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suggestion: forums, not kudoz, for certain questions
Thread poster: RHELLER
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
Oct 10, 2005

There has been a lot of controversy in the English monolingual section and it is usually due to U.K./U.S. differences AND non-natives joining in with off-topic points.

The result is long discussions in asker boxes and rude (to outrageous) peer comments. I received one of those this weekend. I am not being over-sensitive here since this stuff is against proz rules - but how often can one call in the moderators? I do not think that is a solution for the long run.

Therefore, I suggest we use the forums rather than kudoz for questions that are open-ended. Examples:
what do the native speakers think?
is this phrase heard commonly? (for a thesis paper)

Unfortunately, this is not a rare exception; it happens all the time. These questions are truly valid and deserve our time but the kudoz format does not lend itself to real discussion.

I would like to hear others' points of view.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
German to English
+ ...
suggestion: forums, not kudoz, for certain questions Oct 10, 2005

Rita Heller wrote:

Therefore, I suggest we use the forums rather than kudoz for questions that are open-ended.


Wot, you mean exactly like all the other translators' fora and mailing lists on the 'net?

[speechless]

Marc

[Edited at 2005-10-10 19:07]


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María Roberto
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree Oct 10, 2005

Rita Heller wrote:

"Therefore, I suggest we use the forums rather than kudoz for questions that are open-ended. Examples:
what do the native speakers think?
is this phrase heard commonly? (for a thesis paper)

Unfortunately, this is not a rare exception; it happens all the time. These questions are truly valid and deserve our time but the kudoz format does not lend itself to real discussion."


And perhaps, those who are interested in giving an answer, would be more humble and learn to use the "NOT FOR POINTS" option to avoid embarrasing situations. I was tempted to use it but my "rankism" was stronger.

KudoZ is a battle -field?

P.S: "Rankism" (not in any formal dictionary)
Robert W. Fuller coined the term "rankism" in 2003 in his book "Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank."

María de los Ángeles Roberto


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 12:25
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
I understand ... but .... Oct 10, 2005

Hi Ritta

I understand what you mean, and I agree with you. But I also have a question:

Why can't you just ignore similar questions?

Just don't waste your time posting an answer, how difficult it can be

It can't be THAT hard ... I'm doing it myself all the time recently

Still, if I'm to post one of those questions one day ... I'd LOVE Ritta Heller to be the first to answer. I mean it, you're of great help on Kudoz


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
If only we knew ahead of time... Oct 10, 2005

Dina, you are sweet but I usually answer within the first 5 minutes...at that time one would have no idea that the question will turn into an ugly situation. I would have to write you privately what someone said to me in French - it could be considered grounds for being kicked out of proz.

You have a valid point but then I would really have to remove myself from all of the English monolingual questions.

I used to teach ESL and my intention is to help non-natives understand their English source text (which is not always clear-even to the native speakers!)

Thanks


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
French to English
The Linguistics forum Oct 10, 2005

As seen here

http://www.proz.com/forum/50

has discussions of a general nature of that type, it seems to me.
Agreeing fully with Rita's suggestion, and having pointed out that a suitable forum already exists, the tricky bit is - how do we get people to post their "discussion" type questions there?


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 02:25
English to French
+ ...
Ask the asker Oct 10, 2005

Charlie Bavington wrote:

- how do we get people to post their "discussion" type questions there?


Agree with you -and Rita- that some kudoz questions really belong in that forum. Now, a number of site users are not familiar with all the resources we have here. We old-timers should probably point them in the right direction.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
how about? Oct 10, 2005

Could we have a link to the linguistics forum on the "ask a question" page?

with a note:
If you think your question is controversial or if you would like to hear many points of view...or something like that?


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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
English to Italian
+ ...
Rita has a point, IMHO, and a possible solution ... Oct 10, 2005

...might be to give moderators (and/or people having more than XX kudoz points) the possibility of moving a kudoz question into the forum area. In fact, askers might overlook the difference because they are new, or unexperienced, or simply unattentive - or for other reasons; more experienced peers could help.

Such a solution might, however, make monolingual Kudoz somewhat redundant (most question are likely to be, in fact, "open ended"); this might not be so bad, in fact, as I must confess that, much as I sometimes enjoy, and learn from, such questions, I do not always readily understand what I am supposed to do in monolingual Kudoz, even in my language, and what would be needed to make a point-earning answer, since glossaries and proposals for translation are, obviously, out of the question. It is probably true that the Kudoz format is not ideally suited for the kinds of question Rita pointed to, and that they would often benefit from being treated in a freer, more open format, with the possibility of repeated exchanges and space for off-topic forays.

By the way, I love digression, and I do not much mind someone butting in with something that is off-topic but may still offer some background, or food for thought); I even think that it might be interesting to have opinions from non-native speakers on matters of usage and shades of meaning - as a different, outsider's perspective. In fact, a phrase like "I never heard such ad such Italian expression" spoken by non-native, Italian speaking, long term Rome-dwelling person will give a different information than the same phrase spoken by me (a Roman, born and - almost - bred); different, but not always valueless, if we are aware of the source. Of course, such contributions shouldn't normally get Kudoz points; but I think this may safely be left to askers.

More generally, I think that we should all accept off-centered answers, (seemingly) groundless comments and disagrees, and even occasional rudeness, as a small price to pay for an open and free space of discussion, collaboration and, well, disagrement too. If I join in a discussion with comparative strangers in a piazza, I must espect to find agrees and disagrees, to misunderstand and be misunderstood, to find people I dislike and even foolish and disagreable (and sometimes worse) behaviour. But I also know I may get something worthwhile. Beyond all necessary (and unnecessary) regulations, I know that I should try to talk about opinions and ideas, not people. Thus, I try to treat an unjustified "disagree" or a pointed comment more as a slight incident than as an important matter. I want, and try, to be civil and even kind; but I also want to feel free to speak my mind, and, conversely, to know that if I am in error somebody will take the pains to correct me.

The (partially) competitive nature, and (possible) professional implications of Kudoz do not make such considerations less relevant. And after all we know that bad answers, rudeness and bad behaviour will generally backfire. In fact, if some outsources might consider Kudoz points when selecting a translator (but do they?), the smart ones will check the whole Kudoz history of their candidates, and try to review a significant sample of their answers. Points and fields may not be enough: after all, if I have a lot of points in, say, chemistry this means that I studied chemistry well and not necessarily that I'm a good translator too.


In a wider perspective, I think that points and browniz should be considered a small enticement to partecipate in the game, not the primary reason for doing it. What fascinates me, in fact, if I may speak from my still limited experience, is the way interesting solution often develop by a collaborative process, by degrees and successive approximation, almost by a "trial and error" process that takes place in an open public area; in the end, points will be awarded, and the asker has the privilege and responsibility of choosing "the most helpful" contribution; but the result often stems, in fact, more from a cooperative effort than from a single, decisive contribution.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 12:25
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
I'd vote for that :) Oct 10, 2005

Rita Heller wrote:

Could we have a link to the linguistics forum on the "ask a question" page?

with a note:
If you think your question is controversial or if you would like to hear many points of view...or something like that?


That's an option I'd go for


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Geneviève von Levetzow  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2002)
French to German
+ ...
Agree Oct 10, 2005

Rita,

Examples in the French and German monolingual questions too;)

Geneviève:)


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:25
German to English
Monolingual KudoZ versus Linguistics Forum Oct 11, 2005

Rita Heller wrote:

There has been a lot of controversy in the English monolingual section and it is usually due to U.K./U.S. differences AND non-natives joining in with off-topic points.

Therefore, I suggest we use the forums rather than kudoz for questions that are open-ended. Examples:
what do the native speakers think?
is this phrase heard commonly? (for a thesis paper)



Rita Heller wrote:

Could we have a link to the linguistics forum on the "ask a question" page?
with a note:
If you think your question is controversial or if you would like to hear many points of view...or something like that?


I know which question you're referring to Rita, and I also know how unpleasant things can get in English monolingual at times. In this case the moderators stepped in and eventually squashed the question because the squabbling and insults had gotten out of hand.

But the question itself wasn't controversial. It may have been "open-ended" in that no simple yes or no answer would suffice. It was a serious and challenging question about English usage. The asker wanted feedback on the phrase, "who do you think you is?" He wanted the opinions of fellow linguists about this usage, whether it is widespread and "Do native speakers perceive a difference between the sentence above and "who (the hell) do you think you are? The context is a syntax/sociolinguistics paper," he wrote.

It was a challenging question about the English language and English monolingual should have been the right place for this question. Although, I will agree that many colleagues who answer English monolingual questions often aren't equipped to deal with complex linguistic issues and frequently fire off uniformed, quick-fix solutions because they're caught up in the speed mania. From this perspective, maybe the question should have been entered in the Linguistics forum where points don't count and those who answer such questions are more qualified to do so and take their time thinking about the problem.

Unfortunately things started getting nasty, rules were broken and feelings hurt. Moderators put out the fire, and there will surely be more such fires. We could refer askers to the Linguistics forum for complex questions, but it would be even better if we could get monolingual contributors to consider taking their time reading questions carefully before answering and NOT answering unless they are really qualified to do so.


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Charlesp  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:25
English
+ ...
Precise observation, but I dont think it is a problem. Oct 11, 2005

It is a good observation that you make, and entirely true, but I dont think it is a problem.

Sometimes inappropriate stuff gets posted - and then more inappropriate responses gets posted - and then a moderator has to remove some of it (or the answerer has to hide their answer).

But sometimes they are interesting.

And the fact that the comments and observations are posted immediately, and without any review, is an incentive to respond (rather than link in this Forum).

So, I suggest that when it occurs we simply politely point it out - otherwise leave things as they are.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
why controversial? Oct 11, 2005

Kim Metzger said "But the question itself wasn't controversial. It may have been "open-ended" in that no simple yes or no answer would suffice. It was a serious and challenging question about English usage...The context is a syntax/sociolinguistics paper"
---------------------------------------------------
I sincerely do not agree with you Kim. The question was highly controversial because it referred to language which is out of the mainstream, controversial by definition.

English monolingual questions tend to be very disputed because we have native speakers from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the UK, etc., each with their own rules and their own perspectives.

I am not saying that responses should be limited to one group. On the contrary, I think placing these questions in the forum could only foster freedom of speech due to the additional space allowed for expression. Moreover, no peer grading, no points, would IMO lend itself to a lower level of personal sensitivity.


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María Roberto
Spanish to English
+ ...
Linguistic versus Grammar Oct 12, 2005

“...It would hardly be a waste of time if sometimes even the most advanced students in the cognitive sciences were to pay a visit to their ancestors. It is frequently claimed in American philosophy departments that, in order to be a philosopher, it is not necessary to revisit the history of philosophy. It is like the claim that one can become a painter without having ever seen a single work by Raphael, or a writer without having ever read the classics. Such things are theoretically possible; but the 'primitive' artist, condemned to an ignorance of the past, is always recognizable as such and rightly labelled as naïf. It is only when we consider past projects revealed as utopian or as failures that we are apprised of the dangers and possibilities for failure for our allegedly new projects. The study of the deeds of our ancestors is thus more than an antiquarian pastime, it is an immunological precaution.”
-Umberto Eco, The Search for the Perfect Language, page 316
________________________________________________________________

Sorry, Kim, (or I beg your pardon?),I’m not a native speaker of English but, as a linguistic I do understand the difference between Linguistic and Grammar.I suggest a depeer revision in the Linguistic Forum. And besides, in ProZ´ s conceptualization about the differences.

Or it´s only a “DICTUM DE OMNI ET NULLO” and I´ve been wasting my time with an interesting KudoZ question or reading the Linguistic Forum?

By the way, Umberto Ecco is not a native speaker of English.

María de los Ángeles Roberto


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