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Does discussing the scope of ProZ fall outside its scope?
Thread poster: Anna Fitzgerald

Anna Fitzgerald  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
French to English
Aug 9, 2006

My post was prompted by frustration with how ProZ has responded to criticism of its scope. To see how the scope is defined:

Some excellent arguments have been put forth about the following aspects of this policy :

- Words such as "controversial" and "political" are not adequately defined.
- The question of how to deal with material that is both related to translation and "political" is not sufficiently dealt with.

Other important points have also been raised:
- The choice to prohibit any "political" material is inherently political.
- By prohibiting "political" material, we may very well be excluding issues most in need of discussion.

I realize that what ProZ allows in the forums has been discussed before, but I was sufficiently moved by my colleagues' eloquence to attempt to draw attention to their specific arguments.

What if the words "controversial" and "political" were removed from the definition of the site's scope? I would argue that only under certain very restrictive regimes are these ideas threatening. And why mention them at all if the only definition offered pertains to the consideration of "any reasonable person"? What precisely does that mean? I suppose it may be standard legal parlance but I for one think it's preposterous.

I realize ProZ strives to create a working environment open and conducive to all cultures and I applaud that effort. My question is whether the goal of multiculturalism can be achieved in a less restrictive environment, perhaps by working on the definitions of the terms mentioned above.

Finally, I am in no way suggesting that the site allow material not related to translation as defined in its scope. I also think that defining the site's scope is necessary and helpful. Nonetheless I think there may be room for improvement and would appreciate your thoughts.

[Edited at 2006-08-09 16:59]

[Edited at 2006-08-09 17:00]

[Edited at 2006-08-09 17:07]

[Edited at 2006-08-09 18:27]

[Edited at 2006-08-09 18:36]

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Dear Anna Aug 9, 2006

Your title
Does discussing the scope of ProZ fall outside its scope?

Sounded interesting, the problem is that you're reopening a locked thread and not bringing new ideas, at least not independent from the locked thread.

As you want to discuss the scope that is within the rules, I suppose that you read the rules.
When a topic has been locked, discussion may not be resumed. Discussions contained in threads locked or hidden by staff members or moderators should not be resumed. Posts made within such threads may not be edited once a topic has been locked.

The reasons for locking it were clear, Henry said:
With that, and in the absence of any concrete proposal in this thread for changing's policy on limited scope, I am locking this thread. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

This doesn't mean at all that discussing the scope of falls outside its scope.

Could you please edit your post presenting your arguments and suggestions?


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:02
Richard's topic was clearly outside of our scope Aug 9, 2006

Richard's original posting was a link to an article that said nothing at all about translation or interpreting, not the art, business, industry or this workplace . It was about a gay man, who happens to be classified as a "language specialist", being discharged from the US military. The article did not touch upon his being a "language specialist" at all, so it was not within our scope, at least as we currently define it:

As for the bassfan example, what I would like to illustrate is that this is not an issue of "politics", it is an issue of scope. We don't dedicate any portion of our site to bass fishing... just as bassfan doesn't dedicate any of its resources to translation. It makes each site better to specialize.

If your proposal is to expand our scope, so that we dedicate time, money and resources to things other than translation (art and business), I should tell you that there is very little chance that we will do that.

Of course, there is nothing stopping you from making a concrete proposal. (The most appropriate way to do that would be to suggest a change to the definition of scope.)

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Anna Fitzgerald  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
French to English
I did not mention Richard's topic. Aug 9, 2006

And I do not contest ProZ's decision that this topic was outside the site's scope. I do however contest ProZ's response to what I saw as a legitimate discussion of scope itself, not the original issue.

I apologize for not observing the rule about locked threads. As I'm not sure I understand the rationale behind leaving a thread visible while at the same time prohibiting any reference to it, I evidently need to review the rules. It may be that discussions of scope and rules are simply not tolerated in the forums, in which case I assume there is another way to address these issues.

In any case, I am not at this time suggesting ProZ change its scope. That would be premature. I think we can agree that such changes should only be made after extensive, open discussion.

I would like to offer this in closing: I'm willing to bet you can indeed find a reference to bass fishing somewhere on ProZ, because the scope of translation is ultimately much larger than that of bass fishing. This relates to the arguments Richard brought up about scope and which I feel are valid. I intend to build on these arguments in a future posting, as I fear the current thread may be locked before I have a chance to defend my position.

[Edited at 2006-08-09 17:03]

I thank the staff/moderators for giving me the time to better define my position on scope. Please see the modified version of my original post.

[Edited at 2006-08-09 18:32]

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:02
Thanks for clarifying - but please do it in a new post next time! Aug 10, 2006

Anna Fitzgerald wrote:

I did not mention Richard's topic.

Yes, you did. That is why I responded concerning Richard.

People edit their posts here to correct errors, etc., but you should not replace one of your posts with a completely different one. It is better to clarify your positions with additional posts, so that people are not confused.

Thank you for clarifying your position, though.

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Anna Fitzgerald  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:02
French to English
Thanks for the tip about editing posts, but... Aug 10, 2006

Thanks, Henry.

I think ProZ and I have a different vision of the blocked thread I originally referred to. I honestly saw it as pertaining to scope, but it seems ProZ saw it as a rehash of another issue. When I said I didn't mention Richard's topic, I was speaking of that other issue, which in accordance with ProZ rules can't be discussed here. You know what I'm talking about, because you were the one who brought that topic up on this thread. I don't have a position on that topic, never having read the original threads before they were hidden, and that is not what I want to discuss here. I'm really interested in how a site defines what is acceptable and what is not.

One thing I would suggest is that staff and moderators try to follow their own rule about references to hidden or blocked threads, or at least make some effort to be vague, as that is what the rest of us have to do. If they feel they have to be more specific, they can always e-mail the respective posters.

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