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The Kudoz semi-gangs
Thread poster: Doaa ALnajjar

Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
Oct 21, 2013

Hi,

I joined paid Proz this month after the webinar, and getting to know the Kudoz system so close this time has really made me sorry for each cent I spent on the membership.

I tried to avoid the conspiracy theory way of thinking, but not any more. THERE ARE semi-gangs in the Kudoz communities.

1- Some, not few, old members regularly answering Kudoz have their own supporters who agree to him/her what ever they say, right or wrong. Those "heads of the gang" are either admins in another translators' community website, or great "agreement-giver" to every and each Kudoz a member in the small gang answer. Who ever gets the answer first, the others are just agreeing without a question.

Just try to approach a Kudoz they answered first and you will be attacked, even if your answer is the right one. They will do everything, disagree to decrease your points, give sarcastic little notes, ..you name it. Try to answer back to them and your moderator will raise a head and hide your reply: "personal rather than linguistic," so I do not even have the chance to reply back at their ruddiness? So they know how to play the game and they give the can-not-be-hidden answer? Really?

2- Is Kudoz about who gives the faster answer or who gives the right answer? Why members literally fight to give the fastest answers?
So they just post what ever answer, and then provide the reference and other alternatives to block the way in the face of other answers.
Proz should block notes to answers after the initial answer is submitted, so members can think twice about their answer before they submit it.

3- The "complimentary agreement" is the one a particular member gives to a Kudoz lonely answer, meanwhile that particular member does NOT give ANY agreements for a discussion Kudoz (with multiple answers) and if he does, he agrees to ALL answers. Such members are afraid of getting disagreed when they answer Kudozes themselves, so they prefer to stay at the safe side.

4- Why Proz allows for 1, 2, 3, and 4 points grading? Does my time searching the right answer that the translator agrees with equals 2 points? This is a tool they are giving to translators to lower the points of each others AND that makes Kudoz a total loss of time. It is either I agree, you diverse 4 points, or sorry I do not agree, 0 points, period.

5- If Proz is not controlling Kudoz in the right way, why are they making it the criteria to rank the members in their directory? Needless to say, that the majority of the REAL jobs come from the directory direct invitations, at least this is what they taught us in the webinar where I was encouraged to join Proz. Actually, I am feeling sorry for my membership fees I paid in an uncontrolled community, where the old players are trying to dominate and attack fresh ones.

I am not an easy loser, and I will stay and fight till reaching the first place in my languages ranking. I just need a support from the website. Changing the policies will take time, so there should be another way around it.

Any advices? Am I alone in this planet?

Thanks a million for your time and support.


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danya
Local time: 05:16
English to Russian
+ ...
mostly true Oct 21, 2013

Also, throw into the picture the answerers who would give ANY answer, whatever far from reality - just to answer. No field specifics, no context, no common sense - nothing would stop them.

And yes, there are "sacred cows", who get disagreed with much less often than they should.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ProZ.com is becoming useless for new members Oct 21, 2013

Doaa ALnajjar wrote:
1- Some, not few, old members regularly answering Kudoz have their own supporters who agree to him/her what ever they say, right or wrong. Those "heads of the gang" are either admins in another translators' community website, or great "agreement-giver" to every and each Kudoz a member in the small gang answer. Who ever gets the answer first, the others are just agreeing without a question.


Yes, that is indeed what happens. It is simply the natural result of it being a very old community.

I'm sure it must be against the rules, somehow, but these gangs do exist and there is very little you can do to break the gang except by creating your own gang and starting a gang war. Their tactics are underhanded (they may not think so!) and you're going to have to play dirty if you want to beat them.

From my own experience of being both a top dog and an under dog (not on ProZ.com but in similar systems), I would not recommend it, because you're just going to get hurt.

2- Is Kudoz about who gives the faster answer or who gives the right answer? Why members literally fight to give the fastest answers?


Because that is how the system is designed. There have been numerous suggestions to ProZ.com for preventing this behaviour, but ProZ.com doesn't want to change it. Giving a good answer is not nearly as important as giving a quick answer, as long as your answer is reasonably correct and you can drum up enough support for it so that your answer gets chosen as the winning answer.

5- If Proz is not controlling Kudoz in the right way, why are they making it the criteria to rank the members in their directory?


Exactly!

Getting a good ranking in the directory is nearly impossible for new members. I think it is dishonest for promoters of ProZ.com not to mention this fact.


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ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 02:16
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Semi-agreement to your allegations Oct 21, 2013

You are certainly not alone and unfortunately some things you pointed out are real. I myself canceled ProZ paid membership for some of the reasons you mentioned.
But, on the other hand, I disagree with your motivations. You will fight - great, IMHO it´s exactly the best way to react; you will fight until reaching the first place in your language ranking - why? This way you are acting like the ones, you are accusing of misusing Kudoz.
I do participate a lot at the Kudoz platform, but mainly facing my contributions as breaks in my daily workflow. Sometimes these interruptions clear my ideas, allowing me to see my current project from another angle. For me, this result is much more important and the number 1 motive to look at Kudoz questions and to participate, either by giving answers, being part of discussions or agreeing with a colleague´s entry.
I learnt a lot by attending Kudoz question, Do´s and Donot´s, either professionally or personally. Name any platform and you will find the same structures. Normally the platform is not the problem, but some of its participants. Just ignore them as you probably do several times a day in your life out of office.


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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Samuel Murray: Oct 21, 2013

You made me really laugh at the expression of "a gang war." Thanks, I needed this one

I am also coming from Elance, a more tough, yet, less communicative community. I am ranked there as the first Arabic services provider in almost 10 domains, so who said I will be "hurt" on Proz? If it took me 6 month on Elance, then it is going to take 3 to 4 here. I already moved from page 6 to 4 in a week and the the "gang war" did not even begin. I will not stop before being one of the first 5 members in the first page. ONLY then I can quit. If they are old members, I am a stubborn one.

Why should I expect the truth from a paid membership website? Are they listening to changing the system? No. Are they preventing the "gang war"? No. Are they protecting the attacked members? No. Do only paid members have the right to apply for jobs? No, non-paying members also can, and actually they win the jobs because they have the lowest bids. All what they, and the employers, have to do is to wait for 12 hours.
No point. A total loss for the money I earned hard and paid easy


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Mokhtar Oussama Alliouche  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 03:16
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
It is just a matter of time Doaa ! Oct 21, 2013

Doaa, you have an impressive profile and work experience, I am sure it is just a matter of time before you become one of the top-ranked English Arabic translators

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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ahartje Oct 21, 2013

ahartje wrote:

IMHO it´s exactly the best way to react; you will fight until reaching the first place in your language ranking - why?


1- Because they say ranking high gets more jobs. Asking 2 of those in the first pages, they assured that.
2- To add it to your resume, maybe.
3- I hate to lose
4- A step towards building my own (second) glossary, which I sell them as TermBases for Trados. A reference to my Kudoz would defiantly help.
The list goes on!


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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Mokhtar Oussama Oct 21, 2013

Mokhtar Oussama Alliouche wrote:

Doaa, you have an impressive profile and work experience, I am sure it is just a matter of time before you become one of the top-ranked English Arabic translators


Thank you so much
And you are one of the very few honest, subjective colleagues that I always enjoy reading your answers. It seems we are not alone on this planet
I hope we can make the Arabic Kudoz community an exception somehow, I do not know how, but I will handle it soon


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
German to English
+ ...
Terminate your membership and get a refund Oct 21, 2013

Doaa ALnajjar wrote:

... sorry for each cent I spent on the membership.



If you terminate your membership , you will receive a proportionate refund of the fee paid.

In case you didn't know.


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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Did not know that Oct 21, 2013

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:

Doaa ALnajjar wrote:

... sorry for each cent I spent on the membership.



If you terminate your membership , you will receive a proportionate refund of the fee paid.

In case you didn't know.


Do you think I need to plan it more better? like I get higher Kudoz points first and then pay the membership fees? So I guarantee not wasting my money before getting a high rank in the directory?

Any help with this particular point would be appreciated.

Thanks


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Hebrew to English
If you can't beat them, don't join them Oct 21, 2013

It's not worth it.

A few points though.....

1. I would agree with Samuel that clawing your way up the rankings is indeed mission impossible for new members....if your language pair is French-English (or similar) and the top place is held by someone with tens of thousands of KudoZ points. In language pairs like ours though (rarer language pairs) - where the points ceiling is less than or just a couple of thousand, it's definitely feasible. (It took me the better part of a year to get my face on the front page of directory results, for example).

2. And after my efforts I came to realize...so what? You can argue that the increased visibility contributes towards business, but to be honest I can't say that being very high in the rankings or exceedingly active on KudoZ has ever directly or indirectly benefited me. No client has ever come to me saying "I was bowled over by your KudoZ participation" and any client who uses the directory and simply chooses the first one they see is not a very informed client, which brings me on to my next point....

3. Holding the top spot doesn't mean you are the best, or most qualified, or most talented....or anything. There are certain breeds of answerers who are rabid when it comes to answering any and all questions asked, with varying levels of helpfulness and/or "correctness". I've seen many top spots held by people who simply answer everything, and even if most the time they are merely shooting in the dark, occasionally they are going to hit the mark. I can guarantee if you looked at their stats, at their percentage of answers accepted it would be diabolical, regardless of the points they've managed to accumulate.

4. Try to specialize which questions you answer. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with being a generalist but if you can build a reputation as someone who knows their s**t when it comes to law/medicine/science etc. then you'll have an advantage and people will be more inclined to agree with you when they trust your judgement and skills. If you specialize it will also be easier to climb the rankings in a specific field, so if a client searches for an Arabic-English translator who specializes in gardening and horticulture and you have answered and been awarded the points for those questions, then you will be No.1 of that particular search. That's far more important than being No.1 in a general search, imo. (I formed this opinion based on the "visitors" tab which has shown me how people tend to search/find me).

5. Agrees aren't everything. Cliques do exist, I'm not going to deny that. The problem is worse in some language pairs than others. An "agree" also doesn't make an answer "right". I've seen some awful answers with agrees. I put it down to "folie à deux".

6. Try not to stress about a) how other people use KudoZ b) ProZ's stance on it. These are two things which never seem to change - although if you think you have a genuine grievance with the moderation in a certain pair then it would be worth a support ticket, for example if people are making personal comments on your answers.

7. KudoZ participation is not about being first. It's not a race, and many a translator makes him/herself look foolish or incompetent by posting in haste.

The best way to approach KudoZ is with a more laid-back approach. It's really not worth getting high blood pressure for.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:16
German to English
+ ...
Why wait? Oct 21, 2013

Doaa ALnajjar wrote:

Do you think I need to plan it more better? like I get higher Kudoz points first and then pay the membership fees? So I guarantee not wasting my money before getting a high rank in the directory?

Any help with this particular point would be appreciated.

Thanks

Ty makes some excellent points, all well worth heeding.

As I understand it, you have made your decision, so best to stick to it. I also don't think that your way of thinking, i.e. grabbing as many points as you can and then demanding a refund, is the way to go. It would make you look foolish or hypocritical, or both. If you damage your reputation by persisting in participating and getting frustrated by Kudoz, and THEN quitting - that will not help the situation at all.

PS: I see a lot of mistakes in your English. It may be because you are upset at the moment, but if you took more care with accuracy in how you express yourself in English, that would be better.


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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's a very informative post. Oct 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing it. I will credit your name for some parts that I will be using in my blog (alive soon), if you excuse me.

Ty Kendall wrote:

1. if your language pair is French-English (or similar) and the top place is held by someone with tens of thousands of KudoZ points.


In both my language pairs the first place is only 6600 points away. It worth a try, I think.

Ty Kendall wrote:
2. And after my efforts I came to realize...so what? You can argue that the increased visibility contributes towards business, but to be honest I can't say that being very high in the rankings or exceedingly active on KudoZ has ever directly or indirectly benefited me.


I am not sure if you have already read this, but I am pasting it again herein:
1- Because they say ranking high gets more jobs. Asking 2 of those in the first pages, they assured that. (You answered this already)
2- To add it to your resume, maybe.
3- I hate to lose
4- A step towards building my own (second) glossary, which I sell as TermBases for Trados. A reference to my Kudoz would defiantly help.
The list goes on!

I forgot 5- Do you have a website? do you think linking your website to your proz profile would help, SEO wise, in boosting your google PR?

Ty Kendall wrote:
6. Try not to stress about a) how other people use KudoZ b) ProZ's stance on it. These are two things which never seem to change - although if you think you have a genuine grievance with the moderation in a certain pair then it would be worth a support ticket, for example if people are making personal comments on your answers.


How about things like" "it is defiantly not (my answer), it is (the answer of the gang boss)"? Although the answer is totally wrong, but as long as she is getting 2 or more "agree" from her gang, that makes her the right answer.

Ty Kendall wrote:
The best way to approach KudoZ is with a more laid-back approach. It's really not worth getting high blood pressure for.

Right, that's and advice that I should follow


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Doaa ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:16
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You did not get my point. Oct 21, 2013

Woodstock wrote:

As I understand it, you have made your decision, so best to stick to it. I also don't think that your way of thinking, i.e. grabbing as many points as you can and then demanding a refund, is the way to go. It would make you look foolish or hypocritical, or both. If you damage your reputation by persisting in participating and getting frustrated by Kudoz, and THEN quitting - that will not help the situation at all.

PS: I see a lot of mistakes in your English. It may be because you are upset at the moment, but if you took more care with accuracy in how you express yourself in English, that would be better.


Firstly, I am sorry for the mistakes. This post is a copy and paste of the ticket I forwarded to the support team after the moderator has hidden one of my answers (not notes) for being personal. So you can imagine how frustrated I was, and still actually.

Secondly, you did not get my point right. I was thinking of refunding my money today, so they only deduct the 20 days I have been a member, and when I grab points enough to be in the first page I would then pay the fees again and get a place in the first page of paying members. This way I will be still fighting in the Kudoz war AND saving membership fees for like 4 to 6 months or until I collect the 6000 points to be in the first page.

Anyway, the theory has been proved wrong, since I will lose many of the other privileges of membership, most importantly my application for the PRO community (not approved yet).

Thanks for your opinion.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
One tactic is to throw the book at them Oct 21, 2013

Doaa ALnajjar wrote:
How about things like" "it is defiantly not (my answer), it is (the answer of the gang boss)"? Although the answer is totally wrong, but as long as she is getting 2 or more "agree" from her gang, that makes her the right answer.


Depending on how they do that, it may contravene KudoZ rules 3.4, 3.6 and 3.7. One tactic in your war would be to complain to a moderator about any rules being broken. You can find the rules here: http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=kudoz_answ


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