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Kudoz: Posting both a competing answer and a disagree vote (doesn't feel right)
Thread poster: Fred Neild
Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 1, 2005

I have noticed some members comment on answers with the 'Neutral' choice, and at the same time offer their own answer. In some cases they are simply trying to influence the asker to choose their own answer.
I asked a 'moderator' about this and received no reply. I thank this person because then I realized this issue should be open for everyone to share thoughts.
I believe Kudoz Rules should mention this and ask answerers to "answer" or "comment" (agree, disagree and neutral).

[Edited at 2005-11-01 22:34]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-11-04 18:56]


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:55
German to English
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Difficult to make a hard and fast rule Nov 1, 2005

Fred Neild wrote:
I have noticed some members comment on answers with the 'Neutral' choice, and at the same time offer their own answer. In most cases they are simply trying to influence the asker to choose their own answer.


I agree that we should always try to give other answerers a fair chance and not compete on comments, but try to leave the commenting to peers who have not offered an answer. But sometimes there are good reasons for adding a comment in spite of this general rule.

A couple of days ago someone suggested an alternative answer to a question I had answered. In doing so, however, this person overlooked a common usage of the word suggested. I felt it appropriate to point this out in a "neutral" comment (and the colleague then agreed with me). But I do this very rarely (and I sometimes give an "agree" to competiting answers if I see a reason to do so).

I have observed the phenomenon you mention. When I get an e-mail to tell me that certain persons have given me a neutral comment, I almost always find that they have offered an alternative answer. (Sometimes I get the points anyway.) But it doesn't really upset me, because I feel that the askers are (usually) professional enough to separate the substance from the bluster.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 22:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
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Comments Nov 1, 2005

Hello Fred

At first glance, I see nothing wrong about giving a neutral and then proposing an answer as long as both actions follow KudoZ rules.

I think that giving a neutral without proposing anything is worse.

They would be trying to influence the asker if their answer was as valid as the other's, but it also happens that you know that the other answer is wrong, doesn't it?

Claudia


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 19:55
French to English
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No one can read minds Nov 1, 2005

Fred, I think you are simply stating an opinion when you say "they are simply trying to influence the asker to choose their own answer." There is no way we can know the unspoken intentions of people.

Personally, my goal is to help the asker. If giving someone a neutral, indicating why another proposal is incorrect, will give the asker more information, I think it is our duty to do so. And I might add, it is wrong NOT to do so.

Posting our own entry before or after is irrelevant to that point.

A similar situation would be if someone asks you for directions on a corner and you and another person respond; you have lived in that neighborhood all your life and you know that his/her way will take the stranger down a one-way street and not get them to their desired destination. Should you say "don't listen to him" ? or just propose your answer and walk away?


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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Good advice Nov 1, 2005

But it doesn't really upset me, because I feel that the askers are (usually) professional enough to separate the substance from the bluster.


I think this is great advice, thanks


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Otilia Acosta  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
English to Spanish
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I don't think so Nov 1, 2005

I think that it is very difficult to give a neutral, and not to propose and answer. If you notice there is an incorrect translation, and you know what the correct translation is, you must try to help the asker not to make a mistake which can affect his/her job quality. I do not see at this like something unethical, but a way of helping the asker to choose a right answer. If the neutral is not right you can defend your answer, that’s all. If not you must accept you are wrong. I do not feel when someone gives me a neutral or a disagree that it is against me or that it is something the translator is doing to get the points. On the contrary, I feel it is a way to make clear some confusion I may have, to avoid a wrong answer entering into the OKG, and to really help the asker.

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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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'Neutral' is a 'disguised disagree' Nov 1, 2005

I think that giving a neutral without proposing anything is worse.


I think I was a bit polite, by 'neutral' I meant that they are usually posting a 'disguised disagree'. I have to agree that usually Ethics are not written rules, but times change...


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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Of course no one can read minds Nov 1, 2005

I think you are simply stating an opinion when you say "they are simply trying to influence the asker to choose their own answer."

Yes

you have lived in that neighborhood all your life and you know that his/her way will take the stranger down a one-way street and not get them to their desired destination.

This is hardly the case.

The point is that if you propose and answer, then any comment will be suspect, so they should be limited (my opinion of course)


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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I said in most cases Nov 1, 2005

I feel it is a way to make clear some confusion I may have, to avoid a wrong answer entering into the OKG, and to really help the asker.


I really meant that I have noticed this in some cases and not in all of them.
I believe you and all these comments help me a lot.

[Edited at 2005-11-01 22:29]


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
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Allowed by the rules, but questionable Nov 1, 2005

KudoZ rules allow answerers to comment on each other's answers. Rules aside, however, when a peer posts an answer, the answer competes with other answers for points. Many people swear they don't care about the points, and I believe them, but KudoZ is a competitive game as it is currently structured, regardless of individual motive. Because of the competitive nature of the game, answerers' negative comments on other answers will likely be perceived as overly competitive, possibly even nasty, even if the lable of the comment says "neutral." The negative perception is largely justified because the situation clearly involves a conflict of interest (the comment is not by a disinterested party). Under the current rules, this is hardly avoidable.

When an answerer posts a negative comment on an answer I have provided, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if the comment is valid, and only address the content of the comment. But if the comment is part of a pattern of excessive competitiveness, I sometimes reply "comment by a competing answerer - conflict of interest."


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:55
German to English
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What would be the alternative? Nov 1, 2005

I see the apparent conflict of interest, but I don't know if I'd like the alternative. I can't remember the last time I flat out disagreed with a co-answerer, but I do occasionally add a neutral comment that might be construed as a disguised disagree, albeit a not-so-competitive one (especially if it's just plain wrong). Besides, a bit of debate is not necessarily a bad thing (IMHO) and they are more than welcome to discuss my suggestions with me.

If I were unable to comment on the suggestions others make because I had also entered a suggestion, that would mean that I also couldn't agree with them - and that I do quite a bit more than disagreeing.

I like to agree if I think another suggestion may be better or just as good as my own. At the same time, I also like to leave my suggestion there, i.e. I wouldn't want to hide it in order to comment on other suggestions - either for educational purposes or because it is sometimes picked regardless (the asker knows what fits best in the given context).

Thus, in spite of the apparent conflict of interest, I have to agree with Victor on this one in that I assume the askers are educated enough to know what's up.

[Edited at 2005-11-01 23:38]


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Angus Woo
Local time: 09:55
Chinese to English
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Hard rules won't help Nov 2, 2005

I think it¡¯s better to leave such matters to the asker. It¡¯s hard to judge what the person is up to by simply looking at the word ¡°neutral¡±, for neutral may not be neutral at all. Try to put yourself in our co-answerer¡¯s shoes; I would say a neutral comment would sound a lot better than a disagreeing one.

Even in a worst case scenario, if a bystander could realize that someone is indeed try to exert some sort of influence, then most likely the asker would also be able to figure that out.

Upholding iron-rigid rules is definitely not going to solve the problem. On the contrary, it will only aggravate it. No doctor would kill any patient just to wipe out the targeted virus.


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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Possible solution Nov 2, 2005

I sometimes reply "comment by a competing answerer - conflict of interest."


I believe you are protecting your rights with this. Maybe this is something the website could do automatically. I don't think all askers are aware of Kudoz system, since anybody can ask. Also I could feel its competitiveness in my first week.


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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Specific case Nov 2, 2005

I assume the askers are educated enough to know what's up.


I have just experienced a case where an answerer didn't even give a 'neutral' comment, and plainly disagreed with my answer in his/her own answering space. Another questionable action, because of course left me no place for answering.
Since I do not agree with comments when I provide an answer, and "nobody had disagreed" with my answer I left the decision to the asker, and I really believe he/she made a mistake. But I will continue doing this, because I'd rather lose points, and the asker should know better.


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
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Conflict of interests label Nov 2, 2005

Upholding iron-rigid rules is definitely not going to solve the problem.


I have to agree.
But, why not regulate. For example, here in Brazil they didn't forbid sale of cigarettes, but producers are forced to include in the packaging pictures of smoking victims (cancer pacients, etc.) I hope you don't smoke and maybe this is not the best example, but maybe the website could include automatically some phrase stating the conflict of interests of the individual commenting.


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Kudoz: Posting both a competing answer and a disagree vote (doesn't feel right)

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