Skipping explanation in KudoZ answers
Thread poster: Alaa Zeineldine

Alaa Zeineldine  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Apr 11, 2009

It has become common of late in the Arabic KudoZ sections to circumvent the "explanation" prompt by entering a period or other punctuation, or even by reentering the same answer in the explanation section.

There was even one situation when I referred to the lack of explanation in my comment on an answer (which happens to have been accepted -- an irrelevant fact as far as the required explanation is concerned) and the answerer responded by effectively telling me that this was good enough for the asker. Maybe it was, but the question and the answer do not go away, they remain as a reference for everyone else.

The fact that the system does not allow us to leave this entry blank is by design and indicates that this section is important.

Now there may be the occasional trivial NON-PRO question where the answer is obvious. However, for PRO questions, we should at least spend a couple of more minutes to provide an explanation with our answers.

With this said, and because of the prevalence of this practice, I'd like to know what others think about it, why do some of us skip the explanation, why has this become widespread, and how can we improve the situation?

[Edited at 2009-04-11 13:23 GMT]

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xxxK. Ganly  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
It is not helpful Apr 12, 2009

I have noticed this with the Arabic>English Kudoz answers as well.
I agree, while this may be acceptable for non-pro answers, for pro answers it is - at best - lazy.
Even a brief explanation, or link showing the usage of the term, would suffice. I find it frustrating when no explanation given, and i think this does not help the community- learning aspect of the Kudoz system ( it is not ALL about the points! ).
I have viewed some questions recently where an answer was selected in Kudoz, and no explanation was given in the body of the answer. As such, when coming across these things, i not only have no explanation given as to why this particular definition should be used, but also no clue as to why the answerer chose it when several other options are given which include detailed explanations and links. (For me this is of particular concern when i have seen answers given in English when i have never heard the English term before- and English is my native tongue.)
I think it is important to remember that the Kudoz does not only serve as an instant answer for an individual, but also as a resource tool for the rest of us.
I for one will not be choosing any answers without requesting an explanation to be provided in the body of the answer first. This is the only way others can benefit from the experience as well.

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Abdelmonem Samir  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2006)
English to Arabic
+ ...
context is for the asker, term is for the answerer Apr 13, 2009

The points are not a bad thing. They are good for maintaining "competition", where each answerer provides his\her best in order to 'win', or at least avoid being criticized.

You can see what happens if the asker chooses the "not for points" option. S\he can hardly get any attention at all.


As for the "lack of explanation" point, I'd like to think of the kudoz question as a puzzle, where the asker knows all the pieces (context, sentences, usage), except for one piece (translation of a specific term).

The asker's job is to inform us about the other pieces, and our job is to provide the missing piece. i.e The asker provides the context, we provide the answer.


Sometimes, the lack of "words" in the explanation area does not mean there is no explanation with the answer. There could be an "implied" explanation there. I mean, If we define "explanation" as "how the proposed term can be used", then, sometimes, we can easily deduce that from the question itself, and from the context provided by the asker.

In short, sometimes the answerer does not have to create another "imaginary" or "made up" context for his\her proposed term, if there is one already provided by the asker.

As for the other cases where the answerer does not provide an explanation when one is needed, I think we have enough mechanisms for deterring such practice, for example

1- providing a competing, well-explained answer
2- adding a polite neutral comment to draw the answerer's attention to that point

However, we have to make sure that the explanation is "crucial", before we accuse the answerer of laziness. Because sometimes, we call an answerer "lazy" while he is just being ultimately precise, quick and to the point! (for his\her benefit and for the asker's benefit as well) You can imagine a desperate asker waiting anxiously to receive a correct and quick answer before s\he delivers the project with the troublesome term.

By the way, I'm the answerer Alaa is referring to in his first post

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:26 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:33 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:38 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-13 12:41 GMT]

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Alaa Zeineldine  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Arabic>English Apr 13, 2009

Katharine Ganly wrote:
I have noticed this with the Arabic>English Kudoz answers as well.

Thank you, Katharine. I see that you also translate from French into English, so I wonder if you have only noticed this practice --as a trend-- in the Arabic>English section?

I know that I have just quoted you saying as much, but this fact is so relevant to the discussion that I would like to make sure that I understood your statement correctly. In other words, you did not notice this in the Arabic>English KudoZ answers in addition to other language pairs, but rather only in the Arabic>English pair. Is this correct?

-- Alaa

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