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Mods and Pro/No-Pro distinction
Thread poster: Charlie Bavington
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:17
French to English
Sep 21, 2009

I am fairly sure I have never seen this situation before in, what, 5 or 6 years of being here, so I would like to ask for general opinions.

Mods can change a question from pro to non-pro or vice versa unilaterally.
Mods can also answer questions.
This means that mods can change the status of questions that they have answered to their advantage.

This last point had never occurred to me before today. Perhaps the old mods had a code of conduct about these things that the new mods are unaware of.

Today, I saw a question that was posted as pro. At some point, 3 of the peasantry decided it should be non-pro, and voted accordingly, and the question became non-pro. A mod has changed it back to Pro, and has answered the question (I can't tell what order these events happened in, but I don't think that it is ultimately important). Speaking as a fellow peasant, I too was of the opinion that it should be non-Pro, and voted accordingly. The system told me there were already 3 votes for this option already and that I needed to refresh the page! Pointless.

Therefore the situation, which is clearly open to potential abuse, is as follows:

1. If a mod decides a question is either pro or non-pro, that is the final word
2. Mods are allowed to moderate on questions that they have answered (or, indeed, mods are allowed to answer questions that they have moderated).

I suggest that the ideal solution would be that mods cannot both moderate and answer; the system should disable one as soon they have done the other. Meanwhile, I think it would be best practice if the mods volunteered to behave in this way anyway.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 09:17
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Either one role or the other Sep 21, 2009

Hello Charlie,

don't know the case at hand (and in the context is irrelevant to me), but commom practice (supported by no written rule, simply derived from common sense: never run the risk of having your *legitimate* actions questioned, i.e. act either as mod or as KudoZer, full stop) among old mods (speaking about those I know well) was not to moderate anything if we had answered the relative KudoZ or not to anwer if we intended to moderate it. If a moderator's action was required, another moderator was called to that question (the co-mod if we had any, often not the case, or any other moderator - allowed by the rules).

I presume new mods with relevant KudoZ experience over the years had the time to realize what their mods used to do before and why, so there ought to be no problem.

As to the voting for pro / non-pro, I can speak only for myself (of course): whenever members of my SCs voted for non-pro or pro, I used to follow their recommendation... we are all colleagues after all and mods are no linguistic authorities;-)

Giuliana


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:17
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Giuliana Sep 21, 2009


don't know the case at hand (and in the context is irrelevant to me), but commom practice (supported by no written rule, simply derived from common sense: never run the risk of having your *legitimate* actions questioned, i.e. act either as mod or as KudoZer, full stop) among old mods (speaking about those I know well) was not to moderate anything if we had answered the relative KudoZ or not to anwer if we intended to moderate it. If a moderator's action was required, another moderator was called to that question (the co-mod if we had any, often not the case, or any other moderator - allowed by the rules).

It's been ages since I moderated KudoZ, but that's precisely how I handled any such cases.

Best,
Ralf


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:17
English to Croatian
+ ...
A clarification please Sep 21, 2009

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

mods are no linguistic authorities;-)

Giuliana


I have been perplexed with this paradox for quite some time now and I feel it's time for me to ask about it on the boards. I just need a bit of clarification:

If a mod is not a linguistic authority, how come he or she has the power to raise an administrative action based on " non-linguistic commentaries"... ? A non-linguistic authority can decide/estimate what a linguistic/ non-linguistic discussion is? I am not criticizing anything, I just need a clarification. Sometimes we get into KudoZ situations during discussions where this distinguishing is so fine that actually requires a good level of linguistic expertise.

Thank you in advance!

[Edited at 2009-09-21 09:45 GMT]


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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
English to Croatian
+ ...
Been there, done that... Sep 21, 2009

Lingua 5B wrote:

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

mods are no linguistic authorities;-)

Giuliana


I have been perplexed with this paradox for quite some time now and I feel it's time for me to ask about it on the boards. I just need a bit of clarification:

If a mod is not a linguistic authority, how come he or she has the power to raise an administrative action based on " non-linguistic commentaries"... ? A non-linguistic authority can decide/estimate what a linguistic/ non-linguistic discussion is? I am not criticizing anything, I just need a clarification. Sometimes we get into KudoZ situations during discussions where this distinguishing is so fine that actually requires a good level of linguistic expertise.

Thank you in advance!

[Edited at 2009-09-21 09:45 GMT]


I have been registered here for 8+years, serving as a moderator, paid member...

Now, I'm enjoying to take a back seat. ("Are we there yet...")

This great site has developed over a decade from hatching as a networking place for translators to an ultimate business venture for translators.

So, for all newcomers, my advice is - hang around and learn, pay membership if you feel it will help you in your future endeavors and feel free to express you thoughts in forums but read guidlines before you click "post" button.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:17
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Nudge Sep 21, 2009

Kemal Mustajbegovic wrote:
So, for all newcomers, my advice is - hang around and learn, pay membership if you feel it will help you in your future endeavors and feel free to express you thoughts in forums but read guidlines before you click "post" button.

Sound advice, I'm sure, but if we could just stick to the main issue, I would certainly appreciate it (I know you were just responding to Lingua 5B, and I nearly posted this nudge back on-topic after her post, but I thought I would see what direction the thread took!).

As a reminder, the key question is whether it is right (ethical, legitimate, allowable) for mods to take moderator actions on questions that they have also answered (regardless of the order of events), especially when the action in question will potentially be of benefit to the moderator (such as forcing a question to be Pro and therefore one carrying points, although since mods can also hide comments, such as agrees with other answers, the example that inspired my original post is not the only possible scenario)?

Edit to add that the mod's answer from the Kudoz question that first drew my attention to this issue has now been removed/hidden, so presumably someone, somewhere (possibly even the mod herself!) agrees that it is slightly iffy ground

[Edited at 2009-09-21 12:51 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:17
English to Croatian
+ ...
Sorry Charlie Sep 21, 2009

.. that I took the liberty of going off-topic for a while, but I was just a bit confused and found this thread somewhat related to it, so I asked it on here. If this is not the right place, the mod can delete my post or similar.

In regard with your question Charlie, I don't even see anything wrong for the mod to do such things that you described, as he or she has been empowered to do so, but I definitely find it somewhat unclear? paradoxical? discrepant? to label themselves " non-linguistic authorities" while all their admin, mod-related actions are linguistic-based.

And classification of a term as pro/nonpro or any other term classification fall into the domain of linguistics- I think this is as clear as a mountain creek.

@ Kemal: I appreciate your piece of advice.

[Edited at 2009-09-21 13:16 GMT]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not Just Mods Sep 21, 2009

There are other members, not just Mods, who can unilaterally change a question between Pro and Non-Pro or squash duplicate questions, etc.

My own opinion is that the Pro / Non-Pro distinction has little relevance anyway and probably should be abolished.


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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:17
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Agreement Sep 21, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I am fairly sure I have never seen this situation before in, what, 5 or 6 years of being here, so I would like to ask for general opinions.

Mods can change a question from pro to non-pro or vice versa unilaterally.
Mods can also answer questions.
This means that mods can change the status of questions that they have answered to their advantage.

This last point had never occurred to me before today. Perhaps the old mods had a code of conduct about these things that the new mods are unaware of.



I have not been active on the site for as long as you, Charlie, but I have not witnessed what you describe before. I agree it represents a very uncomfortable conflict of interests, though. I would hope that moderators do act scrupulously in this regard in the main, otherwise it would just bring the role into disrepute. I don't know what the training received by moderators would dictate, but employing good manners might obviate the need to legislate.

Kind regards
Helen

[Edited at 2009-09-21 13:15 GMT]


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 09:17
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
A word about "linguistic authority" Sep 21, 2009

hello "Lingua 5B"

:

.... to label themselves " non-linguistic authorities" while all their admin, mod-related actions are linguistic-based.



that's not self-definition, but staff's;-) and used to be related to the fact that mods may not for ex. change terms entered in the KudoZ glossary (only edit typos). Moderation is SC-related (for the benefit of the whole sub-community) and aiming at maintaining a friendly and pleasant atmosphere in KudoZ, not term-related Whether a question is pro or non-pro is rule-based: (roughly) any term any bilingual can translate without using a dictionary. Mods' actions are not linguistic, but the in the context of a linguistic exchange among colleagues. Any action taken has to be rule-based. Strictly. If no rule covers issue X, no action may be taken.

Giuliana


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:17
English to Croatian
+ ...
Thanks G. Sep 21, 2009

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

hello "Lingua 5B"

:

.... to label themselves " non-linguistic authorities" while all their admin, mod-related actions are linguistic-based.



that's not self-definition, but staff's;-) and used to be related to the fact that mods may not for ex. change terms entered in the KudoZ glossary (only edit typos). Moderation is SC-related (for the benefit of the whole sub-community) and aiming at maintaining a friendly and pleasant atmosphere in KudoZ, not term-related Whether a question is pro or non-pro is rule-based: (roughly) any term any bilingual can translate without using a dictionary. Mods' actions are not linguistic, but the in the context of a linguistic exchange among colleagues. Any action taken has to be rule-based. Strictly. If no rule covers issue X, no action may be taken.

Giuliana



OK Thanks Giuliana. I have a degree in linguistics and I'd definitely regard any sort of term revision as a linguistic issue. I haven't expressed myself properly, was not meant to say that they label themselves as such but more that I have read that phrase on the forums so many times " mods are not linguistic authorities" and found it totally paradoxical.

JMHO

And yes, I know the rules are there to be followed and respected, was just reporting a discrepancy observation. Not really expecting anything out of it, just discussing.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Common sense, as well as a sense of fair play, should prevail Sep 21, 2009

Henry is right that not just moderators, but other designated persons have the ability to change categorization between "Pro" and "non-Pro", squash, correct misposted language pairs, etc. I myself am able to do this.

There are clearly instances in which terms posted as non-Pro should be categorized as "Pro." This most often happens when a person not registered on the site posts a question. Such questions are automatically categorized as "non-Pro."

I have, when I thought it appropriate to do so, re-categorized such questions as "Pro" and then answered the questions without having any particular qualms about doing so.

However if a posted term is something that could easily be found in any non-specialized dictionary, it should of course not be classified as "Pro" to begin with, let alone for the purposes of a member with editing privileges picking up some easy points.

A sense of fair play would also dictate not vetoing a reclassification of a question one way or another by three community members unless there were some compelling justification to do so.

With regard to the distinction in general, I disagree with Henry. Problems abound as to where to draw the line, but I think the pro/non-pro distinction should be maintained. Yet I also think that the definition of "non-pro" should be along the lines of "any term posted that consists of a single word the definition of which can be found in any non-specialized dictionary, or a string of words that are part of everyday speech."

If the primary purpose of Kudoz is "translators helping translators," then not enforcing some distinction in this regard makes the system something of a travesty.

Toward the same end of professionalizing the system, I think that moderators should also be given authority to address certain abusive patterns of use by people who do identify themselves as professional translators. Such patterns would include the posting of terms that most translators would consider easy and not particularly specialized without having shown signs of any effort to resolve the matter themselves. But I guess that this is another topic for another thread.



[Edited at 2009-09-21 15:57 GMT]


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 05:17
SITE STAFF
Changes in the procedure for reclassification PRO or non-PRO Sep 21, 2009

Dear members,

Thanks for your feedback in this and other threads!

Moderators are welcome to participate as KudoZ players in the pairs they moderate.

On the other hand, improvement of the reclassifying mechanism for question as PRO or non-PRO has been in the list of pending issues for some time and now the system will be slightly modified:

  • Moderators and editors will vote like any other member for the change of status of questions (instead of forcing this change of status).

  • Once the status of a question has been modified, it will be possible to vote for a reclassification in the opposite direction.

  • Of course members will be able to vote only once in each question.

    Regards,
    Enrique

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  • Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 03:17
    Member (2002)
    English to Hungarian
    + ...
    The 3rd voter shows up as the one made the change Oct 15, 2009

    Enrique,

    Even though now all voters are equal, the last voter shows up as an editor that made the change.
    Maybe it happens only when the 3rd voter is actually a KudoZ-editor, but it is still not right to display it like that.
    Look at this question, for example:
    http://www.proz.com/kudoz/english_to_hungarian/management/3499727-opportunity_discovery.html

    Two people voted to change it to PRO, and since I agreed, I voted PRO as well. My vote happened to be the 3rd one, therefor this vote was the one that made the count reach 3 and result in the actual change to PRO, but the way it is displayed, it is misleading. People may think I made the change singlehandedly, and that is not the case.

    Could this be fixed?
    Katalin


    [Edited at 2009-10-15 02:06 GMT]


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    writeaway  Identity Verified
    French to English
    + ...
    When will the change be implemented? Oct 15, 2009

    Enrique wrote:

    Dear members,


    On the other hand, improvement of the reclassifying mechanism for question as PRO or non-PRO has been in the list of pending issues for some time and now the system will be slightly modified:

    Moderators and editors will vote like any other member for the change of status of questions (instead of forcing this change of status).


    Regards,
    Enrique


    Hi Enrique,
    When will the change be implemented? On a recent question, I saw that a mod was still able force the change of status. (No one else 'voted').


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