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Ever been stalked at KudoZ?
Thread poster: Yasutomo Kanazawa

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
English to Japanese
+ ...
Aug 21, 2009

Has anybody ever been stalked at KudoZ?

What I mean here is that I feel like I'm being stalked at KudoZ in several language pairs which I actively participate in.
The story began about 2 months ago. This certain person which I cannot name here (let's call this person A) accesses my profile once in 4 or 5 days intervals to see which KudoZ answers I have contributed, and starts entering "Disagrees" (and only Disagrees, at maximum a Neutral but never an Agree) to the latest 6-10 answers which I contributed, including the ones which have been closed. Some of them makes sense and it's perfectly acceptable to enter a peer comment of Agree, Neutral or Disagree regardless of the question being open or closed. However, when A cannot come up with a good reason to disagree with me, A enters a comment like "Relying on dictionaries can be dangerous" (which I would like to ask instead, "then where should we look up for a term which we're not sure of or don't know the meaning of?)or "Where does your CL (Confidence Level) of 5 come from?, etc. which can only be taken as harassment. And these kind of things occur even if there is a link to support my answer. It seems A goes berserk once in 4 or 5 days cycle, or when A is in a bad mood and want to pick on someone who's not a native language in that pair.

I know that not many people who participate in KudoZ do not contribute to questions not in their language pair, but I do, to learn and at the same time polish my language abilities.

I have submitted a Support Ticket in the past, but since A's comments adhere to site rules and are not broken, Proz cannot do anything about this issue. I want A to get off my back and leave me alone, but any ideas to solve this problem?

Any suggestions are welcome.

Yasutomo


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gad
United States
Local time: 21:31
Member
French to English
Yes, I've had a somewhat similar experience Aug 21, 2009

There is someone on this site who seems to have followed me around, even to the point of when I've asked questions very occasionally in other language pairs. Always some sort of condescending or just plain snippy comment.

Needless to say, since in the past while the site moderators/staff would probably have liked to do something, technically this person has not broken the site rules (although perhaps some rules have changed by now), so consequently nothing could really be done.

To me, such an individual comes across as being very unhappy. Why waste that much time and energy basically being negative? That's not the least bit constructive, just annoying. I mean, if you are breaking the rules in what you post, it's the job of the site staff or a moderator to let you know that (and they would likely do so in more a diplomatic manner). If what you ask/answer/post is fine, then this person should leave you alone, or at least curtail the "disagrees" and associated negative/snide comments. It doesn't add anything to the site, in fact it detracts from the site, in my opinion.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Gad, for your constructive comments. Aug 21, 2009

gad wrote:

To me, such an individual comes across as being very unhappy. Why waste that much time and energy basically being negative? That's not the least bit constructive, just annoying. I mean, if you are breaking the rules in what you post, it's the job of the site staff or a moderator to let you know that (and they would likely do so in more a diplomatic manner). If what you ask/answer/post is fine, then this person should leave you alone, or at least curtail the "disagrees" and associated negative/snide comments. It doesn't add anything to the site, in fact it detracts from the site, in my opinion.


So in that sense, I'm not alone (not very happy about that, though).

I totally agree to the last part of your comments. Yes, I too believe that those kind of people are unhappy. And it's very interesting that A is not a novice in the industry or a newcomer to this site; on the contrary top leader of one's own working language pair. I've seen other people making snippy comments, but they're usually ranked in the top 10 in KudoZ for All Time.

When the stalking first started, I thought these kind of people were desperate to keep their "titles" in the top ranking, so one would do anything to keep other people from points getting awarded, but that notion proved to be a mistake after I accessed those people's profiles and earned KudoZ points.

I'm not saying that everybody in the top 10 are negative and unhappy people; quite the contrary, I found out that they seem to be very nice people and always helpful. This is my assumption, but I get the feeling that these unhappy people are "over-smart" (I know that there is no such word) among colleagues, and they would be giggling to contributed answers or questions asked mumbling "What a stupid question. Do you call yourself a translator asking these kindergarten level questions?" or "Wrong answer, dummy! Why would X + Y be Z in this context?", etc. to themselves while staring at their PC screens.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:31
German to English
Different perceptions of Kudoz Aug 21, 2009

The underlying issue here is different perceptions of what Kudoz is about. You, Yasutomo, have been honest enough to say that you contribute to Kudoz to learn and to polish your language abilities. That’s a laudable aim, but some people will say that the purpose of Kudoz is not to give answerers an opportunity to practise their language skills (there are other websites more suited to language learning), but to provide high-quality professional help to askers. Proz aspires to be a site for professionals (and indeed your own slogan is “Professionalism is all that counts”, which one might say should apply to everything done on Proz). At this point we really need to define what "professionalism" entails, but that would be a whole new forum thread.

I note, though, that you translate from 7 different langauges into Japanese, as well as from Japanese into English. Inevitably that is going to leave people asking whether it is really possible to translate from so many languages, and out of your mother tongue, to a high professional standard (it is a commonly held view that it isn't); they will look for weaknesses in your answers as evidence of this, and use “neutrals” and “disagrees” as a way of pointing out these weaknesses when they think they find them.

I don’t think that people who regularly give “neutral” and “disagrees” are sad or unhappy. I certainly don’t think they are trying to defend their positions as Kudoz leaders, because the good people are at the top precisely because they are good and they have nothing to fear. I think their main motivation is a concern to main high standards on the site, so that it is seen as a high-quality and professional resource. Amateurish answers reflect not only on the answerer but also on the site as a whole, and people who have high standards mind about it being dragged down in this way – that’s why there are such frequent comments about the quality of the glossary or about the number of hopeful but not particularly competent would-be translators.



To pick up on a couple of your other points, it is generally recognised that quoting from dictionaries isn't usually a sufficient approach to answering Kudoz questions. The whole point of Kudoz is that it goes beyond what dictionaries can offer – it is a resource to turn to when dictionaries and other sources of information have been tried and proved inadequate. It is always assumed that the asker has dictionaries and will have consulted them before posting a question – to simply quote a dictionary definition can potentially be something of an insult to the asker’s own intelligence and research endeavours. The asker is looking for something more – someone who can really shed light on a term from their own in-depth knowledge and experience.

As for confidence levels, there aren’t in my view many questions for which a CL of 5 is appropriate (usually only for very simple questions that could in fact have been answered from a dictionary, so shouldn’t really have been on Kudoz in the first place). To give a CL of 5 implies that you are so confident of the “rightness” of your answer that you couldn’t possibly be wrong – if there are in fact weaknesses in your answer, people will rush to pour scorn on it in a way that they might not have done if the answer had been slightly more tentative. A medium CL at least indicates that you are open to being corrected and happy to engage in discussion, rather than setting yourself up on an “I am definitely right” pedestal.

You might find it interesting to browse some of the past forum threads and articles on Kudoz-answering techniques and using Kudoz to enhance your profile. While it can be tempting to rush in and answer as many questions as you can, it can be better to restrict yourself to answering questions in the languages and special fields in which you really excel (nobody can be good at everything), thus becoming recognised as a reliable expert in a few particular fields – the quality over quantity approach. Kudoz is a bit of a shop window – inevitably colleagues and potential clients notice how you do, and getting lots of neutrals and disagrees isn’t going to help anyone’s career. To go back to your own point about using Kudoz as a learning opportunity – if that’s what you want, that’s fine, but clients will be looking for someone who already knows their job; it may be better to separate the languages you are learning off from the ones in which you are fully competent, and regard them as two different parts of your life.


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Freelance DK  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:31
English to Danish
+ ...
No stupid questions Aug 21, 2009

First there are never such a thing called "stupid questions" - only stupid answers.

And even if a person is in top of KudoZ he/she can´t know all words for all subjects!
You are not a better person or a better translator if you have more KudoZ´s than other people - but you are very helpfull and that is what KudoZ are about.

Many KudoZ show that you are active and helpfull - I can see also in Danish forum
one person who is very active, spamming all questions with useless google links...but he gets many KudoZ....

And about CL level...use it wise - the asker can´t know if your CL5 is right or wrong, they will have to trust your indication !

So if you think a person specific is going after your answers - inform your Moderator
and perhaps make a contra note about it in your answer for that/these questions.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:31
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
well, KudoZ rules or not, stalking is a crime (provided there is one) Aug 21, 2009

Hello Yasutomo,

hhmm, stalking is a crime, i.e. no matter what simple KudoZ Rules say, stalking everywhere is against the law. Full stop.

Personally, I think that whatever is written in the peers, i.e. no matter if in line with KudoZ Rules or not, the main issue here is to prove that there is stalking and from what you say it can't be that difficult to prove there is.

I'd re-open that ticket of yours and bring up the fact that stalking is a crime, a far more important issue than the content of those comments.

Giuliana

[Edited at 2009-08-21 19:16 GMT]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
thank you Armorel Aug 21, 2009

Thank you Armorel for your very thoughtful and sensible reply.

Nancy


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:31
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Well said Armorel Aug 21, 2009

"The underlying issue here is different perceptions of what Kudoz is about. "

I won't quote your entire post here but I agree with .every word of it. Thank you for your thoughtful and carefully formulated answer.


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another consideration Aug 21, 2009

Armorel has some very good points about the use of KudoZ. However, Yasutomo is saying that her "stalker" enters KudoZ *through her profile*. The answerer is not posting these neutrals and disagrees as he or she comes across interesting terms to discuss, but is rather, if I understand it correctly, deliberately selecting Yasutomo's answers for criticism. This is a personal attack, and should not be allowed.

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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:31
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Well said, Armorel Aug 21, 2009

You have expressed it all very cogently and kindly, Armorel. I can only concur with everything you say. The only other thing I would wish to add would be that, unpleasant as the effect might be, I doubt that this is stalking per se. People can legitimately choose to track another peer or, indeed, a forum topic or a Kudoz question on this site. I have never tracked another peer in this way, so I do not know quite how it works when someone choses to do so, but I have recently been asked if I would mind someone tracking me - the system permits me as the trackee to choose if I will allow it. [I get the impression, however, that it used to be possible to track someone without asking him/her for permission. I may be wrong - it is just an impression, but it may be what has happened in your case, Yasutomo.] Generally I believe this is done to permit the tracker to learn from a particular peer's responses or because there is a genuine interest in them.

Equally one can check a peer's answers to Kudoz questions via his/her profile without the formality of the tracking process. Again, I am aware that others check my profile/Kudoz answers in this way. I am sure it is a wide-spread practice. People are busy and choose these short-cuts.

I hope this might throw some light on what is happening together with what others have said here, and I also hope you continue to contribute to, and benefit from, the Kudoz process. There are a lot of excellent professionals out there.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
CL5? Aug 21, 2009

Armorel Young wrote:

As for confidence levels, there aren’t in my view many questions for which a CL of 5 is appropriate



I used to use CL5 fairly often. Now I accept that this level applies where:-
a) it is so ridiculously simple that the question should never have been asked
b) you have some kind of local or specialised knowledge that justifies your answer
c) it's a monolingual question in your native language
d) it's a term that has more than one possible translation, one of which is by far the most obvious

When I had fallen foul of (d) a few times, I became much more careful - in the main we are professional translators here and if the obvious translation fits we don't need to ask others for their help. I normally ignore questions that fall into the (a) category as I'm not a walking, talking dictionary.


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
German to English
+ ...
ProZ playground/kindergarten Aug 22, 2009

Thanks, Armorel, for having the energy and for taking the time...
Cilian


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:31
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Thanks, Armorel Aug 22, 2009

Thanks, Armorel, for your excellent contribution, with which I fully agree. You should think about posting this as an article!

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:31
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely agree Aug 22, 2009

Armorel Young wrote:
Different perceptions of Kudoz

I completely agree with your reply.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your comments, Armorel Aug 22, 2009

Armorel Young wrote:

The underlying issue here is different perceptions of what Kudoz is about. You, Yasutomo, have been honest enough to say that you contribute to Kudoz to learn and to polish your language abilities. That’s a laudable aim, but some people will say that the purpose of Kudoz is not to give answerers an opportunity to practise their language skills (there are other websites more suited to language learning), but to provide high-quality professional help to askers. Proz aspires to be a site for professionals (and indeed your own slogan is “Professionalism is all that counts”, which one might say should apply to everything done on Proz). At this point we really need to define what "professionalism" entails, but that would be a whole new forum thread.

I note, though, that you translate from 7 different langauges into Japanese, as well as from Japanese into English. Inevitably that is going to leave people asking whether it is really possible to translate from so many languages, and out of your mother tongue, to a high professional standard (it is a commonly held view that it isn't); they will look for weaknesses in your answers as evidence of this, and use “neutrals” and “disagrees” as a way of pointing out these weaknesses when they think they find them.

I don’t think that people who regularly give “neutral” and “disagrees” are sad or unhappy. I certainly don’t think they are trying to defend their positions as Kudoz leaders, because the good people are at the top precisely because they are good and they have nothing to fear. I think their main motivation is a concern to main high standards on the site, so that it is seen as a high-quality and professional resource. Amateurish answers reflect not only on the answerer but also on the site as a whole, and people who have high standards mind about it being dragged down in this way – that’s why there are such frequent comments about the quality of the glossary or about the number of hopeful but not particularly competent would-be translators.

To pick up on a couple of your other points, it is generally recognised that quoting from dictionaries isn't usually a sufficient approach to answering Kudoz questions. The whole point of Kudoz is that it goes beyond what dictionaries can offer – it is a resource to turn to when dictionaries and other sources of information have been tried and proved inadequate. It is always assumed that the asker has dictionaries and will have consulted them before posting a question – to simply quote a dictionary definition can potentially be something of an insult to the asker’s own intelligence and research endeavours. The asker is looking for something more – someone who can really shed light on a term from their own in-depth knowledge and experience.

As for confidence levels, there aren’t in my view many questions for which a CL of 5 is appropriate (usually only for very simple questions that could in fact have been answered from a dictionary, so shouldn’t really have been on Kudoz in the first place). To give a CL of 5 implies that you are so confident of the “rightness” of your answer that you couldn’t possibly be wrong – if there are in fact weaknesses in your answer, people will rush to pour scorn on it in a way that they might not have done if the answer had been slightly more tentative. A medium CL at least indicates that you are open to being corrected and happy to engage in discussion, rather than setting yourself up on an “I am definitely right” pedestal.

You might find it interesting to browse some of the past forum threads and articles on Kudoz-answering techniques and using Kudoz to enhance your profile. While it can be tempting to rush in and answer as many questions as you can, it can be better to restrict yourself to answering questions in the languages and special fields in which you really excel (nobody can be good at everything), thus becoming recognised as a reliable expert in a few particular fields – the quality over quantity approach. Kudoz is a bit of a shop window – inevitably colleagues and potential clients notice how you do, and getting lots of neutrals and disagrees isn’t going to help anyone’s career. To go back to your own point about using Kudoz as a learning opportunity – if that’s what you want, that’s fine, but clients will be looking for someone who already knows their job; it may be better to separate the languages you are learning off from the ones in which you are fully competent, and regard them as two different parts of your life.


First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to give me some of your thoughts about the issue.

I know that like you wrote above, KudoZ is a place to provide high-quality professional help to askers. But it's one of the various opinions which people have. I believe that there are people who take KudoZ similiar to going to the tracks every weekend placing bets on horses and "win some lose some" game. I'm sure that there are also people who share the same opinion as yours and mine. So I wouldn't go further into this topic.

By my participating in KudoZ, say in German-English pair, which is your working pair if I'm not mistaken, helps me not only polish both my German and English knowledge, but also helps me learn new terms and phrases, which could lead to one of my working pair, Ger-Jap and Eng-Jap or even to Jap-Eng. That's why I participate in other pairs, say, Ita-Eng, Spa-Eng, etc. but there's one more reason. If you would be kind enough to take a look at the Kudoz questions asked for Ger-Jap or other source languages to Japanese pair, I think you would be amazed at how small the numbers of questions asked in all of those pairs compared to "into English" pairs. I know that the number of people who speak English is far greater than Japanese natives, but maintaining my touch in the source languages I work in is very important to me. And I guess this applies to everybody who works as a translator or an interpretor. I bet you, Armorel, do read books, magazines, newspapers or even watch TV, radios, movies etc. in German, don't you? (Of course, I'm sure that you do the same in your native language too)

I am aware that there are weaknesses in the language pairs I contribute to except for my native language and I am glad that some of the people are kind enough to point them out to me. So I don't mind receiving "neutrals" and "disagrees", although I have to admit that I would be a bit discouraged that my linguistic ability is near from perfect, but I take them under advice for the next occasion which I could be of help.

I agree to the part where you wrote "I don’t think that people who regularly give “neutral” and “disagrees” are sad or unhappy.". Like I wrote in my very first posting, I know that many of these people are very nice people and helpful. However, like I also wrote in my first posting, this particular person may have the motivation to maintain high standards on the site, but the stalking is out of line. Like Giuliana wrote below, the main problem lies in the stalking, i.e. personal attacks, accessing my profile to see which KudoZ answered I made contributions to, and entering snippy comments when this stalker cannot give a good reason to disagree with me. To prove that, A does not enter any disagrees or neutrals to other non-native speakers contributing to the same question which I am. I think that's called discrimination (maybe not racial, but) and picking on someone particular. A's motivations may be high, but his social behavior is in the grade school level ratting to the teacher who's been misbehaving.

You may be right, but sometimes, a dictionary would do all the work needed. I believe you are aware that the fundamentals of KudoZ is a place where you ask questions after doing your homework properly, i.e. looking up in the dictionary, Googling, or maybe even going to the library, etc. but still cannot find the right term or definition for that particular term. But that's not always the case. And this applies to all the languages, IMO, because I have come across such questions in my Eng-Jap pair too. Of course, I'm excluding questions which are categorized as Non-Pro, such as how do you say "I love you" in XX language from a non-logged in visitor who is apparently not a translator.

I too, have learned that entering a CL of 5 is when you are 120% sure that the answer you provided is correct, either from your own experience or knowledge in that particular field (ex. jargons in the automobile industry). But attacking a person who enters a CL 5, in my opinion, is not right. It doesn't mean that the person who entered a 5 does not accept any criticisms or disagrees from peers. It's just to show that s/he has the highest confidence level, and there should be no attacks made just on that. And this is clearly written in the KudoZ rule 3.5, if I'm not mistaken, that comments should be purely linguistic in nature. Entering a 1 or 5 is not to be debated or attacked. The reliability of the submitted answer including the explanations is what counts.

In fact, I have browsed some of the past threads regarding KudoZ, and there are many postings which I would like to respond but cannot due to lack of time, etc. I'm expecting to receive job offers only in the language pairs I have listed on my profile, because I know that I am not an Englsih native speaker, and even if I wanted to, say do a translation from German to English pair, I don't think I could, unless the agency is not interested in quality but only in low rates where if I would agree to a 0.02 cents per source word for Ger-Eng pair because I'm not a native and am not obliged to take responsibility to the submitted translation. And definitely I would never do that, even if they are in my working language pairs.

[Edited at 2009-08-22 12:23 GMT]


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