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Why did a thread get locked simply to avoid mentioning amounts?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:10
English to French
+ ...
Feb 23, 2007

I came across a thread - see http://www.proz.com/topic/66762 - that was locked right after the initial post by a moderator. The question posted was how to charge for translation of audio files, and the moderator locked the thread before anyone could answer saying that in order to avoid mentioning amounts of money, the matter has to be discussed privately.

I don't understand. Since when is it forbidden to discuss rates, a matter that is at the heart of this community of translators? Also, why am I not allowed to answer that person's question to the best of my knowledge, to help that person and all people who may want to know about the topic? Why can't we all see the suggested answers of users so we are better educated about one of the many aspects of our work?

I just find this behaviour sad, as it is a very straightforward way of trampling people's freedom of speech. If at least the topic was outside of the scope of the site or against site rules - but it wasn't. This, to me, was like cutting a person's arm off for having taken a breath.

Can we get an explanation on this questionable behaviour?

Edit: Can we also not get this thread locked until discussion resumes, for once? Please?

[Edited at 2007-02-23 22:57]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:10
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Unfortunately... Feb 23, 2007

This is not the first and probably not the last thread closed by moderators (without any comments given, by the way, as my experience shows.) Strange enough that when staff people close a thread they always drop a personal message, but moderators in particular language forums just close postings without sending any notice to the authors. It's like you post a message then it's gone, nobody cares.

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
Very strange, Feb 24, 2007

...indeed.
We've talked thousands of times about rates.
Didn't know it's now forbidden or to be discussed privatly.
A new rule, or something?
I'm not a paying member, so I can't extend my opinion about Proz's broader and broader freedom of speech.


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
the moderator did post a message Feb 24, 2007

In this case, the moderator posted a message and asked people to communicate privately with the poster.

Now, I don't know what was on the moderator's mind, and I don't want to start scattering blame. On the other hand, when I saw that, I thought that it was puzzling. I've seen several discussions of rates recently.

The only explanation that comes to mind is that I believe that posted quesiton was related to a job that was announced here, and so perhaps this person hadn't yet applied for the job, and thus it wasn't quite fair for her to know what the going rate is when others might not know it. But that's just a sheer guess ...


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Rui de Carvalho  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Typical of this site Feb 24, 2007

Quite typical of this site since a couple of years.
They set what we shall discuss. They want to teach us how to write a CV. They decide which jobs posts we shall or not quote. Yet, yearly they want us to pay. In my mind this site is approching the end of the line. A pity because it was once a useful site.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:10
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The person was asking about how to quote for such jobs Feb 24, 2007

We are not talking about a thread where a particular outsourcer or a particular job was being discussed. And even if there was a job on the job board in relation to which this person posted that thread, that is not a reason - if we would have been able to post answers to that person's question, all would have been fair, as others would have seen those replies as well. So, it's not like someone was going to gain access to some kind of secret information that others wouldn't have access to.

This is why I am puzzled by the closing of that thread. That person did nothing wrong, and if other users would have participated in the thread, they also would have done nothing wrong. No confidential information was being discussed. Where's the problem?

Do some moderators think that because they are moderators, they can actually override site rules and regulate our communications? Being a moderator, as far as I know, is not the same as being President of the United States of America! Or the Pope! Or God, why not?

I am, by the way, still waiting for an explanation. I also hope we will not get the first explanation from Henry or Enrique, for once. As a grown-up, the moderator in question should be able to explain her actions.

[Edited at 2007-02-24 02:47]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other threads discussing similar questions, not mentioning amounts Feb 24, 2007

It seems odd that this thread was locked. The answer to "how do I charge" isn't an amount of money; it is a charging basis, such as "by the hour". There are many other threads that openly discuss such a question; for instance these recent examples, which hardly mention specific amounts at all:
http://www.proz.com/topic/66198
http://www.proz.com/topic/66098
http://www.proz.com/topic/63292
http://www.proz.com/topic/63474
http://www.proz.com/topic/62486
http://www.proz.com/topic/60720


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:10
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
asking the moderator Feb 24, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I am, by the way, still waiting for an explanation. I also hope we will not get the first explanation from Henry or Enrique, for once. As a grown-up, the moderator in question should be able to explain her actions.


Hi Viktoria

Angela is a wonderful person who has been a moderator for years and cares a lot about the ProZ community. If she hasn't replied yet it's because we probably did not ask her. (Or am I mistaken? Did you ask her or did you simply post here, hoping that she would see this thread at some point? We don't read all threads in all forums all the time.) I'll drop her a note and ask her to answer your question in this thread.
Maria


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:10
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Maria Feb 24, 2007

I did not contact her personally, as I prefer to discuss this here, since the situation is not only about her reaction to the post we are discussing, but about a wider question on site rules and how they are being applied (or not) by moderators. I also would have asked her in that particular thread, except that it's locked so I can't post.

I did call Enrique to the topic, asking him to please ask Angela to come and explain her actions. I preferred to go about it this way as I wanted to avoid getting an explanation on this through e-mail, privately. As this issue concerns other people than me as well, and since the initial event happened in public in the forum, I think it is best we discuss this openly.

Thanks for your initiative, Maria!

[Edited at 2007-02-24 17:03]


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pma
South Korea
Local time: 20:40
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Agree Feb 24, 2007

I agree with Viktoria.

I cannot speak about the incident she mentions -it would be unfair to do so without knowing the facts- , but I do share the feeling that proZ lacks freedom of speech and an open approach to translators concerns.

I have the feeling that it is strictly governed in order to meet the best financial results, and they will even try to discourage you from discussing topics like low rates and the like if they think it will adversely affect their goals. At the end of the day, it will play against them, but they don´t seem to realize that at this point in time.

It looks there is an army of moderators patrolling the site day and night with their finger on the trigger... that is my feeling, and that is definitely not what I would expect for my membership money.

Unfortunately, I never found the time to complain formally; and my main occupation is not translations after all, so I often forget about it, but I do think they treat us like kids and I am getting fed up. Don´t they realize there are places where we can actually say what they don´t want to hear? And it is not their rules there...


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:10
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Agree with pma Feb 24, 2007

I had the same feeling as pma (sorry, but I can't find your name) about another discussion.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:10
English to German
+ ...
Pricing issues are openly discussed Feb 24, 2007

Viktoria and all,
First of all, I don't see any reason why this thread should be locked, as it's perfectly within the rules (as virtually all of your posts are, Viktoria). I must admit I cannot help but smile when vetting forum postings telling me (as the moderator of the Money Matters forum, for example) that they're bound to be hidden anyway...

I understand your concern, however, I would have welcomed had you chosen to discuss it in general, rather than pinpointing a specific moderator. Also, it would help to bear in mind that moderators are human beings (and volunteers, BTW...) - assuming good faith would be welcome. (Ask yourself how you would feel if someone accused you of "questionable behaviour" before having given you a chance to respond.)

I recall some concern (quite some time ago, actually) amongst moderators that openly discussing rates could be interpreted as price fixing. In my view, that's not the case here - having said that, I would probably lock or remove a discussion where several people agreed upon a certain price level, as this could very well be illegal. Note that this has nothing to do with ProZ.com site rules, but with applicable law.

Other examples where I have locked posts straight away is where someone is looking to buy a software (usually CAT) license from someone else - the reason behind this is that such requests provide an open platform to those trying to sell illegal software copies.

On a general note, I am happy to discuss any situation where I have locked a topic.

And finally, I'd like to comment on pma:

It looks there is an army of moderators patrolling the site day and night with their finger on the trigger...

Now would this be the same "army of moderators" who spend their time trying to fight fraudsters and non-payers? Thanks for the appreciation, mate...

On this note, have a nice weekend, everyone.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:10
French to English
+ ...
My read Feb 24, 2007

In defense of Viktoria, is that she did NOT pinpoint any specific moderator.

Another moderator referred to the one who locked the thread by name, and in her response, Viktoria did not re-cite the name, she said "she".

Patricia


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I agree, but I'm not concerned Feb 24, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I don't understand. Since when is it forbidden to discuss rates, a matter that is at the heart of this community of translators?


I'm as baffled as you are. IMO, if users post messages that violate the forum rules, such messages should be removed, but why lock an entire thread just because there is the off-chance that some repliers might violate the forum rules?

I just find this behaviour sad, as it is a very straightforward way of trampling people's freedom of speech.


I, on the other hand, am unconcerned about this. Moderators aren't perfect and they make decisions in good faith. There is no trend here. If there was a trend of locking certain threads, that amounted to undue censorship, I would be concerned, but I would not fret about isolated incidents.

I'm also curious as to why the Indian Translators threads were hidden -- but I *only curious*, not worried. It really doesn't happen often that threads pertaining to a topic which may become an emotional one or one leading to discord, are hidden like that.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:10
English to German
+ ...
She posted the link to the topic Feb 24, 2007

Hi Patricia,
Patricia Lane wrote:

In defense of Viktoria, is that she did NOT pinpoint any specific moderator.

The opening posting contains a link to the topic - it's crystal clear who she was referring to.

If this was a general issue, I would have posted a factual description of what happened, but not the link. But maybe that's just me...

Best regards,
Ralf


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