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Explain what selecting members only implies when asking a question
Thread poster: Nikki Scott-Despaigne

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
Jan 2

I suggest it is time to reconsider the members-only option when posting a question. Newcomers do not realize the effects of that restriction in terms of help.

Why? The simple fact is that many of those who are ready, willing and able to provide helpful answers to a fellow translator are not paying members. In such cases, the only option is to provide answers in the discussion section of KudoZ. That section is meant for exchanges on technical points when a comment to an answer is not sufficient. What usually happens, is that one paying member comes along and posts an adequate answer.

From the asker's point of view, the current system can increase the time it takes for him/her to get a helpful answer.
From the glossary point of view, there may be extensive discussion in the discussion section, but it might not systematically be opened by someone consulting the glossary.
From the point of paying members, it means they gain almost exclusive access to some questions, which I can understand is an advantage in terms of visibility. As they alone can post, they are the only ones who can get the points. That seems fair as they pay. However, when a member's answer is not discussed openly, that greatly restricts peer review.

From ProZ' point of view, I suppose the answer is that a greater number of those who are non-paying should become paying members. I can understand the company's interest in encouraging that. Yet that overlooks the fact that a number of highly able and active members cannot contribute in as useful a way they would like, which brings me back to the disadvantages I mentionned at the start.

I have nothing against this option being available. It's just that those who are not familiar with the way the site works do not realize the restrictive effect in terms of the assistance provided and often regret that choice when they find out what it means.

Note: post edited following Sheila's post. I had understood the members-only option to be a default option.
Please read this post together with my second post. Thanks Sheila again!

[Edited at 2018-01-02 13:32 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Default? Jan 2

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
I suggest it is time to reconsider the members-only option when posting a question. It seems to be the default option as newcomers do not realize the effects of that restriction in terms of help.

Are you sure it's the default, Nikki? I just went into KudoZ and prepared a question to test it. The second screen came up with that field blank, IOW the default seemed to be that anyone could answer. However, you can save your settings so maybe some people are ticking the box once for some reason (valid or not) and then never looking at it again.

I agree with you that there are lots of negatives to restricting answers to members only. I could certainly see the advantage of showing a warning message if it's left checked from a previous question. Some askers might really want to select it for every question, but I doubt that most would if they're reminded that the pool of potential answerers will be vastly smaller.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Correction to initial post! Jan 2

Haha, thank you Sheila. You are right! Oops. It is not the default option.

Yes, a clear indication of the implications of selecting that option might be helpful. To someone who is not familiar with ProZ, the term "member" can be read to mean anyone registered on the site. A non-member can easily be understood to mean that any member of the public can chip in, comment and make a suggestion. I can understand someone wanting to exclude that possibility!


[Edited at 2018-01-02 13:33 GMT]


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 06:47
SITE STAFF
Directing a KudoZ question to members only is a member-only feature Jan 2

As Sheila points out, the option to direct a KudoZ question to members only is not on by default. It does not stay on if it has been previously selected-- you would have to select it for each question asked. In addition, this option is itself a members-only option (i.e. only ProZ.com members can select the option to direct a question to other members only). I don't recall running into cases where a member has selected this option (used infrequently) by mistake or apparently unknowing what it does, but I'll have a look.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:47
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jan 2



[Edited at 2018-01-02 16:09 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:47
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
“Paid membership” seems an entirely irrelevant variable Jan 2

It is of course this site’s prerogative to offer whatever options in Kudoz that it sees fit, but I have to say that I do not see how merely ponying up the membership fee makes a person’s suggestions inherently more trustworthy. The late Henry Hinds was a highly regarded contributor to Kudoz for more than 10 years without ever being a paid member and, some two years after his death, his name still shows up among the all-time point earners.

On the other side of the ledger, there are longstanding paying members (some even with high point totals – go figure!) whose suggestions often do not bear close scrutiny (especially taking into account the typically high confidence with which they are offered).


[Edited at 2018-01-02 18:40 GMT]


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Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 10:47
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
an example Jan 2

Jared: here's one, for example. I don't think it's as infrequent as all that. https://www.proz.com/kudoz/french_to_english/certificates_diplomas_licenses_cvs/6444454-prix_dintégration.html

I think the whole interface is a little unclear here on the distinction between people (like me) registered on the site, with profiles and traceable history here, which could be assumed to be membership, and people who have paid for membership. (I might well think I only want people registered on ProZ to comment on my question, but would be considerably less concerned about whether or not they are paying)


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Today's example Jan 3

It is not a daily occurrence by any means, but I reckon there are a handful every month on the FR>EN forum. Here's today's example : https://www.proz.com/kudoz/french_to_english/law_general/6446839-autorité_parentale.html There are 19 comments which are contributions that would normally have been posted in a couple of answers with comments. The discussion section acts as a posting section, instead of it being the place where details are debated. It is not designed for the purpose for which it is used and the legibility of what are, to all intents and purposes, answers and suggestions, is compromised.

When this type of situation arises, the Asker generally says that had they realized, they would have left the answering options open to all members. I am not a paying member although I have been in the past. ProZ is a business and I wish it a long and healthy life. I understand the need for paying members. There are lots of highly pertinent contributions from non-paying members who are an asset to the site and whose contributions generate traffic, attract newcomers, potential paying members, th whole being something of interest to advertisers, I supose.

For the small number of times it occurs, it seems a small concenssion to make it clear what the paying-member/Premium restriction actually means, as it does occur regularly. I suspect I am not the only who often cannot be bothered to contribute when such a restriction is selected. It is frustrating to try and circumvent it by postinng in the discussion section. Although paying-members should get privileges, obviously, this particular privilege strieks me as more of a disadvantage for the Asker than it is an advantage to the paying-member.

[Edited at 2018-01-03 11:29 GMT]


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:47
German to English
+ ...
that's interesting on several fronts Jan 3

I haven't been involved in Kudoz and was not aware of selection of members and such. I clicked on the link: it happens to be my language pair, and I have translated this kind of material countless times in roughly 30 years of full time translation as a trained and certified translator.
I'm wondering if there are some misconceptions about what constitutes competency in this profession. I saw a comment regretting that the question was not restricted to "pro" members. Someone can be a paying member of a forum and yet not have the background to give the best advice about a given translation issue. Someone else might not be a paying member and have a great deal of expertise and experience in a given subject area. If someone restricts who can help by giving answers based on this, aren't they shooting themselves in the foot by potentially depriving themselves of useful information.
I was surprised to read about this option.

(fwiw, I would not use "custody" because the laws between countries can be very different. I might well add a footnote. I would also want to know which French speaking country, to be read and interpreted in which English speaking country)


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
I find my current site status confusing Jan 3

After over a decade of paying for Proz, I recently became a 'non-member' of a site I joined as a registered member in 2002 and paid for since 2003. My final category of membership (I was a 'partial member-jobs') was summarily eliminated and when it came time to pay again (in August), the fee had doubled (or tripled if I took the full package deal). I decided to wait and give it some thought. I have since discovered the way Proz now views non-payers, or non-members as we are called. Jobs are restricted to "Proz.com members". Not "paying members", just members. And the inference currently everywhere on the site is that "non-members" are unworthy, inferior beings, not real translators, not to be taken seriously.
As Nikki has said, over the years some of the absolute top, most reliable contributors to Kudoz have been colleagues who never paid at all. Far better and far more reliable than many of the paying members. Admittedly most have now left or stopped contributing.
So am I now a non-member, a non-paying member or what? I see that to access jobs the following message appears: To gain access to member-only jobs, join ProZ.com ». But I joined Proz.com in 2002!
I don't like feeling that I'm being coerced into doing something. So the more Proz tries to make "non-members" into a category of inferior beings, the less likely I am to ever "join" again.

[Edited at 2018-01-03 12:31 GMT]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Quandry Jan 3

I joined ProZ in 2003, member number 9026, I believe. I learnt a lot quickly from what the site had to offer in terms of collaborative approaches. I learnt and continue to learn a lot in obesrving others, the newer kids on the block just as much and the old fogies who come out the woodwork for a dominical toddle around the block. I was even co-moderator for a while which I enjoyed for some time. When I stopped enjoying it, I stopped doing it. At one point I paid. It made little difference to what I got out of the site. That could have been down to my continuing to put into it what I was already putting into it and not exploiting its full worth. I returned to unpaid membership. So here I am, by no means a new kid and perhaps some way off the dominical-toddling club membership. That day may come...

In the meantime, I recognise this is a business and that people have to make money from it. I repeat I have no problem with that at all. After all, I expect to be paid a fair price for the service I provide. Paying members need to get seomthing out of the site that non-paying members don't. I draw the line at having to pay to submit a quote, as past experience has revealed that the rates are below suicidal for someone running a legal business in France. I don't like to throw good money after bad. Maybe paying-to-bid weeds out the less serious contenders.

Back to the question in hand. I still think it would help to inform Askers of the consequences of restricting the possibility to post an answer, i.e. that in making this choice, they are reducing the number of people who can answer to those who are paying members and that many non-paying members ave the ability and experience to make highly pertinent suggestions.

[Edited at 2018-01-03 14:23 GMT]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
So does that also mean that paying-to-answer weeds out the less serious contenders? Jan 3

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

I don't like to throw good money after bad. Maybe paying-to-bid weeds out the less serious contenders.



Since the same folks are being weeded out in both cases......


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
You pays your money... Jan 3

I assume it's because people value something more if they have to pay for it. So, by directing queries to (paying) members only, they assume those answering will all be top-notch professionals with wisdom and knowledge beyond the ken of mere mortals.
I let my own paid membership lapse a year or two ago, as I didn't really need any of the perks that came with it.
However, I do enjoy kudoz and I'm usually willing to offer some kind of suggestion or even a guess. There, I'm occasionally miffed by askers stipulating they want their answers from "experts" in whatever area the query happens to be in, with the little "does not meet criteria" badge of shame that comes along with it when I try to help out. I assume they are simply trying to sort out the sheep from the goats, but the way I look at it, the kudoz section is sort of like brainstorming, and in that case, the more the merrier.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly! Jan 4

neilmac wrote:

... the way I look at it, the kudoz section is sort of like brainstorming, and in that case, the more the merrier.


It is essentially a brainstorming exercise. Experience and field knowlegde often untie the knots to make sense of tricky phrasing, and use of a specific term in context. Sometimes, it is an unbridled approach from lack of field knowlegde that actually makes sense of a troublesome piece of text.

In selecting paying members, premium members, someone new to the site can easily be forgiven for thinking that brings with it both experience and quality. It is a reasosnable expectation but, I suggest, not one that holds out in this instance. It leads me to wonder if there are statistical data regarding the level of experience of paying and premium members.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Writeaway, on what "members" means Jan 4

writeaway wrote:
I have since discovered the way Proz now views non-payers, or non-members as we are called. Jobs are restricted to "Proz.com members". Not "paying members", just members. And the inference currently everywhere on the site is that "non-members" are unworthy, inferior beings, not real translators, not to be taken seriously.


Yes, some non-platinum members do feel that way, but it is my understanding that the ProZ.com staff do not see it that way.

Generally speaking, for freelance translators, there are currently two membership categories and one non-membership category. The two membership categories are labelled "member" (i.e. if you're a paying member) and "user" (i.e. if you're a non-paying member). The non-membership category is labelled "visitor" (i.e. if you're not a member, i.e. if you haven't registered). I still find this incredibly confusing, even though it's been like this for a decade. I often wonder how non-paying members are viewed by visitors who are not familiar with this odd terminological distinction.

So am I now a non-member, a non-paying member or what?


We, your colleagues, think of you as a "non-paying member", but your official membership category at ProZ.com is "user".

I see that to access jobs the following message appears: To gain access to member-only jobs, join ProZ.com ». But I joined Proz.com in 2002!


I agree that the wording on some pages at ProZ.com related to membership labelling can be confusing and even downright insulting (your example, for example).


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