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Is it possible
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 26, 2009

I can't view my posting (is it hidden away somewhere? It was on the home page), and while it was there, I couldn't see an option to reply to Henry (closed?)

I posted earlier as follows: http://www.proz.com/forum/language_industry_events_announcements/128558-why_is_a_not_for_profit_translation_association_not_allowed_to_announce_its_events.html#1064051

I now find that Henry has made a contribution - but I somehow seem to be unable to reply. Maybe the link is no longer alive.

I copy his comments here:

TITLE: There is a paid advertising service 04:36

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.

****

REPLY to HENRY/PROZ

We can hardly be called an "industry group". We are an association of translators/editors. Industry implies a profit motive. We are an association, a society: these words have very different connotations from industry. The Catalan Govt, for example, hasn't classified us as a company or industry.

What's more we post our events free in the ITI site. The ITI doesn't classify us an a industry.

We do not "advertise" because "advertising" implies paying in anticipation of "profit". We "announce". We have never advertised in fact, it simply isn't something small associations do: they rarely have a bob to spare. And as I have pointed out at length in an earlier post, just becuase an NPO charges a (small) fee for its workshops doesn't imply "profit".

The Govt of Catalonia allowed us to register as an NPO and allows us to charge for our workshops. TermNet - who "announced" here on 18 Feb - is a declared NPO and charges for its conferences.

Yes, Henry/ProZ team, you may have struggled and you certainly have been inconsistent, but leaving aside all the facts given in this and my previous (closed?) posting, what remains patently clear is that you don't "struggle" when it comes to making arbitrary decisions and the last thing that occurs to you, apparently, is communicating the outcomes of "struggles with decision making " that culminate in very sudden changes of policy.

As I pointed out to Drew, you seem interesed in having a finger in everybody's pie, without concerning yourselves too much about whether these others reciprocate your interest. Our pie is CPD and peer teaching. We welcome more members not becuase each represents another princely 30 euros membership fee for our coffers, but becuase each new member can potentially teach the rest of us something new or different about translation and so sustain the association.

I think it's very revealing and terribly obvious this statement of yours: " 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."

Who do you think you are fooling? ProZ this and ProZ that? Why don't you mention an event (or a posting) where your support has been for translators and not one where you could brandish your logo? You are not convincing me (and others) that you are doing all that becuase you are really concerned about translators/editors (if you were, you'd allow us to talk freely, P2P, in the forums, and allow the annoucement of events of potential interest). Who cares if that joint event was the largest? Quantity is not quality (who knows that better than translators?). ProZ may have attended and sponsored events, but on the face of if, I'm not convinced it does so with translator interests uppermost. I find your and Drew's statements to be so much "corporate vainglorying" that really doesn't convince. I don't deny, at all, the right of an organisation to make profits (I do), what I dislike is the misguided notion of representing translators - when you, in fact, prevent them from receiving information of interest to them professionally.

I insist: MET is an association BY and FOR translators and editors. That simply makes us a bunch of translators and editors - never an "industry".

Visit our website and you'll not see one banner or ad. What you'll see are announcements for a whole series of events of potential interest to translators/editors (commerical and otherwise). The association has a very small handful of institutional (not "industry") investors, who pay a slightly higher fee than the members whose fees largely fund it, and these pay small charges to cover costs for workshops and conference fees that enable us to break even at conferences. In fact, we only survive becuase of a) volunteers who do all the organisation of workshops and conferences in their own time; b) benevolent attitudes towards MET, for want of a better word, of reputable professionals and academics who speak and participate in our conferences; and c) the possibility of getting free venues.

And here we can't even announce. Thousands of other translators (many now gone) and I, (number 7034), built this site for you, by enthusiaticallly participating and answering and asking and helping with Kudoz and in forums. We helped you make ProZ a byword for translation. Now you are an "industry" and your attitude to the translators who helped you achieve that is disdainful, to say the least.



[Edited at 2009-02-26 06:25 GMT]


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:43
German to English
+ ...
Anti-information policy? Feb 26, 2009

Mea culpa.

Some time ago I shared information about a university translation course on the site.

Naively, I didn't even think about the question of whether Proz.com would want payment for me to share this information.

Naively, I thought of Proz.com as a place to share information between colleagues.

Henry, perhaps you would like to rebuke me in public for my naivety.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:43
German to English
Justifiable anger and confusion Feb 26, 2009

Hi Lia,

Your anger and confusion are as justifiable as your disappointment at this unannounced change in policy. Policy is what you practice, not what's hidden away in some obscure provision.

What's particularly disappointing is to read misleading statements like this one from Henry:

"To clarify, like the ITI and other organizations -- see http://www.iti.org.uk/indexMain.html -- ProZ.com offers paid advertising to industry groups."

AFAIK, the ITI does not charge for listings in its international calendar of events. Similarly, I don't know of another T&I professional association that charges for listings of events that are likely to be of interest to members and othe readers.

Particularly where CPD is concerned, the offerings are so depressingly limited for any language pair that it's in the interests of the entire profession for as many events as possible to be announced to as wide a group of readers as possible. I'm not aware that ProZ itself offers structured CPD events, though it does carry (presumably paid) advertising for commercial CPD events that largely revolve around translation tools (a very minor area of translator CPD in the first place). The sort of structured CPD events organised by professional associations, universities and interest groups are most certainly not commercial CPD events, and paying for advertising services doesn't fall within the budgets for the events.

But if ProZ has decided to restrict announcements to events in which ProZ has some sort of involvement, we must respect that decision. What it means of course is, first, that the number of events announced will be tiny. Second, as far as the seminars I've announced in the past are concerned, an overwhelming number of attendees don't get their information from ProZ in the first place, as they tend to use professional newsgroups and listservs that more properly cater to the high end of the profession. I've merely announced events on ProZ to try to interest the occasional newbie who may not yet have found their way to the other forums.

An interesting development, though. Major industry players imposing price cuts on freelances of up to 40%, payment terms being extended by months, default rates up and a lot of agencies obviously on their last legs, and now ProZ is becoming more inward looking. Signs of the times?

Robin


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
French to English
+ ...
No more MET announcements??? Feb 26, 2009

I will be EXTREMELY disappointed if there are no more announcements of MET events. Even if I have have not had the opportunity to attend yet, I hope to someday, as I find the workshops of great interest to translators and editors. Isn't this what this site is all about?
Does this mean that no conference announcements will ever be posted, or ATA events? Because I really don't see the difference between these and MET. I really would like a clear explanation.
Why on earth does the Language Industry Events & Announcements forum even exist, or the Translators Association forum for that matter, if such associations cannot post announcement of their events and activities???

[Edited at 2009-02-26 09:38 GMT]


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:43
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I do not understand this Feb 26, 2009

I don't understand why this type of information would be banned - this would mean that about 20% of the postings in the Dutch forum would be against this rule.

Often activities by the Dutch translators organisation or the Chamber of Commerce are announced, or one of the translation schools is discussed if they are offering a new type of training course. There would be nothing left if all those postings were banned. I don't see ProZ losing possible advertising revenues over that - what is more, a large organisation might find it a good idea to add a banner advertisement as I can see a banner for the ITI 2009 conference right now. The visibility is radically different, plus in the fora things are discussed, not just announced.

In the fora, ITI or IOL membership is discussed, schools, training courses are discussed - so where do you draw the line?

Could I say: hey, I saw MET is organising several interesting workshops in Barcelona with a link, but without "announcing" it? So discussing is ok, but announcing isn't?

I did not know about this and I am against it, as you would limit the possibilities of exchanging information about training. Even more so in this case, if you cannot even draw the attention to a translators organisation's workshops - what are the fora for then?


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Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
English to Italian
+ ...
Respect the decision? Feb 26, 2009

RobinB wrote:

But if ProZ has decided to restrict announcements to events in which ProZ has some sort of involvement, we must respect that decision. What it means of course is, first, that the number of events announced will be tiny. Second, as far as the seminars I've announced in the past are concerned, an overwhelming number of attendees don't get their information from ProZ in the first place, as they tend to use professional newsgroups and listservs that more properly cater to the high end of the profession. I've merely announced events on ProZ to try to interest the occasional newbie who may not yet have found their way to the other forums.


First of all I think that preventing any further discussion is rather authoritarian, so closing the previous thread was just rude and disappointing.

Secondly, you simply cannot be in every newsgroup, it is not feasible! And Proz used to be the best place to get first hand information. It is just a matter of being informed. I really feel like now I have no way to get to know the best opportunities to keep up-to-date. It is deeply disappointing.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:43
German to English
Best place? Feb 26, 2009

Mariella Bonelli wrote: First of all I think that preventing any further discussion is rather authoritarian, so closing the previous thread was just rude and disappointing.


I suppose it's difficult to put across in writing the irony of a phrase like "respect a decision". Like translation, it's "not just about the words, it's about what the words are about"

And Proz used to be the best place to get first hand information.


Possibly that depends on your language pair(s) and subject area of expertise. As far as events are concerned, the ITI international calendar of events is still the number one IMHO. I think all translators and interpreters should check it at least once a week.

Robin


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Nicole Maina  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:43
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
Lia, exactly the same has happened to me Feb 26, 2009

Dear Lia,

I am very sorry to find out that your story is very, very, very similar to mine. And I am still waiting for an answer from Henry.

This situation makes me very sad, because as Victor pointed out, "Naively, I thought of Proz.com as a place to share information between colleagues."

I also totally agree with Mariella.

I still hope this is just a huge misunderstanding and that someone will pop up and say, sorry folks, we apologize...

Nicole
Disappointed and sad


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:43
Italian to English
MET events have been "allowed" in the past Feb 26, 2009

Postings about MET events have been allowed in the past:

http://www.proz.com/forum/language_industry_events_announcements/127150-mediterranean_editors_and_translators_spring_workshops.html

so evidently ProZ is rethinking its approach to event advertising, as Henry in fact says in the locked thread.

One thing the staff could do is to vet all postings to the Language Industry Events & Announcements forum and/or send event organisers like Lia and Nicole a standard message detailing the site's other paid and unpaid publicity options.

FWIW

Giles


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Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
English to Italian
+ ...
Thank you Robin Feb 26, 2009

RobinB wrote:
I suppose it's difficult to put across in writing the irony of a phrase like "respect a decision". Like translation, it's "not just about the words, it's about what the words are about"

And Proz used to be the best place to get first hand information.


Possibly that depends on your language pair(s) and subject area of expertise. As far as events are concerned, the ITI international calendar of events is still the number one IMHO. I think all translators and interpreters should check it at least once a week.

Robin


Oh, irony! I feel much better now.

Thank you Robin for giving me this suggestion, I noted it down. The problem is that there is plenty of events going on in Italy those times but not one single source. And the same happens for the other languages I work with (German and French). A total chaos which will make my professional life a bit more complicated.

By the way, Henry, I think you forgot to remove the subheading of this forum title:

Language Industry Events & Announcements (Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni)
Announce language-related events, announcements, local powwows, calls for papers, etc.
Far too general for your innovative policy!





[Edited at 2009-02-26 10:36 GMT]


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:43
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Strikes me as illogical, too Feb 26, 2009

Hi Lia,

I do sympathise with your thoughts. Referring to the other thread (which has been locked, by the way, so no further contributions may be posted), why would one want to include an announcement of general interest to translators posted by a not-for-profit organisation in the paid advertising scheme offered by ProZ.com? Following this logic and thinking it through fully, the site could as well close down the Events & Announcements forum entirely, which would clearly be a disservice to our community and the entire "industry" in my opinion.

My 2c worth,
Steffen


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xxxValerie35
Local time: 22:43
German to English
My impression Feb 26, 2009

"Naively, I thought of Proz.com as a place to share information between colleagues."


-----

I think that point of view is being promoted so that the board (and Henry) can get free help in the form of volunteers. When it's about getting free help, then the board is just a cozy group of sharing people.

But the reality, if you just think about all the money flowing in here, not just from advertisements and member fees and all the rest, is that a few people at the top are absolutely cleaning up and rolling in money while the "volunteers" at the bottom think the board is something other than it is.


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:43
English to Indonesian
+ ...
don't go against the grain Feb 26, 2009

it seems that proz is becoming more and more commercial, which is fine btw. therefore, imo, this discussion is useless. instead of lingering in the issue, there is always other quick and painless solutions, i.e., posting the announcement in other forums/groups.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:43
French to English
Interesting Feb 26, 2009

I find the common features between the shambolic, ill-conceived and muddle-headed action in this thread (+ the "disappeared" thread...) and the thread here http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom:_translator_coop/127339-florencia_at_prozcom_advertises_babylon_staff:_apologies_we_screwed_up.html to be most revealing.

I too have long since resigned myself to Proz's new money-first ethos and feel quite a numpty for thinking the community-oriented nature of the site when I first participated was going to last.

Nonetheless, there is clearly a serious point to be addressed, and sharpish, as to what constitutes a valid "accouncement" as per this sub-forum's name, and what constitutes advertising, which is quite rightly frowned upon. The profit motive would appear to be a reasonable starting point when attempting to define which is which.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:43
SITE STAFF
Locked topic Feb 26, 2009

Hello all,

As Steffen mentions, the previous topic has been locked. Please note that, once a topic has been locked, it should not be resumed elsewhere ( http://www.proz.com/siterules/forum/6#6 ). I will lock this topic, and ask that the participants respect this forum rule. Thank you.

Best regards,

Jared


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