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Sneaky ways to improve your KudoZ statistics
Thread poster: philgoddard
philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Jun 16, 2010

I know KudoZ is all about participation and helping friends in need and all that stuff. But it's also a game, with all the highs and lows of a night at the casino.

My wife spends half the day playing Jewel Quest when she should be working, and I spend far more time than is good for me answering KudoZ questions. I tell her jokingly that mine is a more worthy pursuit than hers because I'm helping people, but I know it's a fine line.

Anyway, I recently discovered the statistics feature, which I think is only available to members. It tells you all kinds of fascinating things, like which languages and subject areas you get the largest proportion of agrees in, and how many people have had the effrontery to disagree with you.

I do several European languages into English, and I was surprised by the differences in scores between languages. My hit rate (ie the proportion of times my answer was selected by the asker) was significantly lower in Spanish. I hope this wasn't because of any difference in linguistic ability - I think it was just that so much Spanish gets translated, and so many translators do it, that there are likely to be more answers per question so you have less chance of being chosen.

So then I thought: if I stopped answering Spanish questions, would my hit rate go up? And if I learned Albanian or Yoruba, would I be one of the only people answering questions, and would it go through the roof?

Has anyone else made any interesting discoveries about their statistics? I don't want any answers saying "points don't matter" - let's assume for the sake of argument that they do.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Points do matter Jun 16, 2010

I'm ready to buy a new Mercedes with mine. Made them all by cheating, so that feels even better.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:49
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Being picky about questions you answer Jun 16, 2010

I increased my stats significantly after I stopped answering hundreds of questions every week

When I started out, I was eager to get any points at all. I was awed by people with thousands of KudoZ - I wanted to be like them, I wanted to surpass them and "prove myself." I would answer any question where I either knew something from prior experience or could do some quick and dirty research on Google. I became addicted. I answered at around the 0-1 minute mark. I scavenged for points and got into bitter arguments with total strangers to eek out a few extra points.

At one time, when I was answering dozens of questions a day, my obsession led to me a Top 2 spot in 3-month ratings in both of my pairs. I'm now in all-time Top-8 in both of my pairs and number 1 or 2 in all the fields I care about.

Eventually, I cooled down. It became a question of ROI: now if I need to spend more than 2 minutes answering a KudoZ question, I just don't.

My overall acceptance rate is still lower than I'd like, at 49%. Though over the last year or two it's definitely over 55%. If only I hadn't started out as a point grabber...


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. Jun 17, 2010

I like the two-minute rule!

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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:49
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I've never been competitive... Jun 17, 2010

I only answer something if I'm taking a look at recent questions and I know the answer immediately. I'm more concerned with helping out then I am with points, because being stuck with a word/expression is really frustrating!

I don't understand when people take it seriously, but then again, I've never been very competitive. It's interesting to observe that people have different strategies: some will answer every single question they see, because they probably think it increases their chances of winning. (maybe it does)

Others just answer the exact same thing someone else did - only slightly different. Too bad it can be confusing for the poor person with an actual problem to solve.

I agree with what's been said - If I have to research, there is no need to bother. Surely I won't find anything the asker can't find, then I wouldn't be very helpful, would I?

Besides, that'd take time. I'd rather spend my time collecting actual money points (we all need them!)


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:49
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
more than 2 minutes Jun 17, 2010

Honestly, I just I love the challenge of finding the correct term. I actually enjoy following promising google leads that direct me to peculiar pdf’s, the checking and double-checking, the discovering of intriguing glossaries en-route, the thrill if an initial hunch is confirmed! Diving into murky google waters, getting right down to the bottom and sometimes coming up with a great find: that’s KudoZing for me. And that’s why I don’t mind spending sometimes 15 minutes on one word – if I don’t have the time for that, then I simply don’t KudoZ.
To stay on topic: sure, every little point counts. But consistently competent answers will slowly translate into a better reliability ratio. I believe that spending more time on a single answer and getting that answer right will eventually result in more points and certainly a better reliability ratio than spending little time on many answers and earning the occasional point. Good research skills are also an asset that helps you build a reputation. With a solid reputation, you will not only collect more points, but are also more likely to get direct job offers – both from colleagues who appreciated your help with a term and from colleagues who enjoyed your answers.

Cheers,
johanna


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imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Points Jun 17, 2010

Points give you browniz, that you can use to lower your annual payment or you can use to help a colleague that needs a discount in order to make her/his subscription to ProZ;

The most important about points, in my point of view, is that they give the client an idea of your strongest skills.

When I have some free time I try to help with the answers. But when I have a lot of work, I pass...

This is a good way to learn new things. As you are researching, you 're not researching for your colleague, but for yourself. You can really improve your vocabulary.

After all, all I know is that I no nothing...


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:49
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Don't get me wrong... Jun 17, 2010

I love to research. But I'm usually researching for my own work, so I normally don't have the time for Kudoz. It's not unusual that the question is about a term I've had to research myself in the past, that's when I take the time to answer.

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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Where's your Mercedes dealer, Henry? Jun 17, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:
I'm ready to buy a new Mercedes with mine. Made them all by cheating, so that feels even better.


Maybe I can cut a deal with her too...


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:49
German to English
+ ...
For the fun of it Jun 17, 2010

Frankly, I only answer for the fun, the chase, the fascination with language and the urge to prove to the world that i know everything!!! I didn't actually realise the points you gain could be of any use (sicne I don't get clients through ProZ that aspect doesn't matter either). A question or two in my own field for which i can find the right ( or a good) answer really makes my day and when my answer is accepted it gives me the encouragement that positive feedback from clients also achieves and boosts my self-esteem a little.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:49
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Indeed Jun 17, 2010

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:
I increased my stats significantly after I stopped answering hundreds of questions every week

Only answer questions in which you really know the answer and can document it properly. Documenting answers is a rarity in Kudoz these days, and really helps you prove that you are right.


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Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
Italian to German
+ ...
Didn't know points count on other than personal level, either Jun 17, 2010

David Wright wrote:

Frankly, I only answer for the fun, the chase, the fascination with language and the urge to prove to the world that i know everything!!! I didn't actually realise the points you gain could be of any use (sicne I don't get clients through ProZ that aspect doesn't matter either). A question or two in my own field for which i can find the right ( or a good) answer really makes my day and when my answer is accepted it gives me the encouragement that positive feedback from clients also achieves and boosts my self-esteem a little.


I'm with you, David - I've not been with proz for a long time and just find it personally satisfying when I'm able to help. So far I've not asked a question, yet and was quite astonished that some people seem to use the forum as a kind of dictionary (but most people post only as last straw, as should be). I had no idea that there a so many "interests" behind it all - fascinating thing this proz.com!


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Teresa Mozo  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
Member (2008)
German to Spanish
+ ...
That's exactly my view Jun 17, 2010

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:

Honestly, I just I love the challenge of finding the correct term. I actually enjoy following promising google leads that direct me to peculiar pdf’s, the checking and double-checking, the discovering of intriguing glossaries en-route, the thrill if an initial hunch is confirmed! Diving into murky google waters, getting right down to the bottom and sometimes coming up with a great find: that’s KudoZing for me. And that’s why I don’t mind spending sometimes 15 minutes on one word – if I don’t have the time for that, then I simply don’t KudoZ.
To stay on topic: sure, every little point counts. But consistently competent answers will slowly translate into a better reliability ratio. I believe that spending more time on a single answer and getting that answer right will eventually result in more points and certainly a better reliability ratio than spending little time on many answers and earning the occasional point. Good research skills are also an asset that helps you build a reputation. With a solid reputation, you will not only collect more points, but are also more likely to get direct job offers – both from colleagues who appreciated your help with a term and from colleagues who enjoyed your answers.

Cheers,
johanna


I could not express it better!!

Regards
Teresa


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:49
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Differences in subjects too Jun 17, 2010

philgoddard wrote:
I do several European languages into English, and I was surprised by the differences in scores between languages.


I only have one language pair so I can't comment on differences per language, but I have definitely noticed that certain subject fields are more black and white than others. The translation of a medical term, for example, may only have one right answer, while answers to a marketing question may have many different possibilities, all equally valid. So even if you're very good at creative language in marketing, you might not get points for a good answer.

So if anyone wants to extend their "sneakiness" in another direction, stick to the less creative fields


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Rob Grayson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:49
Member
French to English
Points do not necessarily equate to expertise Jun 17, 2010

I honestly couldn't care less how many KudoZ points I have. So why do I bother to answer questions?

When I first started out as a translator a few years ago, KudoZ helped me out on a few occasions. I found help from a number of more experienced translators. Over time, I've noticed that the reliability of answers in my pair (FR>EN) has reduced dramatically. Many of the answers posted, sometimes with a 100% confidence level, are, frankly, wild guesses from people who have no experience in the field in question – some of whom, in my humble opinion, have such a poor grasp of both source and target languages that they have no business being a translator at all. The unfortunate thing is that many askers just assume that these answerers know what they're talking about and choose their answers. So, my biggest motivation for staying involved in KudoZ is altruistic: I don't want to see the KudoZ archives filled with junk; I want future users to be able to find genuine help there.

As a corollary to this, I would say that the number of KudoZ points a user has racked up is not necessarily a good indicator of expertise. Some of the highest point scorers in my pair persistently post answers that are 100% wrong. I can only assume that they manage to garner such large numbers of points through (a) answering so many questions that they get some right, and (b) managing to fool quite a few askers into believing that their answers are right.


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