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Should the KudoZ points system be abolished?
Thread poster: Decipherit

Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Feb 8, 2013

I’m interested to know how many people see the benefit of the points system. Do people feel they need to be rewarded for helping others? Is there one "right" answer? Does the points system encourage people to rush and provide incorrect answers in areas they actually know nothing about, or answers that they haven't actually thought through or researched? Does it encourage an overly competitive spirit that can be damaging to the system?

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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
In a word, yes Feb 8, 2013

Kudoz pointZ as they have now become are quite meaningless. The days when only those who knew the fields and languages offered help are long gone and Kudoz has become a massive free-for-all with gamesmanship, pals backing pals (and systematically dissing those outside their circle) and sheer wild guessing with high confidence levels backed by entire google pages with irrelevant references or often just by
If Kudoz had no points then it might have a chance to evolve into a serious form of assistance to translators struggling with a term or phrase. No points may open the way to more brainstorming instead of just 'snappy' answers but that would mean Askers would have to use their own input as well, which I personally don't see as a bad thing. Making Kudoz more professional may be the right way to go.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Hebrew to English
If you'd have asked me a year ago.... Feb 8, 2013

I would have said "No". However I was much greener then and hadn't really experienced the KudoZ system to the fullest. I'd have trotted out all the usual arguments about incentives and talked about motivation.

How times have changed.

Unfortunately (and it is unfortunate), I'm no longer convinced of the points system's worth, given the various practices I have seen employed (worse in some language pairs than others). Consequently, the directories cannot really be trusted either, not when it is based on a deeply flawed system.

In its current incarnation it simply doesn't work (as in: it doesn't necessarily reflect true talent/ability/competence). If it is to stay then major changes should at least be made, for starters you should be able to split points, sometimes it's a synthesis of responses that provides the final answer, yet your only option is to give all the points to one person, or nobody at all.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Zero points, yes Feb 8, 2013

Kudoz without points: I support that concept. Though in my language pairs the current system functions still well.
In Finnish we have a mail-group for asking advice on translation issues, no points awarded, no jury. It seems to work well, though it is not very transparent with only messages. Kudoz without points should be tested at least.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No! Feb 8, 2013

Kudoz points have an influence in the translator lists when customers look for translators. I have worked hard all these years to contribute to the system and be useful, as well as to document my answers as fully as I could in each case, and my payback is frequent customer contacts. I do not want all that work and its result to go down the toilet.

A note for the passionate people out there: Please do some research before saying that I am a selfish person and only think of myself just because I like my points!


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
French to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 8, 2013

I agree with what Lisa, Writeaway and Ty wrote above. Surely there could be a way of people seeing the value of your Kudoz contributions without a "points" system?


[Edited at 2013-02-08 11:34 GMT]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:37
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Not abolished, but improved Feb 8, 2013

Ideas and suggestions on how to improve the Kudoz system spring up on a regular basis and are discussed ad nauseam. This proves that the system needs to be fixed, not abolished.

[Edited at 2013-02-08 11:28 GMT]


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 21:37
English to Russian
+ ...
Reputation on KudoZ? Feb 8, 2013

I do certainly share the feelings about the sorry state of today's KudoZ in some language pairs. However, even in its current form, it still provides one valid measure of helper's professionalism: the ratio of points awarded to the number of questions answered. The clowns persistently giving irrelevant answers typically remain at the very bottom of the scale. If these cumulative ratios were displayed next to the answers, it would give a clear idea how trustworthy a given member is and help define one's reputation.

By the way, KudoZ problems are just part of the general trend on ProZ, a mass influx of underqualified translators. To be fair, ProZ just reflects the general state of things in the industry: 80-90% of all translations are being done totally unprofessionally, and most clients aren't even aware of the difference between high-quality translations and poor-quality ones. Accordingly, the demand for translations here on ProZ has also shifted to the lower segment of the market. It's not unusual anymore - but still suprising to me - to see a 100-200-word job in a major language pair being put up for bidding. Doubly surprising when it's members-only.

It's obvious that ProZ should earn money to operate, but in its present form, when paid membership is rewarded to a greater degree than actual professionalism, it fails to promote professional services and becomes just one of many translation-related sites. Probably the biggest, or at least the best-advertised one, but not the most professional. In my very personal opinion, the value I get from ProZ does not justify the annual fee. Your mileage may vary, of course.

[Edited at 2013-02-08 11:37 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:37
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! Feb 8, 2013

Improved yes, abolished no! I do like my points and, as Tomás says, I am not selfish as some Prozians who have asked me direct questions are well aware...

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I couldn't care less... Feb 8, 2013

it's too late... damage done. I don't take part anymore (or very rarely). The glossaries are littered with monstrosities, which are spreading like wildfire on the 'net. We can't fix that, and we can't fix the state of our profession. Shame.

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Yuri Dubrov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:37
English to Russian
+ ...
No and never! Feb 8, 2013

Zero points - no interest

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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's the worrying bit Feb 8, 2013

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

it's too late... damage done. I don't take part anymore (or very rarely). The glossaries are littered with monstrosities, which are spreading like wildfire on the 'net. We can't fix that, and we can't fix the state of our profession. Shame.


The nonsense is proliferating and arguably producing more rubbish than machine translation: http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom:_translator_coop/242909-kudoz_term_help_system_reaches_3_million_questions_asked-page2.html#2092309


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:37
Danish to English
+ ...
No Feb 8, 2013

It's a jungle out there, and let's face it - however cosy it can be to exchange views and helpful assistance with people on ProZ... we are all competing against each other about translation jobs. As Tomás says, the KudoZ points affect our rankings and visibility to clients who are not very likely to search through hundreds of hits in any one language combination, so any little thing that helps me get noticed there is worth a bit of effort on my part. I must admit that, kind-hearted though I may be, I would not pay as much attention to peers' requests for KudoZ assistance as I do now if no points were ever awarded again.

I like getting my little rewards for the effort I put into being helpful. Is that so bad?

Maybe I am fortunate that I work in one of the smaller language combinations, as I don't actually see a lot of abuse of the KudoZ system, but from my perspective, the system is fine as it is.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:37
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes... Feb 8, 2013

people refer to the "alibaba" website, the answer is accepted and ends up in the glossary... and then, obviously, there are also the incompetent answers selected by incompetent askers... The EN>IT glossary is a real mess... this is the other side of the Kudoz coin that people refuse to see.


Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

it's too late... damage done. I don't take part anymore (or very rarely). The glossaries are littered with monstrosities, which are spreading like wildfire on the 'net. We can't fix that, and we can't fix the state of our profession. Shame.


The nonsense is proliferating and arguably producing more rubbish than machine translation: http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom:_translator_coop/242909-kudoz_term_help_system_reaches_3_million_questions_asked-page2.html#2092309


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I find it useful Feb 8, 2013

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:
I’m interested to know how many people see the benefit of the points system.


To my mind, the points system can be improved (e.g. I'm in favour of resetting the point totals at regular intervals, to give newer members a chance to get to the top), but I think the points system is a good idea to encourage participation and to promote quality of responses.

Do people feel they need to be rewarded for helping others?


Well, the KudoZ system is largely faceless, so you have to encourage participation somehow. I will help others in a mailing list or on a forum without any reward, because that is a community, and I get the "reward" of socialising and peer recognition, but KudoZ is not a community unless you spend all your time on it. I would not have answered KudoZ questions if there were no rewards.

Is there one "right" answer?


There are often multiple right answers. I would not mind a system in which an asker can spread points among more than one answer. However, answerers who don't get KudoZ points still get recognition and feedback because of the agree/disagree comment feature. Perhaps it would be an idea to harvest agrees and disagrees in some way for the benefit of users' profiles too.

At present, KudoZ points are supposed to go to the most helpful answer, and that is often also the correct answer, but I don't think you can avoid the possibility that askers will award points for the wrong thing.

Does the points system encourage people to rush and provide incorrect answers in areas they actually know nothing about, or answers that they haven't actually thought through or researched?


Unfortunately, this is the result of the feature in KudoZ that allows for unclosed questions to be closed automatically and points to be awarded automatically.

Suggestions have been made to e.g. not make any answers available to the asker or to colleagues for 20-30 minutes after the asker had posted his question, to give more cautious answerers or more elaborate writers a better opportunity to have their answers evaluated at the same time as other initial answerers -- but that has some disadvantages, too.

Does it encourage an overly competitive spirit that can be damaging to the system?


Yes, it does make things more competitive, but I don't know if you can prevent that using a formalised process. In a sense, forum posting is also competitive.


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