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Abolishing Kudoz points
Thread poster: Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Sep 30, 2010

The hot topics in the forum about Proz.com these days all appear to be about Kudoz.

In brief:

- There are people who are "gaming" the Kudoz system, who will do anything for points and who in the process are filling the Kudoz archive with cr*p
- There are people who are abusing Kudoz in other ways, chiefly people who are not logged in and who post questions which are criticised for a variety of reasons
- There are people who seem to be using their 15-questions-a-day limit to get the peers on proz.com to do their work for them, by posting relatively easy terms; it is clear that at least sometimes, these people are translating out of their mother tongue or in any case in a pair with which they are unfamiliar.
- For every silly asker, there's a silly answerer, and often two or three. These questions, and answers, can be ignored of course, but when they are archived they bring the overall quality of Kudoz down.

I propose to wipe out these problems at a stroke by simply abolishing Kudoz points. While there are answerers who do it simply out of the goodness of their hearts, there are others whose behaviour is entirely points-driven.

With no points, those who abuse Kudoz by asking silly questions can be safely ignored, and they will eventually disappear. There is no incentive to be got in answering such questions, so the points-hunters will not waste their time.

With no points, those who abuse Kudoz by offering silly answers will no longer have a reason to do so, and they will eventually disappear as well.

The problem that immediately springs to mind is: what happens to the Kudoz points that we have already earned? In many cases they have been honestly earned, and obviously this must be recognised.

I welcome your suggestions and input on this.


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InfoMarex
Ireland
Local time: 23:01
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Kudoz Points Sep 30, 2010

Colm,

In order to avoid abuses to the Kudos points system, which I personally believe is VERY useful, might I suggest that:

1.
Questions to KudoZ be limited at 2 per day per translator.

2.
Only members of ProZ who are logged in be allowed post [and preferably, from paying members only].

3.
Only questions be asked about translation INTO one's mother tongue.

It would be wrong to abolish the laws of the land, simply because some criminals break the law.

It would be wrong to abolish Kudos points, simply because some "clever" translators abuse the system which is for the benefit of us all.

My tuppenceworth on a Thursday morning.
Kind regards,

Michael J McCann
InfoMarex


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah, if only... Sep 30, 2010

I agree fully with everything you say, InfoMarex.

The problem is that we know this will never happen, because, as the site staff never fails to remind us, "that would block the flow of help to askers".

(Note to moderator: THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM ENRIQUE, see this link: http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/181112-yet_another_suggestion_to_deal_with_lack_of_context-page2.html#1590506.)

That's why I'm proposing to abolish Kudoz points. When nobody is hunting for points, the only thing that is left is a genuine desire to help - and I know the site staff will approve of that.

[Edited at 2010-09-30 12:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-10-01 07:02 GMT]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
In which order will the names in the directory be listed? Sep 30, 2010

@ryancolm,

I understand your point, but I have one question.

Suppose we abolish the Kudoz point system. Then, how would the members/site users be listed in the directory? By alphabetical order? Or the number of years of experience? Or the number of years registered at Proz (regardless of being a member or not)?

I think Kudoz points is one guideline where a client can find the best man for the job they're about to outsource. What would you suggest?


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Against abolishing points Sep 30, 2010

I also think the points system is useful and am thus against abolishing it. The system has tools for handling abuse. First, members can "vote non-pro" the ridiculously easy/silly terms. Secondly, members can choose not to respond to such posts, and thus not give the ridiculous impression of a fifth-grader who gets to sit in kindergarten for a day and feel superior to all the little kids. This kind of thing has always seemed silly to me.......

What I think would be additionally helpful in this regard is for moderators to be empowered to directly admonish (and, if the admonishment is not heeded, place limits on) those who constantly post terms that can easily be found in dictionaries or through quick internet searches. All they have to do is refer them to the posting guidelines that clearly state that Kudoz is to be used as a last resort.

For what it is worth, I do not see a pattern of this kind of abuse in the Spanish-English, English-Spanish pairs. On the contrary, I see a trend toward the posting of more and more specialized terms (which is what the natural progression should be, as the glossaries become increasingly developed).

My two cents!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
French to English
Also against the proposal Sep 30, 2010

I certainly don't see how it would help towards solving the problems listed in the OP. Yes, I could foresee an immediate reduction in answers - but not just the rubbish ones.

In essence, when it comes to abuse of the system of all kinds, notoriously hard to detect by any automated system but of a kind that we "know it when we see it" (which yes, makes it subjectives), the only change around here which I believe would help would be to change the draconian restrictions on what we are and aren't allowed to say.

We could ask why someone has posted 15 utterly trivial questions for anyone claiming to earn a lviing as a translator in the space of one hour. We could ask an asker who has asked over a thousand questions and answered none why they feel they deserve the community's help. Some of the things we think of as abuse could have a perfectly rational and reasonable explanation - I'm all ears.

A period where a free, frank and robust exchange of view is permitted would certainly help clear the air, I feel.

And I also agree that points, while not perfect or universal, can be an indicator of the kind of person a client is likely to be dealing with. Not having any points is in no way a bad thing, but having some might be a good thing (having tens of thousands.... must be back to a bad thing, surely - have these people no paid work to do? Do they have an attention deficit problem?)

Anyway, yup, there's bound to be a "well he would say that wouldn't he" aspect to my comments, but so be it.


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:01
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water Sep 30, 2010

The Kudoz system is not flawless but it is extremely helpful and is a classic example of win win situation. I think that even easy question benefit our Community as such and the fact that they are preserved in the database and everyone can look up these terms makes it really amazing.

Abolishing Kudoz points would kill the current system. Probably some people would still answer from time to time and most likely others would keep asking them but the usefulness of Kudoz would be greatly reduced.

I think that with the incentive of gaining points withdrawn many translators would stop answering questions and used their time to do something else. Many translators treat answering Kudoz not only as a way of helping others but also as investment in marketing and expect ROI on invested time.

So summing up - if you want to kill Kudoz - taking the points away is the swiftest way.

Best Regards
Stanislaw

[Edited at 2010-09-30 12:43 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:01
English to Croatian
+ ...
Not really.. Sep 30, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:


And I also agree that points, while not perfect or universal, can be an indicator of the kind of person a client is likely to be dealing with. Not having any points is in no way a bad thing, but having some might be a good thing (having tens of thousands.... must be back to a bad thing, surely - have these people no paid work to do? Do they have an attention deficit problem?)


Not really, those are all assumptions.

KudoZ points are not a firm evidence of any translation skills, especially because it is not a contextual translating. I need to see a flow of a full text/ piece in order to estimate a translator.

However, I am also against abolishing points. This kind of system makes it possible for us to spot amateurs, unethical colleagues, etc. It can actually be very useful, because how else would we know how bad these people are? We could actually start some sort of cooperation with them, if we didn't see their unethical ways on KudoZ? Who needs that? I like the KudoZ mirror, you can see all sorts of things in it.


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all Sep 30, 2010

Well, so far everyone is against the idea (although a couple of people in other threads supported it).

I'm thinking of renaming this thread "The Hindenburg Initiative"...


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
French to English
Quite Sep 30, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:

Charlie Bavington wrote:

And I also agree that points, while not perfect or universal, can be an indicator of the kind of person a client is likely to be dealing with. Not having any points is in no way a bad thing, but having some might be a good thing (having tens of thousands.... must be back to a bad thing, surely - have these people no paid work to do? Do they have an attention deficit problem?)


Not really, those are all assumptions.

KudoZ points are not a firm evidence of any translation skills, especially because it is not a contextual translating. I need to see a flow of a full text/ piece in order to estimate a translator.


That's probably why I was careful to include the words such as "can be" and "might". It is a subjective matter. I assume nothing.

The fact points are at stake may (note may) also tell us something about the personality of an individual which might (note might) not show so clearly under more altruistic conditions. How do they deal with disagreement? Are they generally cordial or spikey? Do they 'stalk' individuals with the intent of disagreeing with everything they say....


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:01
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Asked for this repeatedly. Never going to happen. Sep 30, 2010

Many of us have asked for this or other similar measures. Never received any satisfactory response from ProZ. Never going to happen.

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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:01
English to Croatian
+ ...
Yes! Sep 30, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
The fact points are at stake may (note may) also tell us something about the personality of an individual which might (note might) not show so clearly under more altruistic conditions. How do they deal with disagreement? Are they generally cordial or spikey? Do they 'stalk' individuals with the intent of disagreeing with everything they say....


Exactly.

You can measure their overall character, temperament and reactivity.

You can also measure ( very precisely) their motives and intentions.

Particularly because we are in a position to observer them over a longer period of time. Anyone can have a bad day, but not 20 000 bad days.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:01
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
I support this idea! Sep 30, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
The fact points are at stake may (note may) also tell us something about the personality of an individual which might (note might) not show so clearly under more altruistic conditions. How do they deal with disagreement? Are they generally cordial or spikey? Do they 'stalk' individuals with the intent of disagreeing with everything they say....


Exactly.

Kudoz is another vital community. I can read personalities of many Kudoz askers, answers and other participants.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:01
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Points Sep 30, 2010

They are the reason why people share answers. Of course some people abuse the system, of course the glossaries aren't completely realiable, but they are helpful.

Translating only into your mother tongue is not a practical reality in a lot of countries and language pairs. So, despite the romantic views many translators have on the matter, it's not up to Proz to limit anyone's activity in that sense.

Brazilian Portuguese (and many other languages I'm sure) does not have enough foreign speakers who can truly grasp the original meaning and haved lived in the country long enough. Good, native-translators who are proficient in Brazilian Portuguese are rare, and cannot handle the volume of work. Others know the language more superfically, but will misunderstand a lot (what sounds good is not necessarily what it originally meant). Clients know this, and that's why they would rather work with a local translator and a native proofreader in order to keep the meaning intact and be able to handle all the work.

That's the solution we have found. I know this is being repeatedly mentioned on Proz, but that romantic ideal does not apply to the real world of every market out there.

Therefore, it is up to the client who he/she chooses to assign work to, and surely that shouldn't be restricted by Proz.

Also, Proz has been very helpful whenever I needed assistance, I believe they have effective measures in place for people abusing the system or behaving innapropriately. Each case is a case and I'm sure they analyse them accordingly everytime someone opens a "support request".

I've been very frustrated with Kudoz in the sense that some people are so desperate for points when I ask a question they'll actually write the first answer that comes up on Google without even worrying about context - as if I hadn't done that myself. There are many wrong and even absurd answers indeed, but we gotta be selective when using any glossaries. Besides, after a while you get to know who the "desperate for points" are and just avoid paying attention to their answers - I think the "agree" and "disagree" comments are very helpful when using the glossaries, I always read the entire discussion.


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JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:01
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
big picture Sep 30, 2010

Abolishing this system would be as bad an initiative as suppressing democracy because it is imperfect. My colleagues have brilliantly exposed why it would be a very poor decision, so I will be very concise:

- everyone learns something, the asker, the answerers and people who comment. Some snobbish "smarter-than-thou" (yes, I just coined the expression) translators will tell you that some translators provide poor answers. The flip side is that I have seen many proz members improve the quality of their answers with time and effort.

- some hollier than thou (not coined by me) translators will tell you from their moral heights that they are the essence of altruism, and that granting kudoz is a dubious and filthy process, a sinful exchange whereby, God forbid, the person who devoted time and energy and showed his / her friendliness trying to come up with a great answer will be granted some points that may, horror of horrors, benefit him/her in the long run...For all the kudoz Tartuffes, that's called "win-win" and "there ain't nothing wrong with it", it's just a "I scratch your back you scratch my back" kind of deal

- I am confident the proz.com management will not shoot itself on the foot suppressing a key feature of the site, one that positively differentiates it from the other websites

-Conclusion: as everything, the system has its imperfections, but by and large it benefits everybody, it was and is a gutsy and widely successful idea from the Proz managers, it is morally sound and (caution, the following statement may offend some people) it is....it is... it is...fun!!!

I am ok, you are ok


[Edited at 2010-09-30 15:40 GMT]


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