Moderators' netiquette (title edited by staff)
Thread poster: Ysabel812
Ysabel812
French to English
+ ...
Jan 9, 2008

I think Proz.com needs to better develop netiquette for its moderators! How many times have we seen moderators saying,"looks like some pretty basic stuff" to translators having trouble with a difficult term, simply linking to "Asking rules" directing users to look in a dictionary first before asking a question whereas, of course, that has already been done and the term was not available...Or even simple vocabulary such as "please" rather than "you need to" would be welcome from moderators. I would like to remind everyone that this is a community of translating professionals, not children. Thanks!


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-01-09 11:38]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
You mean editors, not moderators Jan 9, 2008

Claire-Rejane wrote:

I think Proz.com needs to better develop netiquette for its moderators! How many times have we seen moderators saying,"looks like some pretty basic stuff" to translators having trouble with a difficult term, simply linking to "Asking rules" directing users to look in a dictionary first before asking a question whereas, of course, that has already been done and the term was not available...Or even simple vocabulary such as "please" rather than "you need to" would be welcome from moderators. I would like to remind everyone that this is a community of translating professionals, not children. Thanks!


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-01-09 11:38]


I think you mean editors. Not moderators. Reminding (new) members/users of asking rules isn't meant to be offensive. It's just to point you in the direction of what Kudoz is and how it's supposed to be used. Kudoz is supposed to be a 'last resort', after you've researched and not been able to find what you need. It's not a substitute for a dictionary or other research. At least, that is what's stated in the rules. When you ask, you're supposed to explain what you've found already and what problem you are still encountering.
As you say, this is a 'community of translating professionals'.


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 23:48
Dutch to English
Just words on a screen Jan 9, 2008

I think it is odd for people to take comments made ON SCREEN personally. It's like people who get outraged when chatting online. They are just words on a screen, and you have no way of knowing what 'tone' they would be in if spoken.

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Enrique
Local time: 18:48
SITE STAFF
KudoZ moderators do a great job Jan 9, 2008

KudoZ moderators do a great job keeping a friendly and constructive atmosphere in KudoZ and enforcing site rules.

There may be errors sometimes, but very seldom have I seen outright abuse. The fact that the system keeps working properly after some 2 million questions have been asked bears tribute to their hard work.

In the case you mention above, telling the asker that the question "looks like some pretty basic stuff" and directing him/her to look in a dictionary first before asking a question would be out of line with site rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7

As regarding netiquette, rules enforcement messages make reference to the rules involved as part of the site's policy on communications.

If you feel that you have been part of a situation where some kind of abuse has been committed, you can submit a support ticket and site staff will look into the issue.

Regards,
Enrique


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 23:48
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
"Just words on the screen" - NOT Jan 9, 2008

I think it is odd for people to take comments made ON SCREEN personally.

When I communicate the old fashioned way - i.e. when I simply speak to somebody - its also "just words on the air", if the other side goes over the invisible line. But in this case I should have all the reasons to get mad, while having to keep my cool when it happens online? No way, Jose. Were it so, we would not need the netikette (Mrs On-Line Manners or Herrn Knigge.Net) .

I think moderators / editors have a very responsible and hard job on their hands. Maybe in the heat of the first moment the editorial change may look more like a mountain than a mole hill to the person involved. But lets not make a Mt Everest out of it by going first-page or editorializing it. The support ticket should be the instrument of choice to provide feedback(*).

Vito

* - and it always pays to take a breather and wait for the first impression to cool off.

[Urejeno ob 2008-01-09 14:36]


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 23:48
French to English
+ ...
netiquette works both ways Jan 9, 2008

As with most things in life, there are two sides to every question. Enrique must know the ProZ rules off by heart so his comment has to be right.
That said, there are also rules that state that askers should at least try to find their own answers before flooding the site with questions. And one of the ways of doing this is consulting the ProZ glossaries. You would be amazed the number of times over the months and years that the same old tired questions keep on coming back (and back... and back...). Understandable therefore that some people at times grow irritated..

Most of the participants in this site are happy to share their knowledge and experience. However, netiquette alone (plus other things too) should require that askers do not abuse of their time and expertise.

So if BOTH sides played the game by the rules, the sort of tensions that are being hinted at in this forum would never arise.

Ah well, let me have my little dream of a perfect world.....

[Edited at 2008-01-09 15:42]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:48
Member
French to English
+ ...
Hear, hear! Jan 9, 2008

I agree with both Writeaway and CMJ — netiquette should work both ways

I think Ms Rejane is probably not yet familiar with the system of 'editors' who are there to make minor tweaks to help the KudoZ forum work smoothly, but don't have the sort of wide-reaching powers that our hard-working Moderators have — and which most of them usually wield with great tact and good judgement, with only a few notable exceptions.

If more experienced peers try to help guide newer members' question-asking practices, then I think we should all be grateful to them for their concern to keep this a pleasant forum for everyone to participate in, and operating within the rules that have been set for it.

But we are all professsionals here, and given the limited space for asker notes, peer comments etc., it is sometimes not possible to 'wrap things up' — but between peers, there really should be a need for such nose-wiping ego-massaging — simple, straightforward remarks shouldn't be taken amiss, and usually aren't by the vast majority of users.

I for one don't actually feel that the comment "this is pretty basic stuff" ought to be against KudoZ rules: it's harmless enough, not personal, and maybe the recipient ought to learn from such remarks that KudoZ should be used sparingly, as a precious last-resort, instead of the quick and lazy solution for people not professional enough, or just too idle, to do their own research before asking colleagues' help.

It is very obvious that currently a lot of people are failing to respect even the most elementary guidelines, as quoted by Writeaway above: to do your own preliminary research, and to post information about what you have found, and the various solutions you are considering. I find it quite rude, for example, when some Askers post a question without much background, set off a lengthy debate, and then at the end say: "Thanks a lot, you've just confirmed what I already thought" — it would be more honest to start off with "what they thought" and admit they were just seeking confirmation (or not).

[Edited at 2008-01-09 19:08]


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 23:48
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
limited number of strokes Jan 10, 2008

Hi "Claire-Rejane",

if a moderator mentions rules, it simply means that a rule was broken and KudoZ Rules are something any KudoZer ought to have read before using KudoZ, as much as instructions must be read before using a device. This said, please also consider that the no. of strokes available for the comment is limited: this restriction makes any attempt to be as friendly as possible a difficult enterprise. I have never failed to start my moderators' comments with a please and conclude them with a thank you, but from time to time I have seen very aggressive responses or askers tried to insult me with comments personal in nature (= another rule broken), sometimes suggesting I don't master my mother tongue.

I prefer not to enter details of some exchanges, but you can have my word that over the years I, as much as a few of my fellow moderators, have gone through a whole variety aggressions, personal insults and personal threats about image, integrity and code of conduct, even though we were doing nothing else than trying to enforce rules. It is like shooting the messenger.

Not to talk about members and users, who contact moderators privately without salutation and signature, as if a machine were on the receiving end.

And emails over profile do not have any length restriction

Anyhow, as we are all humans and therefore can make mistakes, any member/user who feels that a moderator didn't right is welcome to contact site staff and complain.

On a closing note, we do not choose not to show our names when acting as moderators: some areas of the site do not allow a warning to appear with the mention of the name of the moderator. I am adding this, as we have been accused of hiding behind the system.

Giuliana


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gad
United States
Local time: 17:48
Member
French to English
I agree, Claire-Rejane Jan 20, 2008

Claire-Rejane wrote:

this is a community of translating professionals, not children. Thanks!


Yes, and as I've said before, a professional is NOT simply someone with a certain level of knowledge, it is also someone who conducts him/herself in a certain manner. At times that concept certainly seems lost on some people on this site.

writeaway wrote:

I think you mean editors. Not moderators. Reminding (new) members/users of asking rules isn't meant to be offensive.


I don't believe that in some instances. There are definitely some on this site whose comments come across as so nasty that it's hard to believe that they really don't mean to be that way. And if those particular individuals actually cared about and respected newcomers who dare to post a question in a less than perfect manner, they might take a cue from this thread and start to make an actual concerted effort to come across as less offensive. If they still come across as just as nasty then that indicates they probably do not care if someone finds them offensive.

writeaway wrote:

As you say, this is a 'community of translating professionals'.


A person can be a translation professional yet post a question that might not fit into the rules, unknowingly. That doesn't take away from anyone's professionalism. What does take away from someone's professionalism is having an attitude that everyone who enters this site must instantly know the rules, and so informing newcomers of any "infraction" in such a way as to put people off (not to mention continuing in this attitude without caring who might not appreciate the tone).

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

...the no. of strokes available for the comment is limited: this restriction makes any attempt to be as friendly as possible a difficult enterprise. I have never failed to start my moderators' comments with a please and conclude them with a thank you, but from time to time I have seen very aggressive responses or askers tried to insult me with comments personal in nature (= another rule broken), sometimes suggesting I don't master my mother tongue.

Giuliana


That is a good point regarding the number of keystrokes, but as you say, you at least take the time to say please and thank you. Some people - not just askers - do not do this. Some people have been known to post very aggressive type comments to askers, which doesn't serve much purpose either. Remember that KudoZ rule 3.7 was created for good reason - just those individuals who for some reason actually find it acceptable in their own minds to practically attack an asker.

I see much less reason for a seasoned user or member of this site to be that way than a newcomer. A newcomer may not understand the way things work, whereas someone who has been here awhile, instead of getting so offended over questions posted in a way they find inappropriate or incorrect, could take the time to comment with a little tact.

Furthermore, why would an editor or someone who is NOT a moderator even consider posting comments instructing someone else how to post and what is wrong a particular KudoZ question? Why wouldn't the person go through a moderator? And why wouldn't a moderator nicely contact the asker in question privately, so that the issue of the number of keystrokes wouldn't deter that moderator from being very, very nice, and welcoming? After all:

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

And emails over profile do not have any length restriction

Giuliana


Although I use this site regularly for the ProZ.com Term Search, and browse KudoZ and the forums on occasion, I am much less active on KudoZ than I used to be, particularly because of certain individuals who post tactless comments to an endless number of KudoZ questions in my language pair. Seriously, it gets very tiring to read such nastiness all the time, even when the majority of people are nice and don't engage in such behavior. And in browsing the site on occasion since having made the decision to severely limit my participation in KudoZ, I find that the same individuals seem to continue in this same attitude that they practically own the site. That really is a shame for all those others with whom I enjoyed interacting.

Just my two cents.

[Edited at 2008-01-20 02:31]


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Moderators' netiquette (title edited by staff)

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