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How would KudoZ participation change if listing according to the "acceptance rate" were introduced?
Thread poster: Attila Piróth

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:05
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Sep 1, 2009

This thread stems from a long one opened some months ago, Kudoz - Leader list - A good moment to sort by usefulness rate too?. I am opening this new topic to focus on one particular aspect raised in the other one:
How would the introduction of a listing according to the "acceptance rate" affect KudoZ participation -- both in terms of quantity and quality?
A lot of interesting thoughts were raised in the other thread, so please consider taking a look at it.

I am using "acceptance rate" (number of accepted answers divided by the number of provided answers), but the "reliability ratio" (number of KudoZ points divided by the number of provided answers) may be just as good an indicator; for the purpose of the present thread this difference is probably not crucial; if you believe it is, please start a new forum topic.

To recap some basic points of the other thread: The listing according to the "acceptance rate" would not replace the list of total KudoZ points; the latter would keep its present status, i.e., directory listing would continue to be according to the total number of KudoZ points in a particular language pair/subject field. etc. (Again, any suggestions to change this are outside the scope of the present thread.) There would be a reasonable threshold to enter the "acceptance rate" list (to avoid that the list is headed by someone with 1 correct answer out of 1 provided answer); again, discussing this specific detail may be outside the scope of the present thread.

In addition to such a list, the acceptance rate could also be displayed next to the answerer's name when providing a KudoZ answer (just like "PRO points in category" or "PRO points in language pair" is shown next to the answerer's name when providing a KudoZ answer).

So, I propose a brainstorming on a thought experiment: if such a feature were implemented, in what sense would you expect KudoZ participation to change? Would it affect your own KudoZ answering strategy? Would you expect changes in others' strategy/attitude? Would it affect the quality of answers? Would it affect the perception of KudoZ as a competition?

Attila


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:05
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
It does not matter for me, I do follow my own standards for answering Sep 1, 2009

I can only refer to my own Kudoz participation. It will not change at all. As everybody can see for himself, my contribution has dropped dramatically. This has nothing to do with how the leader list is or will be created and I’m quite confident that my position will not change in the fields where I’m active (in some areas I do exceed a rate of >70% accepted answers). The reason why I do no longer contribute as much as I did, has more to do with my opinion concening the GBK feature, of which I#m convinced that it is not only useless, but damaging to the perception of a professional translators website, the fact, that the askers, however clueless they are are in my opinion over protected by the existing Kudoz rules and the fact that Proz never did anything to improve or clean the existing KOG. I therefore only contibute to any questions if I’m convinced that the asker has made his homework and meets my internal standards for an asker:

- works in this field, or gives a reason why he/she has to work outside his/her expertise
- provides context that allows me to come up with an answer that fits this context
- does not give the impression of abusing the system

The question if others would change their answering habits/behaviour is something I cannot answer and I’m not willing to speculate.
Kudoz is not a competition and never was. If somebody sees it as competition, he/she should stop contributing, because he/she got it in my opinion completely wrong.

I do not need an acceptance rate next to the name of the person who answers, in my field people know how much expertise people have and most of the askers are able to open a profile to check.

Siegfried


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It would increase participation Sep 1, 2009

As the general opinion about Kudoz would improve (now it is considered by many just a place to get bad answers for bad questions) and more users would feel inclined to participate.

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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:05
English to Norwegian
+ ...
quantity: constant, quality: increasing Sep 1, 2009

How would the introduction of a listing according to the "acceptance rate" affect KudoZ participation -- both in terms of quantity and quality?


Fewer contributions launched as independent answers, more valuable contributions through comments and discussion.

We would get rid of the worst abuses and hopefully attract more experts.

The overall quality of KudoZ will improve.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
It won't matter Sep 1, 2009

Acceptance rates only mean something if competent translators are asking and top-rate answers are being chosen. Since that is a far cry from what's happening, acceptance rates will just add to the confusion. Nowadays, the "leader boards" tend to reflect the rate/frequency of participation and not the quality of answers. The more you play, the more familiar you look, the more 'trust' you engender from those asking and bingo-points are awarded even if the answers are off the walls.
Kudoz points are starting to resemble frequent-flyer miles. Imo, making a big deal about acceptance rates will just push Kudoz more in this direction.



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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Support Attila Sep 1, 2009

I support Attila's proposal, I think an "acceptance rate" could easily be programmed into the system, and it would provide a quality criterion in addition to the quantity criterion that exists now. Both criteria are imperfect, but it would be a positive step. The rate should be based on answers selected, not on points. We can calculate it now on points, but points are variable.

As to effect, it might encourage some answerers to come up with higher quality answers instead of just putting in anything in a blind attempt to get points. Plus it would be one more thing each of us can look at on our own record to see how we are doing.

It should be easy to accomplish, and I cannot see how it would hurt.


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Acceptance rates are not always a good indicator Sep 1, 2009

In my response, I'm assuming that points, and the possible new acceptance rate score, matter to some people on this site. It is from this perspective that I offer these ideas. To writeaway's good point I add this:
KudoZ askers often mention how hard it is to award points to just one of the answers. In certain fields, there can be many correct and graceful ways of framing a translation, but the asker can award points to only one. An acceptance rate score would not be a good indicator of correctness for the other answerers, especially in certain non cut-and-dried fields. However, even in more objective fields, there can still be two or more correct synonyms for the term. A string of sheer bad luck could leave a talented answerer with a terrible score.
For this reason, I imagine an acceptance rate indicator (which is pretty obvious anyway, to anyone who can do basic math) would scare people away from making perfectly good suggestions, especially for subtle expressions.
It also could increase the likelihood that answerers would hedge their bets by offering three or four options within their one answer, in order to raise their chances of getting the points and keeping the rate up.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:05
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I like the idea Sep 1, 2009

I think that Atila's idea is a good one, and that it would be conducive to promoting higher quality answers in the kudoz forum.

I think making this data public in some way would be a good idea.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Bjørnar makes a good point Sep 1, 2009

Bjørnar Magnussen wrote:

Fewer contributions launched as independent answers, more valuable contributions through comments and discussion.


I think that might indeed happen - at the moment there are far too many similar answers that really should have been an agree with the first answer proposed, plus a comment. I am, of course, excluding the inevitable occasional crossing of answers in the ether - ProZ needs to address that point separately.

On the whole I'm for the change, although it won't affect my KudoZ participation and things do seem to be getting more and more complicated, or maybe that's just a symptom of my age


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:05
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Both lists Sep 1, 2009

I think both lists could be useful when searching a translator with good answers. The implementation is easy as it relies only on simple mathematical operations.

let's do it!


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paula13  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:05
Member (2005)
“Acceptance Rates” will probably still reflect popularity and not quality Sep 1, 2009

I agree with Writeaway and Jessica N., the more you participate, the more credibility you earn; and that is not necessarily a good thing. There are people who seem to get instant “agrees” and who seem to automatically be awarded points just because they’re there all the time and already have lots of points. This earns them credibility, but it doesn’t mean the answers they provide are always the best. In fact, some of those answers are downright wrong (and, every once in a while, even a little silly).

In my language pairs and area of specialization, I often find people who compulsively post answers all over the place without really knowing much about the topic. As a Law student, I feel some (not all) of the answers suggested and discussions that arise in legal questions are actually scary. What scares me the most is not that people with little or no legal knowledge would provide unfounded answers, but rather that others would follow them. Some of these people are followed because they’re popular, or because, as Kudoz leaders, they rely on the argument of authority. I don’t think any peer evaluation system will help change that.

The only way this would work is if the people awarding points would base their decisions on objective criteria: appropriateness to context, references, relevance of the answerer’s comments, etc. As long as points and assessments are based on popularity, we’ll continue to have low-quality glossaries. What we need to change is not how we go about awarding points or classifying answerers, but rather what criteria we use when choosing the best answer. The question should be: Are we choosing certain answers because the people who provided them already have lots of Kudoz points and “probably” know what they’re talking about, or are we choosing answers because they are objectively well-founded and logical? “Acceptance Rates” will probably still reflect popularity and not quality.


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Heather Drake  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Academic excellence points? Sep 2, 2009

I agree totally with Jessica and Paula13; an acceptance rate would further muddy the already very cloudy waters of Kudoz points. I stopped answering Kudoz questions when I realized that even with the "right" answer, a response time of under one minute and an accumulated number of independent "agree" comments of 10, someone with thousands more K-points and a high profile but no new contribution inevitably received the approval rating. Unfortunately - or fortunately - my work load does not afford me the luxury of spending the amount of time required to build up a "competitive" K-point level for such a low rate of return.
At the very least, there should be a time limit on the awarding of points, since the last answer, sometimes days later, obviously benefits from research done by previous responders and it is relatively easy at that point, to provide a much more comprehensive and - dare I say - "enlightened" answer for tough questions and receive approval.
A true test of community support and academic excellence would be to shut down the awarding of points after 30 minutes or an hour, say. After that period, there might be a different system which would award points to members who contribute more extensive or new information to solve the question that perhaps could be classified as academic excellence or research points, for example.


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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:05
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Reply to paula13 Sep 2, 2009

paula13 wrote:
There are people who seem to get instant “agrees” and who seem to automatically be awarded points just because they’re there all the time and already have lots of points. This earns them credibility, but it doesn’t mean the answers they provide are always the best.


Don't you think this problem will be alleviated if the asker can see the acceptance rate (and not only the number of points, as it is today) for these people?


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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:05
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Reply to Drake Sep 2, 2009

Heather Drake wrote:
At the very least, there should be a time limit on the awarding of points, since the last answer, sometimes days later, obviously benefits from research done by previous responders and it is relatively easy at that point, to provide a much more comprehensive and - dare I say - "enlightened" answer for tough questions and receive approval.


Probably most of us have experienced this. The askers seem to think that they have to choose exactly the same answer as they use in their own translation, even if this is not the "most helpful" answer in terms of research effort.

My theory (as mentioned above) is that with acceptance rate, fewer contributions will be launched as independent answers and more valuable contributions through comments and discussion. Thus the points will go to the ones who deserve it.





[Edited at 2009-09-02 07:56 GMT]


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Lianne Wilson
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
Agree Sep 2, 2009

Jessica Noyes wrote:
KudoZ askers often mention how hard it is to award points to just one of the answers. In certain fields, there can be many correct and graceful ways of framing a translation, but the asker can award points to only one. An acceptance rate score would not be a good indicator of correctness for the other answerers, especially in certain non cut-and-dried fields. However, even in more objective fields, there can still be two or more correct synonyms for the term. A string of sheer bad luck could leave a talented answerer with a terrible score.


I completely agree with this. There was a particular question in one of my pairs just this week which had nearly dozen answers, each of them with their own pros and cons, none of them objectively 'wrong', each of them an innovative or competent way of phrasing the term. It does sometimes seem very wrong that only one answer can be chosen in situations where there is more than one very good answer.

I'd frankly hate to see questions like the one I've mentioned be stifled by fear of ratings decreasing. It would be very good if there were ways to encourage innovative answers and so on by rewarding more than one person, including people only talking in the discussion section or providing references.


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