Site Rule 3.4 and the use of the discussion box
Thread poster: Angela Greenfield

Angela Greenfield  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
May 25, 2009

In a Forum topic re Voting for Answers (http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/135878-voting_for_answers-page2.html#1131724) my colleagues touched upon the Site Rule 3.4 ( http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.4#3.4) that prohibits one from discussing the posted answer in the discussion box and requires to limit one's comments to the peer grading box.

I think that in absence of other venues to discuss answers this rule should be removed. I agree that we have to adhere to site rules, but when the rule is redundant it needs to be changed.

KudoZ for me is not just an opportunity to help someone (and for most people it is not, either). I wish I could say just that, but we are not all Mothers Teresas, you know. Some people are competitive and want the token points. That's what makes them happy. I, for instance, while not competitive, like to LEARN while participating and I hope others do, too. If you restrict the linguistic discussion to the 225 characters in the peer comment box you restrict my ability to benefit from helping my peers. I REALLY don’t care about the points and what answer gets chosen as long as we collectively get close to the truth. What I DO care about is when a colleague gives an answer and this answer gets an overwhelming support just because he/she is considered a wizard in this particular area. But we are all human, and we all make mistakes. I had it happen to me once. I gave an answer, got "agree" entries from my peers and then had to remove the answer because I found (on my own) that it was WRONG. I would like to be able to POLITELY challenge the answerers to substantiate their questions and give the logical reasoning behind their choices. What’s wrong with that? We will all benefit from that.

As it is now, while I am not allowed to ask an answerer about his reasons for a particular choice of an answer in the discussion box, I quite often in the same discussion box get verbally abused by other peers for posting my “agree” with an answer nobody likes, for instance.

Don’t take me wrong. I am a big fan of this site and I consider it a great learning tool. While the bulk of my work comes from elsewhere (in fact I really don’t get much work from this site) I am your loyal member exactly for that reason - I LOVE TO LEARN. Let’s make it possible for everyone.

Thank you.


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Yelena Pestereva  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:20
English to Russian
+ ...
Agree with Angela. May 26, 2009

What worries me is that wrong answers are included in our common glossary. I use it now and then but can't say it's very helpful. Too many doubtful answers! And I have some experience and am able to tell which terms in the glossary are right and which are not. But can beginners do the same? What will they learn?

[Edited at 2009-05-26 02:02 GMT]


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Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:20
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Ditto! May 26, 2009

Angela and Yelena

Thank you for expressing my opinion so clearly!

Christina

[Edited at 2009-05-26 03:13 GMT]


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Stefan A. M. Adamek  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:20
Swedish to English
+ ...
I think that you are absolutely right Angela... May 26, 2009

I have to agree with you Angela, I personally think it would be healthier attitude to the issues we all that we are dealing with here.
One concern that I personally have is that only one definition is used, typically a general definition where it many times is a need for several... just take a look in a dictionary, right...

Have we not all of us sometimes found one answer to a translation question that makes sense only to later, perhaps thanks to a more industry specialized translator, learn that our first answer is wrong in the sense that the pro's the translation was aimed towards would use a different word.
This would possibly cause disrespect for clients product due to a translation error...

Personally so is this something I experience almost every time I unpack something from China (as an exampel) causing me to laugh...

A never ending strive for learning and increased quality will keep the wheels spinning...

My humble personal opinion of course

Thanks Angela

\o/
Stefan


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:20
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
ditto ditto May 26, 2009

I also agree entirely. There has been too much change in the direction of forcing us into specific boxes for specific purposes. If this must continue, at least make the comment on answer box larger or of indefinite length.

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Tatiana Pelipeiko  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:20
French to Russian
+ ...
Quite right, Angela! May 26, 2009

Yes, it is correct to comment first in the grading box - the answerer is automatically informed. But the space there is too small to continue any linguistic discussion.

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Angela Greenfield  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Peer comments get chopped in the peer grading box May 26, 2009

So even if I fit within the mandated 255 characters half of my sentence ends up missing after I post it. Or is it just me?

I do agree with Jack that we are forced into a set of rules that are too tight. What happened to the good old American tradition not to prescribe things that are allowed (i.e. if it’s not forbidden by the law then it is allowed)?

Having grown up in the Soviet Union where if it's not permitted by a law or a government regulation you are not allowed to do it, I recognize a very disturbing pattern here. I firmly believe that linguistic discussions re the question and the choice of terms between people not involved in asking or answering the question are healthy. I also believe that there is nothing wrong in asking the answerer to provide more substantiation for the answer. And, finally, I believe if a person is set to abuse the site he/she will find a way of doing it no matter how well-regulated it is.

I think (as we all are human) peer agreement may be misleading to the asker, since we sometimes tend to support an answerer who we trust or whose area of expertise includes the particular term (or due to personal "likes” and “dislikes” towards a particular answerer, for that matter). I am not going to point my finger at anyone, but we all have seen this happen at one time or another. All of these problems could be cleared out by a well-tempered linguistic discussion. And even if the wrong answer gets chosen subsequent users of the glossary will see that there is no single unequivocal answer to the question.


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Francesca Pesce  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
I totally agree May 26, 2009

I totally agree with your proposal.

Until a few weeks ago, I didn't know of the existance of site rule 3.4 . Then one day a moderator intervened telling me that I was violating such a rule and cancelled what I had written. I was quite surprised because -besides the violation of the rule per se - what I had done was absolutely constructive and useful. This means that there is something wrong with the rule, from my point of view. And also that previous moderators had decided to be flexible with its enforcement, since it is highly unlikely that I hadn't made the same "mistake" before.

I really don't understand the sense of this rule.

Fra


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
French to English
+ ...
I completely agree with Angela May 26, 2009

that ample space for linguistic discussions of both questions and answers should be available and that this would improve the quality of eventual glossary entries, as well as being a useful learning tool.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Recent change in the text of the rule - bad move IMHO Jun 1, 2009

My first guess was overly zealous moderators, who misinterpreted the rules, but then I took a closer look at the rules.

Rule 3.4 used to say this:
The only acceptable means of commenting on another's answer is by using the peer comment feature. Using the answer posting form or the answer explanation box to comment on another's suggestions is not allowed.


Now it says this:
The only acceptable means of commenting on another's answer is by using the peer comment feature. Using the discussion area, the answer posting form or the answer explanation box to comment on another's suggestions is not allowed.


The difference is that "discussion area" was inserted.
This is a very recent change, it seems the modified text above appeared on May 25.
(The old text was in place since September 2006.)

I wonder about the reason of including the discussion area in the exclusion.
It is very illogical to me, as the purpose of the discussion area is precisely to discuss the question and the possible solutions from a linguistic point of view. That includes discussing various suggestions, including those that have been, being or possibly will be posted as answers.
There is no point having the "discussion" area if no discussion is allowed there.

Are people encouraged now to post their terminology dilemmas on the forums instead, to be able to have discussions (but no glossary entries, no KudoZ points)???

I am puzzled.

Could staff please comment on the logic behind this change in the rule?


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chica nueva
Local time: 02:20
Chinese to English
'Everything has its place'/only one place to comment on another's answers ...; a good discipline? Jun 2, 2009

@ Katalin

Not discussing others' answers in the discussion box - a good rule? Maybe. Perhaps this KudoZ question might serve as an example:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/english_to_chinese/education_pedagogy/3263842-past_present_verb_conjunctions.html As far as I can see, in the discussion no-one agreed or disagreed directly with anyone. Everyone just posted their own opinion/viewpoint/questions directly to the asker.

[ Personal comment: In the discussion box of this question, I initially disagreed with 'conjugation' and wrote 'Conjugation is an interesting word to use here' (which was fairly blunt and tactless actually, and could possibly have affected 'the dynamics'). Later I thought better of it, and deleted it. What do you think? After all, no-one is 'an authority' at ProZ ... I don't know where it says that, but it says it somewhere, or used to. See Cornerstone 10: http://www.proz.com/?sp=info/cornerstones 'In collaborative areas, everyone - and all contributions - are welcome.' ]

It's quite interesting, how KudoZ can be used - the above is only one example. IMO it works pretty well. (We have a particular issue in our Community, in relation to KudoZ, but that aside, it seems to work just fine, IMO).

Lesley

[Edited at 2009-06-02 02:04 GMT]


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chica nueva
Local time: 02:20
Chinese to English
Length of KudoZ responses; playing the KudoZ game; challenging; personal abuse Jun 2, 2009

Angela Greenfield wrote:

So even if I fit within the mandated 255 characters half of my sentence ends up missing after I post it. Or is it just me?



Ha, ha. Hello, Angela. Yes, it's possible to say twice as much in Chinese, (and Korean I suspect), since each character is one syllable. However that aside, the length of the response boxes seems pretty much OK to me, even in English.

On how to play, I have to say that when I play the KudoZ game, I often play 'quite hard' as 'a sport' (perhaps it's different in some of the other communities or fields ...). IMO that approach may help to keep the standard of the Glossary quite high.

You say: 'I would like to be able to POLITELY challenge the answerers to substantiate their questions and give the logical reasoning behind their choices.' Well, I wonder, can you not perhaps use the Neutral and Disagree functions to do this, backed up with a reference?

You say '... get verbally abused by other peers for posting my “agree” with an answer nobody likes, for instance.' IMO this shouldn't happen ... ? Is there some way to deal with it, eg by posting 'hard evidence' in support - if your case is well-supported, no-one can argue with it, really, can they? If it's really a problem, how about taking these sorts of things up with the KudoZ moderators.

Lesley

[Edited at 2009-06-02 03:42 GMT]


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Angela Greenfield  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:20
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Challenging answers and personal abuse Jun 2, 2009

[quote] Well, I wonder, can you not perhaps use the Neutral and Disagree functions to do this, backed up with a reference? [unquote]

Certainly, one can use these functions but they are not enough for a fruitful dialogue in which more than two people can participate.

[quote] You say '... get verbally abused by other peers for posting my “agree” with an answer nobody likes, for instance.' IMO this shouldn't happen ... ? Is there some way to deal with it, eg by posting 'hard evidence' in support - if your case is well-supported, no-one can argue with it, really, can they? If it's really a problem, how about taking these sorts of things up with the KudoZ moderators. [unquote]

Yes, we do deal with it through moderators. I somehow think that this particular problem is very characteristic to the Russian-English language pair and does not manifest itself in other pairs to such extent. I just used it as an example of outright abuse of the discussion box.


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