Off topic: Smugness
Thread poster: Buck

Local time: 17:55
Dutch to English
Feb 21, 2007

Hi. I would like to know why some people who use proz have to be smug and sometimes condescending when responding to questions. Or am I misinterpreting their meaning because it is written and not spoken? I know there are people like that in all walks of life, but proz is about helping each other.


Fan Gao
Local time: 01:55
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
3 categories Feb 23, 2007

Hi Buck,
It's just like you said, there are people like that in all walks of life and it's true here too.

I think they fall into three groups:
1) Non-natives writing in their second language and using a poor choice of words without realising how it reads/sounds

2) Natives using a choice of words that although not intended, comes across as a bit smug

3) Members, who have been members for 45 years and have amassed 25 trillion Kudoz points, who are a bit sad and just can't resist adding that touch of arrogance

On the whole though, I think most people here truly do mean to help however their messages read so I think when you come across instances like that, it's better just to bite your tongue and imagine that their words are well intended:)

Good luck and best wishes,


Valery Kaminski  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:55
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Dual nature of KudoZ Feb 23, 2007

Hi Buck,

Life is life - people are the same everywhere. ProZ came up with this great idea of KudoZ and they had to make it work. You know, help and good intentions alone could never lead to such a great success. Some "catalyst" was needed. I believe they found a really good one adding the spirit of challenge and competitivness here.
But surely everything has its "side effects". Just have a look at those sports stars or pop-stars, the way they behave sometimes.
That is some manifestation of this star-sickness, even if quite often such stars are "dwarf stars".
In my opinion the best line is just to ignore this kind of stuck up attitude. The greatest majority of people here never have these superiority complex fits.

Best regards,



Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:55
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Three points Feb 24, 2007

Buck wrote:
I would like to know why some people who use proz have to be smug and sometimes condescending when responding to questions.

I think you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. That should be a rule of thumb with all electronic communication.

1. Remember, a forum like this leads people to use informal language or style, that they might never have used if they had written a snailmail letter in the letter style of their native langauge. And informal tone is easier to misinterpret.

2. I recently met one of my clients in person, and was quite surprised (and a little shocked) to learn that they had regarded me as aloof... because of my writing style. I had never considered my writing style as anything but "neutral", but obviously not everyone sees it that way. In fact, when another client of mine had some concerns about an issue in our relationship, I wrote a kind letter of reassurance, which backfired because they had interpreted my tone as being aggressive (I thought was being firm, but friendly).

3. Many years ago I posted a reply to something on the Usenet news (that was before the WWW), and received what I had considered at that time to be a very rude letter. Some time ago I discovered this letter again on an old backup, and I realised that I had misinterpreted the letter all along -- the reply was in fact intended to be helpful.

If you find something rude or smug, try rereading it after 24 hours, or after a week.


United States
Local time: 11:55
French to English
I don't think you are misinterpreting Feb 24, 2007

Buck wrote:

Hi. I would like to know why some people who use proz have to be smug and sometimes condescending when responding to questions. Or am I misinterpreting their meaning because it is written and not spoken? I know there are people like that in all walks of life, but proz is about helping each other.

Yes, some people post very nasty, condescending comments. I don't consider it helpful, I find it annoying. But those people are obviously not posting in order to help someone.

While it's true that some things can be misinterpreted, there ARE some people who constantly post nothing but nastiness. As to the reason, your guess is as good as mine. Intolerance? Boredom? Need to feel superior? Who knows? But the constant attitude from certain people has caused me to use KudoZ much less (and those people are probably glad, maybe that was their point), and as such I saw no reason to be a full member of the site. While those individuals may not exactly break site rules, I wish there were some way the staff/moderators could deal with those people and discourage them from continuing their nastiness. But since that hasn't happened yet, there's no reason for me to think that it will any time soon.


Local time: 17:55
Dutch to English
smugness Feb 25, 2007

Hi. Interesting post. Someone else also said that we run into people like that in all walks of life. I agree. Perhaps its the relative anonymity of the Internet. Did I just say anonymity of the Internet? HA HA


Sara Noss  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Mark and Samuel have got it right Feb 25, 2007

Although you will encounter those who see their keyboards as offensive weapons and their flat screens as shields, thankfully they are few and far between.

Most people mean to help, but when many of us comment or reply we take so much for granted about our potential audience (humour, mood, cultural background, language skills, etc), that sometimes, without intent to offend, things go awry. As Samuel says, time and distance lend perspective and what seems insulting today, may be no cause for concern tomorrow.

Whenever I respond to anything in a forum or mail, I try to think of how I would approach that person if I were face to face with them. It helps me to moderate my tone (I hope) and makes for a fairly amicable proZ experience.

For those whose intent is less than benign, they will only damage themselves eventually and more fool them!

Have some good debates, good answers and a bit of fun while you are on proZ.

All the best.


[Edited at 2007-02-25 19:13]

[Edited at 2007-02-25 20:42]


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