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Does anyone use the confidence level anymore? (Staff: 'yes; more than before')
Thread poster: teju
teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 10, 2005

I've noticed that people will sometimes assign a 5 confidence level to an answer that they provide, without really giving it much thought. That 1 to 5 scale is really useful in helping the asker how sure you are of your answer. I'm seeing less 1s and 2s, lots of 4s and 5s, even for answers where they might even admit they're not too sure. I've seen answers that were way off with a 5. Has anyone else noticed this? Is there a way to get us back in track?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-01-12 01:39]


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Confidence level gives an important hint Jan 10, 2005

teju wrote:

I'm seeing less 1s and 2s, lots of 4s and 5s, even for answers where they might even admit they're not too sure. I've seen answers that were way off with a 5. Has anyone else noticed this? Is there a way to get us back in track?


Hi Teju,

Any guesses should only get confidence level 1 (just as it's explained in this function). Level 2 can be a bit more "qualified guessing" and so on. These low confidence levels can sometimes help the asker to get on the right track, but at the same time it's an indication to the asker that these answers can be very far away from the correct term.

I don't think it's very fair to give confidence 4 or even 5 if you're just guessing or if the asker hasn't given enough context in order to get a proper answer.

Giving a confidence level 5 means that the answerer has either worked with similar texts for quite a while, and knows exactly what's it about, and sometimes the question is really simple and can be answered by any native speaker. In such cases confidence level can be justified. I very often use confidence level 4 if the meaning of a certain term is ambiguous, maybe I know the term but the context is different etc.

It would be interesting to hear any suggestions how to stop this inflation in confidence level.

Best regards
Erik

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
How long is a piece of string? Jan 10, 2005

teju wrote:

I've noticed that people will sometimes assign a 5 confidence level to an answer that they provide, without really giving it much thought. That 1 to 5 scale is really useful in helping the asker how sure you are of your answer. I'm seeing less 1s and 2s, lots of 4s and 5s, even for answers where they might even admit they're not too sure. I've seen answers that were way off with a 5. Has anyone else noticed this? Is there a way to get us back in track?


I think confidence level is pretty useless, and it irritates me to be OBLIGED to put my own. Undoubtedly the averages have gone up, becuase the automatic grading system takes the confidence level into account.


I think answers should speak for themselves:

a. the answerer, from past experience or profile, inspires confidence
b. the anwerer gives supporting, CREDIBLE, evidence

The confidence level you give yourself can be the result of a combination of equal or unequal amounts of genuine confidence and arrogance/stupidity. That makes it entirely subjective - on both counts.

How long is a piece of string?

Trying to measure such a subjective concept on a scale of 1 to 5 is misleading. I think it would be preferable to include a confidence comment box in which one had to justify one's answer in some way, like the comment boxes for agrees and disagrees.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:10
German to English
Does anyone use the confidence level anymore? Jan 11, 2005

teju wrote:

I've noticed that people will sometimes assign a 5 confidence level to an answer that they provide, without really giving it much thought. That 1 to 5 scale is really useful in helping the asker how sure you are of your answer. I'm seeing less 1s and 2s, lots of 4s and 5s, even for answers where they might even admit they're not too sure. I've seen answers that were way off with a 5. Has anyone else noticed this? Is there a way to get us back in track?


In some language pairs (German-English; English-German, for example) members have helped each other understand the importance of the confidence level by commenting on other members' choices. Many excellent contributors deliberately select conservative levels on a regular basis (3 or 4 as a max), maybe to serve as role models for others.

Partially as a result of this campaign, I have seen the quality of answers improve and the honesty level increase. The degree of confidence an asker has in his or her answer can also be reflected in comments made up front: "I'm not really sure about this," "this isn't my specialty area," "I'm guessing", etc.

The majority of members in my language pairs understand that the true goal is to find the best translation for the asker and for the glossary (which will be used by hundreds of translators in the future). Unfortunately, there will also always be a few whose goal is to "win the game." They regularly overestimate their skills or their research.


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Christian
Local time: 01:10
English to German
+ ...
Do we need KudoZ points? Jan 11, 2005

Kim Metzger wrote:

... Unfortunately, there will also always be a few whose goal is to "win the game." ...


Hm... I wonder what would happen if KudoZ points were no longer be awarded. I'm pretty sure the asker would have to wait for a translation for hours on end. I often get the impression that it is not just the goal of "a few" to "win the game". As long as there are KudoZ points, some (many??) people will not try to answer a question as well as they can, but as fast as they can in order to grab the points.

Regards,
Christian


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:10
German to English
+ ...
Does anyone use the confidence level anymore? Jan 11, 2005

Christian wrote:

Hm... I wonder what would happen if KudoZ points were no longer be awarded. I'm pretty sure the asker would have to wait for a translation for hours on end.


There are several other sites on the web where you can ask colleagues for help with terminology. Some of these sites predate ProZ.com; one of them by at least ten years. I'm not aware of any other site that rewards participation with anything resembling KudoZ, but the standard of information provided at the sites I am familiar with is often far higher. Useless information is still useless, even if it's instantaneous.

Marc

[Edited at 2005-01-11 16:04]


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
question for Marc Jan 11, 2005

[quote]MarcPrior wrote:

There are several other sites on the web where you can ask colleagues for help with terminology.

What are you talking about?


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
it might weed out the chaff to remove the points system Jan 11, 2005

Christian wrote:

Kim Metzger wrote:

... Unfortunately, there will also always be a few whose goal is to "win the game." ...


Hm... I wonder what would happen if KudoZ points were no longer be awarded. I'm pretty sure the asker would have to wait for a translation for hours on end. I often get the impression that it is not just the goal of "a few" to "win the game". As long as there are KudoZ points, some (many??) people will not try to answer a question as well as they can, but as fast as they can in order to grab the points.

Regards,
Christian



Christian, I for one would answer and not for points, I am way down the league and to catch up with longstanding points-winners and logstanding points-grabbers would be impossible.

Without points, we would certainly wait longer, but maybe the quality of the answers might be better.

I would answer more questions, probably, but what I find most dispiriting is not to fail to win points, but to see misleadingly high confidence levels, rude and opinionated agrees and disagrees, poorly supported answers, wrong answers being selected, etc etc. Right now my bugbear is someone who invariably - proved Q after after Q over the last couple of months - hasn't a clue awarding him/herself a 5 confidence level ... GGGGGGGRRRRRHHHH! At least he/she has started to reduce it from 5 to 4 (still way out though!)


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ailish, about your bugbear Jan 11, 2005

I'm so thankful you didn't name any names. I think these kinds of things are obvious to a lot of people. Sometimes I wonder how is it that someone can answer in 0 minutes so often.

What you are describing is exactly one of the reasons why I started this thread. "Automatic" 5s, for instant answers, topic after topic. How can anyone be an expert in all those fields? It takes most people a couple of minutes to consult a dictionary.

When I started this thread, I placed it on the Spanish forum, but wrote in English without thinking. One of the moderators asked me if I wanted to keep it in the Spanish forum, that's how we ended up with two threads. So, if you speak Spanish also, you can look at some of the things that other people had to say about the same subject. There's a long one from Claudia, a moderator, that's really required reading. Thanks to all who wrote.

Ailish Maher wrote:

Right now my bugbear is someone who invariably - proved Q after after Q over the last couple of months - hasn't a clue awarding him/herself a 5 confidence level ... GGGGGGGRRRRRHHHH! At least he/she has started to reduce it from 5 to 4 (still way out though!)


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:10
SITE FOUNDER
Average confidence level has fallen slightly Jan 12, 2005

The average confidence level is going down.

In 2002, it was 4.15.
In 2003, it was 4.08.
In 2004, it was 3.95.
In 2005, it is 3.89 (so far; short sample)


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
For what language pair? Jan 12, 2005

Henry wrote:

The average confidence level is going down.

In 2002, it was 4.15.
In 2003, it was 4.08.
In 2004, it was 3.95.
In 2005, it is 3.89 (so far; short sample)


Henry, I'd be curious to know if these averages are for a specific language pair, or overall. I'm sure there's a difference. The trend that we are talking about is in the Spanish - English pair.
Thanks for writing.


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Christian
Local time: 01:10
English to German
+ ...
No KudoZ points - better quality? Yes, maybe. Jan 12, 2005

Ailish Maher wrote:

...
Without points, we would certainly wait longer, but maybe the quality of the answers might be better.
...


Good point. I'm sure the asker would have to wait longer for an answer if there were no KudoZ points, but I do think the quality of the answers would markedly improve, too.

If I ask a more or less complicated and complex question, I'm not interested in getting an answer within 10 seconds that only marginally addresses my language problem; I would like to get a detailed answer that solves my language problem once and for all. And writing a detailed answer takes some time, doesn't it? So what is preferable here: grabbing points for slipshod answers or helping colleagues solve their problems?


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
What amuses me... Jan 12, 2005

is those who give themselves a confidence level of 5 and then state their answer, only to add a note minutes later saying: well, actually it could be this... and then another note: on the other hand, it might be this... until eventually you get a final answer of sorts which has precious little to do with the first one given.

How on earth can they justify giving themselves a 5 in the first place?

And on the subject of points. Yes, I'm in favour of getting rid of them. The current system is quite obviously unfair to all newcomers to the site anyway and just encourages point grabbing behaviour.


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Christian
Local time: 01:10
English to German
+ ...
You are absolutely right. Jan 12, 2005

Nikki Graham wrote:
...
And on the subject of points. Yes, I'm in favour of getting rid of them. The current system is quite obviously unfair to all newcomers to the site anyway and just encourages point grabbing behaviour.


I couldn't agree more, Nikki. Let's hope the current system will soon be a thing of the past.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:10
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Try using low confidence levels yourself Jan 12, 2005

I try deliberately to tone down my confidence level. Sometimes I am really guessing, so if my guess proves to be way off - well, it looks less stupid somehow. I try to explain the logic (or intuition or association) behind the guess, so I only hide the answer if it's really misleading or embarrassing.

At least people can laugh, or it's a warning of the pitfalls, and sometimes it actually invites 'agrees' from colleagues whose opinions are really worth having. Then I know I guessed right.

KudoZ is a game, and no points system will ever be perfect. Good games are a sort of simulation or mockup of real life - next week you might run into the same problem yourself. While trying to find an answer you flip through your dictionary, and find things you have forgotten or never seen before...

That's the real score, not the number of points you clock up.


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