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Punishable offenses in KudoZ
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:49
German to English
Aug 3, 2009

Bottom line up front: can the site please give members a clear policy statement on how specific comments in the discussion box and in peer reviews will be handled by all moderators and staff members?

Definition of punishable offense: violations will result in comments being hidden, warnings issued and then blocking a member’s use of specific KudoZ features.

About two weeks ago I started a forum thread asking for a clarification of how specific types of comments in the discussion box will be treated:

http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/140543-kudoz_discussion_box_–_what_should_be_allowed.html

So far, we have not received an official position statement on whether a comment such as “you selected the wrong language pair”, for example, is a punishable offense and if so, what the site’s system is for blocking a member’s use of the discussion box. The crux of the issue is how “linguistic comment” is interpreted by every moderator and staff member.

Now that we have a new crew of KudoZ moderators, I think members need to know very clearly how the rules will now be enforced by all moderators and staff members and whether every enforcer is on the same sheet of music. Many members have used the discussion box to comment on the following issues, for example:

1. Asking for context
2. Pointing out that the wrong language pair was selected
3. Pointing out that the question is already in the KudoZ glossary
4. Pointing out that the question has been improperly classified
5. Calling attention to KudoZ rules

Are these punishable offenses?

I think members also need a clear statement regarding peer comments. We know that peer comments must be “purely linguistic” but if a linguistic reason is given for disagreeing with an answer and an answerer’s high confidence level is also mentioned will the member be punished?

When someone regularly gives answers that are totally off-base and at the same time regularly selects confidence level 5: “highest, I am sure”, is it a punishable offense to mention the CL in addition to providing linguistic reasons for disagreeing?





[Edited at 2009-08-03 17:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-08-03 17:36 GMT]


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:49
SITE STAFF
What is in line, and out of line, with site rules Aug 3, 2009

Hello Kim,


Are these punishable offenses?


Let's see.


1. Asking for context

No. However, asking for context and stating, for example, "don't hold your breath. This is all we're going to get. This asker doesn't believe in context", is. http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7


2. Pointing out that the wrong language pair was selected

No. However, admonishing the asker to pay attention next time, for example, does not constitute a linguistic discussion and would be against http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_general/1.3#1.3


3. Pointing out that the question is already in the KudoZ glossary

No. However, pointing out that a question is already in the glossary and asking the asker why they chose to post the question anyway, for example, would be against http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7


4. Pointing out that the question has been improperly classified

No. Similarly to the above, however, it is possible to comment on this and violate site rules.


5. Calling attention to KudoZ rules

Yes. KudoZ language pairs have moderators, and in the absence of moderators staff will also take action if it is appropriate. There is a link to call either a moderator's or staff's attention at the bottom of each question, and reporting rules infractions this way is the proper channel. See http://www.proz.com/faq/2770#2770


I think members also need a clear statement regarding peer comments. We know that peer comments must be “purely linguistic” but if a linguistic reason is given for disagreeing with an answer and an answerer’s high confidence level is also mentioned will the member be punished?


Yes. See http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

I can see how these points may be confusing. I'll see that they make their way into FAQs.

Best regards,

Jared


 

NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 17:49
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
KudoZ and Forums Aug 3, 2009

Jared wrote:

5. Calling attention to KudoZ rules

Yes. KudoZ language pairs have moderators, and in the absence of moderators staff will also take action if it is appropriate. There is a link to call either a moderator's or staff's attention at the bottom of each question, and reporting rules infractions this way is the proper channel. See http://www.proz.com/faq/2770#2770




Thanks for stating this so clearly, Jared. Every moderated page, KudoZ, JobZ or Forum, has a link to alert the Moderator to an infraction or situation where the Mod should intervene. Making public announcements are not helpful, as we can easily miss these, and they in turn often result in many email complaints being sent to the Moderator, who then needs to turn away from a job to respond appropriately, hide inappropriate/irrelevant remarks, etc. Let's keep it lean and clean, folks - go straight to the source. Mods are here to guide newcomers who may inadvertently break rules (happens all the time). A click on the link, a quick note to the Mod (out of the public eye), and the Mod will turn to guiding the user in question.

Thanks!

Nancy


 

The Misha
Local time: 17:49
Russian to English
+ ...
No soup for you! Aug 4, 2009

Jeez, folks, aren't you taking it a little too seriously with all these rules and interpretations thereof? We don't really have to answer those KudoZ questions, you know. Sadly, the further it goes, the more amazed I am. This is, after all, an American-sponsored site. Land of the free, home of the brave, right? Or is it the new paradigm in action?

 

Izabela Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:49
English to Polish
+ ...
Heart-felt thanks, Jared :) Aug 4, 2009

I cannot think of a more explicit way of putting it - that's precisely the type of explanation the new/occasional users are looking for and sometimes cannot find, and a perfect refresher / eye-opener for some...icon_razz.gif You've helped all the moderators a lot, I think. Thanks for that, and thanks to Kim for asking the questions in a manner which allowed such a clear explanation. Great job, both of you!icon_smile.gif

I'll provide a link to this tread in the Polish forum in a moment - for everyone who might have missed on it.icon_smile.gif


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:49
SITE STAFF
Response to The Misha Aug 4, 2009

ProZ.com has offices in the US, in Argentina, and in Ukraine. The rules which affect how the site is used, though, are site rules: http://www.proz.com/rules . Most of these rules have been in place, and enforced, for quite some time, in an effort to maintain a positive, results-oriented atmosphere on the site.

Everyone who has registered a profile on the site has indicated their acceptance of, and agreement to abide by, these rules (including staff and moderators). That's just the way it is.

Best regards,

Jared


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:49
SITE STAFF
Thanks Nancy and Iza Aug 4, 2009

Thanks Nancy and Iza, for the further clarification, and for passing the word along!

Best regards,

Jared


 

Anne-Marie Grant (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
French to English
+ ...
There is a danger here Aug 4, 2009

of being so bound by rules that we lose the community aspect of Kudoz. Whilst I have been on the receiving end of snide comments (on my very first question, as it happens), I really value and appreciate the banter that goes on between people who've been around a while. Freelance translation can be a lonely business and making a jokey comment or seeing an observation about the weather in some distant part of the globe is, actually, one of the rather nice things about Kudoz.

I don't want things to get so politically correct that we end up losing all our freedoms, allowed only to say 'yes' and 'no' for fear of committing a punishable offence. That someone like Kim, whom I only know through his helpful and intelligent contributions on the site, has been on the receiving end of ProZ punishment is a source of alarm to me. There is a balance to be struck between being polite and being allowed to uphold standards in Kudoz by reminding certain askers about its nature and purpose.


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:49
SITE STAFF
Everyone is subject to the same rules Aug 4, 2009

Hello Anne-Marie,

The networking, interaction and community aspect of KudoZ, or the forums for that matter, is important, sure. The site's rules are in place precisely to protect the positive, results-oriented atmosphere in those areas. A friendly remark between answerers may not be strictly within those rules, but they also were not the type of comments I was targeting in my reply above, some of which are neither positive nor results-oriented.

A nicety added to a linguistic comment is one thing, a snide remark is another. Please note that "upholding standards in KudoZ by reminding certain askers/answerers about its nature and purpose" is an activity of moderators and staff.

Best regards,

Jared


 

Anne-Marie Grant (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
French to English
+ ...
Thank you, Jared. Aug 4, 2009

There are a few situations on which I would like clarification - all genuine recent scenarios.

1) An answerer persists in tackling questions from and into languages which are not listed anywhere on his profile. Despite numerous disagreements from peers who are, understandably, exasperated by his strange posts, he continues to try his luck. Are we allowed to challenge him in any way? Do we always need to go through a moderator?

2) A non-logged in questioner posts a potentially offensive question without labelling it as such. Some of us think the person is out to cause offence. May we ask them why they have posted it, particularly if it is an expression that can be found easily on the Net, or do we have to go though a moderator?

3) An asker posts a series of questions with '?' as context. Many answerers help her out in good faith until one or two start saying enough is enough. Do the 'enough is enough' translators always have to go through a moderator if they wish to be more direct in their comments to her?

4) A number of askers routinely post their own interpretation of a source text, rather than a useful amount of the original, thereby skewing the answers they receive. Are we allowed to guide them about why this is unhelpful, or do we have to go through a moderator?

5) Askers formulate questions in a way that makes it clear they do not understand the grammar of their source language. Can we advise them about how to reformulate the question for the sake of a correct glossary entry or do we have to go through a moderator?

Many of the new moderators would not claim inguistic expertise in the language pairs they have been asked to moderate. Their purpose is to reinforce site rules. Who will defend the quality of Kudoz and its glossary if not the committed users in each forum?


 

Lancashireman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:49
German to English
Time to redress the balance Aug 4, 2009

On the German-English board, we have an asker who provides minimal context, regularly misspells source text, persistently refuses to use correct German characters (i.e. umlauts) and delivers condescending summaries on closing, all the while operating with apparent impunity. Prompts and reminders to this person from members of the community are pursued by site staff with vigour and severity. The aforementioned asker continues in his/her insouciant way.

I was not fortunate enough to be born in the Land of the Free but would nonetheless wish to associate myself with the comments made above and urge the new moderators (no fewer than six on DE-EN) to not to get too uptight about frank exchanges between consenting adults. Eliminate the fun element and you remove the incentive for posting anywhere on the site, especially KudoZ.

Regards

AJS


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:49
SITE STAFF
Scenario responses Aug 4, 2009

Hello Anne-Marie,

I'll give you my take on these:


1) An answerer persists in tackling questions from and into languages which are not listed anywhere on his profile. Despite numerous disagreements from peers who are, understandably, exasperated by his strange posts, he continues to try his luck. Are we allowed to challenge him in any way? Do we always need to go through a moderator?


The peer comment feature is there for this. A linguistically-based disagree is all that is needed, really. The answerer may (or may not) need some guidance. Publicly challenging the answerer in the question does not sound productive, and may be out of line with site rules.


2) A non-logged in questioner posts a potentially offensive question without labelling it as such. Some of us think the person is out to cause offence. May we ask them why they have posted it, particularly if it is an expression that can be found easily on the Net, or do we have to go though a moderator?


Why would you ask them if they were trying to offend, and what would you expect the answer to be if they were? Calling the question to the attention of someone who can mark it appropriately, you are also helping to ensure others who may not want to see the question do not.


3) An asker posts a series of questions with '?' as context. Many answerers help her out in good faith until one or two start saying enough is enough. Do the 'enough is enough' translators always have to go through a moderator if they wish to be more direct in their comments to her?


What comments? "Enough is enough?" Askers should provide context when they can, it's good for their questions. But if they do not, they don't. No one is obligated to answer a question they don't want to answer.


4) A number of askers routinely post their own interpretation of a source text, rather than a useful amount of the original, thereby skewing the answers they receive. Are we allowed to guide them about why this is unhelpful, or do we have to go through a moderator?


A moderator could guide the asker in this respect, sure.


5) Askers formulate questions in a way that makes it clear they do not understand the grammar of their source language. Can we advise them about how to reformulate the question for the sake of a correct glossary entry or do we have to go through a moderator?


Comments of a linguistic nature would be fine, providing they respect http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

Regards,

Jared


 

Anne-Marie Grant (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
French to English
+ ...
Thanks for, Jared Aug 5, 2009

for your clear reply.

On a slightly different note, the merging of the clarification and discussion boxes has been a great improvement, since all comments on questions are now in one place. I have found that this is leading to some useful linguistic discussions on terminology during the search for answers. I wholeheartedly welcome such threaded discussion.


 

Anne-Marie Grant (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
French to English
+ ...
If we are to make better use of the many new Kudoz moderators Aug 5, 2009

you might consider changing the wording that appears when one clicks on their names.

It currently reads:

'Use this feature to refer the matter to the moderator if the site rules are being broken in this Kudoz question.

Please detail below the rules violation in this case.'

As a specific result of this wording, I have changed my mind about contacting moderators on many occasions, because it has overtones of reporting someone to the headmaster at school. Perhaps I am not the only one who feels this way.

The wording might also be a reason why site users have traditionally preferred to deal with certain issues themselves, in the discussion boxes, rather than bothering the moderators with talk of 'rules violation'.


 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:49
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Wording too narrow Aug 5, 2009

Anne-Marie, I agree with you that the mere reference to rules violations is too narrow - moderators can, and should, be contacted for a variety of reasons, including the correction of spelling mistakes in term headlines or glossary entries or the reclassification of question categories (Pro/Non-Pro and main and specific fields). This is also in line with the moderator functions of rules enforcement and user guidance.

I therefore suggest the following modification of the wording (bold emphasis mine):

'Use this feature to refer the matter to the moderator if site rules are being broken in this Kudoz question, or if you have any other request regarding this question.

Please detail below the rules violation in this case, or your specific request.'

Steffen


 
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