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Pro questions restricted to site members
Thread poster: moken

moken  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 5, 2005

Dear Proz,

I have only just noticed non-members of the site can only post non-pro questions. Is this a new feature or has it always been so?

With the new "vote to re-classify" feature, this means that all non-member questions will have to be voted pro or stay non-pro regardless of their difficulty. With the new points system for pro and non-pro questions, it also means that you can still lend a hand to non-members but, if the questions are not re-classified, your points will not add up as pro, now matter how difficult or specific they may be.

I am not sure whether this is meant to deter regular users from answering non-pro/non-member questions or not. Neither am I convinced that this is an ideal way of discriminating pro and non-pro questions.

Surely regular site users do not understand pro as "asked by a professional" versus non-pro as "asked by a non-professional". If it were so, shouldn't the whole concept behind pro and non-pro be changed in the Kudoz rules?

Many thanks for your opinions,

Alf )


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 23:28
SITE FOUNDER
It has been this way for several years May 5, 2005

This is not a change, it has been this way for several years. Yes, we do rely on members with the power to edit (or the power to vote to edit) to change non-PRO questions asked by non-registered users to PRO.

By the way, the right of non-moderator members to edit questions has been temporarily suspended, pending my completing a document describing the PRO/non-PRO concept in more detail. We'll give members with the appropriate number of KudoZ points a way to restore their ability to edit so that there are more hands helping out with classification. We just don't want people editing without an understanding of the definitions we are applying for PRO and non-PRO.

Please bear with us, it should be ready by next week.


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
nonpro May 5, 2005

I agree with Álvaro, now all non-members of the site post all questions as easy, when they are not. I would also restrict the ability to ask Kudoz to members of the site. It takes time for us to answer the questions, and there's no time to read some of the things we are finding here... It seems people are not taking seriously the work we do in here!

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Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Good news. May 5, 2005

Henry wrote:

This is not a change, it has been this way for several years. Yes, we do rely on members with the power to edit (or the power to vote to edit) to change non-PRO questions asked by non-registered users to PRO.

By the way, the right of non-moderator members to edit questions has been temporarily suspended, pending my completing a document describing the PRO/non-PRO concept in more detail. We'll give members with the appropriate number of KudoZ points a way to restore their ability to edit so that there are more hands helping out with classification. We just don't want people editing without an understanding of the definitions we are applying for PRO and non-PRO.

Please bear with us, it should be ready by next week.



Good news, Henry. Thanks!


Sormane Gomes


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Thanks Henry! May 5, 2005

Henry wrote:

This is not a change, it has been this way for several years. Yes, we do rely on members with the power to edit (or the power to vote to edit) to change non-PRO questions asked by non-registered users to PRO.

By the way, the right of non-moderator members to edit questions has been temporarily suspended, pending my completing a document describing the PRO/non-PRO concept in more detail. We'll give members with the appropriate number of KudoZ points a way to restore their ability to edit so that there are more hands helping out with classification. We just don't want people editing without an understanding of the definitions we are applying for PRO and non-PRO.

Please bear with us, it should be ready by next week.


That is good news.
I can imagine that defining Pro and Non-Pro is quite difficult, since it's a fairly subjective issue. For a person working on a translation in a language and a field they don't know well, every term will seem "Pro". But for a translator who knows the language and field, the same term will seem "Non-Pro". If relatively basic questions are allowed to pass as "Pro", this will only increase the number of people taking on jobs they really shouldn't, with the idea that the Pros on Proz will help them get through it.
Perhaps some tight limits on the number of questions allowed will offset that problem?
Just some thoughts......


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moken  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Henry! May 5, 2005

[quote]Henry wrote:

This is not a change, it has been this way for several years.

I really had never realised that this was so. I had always assumed a non-member could post a "pro" question when he/she thought it merited this category. Perhaps the actual fact of being able to vote them into the pro category has opened my eyes to this fact.

Further, I think it's a great idea to *define* what pro or non-pro actually mean. I'm looking forward to it! As mentioned, th way it is stated in Kudoz rules would seem to contradict the fact that a non-member cannot ask a pro question for the sole reason of not being a member, as it puts the emphasis on who asks and not what is asked.

Thanks again! ))

[Edited at 2005-05-05 20:57]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ghost members May 5, 2005

Anabel Martínez wrote:
I would also restrict the ability to ask Kudoz to members of the site. It takes time for us to answer the questions, and there's no time to read some of the things we are finding here... It seems people are not taking seriously the work we do in here!


Unfortunately there is nothing to keep a casual visitor from becoming a member simply in order to ask a KudoZ question. No doubt in some cases this happens simply because they do not realize that they can ask their question without becoming a member. The result is the proliferation of meaningless empty profiles. I think it is better to continue to allow non-members to ask questions. Any ProZian who doesn't have time to answer such questions is free to ignore them; this takes no time at all.

[Edited at 2005-05-06 02:12]


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
Meaningless, empty profiles can be addressed, too May 5, 2005

GoodWords wrote:

Unfortunately there is nothing to keep a casual visitor from becoming a member simply in order to ask a KudoZ question. ... The result is the proliferation of meaningless empty profiles.



Free membership is the engine that generates ghost profiles and ghost member identities. Required annual dues should take care of that problem.


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Robert Donahue  Identity Verified
Russian to English
+ ...
A carrot and stick approach is always best... May 6, 2005

Fuad Yahya wrote:
Free membership is the engine that generates ghost profiles and ghost member identities. Required annual dues should take care of that problem.


Here I would have to respectfully disagree with you. If I had to pay for a proz membership right off the bat, without benefit of a "test drive" so to speak, I most likely wouldn't have bothered at all. As it was, I was bitten by the bug and went platinum not long after. The carrot in my case was being able to use the site and interact with some very talented individuals. The stick was not having all of the privileges that came with platinum membership.

A better solution would be requiring that certain parts of the profile be filled out before registration/site use is allowed. Things like; native language, working languages, a profile blurb of at least 50 or so words, etc. This would most likely be sufficient to weed out some of the worst abusers yet still not kill off the curious/would be platinum members. This would also be a huge help for those of us who like the challenge of answering some of the random, off-the-wall questions that are thrown out there. Knowing what language a person who keeps mistakenly posting in the wrong language pair speaks and their working pairs would simplify fixing mistakes. Just a suggestion.

On another note, not sure if I'm correct, but I've noticed that sometimes it seems to only take two votes to change an answer from Non-Pro->Pro (not referring to moderators, who need no backup). Am I mistaken?

Perhaps it could be set up so that it takes a set # of Kudoz points or individuals to determine it. A member with say 1,000 points or a moderator could change it themselves. Two members with 1,000 or more net kudoz could do it, or any 3 members. This would cut down on abuse and still speed up the process.

Oh, and on that note, how about something of that nature for squashing questions? You can set the bar higher here in the interest of fairness, but it would be really nice to get rid of some of the more obnoxious postings.

Best of luck to all of you.

Rob


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
a way of cleansing the site May 6, 2005

As er are talking about those empty profiles created just for the sake of asking questions, I would suggest (I don't know if it's already done or not) that profiles not used in a certain period of time be erased, as happens with unused e-mail accounts. I also desagree with having to pay a fee straight away: most potential users would not even think of joining proz.com. When I was a student, I would have not thought of paying a fee for a page I wasn't sure would pay off. As it is, it has taken me several years to consider the idea of becoming a platinum, and I'm sure there are many other people under similar circumstances.

I believe this is at least a process that has to take place, to join the site, start being active and then, if one wants, become platinum. There are many active members, amongst I humbly include myself, who are non-paying, and I don't believe we can be included in the same group as those empty profiles.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 22:28
English to Russian
+ ...
What is Proz today? May 6, 2005

I'm beginning to understand that Proz as it was originated has outgrown itself and we are past changing diaper size stage. Maybe it's time to get toilet-trained?

Are we a forum of language-lovers of all kinds regardless of a trade, or are we a professional site? I believe that willingly or unwillingly we tend to become a professional site and, moreover, it's time to make a choice, otherwise we'll grow into a self-eating monster risking to collapse under its own weight. My first suggestion would be - let's face the truth and answer the question - who are we, and who do we want to be? Closer to a chat room or closer to American Bar Association? We can't control anything without knowing what exactly we are trying to control. The rest of the discussion would be pretty pointleless otherwise.

Fuad is right - looks like Proz can't afford to be everybody's grandma and free shelter anymore, too much abuse leading to the most unfortunate consequencies - lower rates, fraudulent "professionals", unjustified profiting etc. The results can be read in Google references.

Trial memberships, mandatory extended profiles, mandatory ID verification before asking questions, payments in very small installments (like $10/month) through local collectors to avoid wiring fees and other problems in many countries, all the elements of a professional organization? Maybe when everybody starts paying, the fees could be reduced altogether? We talk about our rates and fight for every nickel but why should all the site programming be taken for granted by many? Programmers are expensive, and at the same time criticism and the suggestions to improve site capabilities and policies keep pouring like October rain, and so do technical questions. This is just one example.

I agree with Robert though, I would avoid dues at enrollment. Money first always looks suspicious, plus technical problems sending it from several countries etc.

I just don't want to see a brilliant idea, a tremendous effort and all this intellectual treasure going down the drain. We need to impose stricter rules and demand more responsibilities. I'm a very down-to-earth person. I wish we all could just rely on everybody's good side but we can't. It's very easy to control a chraming group of soulmates, but there is no way the site staff could control thousands with a "please, sweetie" approach. Whether you like it or not.

Oh yes, I feel very guilty, I know that in my pair, English-Russian, we have the best scientists and engineers from Russia who are not even staff or full-time freelance translators but I would dare to say that we can't afford to lose them, while 120 bucks for them is a lot of money and they would gain nearly nothing in return, only give. Tough choice... Maybe some barter deals would be possible - localization, programming etc. I know, some expressed their willingness to work on site tasks.

Yet... in the 30s in the Soviet Union there were so many "true communists", most honest and hard-working people, good but blind, their hearts bleeding from human suffering, with the best intentions, careless about themselves... Look where the USSR is now and who took over.

Oh, well, I know it's a very long stretch:-) On the other hand, the laws of history are equally applicable to big and small.

Life is a b... OK, not a bowl of cherries:-)

THANK YOU, HENRY! - I'm yelling intentionally:-)

Respectfully,
Irina


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:28
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
couldn't agree more May 6, 2005

IreneN wrote:

I'm beginning to understand that Proz as it was originated has outgrown itself and we are past changing diaper size stage. Maybe it's time to get toilet-trained?


It certainly is.


I agree with Robert though, I would avoid dues at enrollment. Money first always looks suspicious, plus technical problems sending it from several countries etc.


Yes, I also agree. Just like Robert I don't think I would have gone platinum if you had to pay ahead. At the time I joined as a free member I couldn't tell a good translators' resource from a bad one. When I was convinced that Proz was a good one, I decided to pay for the extra benefits.


Yet... in the 30s in the Soviet Union there were so many "true communists", most honest and hard-working people, good but blind, their hearts bleeding from human suffering, with the best intentions, careless about themselves... Look where the USSR is now and who took over.


Are you saying Henry is Stalin? Joking aside, I think there was always going to be a time when stricter guidelines would have to be applied...certainly what I would personally call abuse of the Kudoz system seems to be spiralling almost out of control (in our language pairs anyway). Whether my definition of abuse corresponds to Henry's is a different question but we shall see soon enough.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 22:28
English to Russian
+ ...
:-) May 6, 2005

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

Are you saying Henry is Stalin?


No, I'm saying that Henry is risking to be overtaken by abusers:-)

Joke taken... By me so far:-)

Thank, Kostya!


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moken  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proz.com as a community: non-platinum members can also contribute May 6, 2005

Dear Irina,

Thank you so much for your thoughts. Indeed you and other colleagues have made some very good points regarding site abuse. I endorse many of these comments and think Rob has made some excellent suggestions towards controlling this issue.

Onthe other hand, if proz becomes a pay-only site I may or may not become a fully-fledged member. I honestly don't know. Regardless, I just don't think money is the only way to measure a person's commitment to a project. Proz has a social factor to it and I think that its openness in this sense is one of the reasons I enjoy it.

I have always felt that many of the platinum advantages relate to the lucrative side of the business. In this sense, proz is of little or no interest to me. In my time as a "free" member, I have never made a single penny from the site. Admittedly, I initially did make a few feeble attempts (roughly 3 or 4 bids) for jobs. Had that been my sole motivator, I would have left the site long ago. Nowadays, I simply generate my income elsewhere and don't worry about that aspect.

Profiles: some time ago I decided to delete the information which I had previously presented on my profile page and some day I'll get round to updating it. This aspect obviously isn't a priority for me but if, as it seems, this causes annoyance to other members, regardless of membership status, I'll make a point of doing so. I'll still think however that you can't judge a book by its cover.

You can check my now-empty profile; you'll see my main site activities are related to Kudoz. You will also see that the times I have attempted to help fellow translators vastly outnumber those times I have requested help. When I am stuck on a language point, I use the Kudoz Search and, when I feel I desperately need further opinions, I'll post a question.

I think these and, to a much lesser extent, the Blueboard, would be the only services I might be prepared to pay for at present. In a way, some of this information is sold anyway - by means of barter. You put so much into the site, you can get so much back out of it, which seems to be the idea behind Browniz.

It sounds extremely complicated, but it might be possible to charge access to proz by specific areas (?). Job bidding on the other hand could be exclusively restricted to paying members, why not? I for one am not dumping anybody's rates nor taking anybody's business away due to the fact that I'm a non-paying member.

I wouldn't like to think that I am the only non-platinum site member who shares this approach. If you ask me, I sincerely think that users like myself merit the limited privileges of non-paying memberships.

If we are to be barred from the site, so be it. I'll never say I didn't enjoy the ride.

Smilingly,

Alf. ))

P.S. Regarding the original topic, I hardly think it's a sin to be ignorant of certain details. Since this topic was posted, I have been contacted by other long-standing site members who were unaware themselves of the Pro/Non-Pro posting restrictions.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 22:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you, and for the sake of fare exchange May 6, 2005

Álvaro Blanch wrote:

Dear colleque (sorry, coding problems, your first name carries some weird characters on my screen, non-Latin, one of them is definitely Russian so I'd better address you this way:-))

I have been Platinum member since 2003 and only had 2 jobs from Proz, one was translation, a second batch. I saw the first one given to the translators with rates twice lower that mine, and I saw tons of questions on Kudoz right away. Then the second team was brought in, with better rates. The other one was simo, the people had already known me by reference so I went to Paris:-). They simply had no idea that I could be available. I'm exceptionally lucky, I'm a part of the international program that keeps me drowning in work, year after year since 1998. 2 more regular projects bring fun and good travel, so I do not bid, or, more honestly, once in a very rare while to double-check rate acceptance. I do not use Kudoz glossaries, and as Platinum I have never received any preferential treatment. Just a reminder to renew my membership:-) I don't even use CAT tools!!!!!! I have never developed my website using Proz-based domain - no time to maintain it. Ask me what I pay for - I can't tell except for quality of life, so to speak. It's a pure "professional love story". Also, I would like to think that I'm a part of creation, not destruction. I'll explain it a bit later. I've answered thousands of questions and asked 80 something, in some cases I would admit to the colleagues that I simply don't have time for a research.

Yet... I'm very stubborn and tie everything to the rates. Once in a while I would set an experiment bidding, in fact, I'm in the process of one right now, of a different sort. I had my availability set to red when the option came, and was listed as an agency all the time, or rather "both". Living between 2 countries I stopped operating as an agency. So 2 days ago I changed my profile to Freelancer and set the availability to green. In other words, I took away everything that could scare the potential employers away, they should no longer see "a client interceptor" in me even thought I never was one. I know that experienced clients do not trust any profiles but should I be looking for people I would check out someone with my stated experience. Check out only, I require nothing more. The only thing that remains valid are my rates. Now, with all the loopholes we have, all my experiments prove that I have no business to count on Proz for the food on my table unless I drop my rates at least in half. I'm paying without any expectations to regain should life deprive me of my current sources of income. I'll have to turn elsewhere. That's what I mean by saying "creation, not destruction". I want to be a part of building a professional foundation for future, for a hope not to decline my lifestyle or work more and more hours for the same income. So far nothing like that happens, on the contrary, jobs would go out to the cheapest, and more complaints about non-paying rats who smelled free cheese would go in. To win a bid by offering the lowest budget, to find non-professionals taking the job for bread and water and then cooking their translation burger by frying together the pieces they got from our answers, to refuse payment and disappear from the market altogether... What a great circle, ain't it? Why should I be nice to such circle formers?

You say that this or that related to Kudoz are not your first priorities. By all means, this is your right and I respect that, but I have my priorities as well. I'd hate to lose anyone though.

Really, we are talking 60 to 120 dollars a year with browniz option, and 30 minutes to fill out the profile. I also suggested to reduce the fee in case of obligatory payments. Another hour or so to submit everything to verify the ID only once in the whole history of membership? Is it too much to ask? After we improve our site, more jobs will come, don't you see a direct connection? In the US people take loans and invest tens of thousands of dollars in education before they get their first salary. Today the site requires 16.4 US cents per day for an access to everything needed to get help. Much less than a scoop of ice-cream or even a cup of tea, no sugar:-).

Have you noticed how much is being asked of the site lately? To help tracking the non-paying bastards, to fix technical problems, to provide room in the forum to search for a hotel or a housekeeper, to settle a catfight between 2 non-paying members, to improve this and that, to find lost points, to develop this and that? The demands are of professional merits. How about the supply? We all take it for granted. I do not believe that a shared link to a free Internet source covers the trouble.

As far as wonderful discussions and the hotel search in the same forums are concerned, well, a drawing room and a banquet hall are intergal parts of any decent club membership. They will stay and we'll keep exchanging tons of indirect but useful and enjoyable information.


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