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Tolerance of Very (Very Very) Frequent Askers
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:32
Member
Italian to English
Feb 17, 2013

Ok, so I know this has been discussed before in part, so please bear with me.

I was intrigued by a recent post by one of our members stating that the community working in a certain language pair eventually lost patience with a certain asker. As I write, a certain asker has submitted over 5000 questions (and rising) to KudoZ, while answering less than 200. Another member has posted around a hundred term questions on the same translation, terms a native speaker (or competent translator) would not need to post on a translation forum. I am surprised my colleagues are still helping this asker; my patience ran out long ago.

As I say, I know this has been discussed before. Therefore I think it would be useful if we could go beyond the usual arguments such as "if you don't want to answer then don't", "just filter that particular asker", "KudoZ is for providing help so why not" and so on.

What I would be interested to know is:
What do you think the community's attitude towards such askers should be? When ProZ started out, KudoZ was for asking help with tough terms, and posting dozens of questions a day was actively discouraged, much less questions that could easily be answered by spending five minutes on Google.

I would also be interested to know site staff's opinion on such askers. Are they free to do as they please since they pay membership?

Interested to hear your views, as always.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Paying members? Feb 17, 2013

Fiona Peterson wrote:
As I write, a certain asker has submitted over 5000 questions (and rising) to KudoZ, while answering less than 200. Another member has posted around a hundred term questions on the same translation, terms a native speaker (or competent translator) would not need to post on a translation forum.


I would also be interested to know site staff's opinion on such askers. Are they free to do as they please since they pay membership?

As you say, this has been discussed so many times, so I hope you get something more useful from this thread than the others have achieved.

However, you say these two askers are paying members? That surprises me, as most of those responsible are registered (i.e. non-paying) members. I suppose if they're paying out for membership, they may feel that they have certain rights to "dictionary services" to enable them to sort out those words and expressions that Google Translate leaves in the source language.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:32
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Paying members Feb 17, 2013

Thanks for your reply Sheila... the two askers I have in mind are indeed both paying members.

Errata corrige: the first has actually answered a little over 350 questions to the >5000 asked; making the percentage answered less than 1% of those asked.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
They are within their rights... Feb 17, 2013

and so are the people answering their questions. I know exactly the two "characters" you are talking about. These two examples clearly exemplifies what's wrong with the Kudoz system. Incompetent people being helped to deliver sub-standard translations by people who want to reach the top of the ranking, hoping they'll get jobs and polluting the glossary But I have bad news for them: I've been in the EN>IT all time top ten for years (don't take part anymore, so I'm 31st now) and I never got a job because of my high ranking. You get them if you lower your rates considerably. That's the trick. Forget your specialisations, ranking, experience, education. Charge little and you'll get jobs. This is how it works here.

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:32
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
My point exactly... Feb 17, 2013

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

They are within their rights, and so are the people answering their questions.


This is exactly my point... quite within their rights, but perhaps it is time to change these "rights"? I would be interested to hear the site's point of view on this.


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 21:32
French to English
+ ...
Toleration of Very Frequent Askers Feb 17, 2013

Just a couple of points.

I thought tolerance of the askers, paradoxically, meant the opposite: namely tolerance shown by them and the question should be rephrased toleration of such characters.

Also, these frequent limp-along askers including paying members - maybe unrumbled by agency and private clients - still seem to be in circulation after months and years.


Fiona Peterson wrote:

Ok, so I know this has been discussed before in part, so please bear with me.

Interested to hear your views, as always.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
We know already what the site's staff are going to say... Feb 17, 2013

that they are within their rights... X questions per day max. They are doing that. The rules mention "tough" terms, but then you can set your question as "Non-pro", which is a "question that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary"... so, there you are!

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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: At poster's request.

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Patience? Tolerance? Who's got the problem here, anyway? Feb 17, 2013

Fiona Peterson wrote:
One of our members [said] that the community working in a certain language pair eventually lost patience with a certain asker. ... I am surprised my colleagues are still helping this asker; my patience ran out long ago.


1. When I use KudoZ to ask a question, I do so not as a wretch who grovels before answerers, thinking that my question is really merely tolerated by them, and that in my heart I should have humility and caution when asking my question.

No, when I ask a KudoZ question, I do so as an equal, who asks for assistance from my peers, in such a way that it does not inconvenience anyone who is not available to be asked.

If any of my virtual colleagues believe that they should regard me with "patience" or "tolerance" for making use of the question-and-answer service, then I'm afraid it is they who are at fault, for then they clearly do not understand what the service is for.

2. In fact, the only time when I think you may legitimately believe that your patience is being tried is if an asker asks the same question over and over, or if the asker commits the same mistake again and again, after having been told what his error is and how he must fix it.

3. Also, I almost get the impression that some answerers believe that if a translator has a text that raises e.g. 20 questions, that the translator will always be able to figure out the answers to the last 10 questions if the first 10 questions can be adequately answered, and that it is therefore immoral for him to ask the last 10 questions, as if asking them reveals thanklessness, laziness or lack of skill. What nonsense!



[Edited at 2013-02-17 12:15 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
More thoughts Feb 17, 2013

Fiona Peterson wrote:
A certain asker has submitted over 5000 questions (and rising) to KudoZ, while answering less than 200.


Well, if the asker is as clueless as you say, then perhaps it is a blessing that there is no rule about the ratio of questions to answers. Imagine how terrible it would be (given this asker's cluelessness) if he was forced to answer questions that he probably knows nothing of, just to be allowed to ask more of his own questions.

What I would be interested to know is:
What do you think the community's attitude towards such askers should be?


I think the "community" should think less of itself as a community, when it comes to KudoZ. The KudoZ service is so highly formalised that only those who spend an awful lot of time on it will likely think of it as a "community". Askers who are also frequent answerers may experience a lot more communitiness than askers whose use of the service is limited to posting questions and reading the responses. For such askers, the service is one of passive interaction, much like a newsfeed.

When ProZ started out, KudoZ was for asking help with tough terms...


I wonder if what we're seeing here isn't just the natural evolution of a question-and-answer service. When such a service begins, it must be limited to challenging questions, to keep the small number of answerers interested. But as the service grows and the number of answerers are numbered not in tens but in thousands, the need to limit questions to those that would likely interest only the core group of answerers disappear.


[Edited at 2013-02-17 12:10 GMT]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
not quite... Feb 17, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

I wonder if what we're seeing here isn't just the natural evolution of a question-and-answer service. When such a service begins, it must be limited to challenging questions, to keep the small number of answerers interested. But as the service grows and the number of answerers are numbered not in tens but in thousands, the need to limit questions to those that would likely interest only the core group of answerers disappear.


Kudoz just reflect the state of our profession. I would be ashamed to ask certain questions and be exposed as a total idiot who can't even use a dictionary. I don't think we are talking about asking serious, justified questions, but the abuse of the system by certain users who are clearly exploiting the system to overcome their lack of knowledge. And also the hordes of points-grabbing colleagues whose only interest is to reach the "top". Unfortunately, there is no solution. The Kudoz system used properly, by people who are professional is indeed great. Sadly, as you say, it's grown into a monster.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Giovanni: limit the number of points per person per day? Feb 17, 2013

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:
These two examples clearly exemplifies what's wrong with the Kudoz system. Incompetent people being helped to deliver sub-standard translations by people who want to reach the top of the ranking, hoping they'll get jobs and polluting the glossary.


What do you think of the suggestion that I made here, namely:

Here is an idea that would prevent an oversupply of easy for-points questions while allowing askers to ask as many questions as they wish:

Let askers have set number of points per day that they can allocate to questions, and make the value of the question known to answerers in the notification e-mail. In other words, the asker can ask 10 or 20 or 50 questions per day but can only award a maximum of e.g. 20 points per day. Perhaps the asker will make the first five questions count 4 points, and let the rest of that day's answers count 0 points, or perhaps he will be thrifty with the points and allot 4 points only to really difficult questions.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
The idea is good... Feb 17, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:
These two examples clearly exemplifies what's wrong with the Kudoz system. Incompetent people being helped to deliver sub-standard translations by people who want to reach the top of the ranking, hoping they'll get jobs and polluting the glossary.


What do you think of the suggestion that I made here, namely:

Here is an idea that would prevent an oversupply of easy for-points questions while allowing askers to ask as many questions as they wish:

Let askers have set number of points per day that they can allocate to questions, and make the value of the question known to answerers in the notification e-mail. In other words, the asker can ask 10 or 20 or 50 questions per day but can only award a maximum of e.g. 20 points per day. Perhaps the asker will make the first five questions count 4 points, and let the rest of that day's answers count 0 points, or perhaps he will be thrifty with the points and allot 4 points only to really difficult questions.




But that would mean that the 0 questions would be ignored. People would concentrate on "for points" questions. Sure, this would indeed discourage silly questions, but it would also limit the use of the Kudoz system. Less use = less traffic. Do you think Proz would allow this?

[Edited at 2013-02-17 13:11 GMT]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:32
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Unworkable Feb 17, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

the asker can ask 10 or 20 or 50 questions per day but can only award a maximum of e.g. 20 points per day. Perhaps the asker will make the first five questions count 4 points, and let the rest of that day's answers count 0 points, or perhaps he will be thrifty with the points and allot 4 points only to really difficult questions.




I think this is unworkable; if I need to ask thirty questions a day, under your system I go ahead and ask them anyway, slowly allocating points in the following days as the system will allow, or given that things are now getting complicated, just not bother.

I think changes need to come from the answerers, not the askers. How about receiving points for community activities as a whole ... forum posts, articles, agreeing with others' answers, points which could then be "spent" asking questions? Therefore those who contribute to the community also benefit from it. Those who come to use KudoZ as a free translation service giving nothing in return would no longer be able to do so.

I also think the moderators' roles need to change, turning ProZ.com from the police state it has become into one where people are encouraged to give as well as take.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:32
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Perhaps you are right Feb 17, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Patience? Tolerance? Who's got the problem here, anyway?


Perhaps you are right, Samuel. Perhaps there is no problem. That's why I started this thread; not to start the umpteenth thread on how to improve KudoZ, but to gauge member's feelings towards these askers.

I just find it intriguing that members in a certain language combination chose to stop helping a certain asker, while others (such as my language pair) show incredible patience and indulgence towards an asker who should not be translating in a language that is not his own, whose translation proposals are gibberish.

Who is right? Should we help these people? Or send them packing? That's what I'm trying to get a feel for here.

Indulgence is all very well. But when KudoZ starts to change from the quality, professional service it once was into a linguistic Yahoo! Answers, then those professionals who once represented what was good and special about KudoZ will choose to offer their help elsewhere. How to flush a wonderful tool down the toilet, like buying a Ferrari and abandoning it outside to rust.



[Edited at 2013-02-17 14:09 GMT]


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