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KudoZ release: discussion area and other improvements
Thread poster: Enrique Cavalitto

Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 21:17
SITE STAFF
Aug 8, 2008

Dear members,

Earlier this week a new area for "reference comments" was added to KudoZ. The new feature was well-received and in general, properly used from the start.

Now a new area is being added, to support linguistic discussions on questions. The discussion box will be displayed when there is at least one entry. A Discuss button has provided to this effect.

Discussion entry posters will be able to edit their entries during the first 24 hours (just like in normal forums) and to delete them at any time.

Since the discussions may generate fast and multiple entries, it was decided that there will be no notifications associated with this feature, at least in the initial implementation.

KudoZ rules will not change, save for a small update in rule 1.3: The "discuss" area should be used only for linguistic discussions on the question. Commenting on answers or participants, or attempting to influence others' decisions is not allowed.

The "Ask the asker" box has been renamed "Clarification request(s) and response(s)" and the related terminology has been modified accordingly to ensure consistency.

With four possible entry areas (answers, reference comments, clarification requests and discussions), new instruction labels and mouse-overs have been added to guide the proper usage of the features.

These features are experimental, and your feedback will be very welcome.

My special thanks to the many members who suggested these and so many other improvements to this, our user-driven site, to our gifted developer Mauricio (I particularly liked the mini-forum format) and to our members for their support of the site.

Regards,
Enrique


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
My Opinion Aug 8, 2008

My opinion is that such features (Post Reference, Discuss) complicate things too much, plus they are an attempt to manipulate our behavior. The "Ask for Information" feature has acted as a catchall for quite a while, so maybe it should be called "catchall" and used as it already is.

It catches a lot of things of doubtful value also, but what more can we do?

I say just keep it simple.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:17
German to English
Discussion box Aug 9, 2008

I think this is a great improvement for professional-level KudoZ. I don't think it will or should be used a lot because even pro-level questions usually don't require a lot of discussion. The previous system of relying on a few well-documented answers supplied by specialists in the field with explanations as needed and with responsible, knowledgeable peers grading and commenting on the answers has generally served us well over the years.

But, after participating in KudoZ for almost eight years, I've come to prefer to answer the difficult, challenging questions - questions from real pros who don't ask questions that can be looked up in a dictionary or easily found after a short Internet search, where good research skills and subject-matter expertise are called for.

On these occasions a good discussion might be very helpful, so providing it as an option to be used judiciously is a great step forward. It could be used while the question is still open to provide background information to assist others while the question is still open or after the question has been closed when an expert has come across the question in the glossary and wants to support or challenge the answer that was selected.

I have benefited from "answers" submitted by conscientious members who have added thorough explanations of why translators need context (that wouldn't fit in the ask-the-asker box), background information on the various legal systems, discussions about the risks of trying to equate systems that are inherently different.

I don't see KudoZ as a cheap and quick in-and-out, thank you ma'am activity. And yes, I do like to "spoon-feed" askers when the question is really a pro question, because I try to give the asker something she can take to the bank and defend, if necessary, and I try to create an answer that will stand the test of time in the KOG.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I agree with Henry Aug 9, 2008

It's just too complicated.

Amy


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
GREAT, ENRIQUE! GREAT!!! Aug 9, 2008

That's what KudoZ needed. Congratulations!

But there is something I don't understand:

"Commenting on answers (...) is not allowed."

If we don't comment on answers, what on Earth are we going to discuss about??. Sometimes I have seen the right answer poorly explained, while the wrong one looks better for somebody without enough technical or scientific knowledge. Sometimes somebody answers something that is only partially right and we need to discuss about it. At least with biomedical expressions, sometimes a long scientific and linguistic discussion is needed about some of the answers.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 01:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
"require clarification"? Aug 9, 2008

The button for what used to be "ask the asker" now says "require clarification". Wouldn't "request clarification" be better?

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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:17
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Commenting on "answers" Aug 9, 2008

RNAtranslator wrote:

"Commenting on answers (...) is not allowed."

If we don't comment on answers, what on Earth are we going to discuss about??


You're certainly right. I have a feeling "answers" was a typo for "answerers." Otherwise it makes no sense.

Susan


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Martin Cassell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:17
French to English
Like the general idea - observations on implementation Aug 9, 2008

Enrique,

Being able to open up/fold away the discussion is helpful, I guess, but the automatic refresh feature seems incongruous with the way the rest of the page works.

Auto-refresh becomes just plain confusing when one is posting to the discussion. Firstly the submitted contribution seemingly disappears: I'm not the only one who has already duplicated a posting.

And how about notification to those who have posted to the discussion, when someone else adds to it?

Martin


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Martin Cassell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:17
French to English
Thoughts on policy direction Aug 9, 2008

Enrique,

Though I understand some of the motivation for the recent innovations, I partly share some of the reservations expressed by Henry and others, that they risk making KudoZ too complicated. I suppose time will tell, as people settle in to a way of using it.

I am more concerned about the signs of an authoritarian instinct which the new instructions betray.

Firstly, because (at least in those language pairs which I am familiar with), a little friendly improvisation -- and a bit of digression and banter at times -- has been part of the atmosphere, and the highly controlling approach which accompanies the new features seems certain to stifle this to some extent.

Some might say "that's a good thing, let's stick to the point"; but I fear it risks alienating some of the more generous contributors for no great benefit. Over-defining what's allowed, and more to the point what's forbidden, also risks squeezing out some of the very discussions which give KudoZ its unique value, by allowing more reflective consideration of those nuanced issues in translation which go way beyond the level of a "mega-glossary".

Secondly, because it risks imposing a considerable workload on the poor moderators, and a considerable strain on their powers of tact and diplomacy, too, if they are to uphold the strict terms of the new instructions without ruffling a great many feathers -- and in the worst case that would risk losing a lot of goodwill among site users, perhaps even driving them away.

Martin


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:17
Member (2006)
English to French
Too complicated Aug 9, 2008

I think that a single box to ask for clarifiaction AND to discuss is enough, because in the current "ask the asker" box, you often start by asking for more context etc, and then discuss about linguistics (or other).
With the new feature, you will end with too many boxes (clarification, discuss, references, plus the different answers), with no real order (i.e. without knowing immediately who posted what first ).

Stéphanie


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 21:17
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the valuable feedback so far! Aug 9, 2008

Dear members,

These are experimental features. The community will probably show us the way to proceed by choosing one option over others, or by using them all, or by using them in ways different from what we thought.

Efforts have been made to make the new features as little obtrusive as possible. For instance the discussion box is not shown unless there are already entries there, or the user is trying to make an entry.

The usage messages make reference to rules that have been here for a long time. No new rule so far. Messages were added as reminders and for guidance, as there are now four different channels for users to enter information (plus peer-grading, of course).

I look forward to more feedback to find out possible errors and opportunities for improvement.

Regards,
Enrique


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:17
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Improvements? What improvements? Aug 9, 2008

The old "Ask the asker" option was freely used for all these purposes, and why should it not have continued to be so? Now, everywhere you go, you are faced with restrictions and orders, threating us all like naughty children. I dislike this change intensely and would like to see it reversed.

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xxxsavaria
Hungary
Local time: 01:17
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I fully agree with Mr.Jack Doughty Aug 9, 2008

Jack Doughty wrote:

The old "Ask the asker" option was freely used for all these purposes, and why should it not have continued to be so?

Now, everywhere you go, you are faced with restrictions and orders, threating us all like naughty children
. I dislike this change intensely and would like to see it reversed.


I fully agree with Jack (Mr.Doughty).


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Martin Cassell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:17
French to English
Some communication required, perhaps Aug 9, 2008

Jack Doughty wrote:
Now, everywhere you go, you are faced with restrictions and orders, threating us all like naughty children.


True or not, this does seem to be the perception, and it risks causing resentment.

If there is a change of policy (or in the strictness of its enforcement, which comes to the same thing) in progress, I feel that it needs to be communicated and explained to us, the users, not simply imposed.


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Simon Mac
Local time: 00:17
French to English
+ ...
Turning off refresh while adding a discussion comment Aug 9, 2008

I am waiting to see how these new features turn out - as a programmer in another life I know that any new feature in a system may not be fully appreciated at first. (Try taking them away in 6 months and you'll soon find out whether they were a good idea or not!)

Anyway, I just have a couple of small suggestions regarding the discussion feature.

When you are adding a comment to a discussion, if another person adds a comment to the discussion before you have submitted your comment and the timer hits zero, you seem to lose what you were typing as the other person's comment is displayed. My suggestion would be 'simply' (from a user point of view!) to turn off the auto-refresh while a comment is being added.

It would also be useful to make it clearer that a discussion is going on. I think I would have it open by default. I have used the feature but I am not sure that others have realised there is a discussion there.

Finally, I don't seem to get notifications of other contributions to a discussion. This would be really useful otherwise you have to keep returning to the question.

Many thanks

[Edited at 2008-08-09 21:01]


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