticed that only moderators have been replying to this, so I thought that I'd give my two cents as a "non-mod."

It is actually quite unfortunate that you feel the way you do. I wonder why; I have never had a problem with being censored.

In fact, I'd like to relate an experience that I had in this respect that might surprise you: I had been taking part in ProZ for about two months when a question relating to the Nazis in Germany during World War II was posed. For some strange reason I thought that this might be one of those truely rare cases in which the question might be considered offensive to others.

With this weird thought in my mind I contacted a Moderator and expressed my concern. Shortly thereafter I received a very friendly e-mail from a Moderator, who - to make a long story short - talked some sense into me. I quickly realized that I was being way too sensitive. The question was not at all offensive.

What I am trying to get at is that I have very rarely experienced censorship and have actually experienced exactly the opposite. All of the moderators I have encountered in these pages have been truely fair, very considerate and reserved. I have only been here at ProZ for a little less than a year, but I have never experienced anything that I found even remotely questionable as far as the behavior of the moderators is concerned.

I think that the moderators here deserve a hearty round of applause for all of their selfless work. Thank you!

I am no fan of censorship, but I do appreciate the quality of this site. I don't have the feeling that the moderators are censoring anything that even slightly resembles a serious translation-related question or comment.

I also feel completely free in expressing anything I want - please do the same, and I'm sure everything will be fine.

[Edited at 2005-03-14 20:33]


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
... Mar 14, 2005

Dear Ruxi,
I would suggest you to explore other forums and spot the difference. 99% of them are utterly disgusting because people use them to insult taking advantage of the fact that noone can see them. So, I should think that some civic rules need to be reminded sometimes. Proz.com and the Instituto Cervantes' forum are the only two I know where there's a friendly atmosphere.
Javier


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 04:29
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Not too much censorship Mar 15, 2005

I have had some messages censored and removed, which were considered politically aywkward or, in an other case, too positive towards a competing site. I can manage with this kind of censorship.
Practically one can write anything here, I guess, if one is able to communicate in a friendly way that does not offend others. Otherwise it could happen, that one makes a rude remark and gets rebuffed by others, after which a moderator has to step in and put things to rest.
Actually the forum feature at ProZ.com ist one of the best I know. One other popular site has a forum, where a couple of guys fight alone against each other month after month and nobody else likes to participate anymore.
By the way, at least in the EU the site owner is legally responsible for the content and MUST control what is published, also private communication. There have been examples in uncontrolled internet-fori where youngsters discussed building bombs and one actually did and exploded it and killed 19 people (Nov 2002 here in Finland).
Most of us are responsible people, but we must be aware of the small minority that is able to spoil anything.


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:29
English to Swedish
+ ...
Dear Ralf, it’s that simple! Mar 15, 2005

A site is either censored or uncensored.

The ProZ site is censored.

Any requirement for vetting is censorship.

The “I'm closing this thread” technique practiced by ProZ after editing/removing opposing opinions is censorship in extreme.

“Just a little censorship” is on par with “just a little pregnant”.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:29
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Care to be more specific, Sven? Mar 15, 2005

Sven Petersson wrote:
...
The “I'm closing this thread” technique practiced by ProZ after editing/removing opposing opinions is censorship in extreme.
...


What do you mean by "removing opposing opinions" before closing a thread? Also, I still beg to differ regarding your perception of censorship as all the tools and controls available to moderators are rather about enforcement of site rules. If in doubt, please carefully re-read the ProZ.com forum rules and check moderator actions against these -> http://www.proz.com/forumrules

IMO the forum rules (including the possibility of closing/locking threads) are just plain common sense as they ensure that discussions be ended before they get out of hand (with the potential of insulting other participants). You very well know that a forum discussion would all too often turn into a slanging match if we hadn't some checks and controls in place. Would you be fond of being at the receiving end of such attacks? I very much doubt this.

Steffen


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:29
Member (2002)
English to German
Censorship vs. rules Mar 15, 2005

I sometimes wonder if confusion of the two can be genuine.

The equations you seem to be making, Sven, are as follows: rules = censorship, censorship = bad, therefore: rules = bad.

Human societies have never existed without rules, not even the most basic forms of human coexistence. So if you're looking for a place where you can interact with humans without being "censored" by rules, you may have a lot of searching to do. And if you find such a place, I doubt you will like it.

If you feel that there are hidden rules that ProZ members are expected to comply with (beyond the explicit rules that they chose to abide by when they joined the site), please speak out and be specific.

Also, if you find that particular rules on ProZ.com are unfair in some way or other, you're welcome to discuss it.

However, I don't think that sweeping accusations such as ProZ.com "editing/removing opposing opinions" are likely to resonate with anyone familiar with this site.

Endre


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 04:29
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
my experience - war zone Mar 15, 2005

In my experience postings that do not make the forum contain plain ugly attacks between members, illegal activities: pirate CDs, advertising sites or services of the kind we all avoid, things like that.

When two or more members are at war against each other for some time they tend to transform the forum into a battle field, a true war zone. Well, I have seen this on many lists: people flee war zones and complain: Why do we have to read this over and over and over again, I don't have time for this. Why should one make time for such things? The war usually stops when one or both of the warriors leave the group, however, the group does not return to its usual self, it needs rebuilding confidence and the joy of taking some time to write to the group dissapears.

Should there be a rule against this? Yes.
Take your pick: http://www.proz.com/?sp=peace

It is always pleasant to see a game of tennis (I was about to say chess), not pleasant to see a cock fight. This is the difference, even if both have rules.

[Edited at 2005-03-15 09:05]


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some answers Mar 15, 2005

1. I would preffer non-moderators to say here their opinion, as I already know the opinion of the moderators and they are the only united people in this forum and having always the same opinion.
2. For Ralf: why do we, honest people, have to pay now for what bad people did once? It is unfair!
3. I know a lot of forums where people can talk free and express their feelings. In two of them there was even a great achievement. We managed to fight toghether for a real cause (problem), in Germany and change a law.
As I said, this is the only forum I know with such censure.
4. I think that before imposing such rules,one has to give the deffinition for what offending means and have to find out some measure for it.
The entire decision of the interpretaion is being given to one person who actually can not decide. A moderator can not know wether another person may be offended by a message or not.
Persons are very different in their sensibility. Some find a word, an idea, or a subject offending.
I was part in both cases when a message of mine has been considered an offend and when the message of another person has been considere in a discussion to be offending. I defeated the person whose message was suposed to be deleted, because it was actually a missundersanding.The message was left here.No one else felt offended. The whole discussion was baout two persons in a discussion with a lot more.But the moderator felt he has to interfere.
People react different, once according to general issues (political, language, aso), and once according to personal issues ( a specifical situation, a word, family matters a.s.o)
This is why I suggest to let the people who are directly involved in a discussion wether they feel offended or not.
A moderator can not decide over the feelings of another person.
Maybe they have some material or what do I know advantages for being there, for vetting messages.Otherwise I don't see why they are so overreactive and trying to find things which actually don't exist?
5. Then I can also ask why in KudoZ some questions are mentioned to be potential offending? Why should they offend if they are only translation matters?
I think it is an overreaction and over sensibility on this site in the name of people. Rules are to severe.
We are able to deffend ourselves if we feel offended, we don't need a third person to do it.
And I will tell you some concrete examples:
- this censure over my messages and my feelings, dictating to me wether and how to right a message is really offending for me. Maybe for the others not. But imagine please, we are a lot of people coming from countries where just till a few years ago was an imense fear of censure. Everything was censured. People were affraid to say a word, because they could be, for a simple word subject for a prison.
- I feel offended by ironical answers and moderators said to me, it is not an offend. Well for me it is.And a moderator does not want to interfere!
- there are moderators saying : don't write this, your message is too long, to short, I don't understand your message, I don't have the time to read it, don't do this and that aso, you changed the subject. All the time mails and stupid accusations.
It's not possible! I am not able to defeat an idea, a feeling or something which is totally positive, because a moderator does not understand my point of view.
On the other hand they are not impartial. They do not consider some other offends, saying they are are not.
On what criteria do moderators actually judge and decide? Only on their capacity of understanding ,feeling and analising, not concidering at all the persons actually involved in the discussion.
In a trial there usually are more people in a jury to decide wether a person is guilty. There is never, ever only one judge.
Why did you want here to do it with one person?
And there is also a matter of language too: many missunderstaning come from language skills and expressing in a certian foreign language.
Please try to understand all these aspects.
Opinions are always pro and against for a certian subject and they all have to be admitted, otherwise a disscusion is not constructive.
Let's not forget that moderators are also human beings, are not superior to the other members, have a certain amount of time, patiente and capacity of understanding and analyse.It is unfair under these circumstances to transform us in their "slaves", just because sometimes a bad guy had done something stupid.


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