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Kudoz etiquette question: similar existing answers (and tentative suggestion)
Thread poster: Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:38
English to Polish
+ ...
Jul 10, 2013

First of all, I'm not talking about a situation in which two answerers answered at about the same time with a similar answers. I'm talking about a situation when there is already a pretty good answer that is very similar to what you believe is the right answer, but it still needs a tweak.

For example the original answerer forgot to include one of the words in a longer phrase. Or was wrong (in your opinion) in omitting it by choice. Or he made an unwarranted addition. Or the grammar or syntax needs tweaking, but the answer is substantially right as it is.

What do you do?

1. Do you agree but propose a fixed version in your comment, or:
2. Do you just comment in the discussion and move on, or:
3. Do you propose your own answer... extremely similar to the existing one but slightly better?

I need to say I am sometimes dismayed to see what new proposals are offered in the light of the similarity and substantial sufficiency of the existing proposals. In some cases the original answerer may have spent about 10-15 minutes creating and justifying the answer, while another answerer may just come in, insert a slight modification and grab the points because, after all, his version is better.

This said, the first answerer doesn't always 'own' the question. Sometimes the answer isn't based on substantial work by the answerer but instead is the matter of simply knowing a good equivalent (by the book or by practical experience).

I would like your opinions. I don't really trust my own here.

Also, I would like to make a tentative suggestion for the Staff to consider: What about an option to suggest improvement to an existing answer instead of providing a new one? With both answerers getting Kudoz points (each the full amount or at least split between the two) or browniz for the fixer?


 

Norazilinah Ingram  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:38
Malay to English
+ ...
Kudoz etiquette question Jul 10, 2013

Hi Lukas,

I found it interesting that you've brought these topic about the etiquette of answering Kudoz questions. As a new member I have been observing the kudoz questions/answers 'gallery'. From what I have seen, are many things. The obvious reason is members answering questions to get kudoz points for their profile image. Which is a positive thing. However they answer the question, whether awaiting or noticing another mistakes or correcting them, its up to one conscience.

The down side about this is, that no matter who got the points for the kudoz, it is not 'fool-proof'. Meaning to say that, friends can help each other posting the questions and awarding the points. Or simply like you've mentioned, lack of etiquette in answering the questions. If there is a moderator who is impartial about awarding the kudoz points, maybe it will be a different scenerio.

But whatever it is, I have enjoyed contributing my answers and opinion in the discussions. I took it as a learning process for me. I know earning the points are crucial, but I rather have clean conscience than to have 1000 kudoz points which I don't deserved.

You have brought up a good topic. I hope you will earn many kudoz points to come. cheers!!icon_smile.gif

Nora Ingram


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:38
Member (2013)
English to Russian
I normally go with 1 or 2 Jul 10, 2013

There's another problem I've been facing recently quite a lot. It goes as follows:

1. I see a KudoZ question that seems interesting to me.
2. I carry out a mini-investigation.
3. I give a detailed answer to the point, with references and whatnot.
4. Then I click Submit...

only to see that another person has already submitted a similar yet ill-prepared, helter-skelter answer (often with grammatical errors) in order to snatch the points. Oh, woe is me...


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:38
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jul 11, 2013

@Nora: Thank you for such a kind answer, and the same wishes to you. It's great to see such a principled approach. Hope the Kudoz board doesn't prove depressing to you.

@Max: Sometimes that helter-skelter answer may have been put there to avoid losing points to an even more helter-skelter one. I sometimes send an answer very quickly and then put additional information in notes if I need to substantiate it. That way, the asker will get all the same information, while I won't lose points for simply having prepared a more though-out, better illustrated answer than a person who was less thorough and therefore faster.


 

Ian Giles  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:38
Member (2012)
Swedish to English
+ ...
In my experience Jul 11, 2013

most members of proz aren't very experienced in general netiquette and can come off pretty unpleasant when using kudoz. I find people are far too willing to post multiple answers that are very similar (just as you describe), far too willing to post without reading the question (even if marked with a "see context first!"), and so on. Kudoz is a great resource, and as far as I'm concerned, we should all be on the same side - but I'm not sure that's how others see it.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are two types of KudoZ answerer Jul 11, 2013

1) Point-chasers
2) Those who answer because they have the ability to help someone else. They might get some points in the process - that's nice.icon_smile.gif They might find there are all sorts of other benefits in the long term, such as better ranking so more jobs; others more than ready to return the favour if/when needed... Or they might just feel that they've done their bit, that's all.

I'm hoping that all of us here who take the time and trouble to read the ProZ.com forums are, or will be, type-2 answerers.

A type-2 answerer will add to the original answer if just a short comment will suffice, with an 'agree' or 'neutral' setting. If something longer is required but you don't think you warrant the points, feel free to post a second answer, giving yourself the extra space. Just mark it "not for points" or something similar.

If I see almost-identical later answers, I always give them a neutral with a short comment. Often it's relative newbies who only need a prod in the right direction.


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:38
Portuguese to English
+ ...
An interesting and very accurate observation Jul 11, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

1) Point-chasers
2) Those who answer because they have the ability to help someone else. They might get some points in the process - that's nice.icon_smile.gif They might find there are all sorts of other benefits in the long term, such as better ranking so more jobs; others more than ready to return the favour if/when needed... Or they might just feel that they've done their bit, that's all.

I'm hoping that all of us here who take the time and trouble to read the ProZ.com forums are, or will be, type-2 answerers.



...and one I'd noted as well. In my language pairs at least, you will never, ever see the worst abusers of the Kudoz system (serial askers or point-chasers) on the forums. They're not remotely invested in the "community" aspect of this site.

Apologies for being off-topic.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:38
Russian to English
+ ...
I think certain answers may only seem similar Jul 11, 2013

to the people who are not aware how important certain nuances are -- sometimes a difference between "its" and "the" is a tremendous difference in a particular context, the same with the indefinite article, definite article or zero article. So, I am not exactly sure about which similarities you are talking, but I think it does not really matter if certain parts of someone's answer are similar to another answer. The person whose overall quality (lexical accuracy, grammar, register and style) of the answer are the best is the winner.

Kudoz is not about some crazy competition and collecting points but rather about finding the best answer and helping people.

It is also not a creative writing competition where everyone has to come up with a completely different option just to prove creativity. Sometimes the only right answer may be similar to someone else's answer, but it may require some changes, which will make it different, after all.

Even if someone spent two hours justifying the answer, if it is the wrong answer it is the wrong answer (especially in a particular context). Kudoz is not a charity after all -- rewarding people just because they tried very hard. The brownies are for that.

However, if an answerer came up with an almost accurate answer, and some else fixed it, I think the original answerer should get some points as well. I don't even know exactly how the system of awarding points works, but this would seem fair -- not an equal share perhaps, but something at least, like one point for directing people in a particular direction.

[Edited at 2013-07-11 10:41 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:38
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes... Jul 11, 2013

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

you will never, ever see the worst abusers of the Kudoz system (serial askers or point-chasers) on the forums.


of course, they are too busy abusing the KudoZ system... icon_smile.gif


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:38
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Community spirit Jul 11, 2013

As far as I can see, the point of the Kudoz system is to give translators the opportunity to help each other. Proz is a community of translators and we should respect our fellow members. Of course, people are people and some are more obliging than others. I must say, though, that my limited experience of Kudoz has been quite positive. On the few occasions when I have posted a question, I have received interesting and helpful responses. If I see a question on the list which I am able to answer, I feel I ought to reciprocate and share that piece of knowledge with my colleagues. However, if I open up a question to find someone has already posted a similar answer to the one I was going to suggest, it feels rude to add another answer with just a different preposition, or a corrected spelling, for example. Instead, I would insert a discussion entry offering my variation on the same answer. Indeed, sometimes the discussions can be more helpful than the answers themselves, and I have learned a lot just by participating.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:38
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Can't agree, Lilian Jul 11, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:


-- sometimes a difference between "its" and "the" is a tremendous difference in a particular context, the same with the indefinite article, definite article or zero article.


That's an example of something that needs fixing rather than a new answer, unless the question focused on the article, pronoun on some other detail. If the answerer comes up with a good longer phrase but fails to get the article right, or if he uses the wrong preposition or something along those lines, he still deserves the points. Not the person who came later and used his answer with the right article.

So, I am not exactly sure about which similarities you are talking,


Example: There's a longer phrase where the crucial part is a complex grammatical structure or some medical terminology or a legal phrase. But 5 answers pop up, offering different 'solutions':

– in regard to
– with regard to
– in respect of
– as regards
– British spelling vs American
– if vs where for legal conditionals.

Alternatively, you can submit a motion or come with it. Or file it. Or do something else with it. Whatever. But the asker is really concentrating on what follows after 'motion to'.

Or, indeed, a wrong or debatable article within a longer phrase.

but I think it does not really matter if certain parts of someone's answer are similar to another answer. The person whose overall quality (lexical accuracy, grammar, register and style) of the answer are the best is the winner.


Not if the answer is based on a previous answerer's higher lexical accuracy or terminological knowledge – or research especially (he invested time in it!) – but simply fixes a grammatical problem or slightly odd syntax.

The same goes for offering an alternative that's not right or wrong strictly speaking but simply uses a different viable option to express something that's not central to the answer.

Kudoz is not about some crazy competition and collecting points but rather about finding the best answer and helping people.


Which is another reason why someone who has merely offered improvement or fixed a small issue doesn't need those points.

It is also not a creative writing competition where everyone has to come up with a completely different option just to prove creativity.


I'm afraid some answerers see it like that. Then the asker picks whatever he likes best, no matter who did the footwork.

I'm not saying whoever was the first to give a viable answer 'owns' the 4 points for that question, but whoever was the first to give an answer pretty much owns the answer.

Sometimes the only right answer may be similar to someone else's answer, but it may require some changes, which will make it different, after all.


Which is not enough to take over the points. If the Kudoz ethos is to help people, the 'improver' should help the answerer help the asker. Not take over the fruit of someone's work by improving slightly on the end result.

Even if someone spent two hours justifying the answer, if it is the wrong answer it is the wrong answer (especially in a particular context).


Not talking about wrong answers. An answer that fails to be 100% perfect, or simply has better alternatives, is not a wrong answer.

However, if an answerer came up with an almost accurate answer, and some else fixed it, I think the original answerer should get some points as well. I don't even know exactly how the system of awarding points works, but this would seem fair -- not an equal share perhaps, but something at least, like one point for directing people in a particular direction.


I see it the other way round, especially with creative answers. Perhaps 3 points for coming up with the substantive answer, 1 point for chiming in to fix a preposition or article or missing plural/past/whatever suffix.

Like you say, it's not the race. And if it's not a race, then it isn't an all or nothing or winner takes it all kind of situation.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's exactly what I do! Jul 11, 2013

Helen Hagon wrote:

As far as I can see, the point of the Kudoz system is to give translators the opportunity to help each other. Proz is a community of translators and we should respect our fellow members. Of course, people are people and some are more obliging than others. I must say, though, that my limited experience of Kudoz has been quite positive. On the few occasions when I have posted a question, I have received interesting and helpful responses. If I see a question on the list which I am able to answer, I feel I ought to reciprocate and share that piece of knowledge with my colleagues. However, if I open up a question to find someone has already posted a similar answer to the one I was going to suggest, it feels rude to add another answer with just a different preposition, or a corrected spelling, for example. Instead, I would insert a discussion entry offering my variation on the same answer. Indeed, sometimes the discussions can be more helpful than the answers themselves, and I have learned a lot just by participating.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:38
Russian to English
+ ...
I think, Lukasz, if no one had fixed certain answers, even just Jul 11, 2013

if the article was wrong, the answer would have been wrong, after all. Of course, if these are minor things, the answerer should still get whatever they deserve, and so does the person who fixed the answer. I don't know much about points, otherwise. I simply like Kudoz and I haven't gotten yet to the point awarding policy instructions.

In many multiple choice exams, if the answer is a little bit wrong -- it is simply wrong.

[Edited at 2013-07-11 14:47 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:38
Russian to English
+ ...
Jul 11, 2013



[Edited at 2013-07-11 16:44 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Number 1 Jul 11, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
1. Do you agree but propose a fixed version in your comment, or:

In my opinion this is the honest way to go. I normally add an Agree with a note in the agree itself pointing out the pending issue.

I dislike it when someone adds another answer (competing with mine or not, I don't care) which is in essence the same thing but trying to make it look like it is really different or adds something critical to the matter.


 
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