Targeted questions
Thread poster: writeaway

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2008

Askers are offered the opportunity to 'target' questions, i.e. restrict them to certain groups of people.
However, nearly all targeted questions (restricted language pair, specialization etc). also come with a message stating that although you do not meet all (or any of) the criteria you may answer this question anyway.
This effectively blows the whole purpose of targeted questions out of the water because groups that the Asker specifically does not want to hear from are then 'invited' to answer that very question!
I did say 'nearly' all targeted questions, because there is one select group that is completely prevented from answering at all. Answer slots are gone AND peer comment slots have also been removed, meaning they cannot answer and they are also ineligible/unqualified to make any peer comments. So they are fully blocked from any type of participation in that question.
Which group? These are the measures applied when it's targeted to 'Members only'.
My question: why this discrepancy? Why disregard/disrespect Asker's wish to target a question to a specific language, specialization etc. and 'invite' others to answer anyway, but fully back (including removal of answer slots) an Asker's request to target members only? Why not do the same for all groups an Asker want to target? Isn't that why targeted questions are there in the first place?


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 04:54
English to German
+ ...
Absolutely agree Aug 2, 2008

I've often asked myself the same questions. Actually, the only kind of targeted questions that I think unnecessary are the ones that are truly targeted under the current system, i.e. "Members only". After all, a person can be a member and still be totally unqualified to answer a certain question, so what's the purpose? I'm all for making questions targeted to language pair, specialization, etc. truly targeted instead.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
What's the sense of targeting? Aug 2, 2008

You ask a question, you get several answers. At that point you start checking the answers received to see which one might be the best option. You search for these different possibilities in proper context to see which might be most appropriate (if any). You check the answerers' profiles to see who is an expert and who is not. You look at the peer comments and check any information there and peer profiles.

Then you make an educated decision based on all the above. Or you can just make a blind decision based on a pretty face, good vibes, celebrity status, or whatever.

There is no sense in targeting, especially to members. To be a member, all you have to do is pay. There is no criterion as to whether one is a good or bad translator. In addition, whether or not one may have declared a specialty in a field or any other information is no reliable indicator of expertise.

So in the end, it is the asker who takes full responsibility for choosing the best answer. Excluding some people from participating does not help at all.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:54
German to English
Targeting members only Aug 2, 2008

writeaway wrote:

Askers are offered the opportunity to 'target' questions, i.e. restrict them to certain groups of people.
This effectively blows the whole purpose of targeted questions out of the water because groups that the Asker specifically does not want to hear from are then 'invited' to answer that very question!
My question: why this discrepancy? Why disregard/disrespect Asker's wish to target a question to a specific language, specialization etc. and 'invite' others to answer anyway ...?


Dear writeaway –

The targeted question feature was surely added as an effort to help protect askers from the confidence tricksters and outrageously unqualified KudoZ point hunters who routinely prey on the innocent. Pro translators discover KudoZ expecting help with tough translation problems and within two minutes they have an answer from someone with an impressive logo advertising speed and quality. Under his name in bold blue lettering she sees that he specializes in the field. "Thank you so much for the quick answer," she replies, unaware that she's just been had by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject and couldn't care less what goes into her translation or so overestimates his skills that he just doesn't know any better. As an explanation for his answer to an electronics question we see a nice smiley instead of an explanation or references that will help the translator defend her decision to a proofreader and will become a reliable reference for future glossary users.

There's nothing to prevent members from claiming expertise in all sorts of fields that they know nothing about or claiming to be native speakers of English when they grew up and were educated in the Netherlands or Timbuktu, so targeting these crucial aspects is still rolling the dice. But the idea is still laudable because at least it's an acknowledgement that something needs to be done about quality.

So if quality really was behind the idea of targeting questions, why give askers the option to select members only? Why give askers an option that has nothing to do with quality? We're always being told that the site wants to give people as many options as possible, but surely those options should be restricted to what could conceivably improve the results.




[Edited at 2008-08-02 16:41]


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:54
German to English
+ ...
Couldn't have said it better myself, Kim :-) Aug 2, 2008

I agree with you on all points!

Trudy


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 04:54
German to Polish
+ ...
Agree with Kim's every word Aug 7, 2008

Trudy Peters wrote:

I agree with you on all points!

Trudy


Me too!

Agnieszka


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