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KudoZ discussion box – what should be allowed?
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:11
German to English
Jul 20, 2009

Over the years, moderators and members have helped educate new KudoZ users on how to get the best results from their questions by addressing comments to askers. In addition to asking for context, they have pointed out that askers have selected the wrong language pair, that the question is already in the KudoZ glossary or that the question has been improperly classified under medical instead of business or “other”, for example.

But based on the rule that is sometimes enforced and sometimes not, depending on whether someone complains, using the discussion box to point out that the asker entered his question in the wrong language pair or that the question has already been asked 5 times before or is misclassified is prohibited and sanctions can be and are imposed on the basis that these comments are “not linguistic” in nature.

Even seasoned KudoZ users sometimes slip up and enter their questions under the wrong language pair or forget to check the glossary or misclassify their questions. They are usually grateful when someone points this out, but it is against the rules to do so.

My question: do you think there should be a rule against entering comments like the above in the discussion box? Should rule 1.3 be revisited?

KudoZ rule 1.3
Text boxes may be used only for their intended purposes.
o The "Discussion entries" box provides a place to post additional exchanges of information and linguistic discussions on the question.
Use of the above form fields for purposes other than those described is prohibited.




[Edited at 2009-07-20 20:29 GMT]


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:11
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jul 20, 2009

Kim Metzger wrote:

...
My question: do you think there should be a rule against entering comments like the above in the discussion box? Should rule 1.3 be revisited?

...


[Edited at 2009-07-20 20:29 GMT]


No, your proposal is too strict.

Grazie mille!


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:11
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No Jul 20, 2009

Pointing out someone's wrong choice of field or language pair *is* a linguistic issue, as far as I see it.

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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:11
Spanish to English
Too many rules spoil the broth Jul 20, 2009

Sometimes rules are necessary and make life easier for everyone. But I cannot see the need for a rule in this situation.

Ideally we should not have any rules unless they are absolutely essential, otherwise we will end up with a bureaucratic nightmare instead of a place we as translators can go for respite or assistance during the working day.


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
French to English
+ ...
Does the site propose an alternative location Jul 20, 2009

for such comments? Or are we just not supposed to make them any more?

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Birgit Gläser
Germany
Local time: 13:11
English to German
+ ...
with Kim Jul 20, 2009

I'm with Kim that the general comments are helpful and may lead to faster results (although the tone of some of those messages could be improved - sometimes they are downright rude). To err is human and nobody is perfect, so mistakes will occur (or sometimes the glossary entries may not fit in the context - seen that, too).

However I do not see how the rules limit such entries as it clearly states "additional exchange of information on the question". That encompasses just about anything with regards to the translation of the term (or understanding the concept/background). Also, how are you going to get any answer suggestions if the queston is by accident in the wrong language pair? And the wrong category may keep the experts from the "correct" field from answering as they may not look at or subscribe to the questions in the "wrong" category.

@Yaotl,
I think you misunderstood Kim, he merely copied in the existing rule and is in favor of less restrictions.


See, case in point, one can say things nicely and eventually I will really have to figure out smilies (and remember to post something after I finish writing it...).


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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Since such comments Jul 20, 2009

are germane to the successful running of the Kudoz aspect of the site, if stated factually and professionally and aid the correct entry of terms into the glossary, I cannot see how anyone could object to them. It seems to be an obstructive rule against the interests of the community so I would be for its 'revisiting'.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
My interpretation of the existing rule Jul 20, 2009

KudoZ rule 1.3
Text boxes may be used only for their intended purposes.
o The "Discussion entries" box provides a place to post additional exchanges of information and linguistic discussions on the question.
Use of the above form fields for purposes other than those described is prohibited

(Bold emphasis is mine.)

In my mind the sentence has two parts:
1. exchanges of information on the question
2. linguistic discussions on the question

Pointing out the incorrect category, language pair and other formalities is an exchange of information on the question, so they belong to the part of the rule that I marked as "1". These pieces of information as well as information about the context all help clarifying the exact nature of the question, so they all allowed based on the rule (in my interpretation of the rule - which I hope is in line with common sense).

Part 2 includes "linguistic discussions", which is probably more straightforward to interpret.

I think the point of the rule is to prevent personal comments and other things that would be anyway against the basic rules of professionalism and mutual respect.

As to pointing out that the question has been asked X number of times before, I think that is also useful information, so theoretically should be OK as part of "1" above, however, there is a risk that it may be interpreted as a comment regarding the asker's decision to post the question in the first place - and that is forbidden by another rule. Therefore, in such cases, perhaps the best solution is to post a Reference, with the links to the previous (identical or very similar) questions. That way it is less likely to be interpreted as a comment regarding the asker's decision to post the question.

Kim wrote:
But based on the rule that is sometimes enforced and sometimes not, depending on whether someone complains,


It is a problem if rules are not enforced consistently, or not interpreted in a uniform fashion. Perhaps it is something that should be raised with site management, so they could make sure that the Mods working in a uniform fashion, especially withing the same language pair.

using the discussion box to point out that the asker entered his question in the wrong language pair or that the question has already been asked 5 times before or is misclassified is prohibited and sanctions can be and are imposed on the basis that these comments are “not linguistic” in nature.


I think these examples show a misinterpretation of the existing rule - inexperienced moderator, perhaps?

Katalin


[Edited at 2009-07-20 23:29 GMT]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:11
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification from staff, please Jul 21, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

In my mind the sentence has two parts:
1. exchanges of information on the question
2. linguistic discussions on the question

Pointing out the incorrect category, language pair and other formalities is an exchange of information on the question, so they belong to the part of the rule that I marked as "1". These pieces of information as well as information about the context all help clarifying the exact nature of the question, so they all allowed based on the rule (in my interpretation of the rule - which I hope is in line with common sense).

It is a problem if rules are not enforced consistently, or not interpreted in a uniform fashion. Perhaps it is something that should be raised with site management, so they could make sure that the Mods working in a uniform fashion, especially withing the same language pair.

I think these examples show a misinterpretation of the existing rule - inexperienced moderator, perhaps?


I agree with Birgit and Katalin that “exchanges of information” should include the types of comments I listed and with Helen that they are “germane to the successful running of the Kudoz aspect of the site.” Some members (with editing rights) just go ahead and change the language pair without saying a word to the asker (for fear of offending her?), but as a teacher for many, many years (and former ProZ.com moderator), I tend to want to inform the asker that the wrong pair was selected so the mistake won’t be repeated over and over again. And yes, that happens quite a lot. The tone may become a little more direct if the asker keeps entering questions in the wrong language pair time and again (just as it frequently does when askers refuse to respond to requests for context time and time again), but it should never become nasty, of course. Some of my teachers and professors were more direct than others and we all need to develop a reasonably thick skin.

I know for a fact that comments are removed for violating rule 1.3, not because they are personal or used the wrong tone (a slippery slope), but because the enforcer doesn’t think such comments are “linguistic.” I see members entering such comments all the time, but the rule seems to be enforced only if someone complains, and the enforcer tends to be a staff member (not a moderator) who has received a complaint.

I think, for the sake of peace and harmony and healthy KudoZ communities, we need a statement from staff on this subject. Please clarify for us what is and isn’t allowed in the discussion box and what is and isn’t a linguistic comment. Staff members need to be on the same sheet of music as moderators.



[Edited at 2009-07-21 00:16 GMT]


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 08:11
SITE STAFF
Call the attention of those who can take action on the question Jul 21, 2009

Hello Kim,


I see members entering such comments all the time, but the rule seems to be enforced only if someone complains, and the enforcer tends to be a staff member (not a moderator) who has received a complaint.


Moderators cannot be everywhere all the time, and a good number of calls for attention are entered through the support system, particularly (but not only) in language pairs which do not currently have an assigned moderator.


I think, for the sake of peace and harmony and healthy KudoZ communities, we need a statement from staff on this subject. Please clarify for us what is and isn’t allowed in the discussion box and what is and isn’t a linguistic comment. Staff members need to be on the same sheet of music as moderators.


I would say that posts calling attention to the site rules are not necessary; moderators and staff are there to enforce rules, and KudoZ editors are there to help with certain editing, should this be necessary. If you see a rules violation in a KudoZ question, or feel the question has been posted incorrectly, in the wrong pair, etc., the best course of action is to call this to the attention of the moderator(s) for that pair, or submit the report to staff via the support system.

Regards,

Jared


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jared, I think you got it backwards Jul 21, 2009

Posting the question in the wrong pair or with incorrect field category is not violating any rules, it is a simple human mistake. Kim was asking whether comments that question the correctness or directly state the incorrectness of the language pair or the field*** of the question as it was posted allowed in the Discussion box.

As it is now, it seems there are different interpretations of the existing rule, and thus, sometimes such comments are being removed (and some feel this in unjustified).
That's why an "official statement" regarding the interpretation is needed.



***Assuming such comments made for the sake of the potential answerers and the asker (so that the answerers would not waste time searching the term related to an incorrectly specified field or language, and the asker would get the answer he/she really desires and perhaps pay more attention next time) and worded in a way that is not against any other rules about professional conduct.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 08:11
SITE STAFF
Did I? Jul 21, 2009

Hi Katalin,

Jared wrote:
If you see a rules violation in a KudoZ question, or feel the question has been posted incorrectly, in the wrong pair, etc., the best course of action is to call this to the attention of the moderator(s) for that pair, or submit the report to staff via the support system.


Maybe it was unclear, sorry. My point was that if there is something wrong with a question (such as mis-categorization, reversed pair, etc.) or there is a rules violation, it is best to call this to the attention of those who can effect a change in the question (e.g. edit the category, pair, and so on) or take any necessary rules enforcement.

Regards,

Jared


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Who can edit the language pair and the field? Jul 21, 2009

Jared,
Can the asker edit the language pair and the field of the question after it is posted?

- If yes, then there is no need to involve a Mod or Site staff - don't they have more important things to do? The asker could fix it (either after somebody points it out to him/her or realizing the mistake by himself/herself).

- If the asker cannot edit those parts of the question, then I would like to ask why not?

Katalin


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 08:11
SITE STAFF
Not the asker, at the moment Jul 21, 2009

Hi again Katalin,

The asker cannot currently edit those fields. It does make sense to allow them to do so, though. This change should be made in the near future.

Best regards,

Jared


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Thank you, please let the community know when it is done Jul 21, 2009

Jared wrote:

The asker cannot currently edit those fields. It does make sense to allow them to do so, though.


I am glad we agree.


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