Why is a not-for-profit translation association not allowed to announce its events?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 25, 2009

This afternoon I posted an announcement for a 2-part workshop on corpus-guided translation which was almost immediately removed.

The reason given by the moderator of this forum for not allowing us to announce this event is as follows:

"This message is to inform you that your post "Developing a
specialism: corpus workshops 1 & 2 (Barcelona, March)" has
been removed from public view because it was not in line
with site rule: http://www.proz.com/siterules/general/3#3.

Unauthorized commercial solicitation, sent via the forums
is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available from ProZ.com in designated
areas of the site. "

The corpus workshop is offered by a not-for-profit organisation (NPO) called Mediterranean Editors and Translators: http://www.metmeetings.org/index.php?page=about

MET is a "knowledge sharing and peer teaching network
MET is an association that shares knowledge and brings together people in the Mediterranean and southern European area who give language support for international communication in English. MET is
* volunteer
* nonprofit
* interdisciplinary."

Mission Statement: http://www.metmeetings.org/?page=public_objectives
"Fostering high quality language support services

Language consultants come from many different disciplines, take a variety of approaches, and don't have many opportunities to share knowledge with each other. The mission of the association Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET) is to provide a forum where language consultants in our geographic area can exchange information in the interest of improving our ability to meet clients' needs in a variety of disciplines.

Our six objectives, set out in our charter, can be summarized as follows:

1. To maintain a stable network and means to hold events for English language consultants
2. To communicate knowledge that can contribute to improving the quality of language support services available in the Mediterranean
3. To be a conduit for exchanging information between language consultants in our geographic area and those in other parts of Europe and the world
4. To stimulate research in Mediterranean communities on the needs of academics, scientists and others and on promising practices that meet their needs well
5. To identify local expertise in language support and help our experts share their knowledge with a wider audience
6. To help users of language support services locate appropriate solutions to their needs and promote mutual understanding between suppliers and users of these services."


Annual membership of MET is 30 euros and workshops (around 3-4 hours) are free or cost 25 euros. Facilitators are not paid; if they travel by plane, their flight is reimbursed; they are accomodated in a MET member's/friend's house; and their lunch/dinner is paid. The venue is usually free (depending on how we schedule), or sometimes we have to come up with a fee, especially if we need computers (as happens with our corpus workshop). The fact that IEMed in Barcelona gives us free use of its premises says plenty. http://www.iemed.org/aindex.php. The fact that MET is a member of the Anna Lindh Foundation also. http://www.euromedalex.org/Home/EN/Home.aspx. MET is also formally registered with the Catalan Govt. as an NPO.

The 25 euros/person covers photocopies and catering, etc, and if anything is left over, it funds the incidental expenses for free/other more expensive workshops, and goes towards funding reputable speakers at our annual conference.

On Feb 18, Termnet - http://www.termnet.org/ - announced their terminology summer school in this forum. http://www.proz.com/forum/language_industry_events_announcements/127910-international_terminology_summer_school_2009.html.

Note that, quoting from their site: "TermNet was registered as a non-profit organization being allowed commercial activities for the benefit of its members." I can't see the difference between TermNet and MET.

MET is not commercial, it charges for workshops to cover expenses, not to make profits, and any funds raised go back into the organisation, not into anyone's pocket.

MET, in its own announcements, does not censor commercial events, what matters is that translators/editors are informed of events that might interest them and that benefit the profession.

I don't see the logic of not permitting NPOs to announce events, particularly when other NPOs have, in the recent past (MET included), announced events that are clearly non-profit motivated AND in the interest of translators and the translation profession.

I ask Proz to reinstate my announcement and ask for your support for my appeal to allow NPOs that act in the interest of our profession to announce freely in this site.

Ailish Maher
Member of MET & Corpus Workshop Facilitator (unpaid)








[Edited at 2009-02-25 21:59 GMT]


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xxxValerie35
Local time: 04:08
German to English
Not so much interested in the mission statement Feb 25, 2009

Hello Lia,

Where can I get the financial statements and tax records for your non-profit organization?

Thanks in advance.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:08
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Interesting Feb 25, 2009

Sounds like some over-eager beaver acted without understanding what is going on.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:08
German to English
Surely a mistake Feb 25, 2009

This has surely been done in error. Plenty of language industry organisations advertise their seminars etc. in this ProZ forum, and I've done so myself for translation and terminology association events (and also for university-sponsored events).

Just a quick look at recent posts in this forum confirms the above, and your own comments about other organisations' posts.

If you don't get any movement by the end of the day, I suggest you contact Henry directly and ask him to get this mistake rectified, pronto.

Robin


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Few excuses Feb 25, 2009

I would certainly hope it's "error".

However, I'm annoyed by absolutely IMMEDIATE removal and very tardy explantions. I still haven't got a reply to my appeal (sent mid-afternoon) which is why I've posted here.

I am aware that moderators are busy too, but they weren't too busy to simply slam the announcement.

I'm feeling very annoyed ... and you know how that affects work!


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Drew MacFadyen
Local time: 22:08
SITE STAFF
Changes to permit marketing in appropriate venues and locations Feb 25, 2009

Lia, I must say a public forum is not the location to discuss this issue. I do see that you submitted a support ticket - but it appears to have been submitted after you posted this forum.

First, we are making some changes in order to permit organizations like MET to publish events in a variety of ways on our site without violating site rules. The post you referenced by Termnet may have been over looked. Our enforcement of site rule # 3 is being addressed currently and there may have been some discrepancy in how this was enforced up to now.

Understand that our goal is not to deny organizations access, or to prevent users from gaining valuable insight in to industry events but rather to provide organizations an opportunity to work more closely with proz.com in a variety of ways. Allowing forum posts to be made prevents ProZ.com staff from speaking with organizations and determining the best way to promote an event. This is not a sales pitch for advertising, although many inexpensive advertising options do exists , but rather a means for site staff to be informed of upcoming events, the proper persons to speak to, and if possible figuring out a means to promote the event, collaborate and bring increased exposure and benefits to the event & site users.

An event organizer may find that by working closely with ProZ.com they can enjoy benefits like inclusion on our event calendar http://www.proz.com/events_calendar , inclusion in our monthly newsletter, banner ads, or even targeted email delivery - all of these offer a much better platform than posting in a forum.

Again, we are in the middle of developing some tools and platforms for organizations (for profit and NPO alike) to work with ProZ.com and to promote their events on our site in the most advantageous and appropriate manner possible.

As soon as these are available we will send you the details.

Regards,

Drew


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:08
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Not logical, really Feb 25, 2009

Drew MacFadyen wrote:
Allowing forum posts to be made prevents ProZ.com staff from speaking with organizations and determining the best way to promote an event.


Not at all. Staff can follow up at any point to discuss promotion strategies. A forum post in no way prevents this. In any case, I hope you get it sorted out; the event and the organization do seem worthy of support.


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Drew MacFadyen
Local time: 22:08
SITE STAFF
more input Feb 25, 2009

Perhaps "prevents" is too strong a word. When forum posts are made by 3rd parties or those not in a decision making role at the organization it is not simple or expedient to contact the forum poster.

I am certain we will find an ideal way to work with MET

Drew


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:08
German to English
Evident change in policy Feb 25, 2009

Lia,

It looks like ProZ has changed its policy without telling anybody, so the title of the forum should really be changed to "Language Industry Events & Announcements, as long as ProZ is involved". That'll certainly cut back the number of events and announcements. Probably best to just announce the event through a ventor-neutral mechanism like the ITI calendar of events to avoid any sort of proprietary interference.

I certainly won't bother trying to announce any future events through ProZ.

Robin


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reply to Drew Feb 26, 2009

Drew MacFadyen wrote:

Lia, I must say a public forum is not the location to discuss this issue. I do see that you submitted a support ticket - but it appears to have been submitted after you posted this forum.

Drew


Sorry, but a blanket ban was applied immediately, with NO explantion and underpinned by no logic. If you are changing "policies", the least you could do is post some kind of notification.

Note also that I posted my "issue" many hours after appealing the decision - with no reply.

Drew MacFadyen wrote:

First, we are making some changes in order to permit organizations like MET to publish events in a variety of ways on our site without violating site rules. The post you referenced by Termnet may have been over looked. Our enforcement of site rule # 3 is being addressed currently and there may have been some discrepancy in how this was enforced up to now.

Drew


Sorry, but organisations like MET have been able to post their events to date, without violating site rules. When was Rule # 3 added? Furthermore, TermNet wasn't "overlooked", I very much doubt. Just that you have shifted the goalposts and haven't informed us translators or the associations that have been "announcing" events for the last couple of years. The "discrepancy" you refer to has had the unfortunate effect of disabling me from announcing an event of interest to site members and users. The "discrepancy" you refer to sounds more like a top-down decision imposed arbitraily and with no warning.


Drew MacFadyen wrote:

Understand that our goal is not to deny organizations access, or to prevent users from gaining valuable insight in to industry events but rather to provide organizations an opportunity to work more closely with proz.com in a variety of ways. Allowing forum posts to be made prevents ProZ.com staff from speaking with organizations and determining the best way to promote an event. This is not a sales pitch for advertising, although many inexpensive advertising options do exists , but rather a means for site staff to be informed of upcoming events, the proper persons to speak to, and if possible figuring out a means to promote the event, collaborate and bring increased exposure and benefits to the event & site users.



With all due respect, Drew, what makes you think that other organisations may want "an opportunity to work more closely with ProZ"? Or that other organisations are interested in working with you in "determining the best way to promote an event". I think that those are decisions to be made by each organisation in view of its own best interests. And Proz should not prevent these organisations from communicating with the public that they serve, if, for example you abide by some of the statements in your declared mission ("Provide tools and opportunities that translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry use to: * network, * expand their businesses, * improve their work, * experience added enjoyment in their professional endeavors.) Why should site staff be "informed of upcoming events" but not translators in the site?

Drew MacFadyen wrote:

An event organizer may find that by working closely with ProZ.com they can enjoy benefits like inclusion on our event calendar http://www.proz.com/events_calendar , inclusion in our monthly newsletter, banner ads, or even targeted email delivery - all of these offer a much better platform than posting in a forum.



Really, might they find that? Isn't that your perception of "benefit"?

MET isn't an "event organiser", note, it's an NPO created by translators/editors FOR translators/editors. It's run by volunteers, any funds it raises are ploughed back into the association, into improving the website, into running workshops and into organising meaningful conferences that are financed with limited means - and with a huge amount of work by unpaid volunteers.

"Better platform"? I find the forum to be a terrific platform for keeping informed of opinions and developments in the industry. I don't want banner ads or targeted email delivery, and I'm pretty sure many of my colleagues wouldn't want that kind of intrusion either.

You know, this all smacks to me of a kind of censorship and/or coaction: work with us or else.


Drew MacFadyen wrote:

Again, we are in the middle of developing some tools and platforms for organizations (for profit and NPO alike) to work with ProZ.com and to promote their events on our site in the most advantageous and appropriate manner possible.

As soon as these are available we will send you the details.



What would be simply courteous and democratic would be to inform us before the goalposts are shifted. MET has announced its events in ProZ for a few years now, so I'm sure you could have created an email list of "announcers" and have informed them of this rather sudden change in policy.

I assume you won't reinstate the MET announcement? I'll be extremely disappointed if you don't, because I think, in all fairness, this arbitrary approach to changing your policies is simply not acceptable.

Finally in regard to your last comment: "When forum posts are made by 3rd parties or those not in a decision making role at the organization it is not simple or expedient to contact the forum poster."

So, slamming a posting straight off - and without justifiable cause and without any explanation that's coherent with previous site practices - that's OK? Am I a 3rd party (I'm fully aware that I'm not "in a decision-making role at the organisation"), but I can't be sure I'm 3rd party? Makes me/MET sound like somone/thing to be afraid of.

[Edited at 2009-02-26 01:13 GMT]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:08
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Thanks Robin Feb 26, 2009

RobinB wrote:

Lia,

It looks like ProZ has changed its policy without telling anybody, so the title of the forum should really be changed to "Language Industry Events & Announcements, as long as ProZ is involved". That'll certainly cut back the number of events and announcements. Probably best to just announce the event through a ventor-neutral mechanism like the ITI calendar of events to avoid any sort of proprietary interference.

I certainly won't bother trying to announce any future events through ProZ.

Robin


I hadn't read your post until after drafting my reply, but yes, I agree with you totally.

All I can see is that there different niches in the market for translation, and MET tries to provide something that, in our part of the world, was missing for a long time: CPD, now a requirement, for example, with the ITI, among other bodies. I don't and can't see why ProZ gets upset about that. Why does it think it can/will corner the entire industry?

To my mind, Proz, whom we recognise to be, and can accept as being absolutely commercial, still has a responsibility to the translators who made and "grew" it. I am member seven thousand and something, I participated enthustically in my early years, although far less enthusiatically in recent years (I'm no longer a member), but I still find the forums a constant source of great information. A huge part of the success of the forums are that they were "established" and are "maintained" by us translators, and they are places where we let off steam, obtain the benefit of the opinions and experiences of others, learn about what's going on in the translation world, and interact peer to peer. I don't see the sense of the kind of censorship of events (especially those posted by NPOs) that benefit the people who participate in the forums.

In a ProZ that has evidently become more and more commercial over the years, can we be at least allowed this space for free (within obvious limits, imposed some years ago, for obvious reasons) exchanges among peers?

[Edited at 2009-02-26 01:10 GMT]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
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Local time: 04:08
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Worthy of support (says who) Feb 26, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

... the event and the organization do seem worthy of support.



Let's hope ProZ can get that handle on this:-)

I'm at a loss to understand this apparently abitrary ban on NPOs posting info of interest to translators.

Isn't Proz "the translation workplace"? (maybe before it was "the translator's workplace"?)


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 22:08
SITE FOUNDER
There is a paid advertising service Feb 26, 2009

Hi all,

My attention was called to this post.

To clarify, like the ITI and other organizations -- see http://www.iti.org.uk/indexMain.html -- ProZ.com offers paid advertising to industry groups. Apart from that, in principle, advertising via the forums is simply not allowed.

When it comes to forum postings, site moderators and staff members have struggled over the years to define cases in which advertising would be allowable in the forums, but at the end of the day the easiest line to draw is to simply say that the forums can not be used for advertising, period, no matter what is being advertised. It is true that this rule has been applied inconsistently, and that is something that Drew is now taking steps to address.

That policy does not mean that anyone feels it is not in our member's interest to be informed of industry events. On the contrary, in many cases the site not only promotes events without being paid (like the joint event with ITI and IoL in London last year, perhaps the largest ever held in the UK, for which ProZ.com was paid nothing), ProZ.com has also frequently attended and sponsored events held by associations. Support of this type will continue.

In short, if associations (profit or non) want to promote their events to ProZ.com users, we are more than happy to work with them. But self-advertising in the forums is prohibited. I hope you understand.


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