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Thoughts on questions marked as being "Not for points"
Thread poster: Narasimhan Raghavan

Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
English to Tamil
+ ...
Apr 23, 2009

This matter has been of quite a concern to me the past few days. I refer to the Kudoz questions that are marked as not carrying any points. I don't understand the logic behind this. A translator poses a question in KudoZ whenever he comes across some difficulties in rendering a term properly into the target language. After all, that is his job and he has to do the translation properly.

This being the case, he comes to ask his colleagues for help. Once suggestions come in, he selects the term the most suited for his context and awards KudoZ points. Browniz points too get added up to the answerer's account. KudoZ helps in bettering the rank of a translator in the list of pros in his language pairs and Browniz help at the time of renewing the membership.

Now, what does an asker expect, when he wants the answer to his queries but piously declares that he will not give any points? The entire thing smacks of begging and considering the answerers as fools having no other work and are out just for answering him. I know that this is quite a harsh view but I have to air it here. And to make another point, such an asker skews his own chances of getting the best answer.

Personally, I just ignore questions of this nature, namely "Not for points" questions. I am sure that many others will share my views on this and at the same time there are quite a few not sharing them.

Regards,
N. Raghavan

[Edited at 2009-04-24 10:37 GMT]


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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 04:42
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
either with or without points Apr 23, 2009

Dear Colleague,

I completely understand you, but I think, we have to margin the significant difference between PRO questions of our colleagues and the questions of simple, non-registered askers ( I mean, for example, "how can I say I love you" or something like that in Portuguese or who-knows-which-language etc.)

IMHO, posting a KudoZ answer is up to you, I personally answer all questions if I have time to help and I feel can do it, the points for me are like a whipped cream on top of the capuccino: the coffee is good in itself and I feel comfortable myself either with or without it.

Enjoy KudoZ and have a great time in ProZ.com community,
Best regards,

Liza Czopyk


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
I share your views Apr 23, 2009

I share your views totally, Narasimhan. I think "no points" questions is a senseless option, and being a "point hog" anyway, I just won't answer them.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:42
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
This is an option for the asker, and there are legit uses Apr 23, 2009

You know, I think I have asked a few questions as "Not for points" in the past. The reason I marked them as "Not for points" was that I knew I probably would not be able to choose one particular answer. I don't remember the particular question, only the situation where I needed linguistic advice, ideas, and I knew I may be using more than one of the ideas, or none at all, and I did not want to end up in a situation where the question is posted as a regular question, but at the end I would need to close it without grading. I thought it was best to state at the beginning that it is not for points, so people could make their choice whether to answer or not.
I think this was a legitimate use of the "Not for points" checkbox - do you agree?
I understood that I was running the risk of getting less attention, but I wanted to be honest up front, so I made this choice. I explained in the question why it was "not for points", and I think I got help just the same as if I posted it as a regular question.

So, what I am saying is that I don't see a problem with having the option there, as there are cases when it is justified. Overuse, or abuse is of course a different category, and there are ways to deal with it, the simplest and most obvious is what you do: ignoring them. I think you can filter out "Not for points" questions. If it is a particular person, you can even use the KudoZ dashboard to filter out his-her questions. If such behavior is getting excessive, you could report it to a moderator or site staff I guess, but since I see no particular rule that would be broken by such behavior, I am not sure what they would do...

All the best
Katalin


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
It is a matter of the answerer being kind and the asker trying to avoid point grabbers Apr 24, 2009

I fully and friendly disagree with you, Narasimhan.

If, walking on the street, somebody asks me where the cathedral is, why should I waste my time explaining him/her the way? because I am a kind person!. Helping each other is part of humankind. A person who is not willing to disinterestedly help other people is not fully human. And it is not a matter of Christian charity; you can read the book "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution" by Peter Kropotkin, an anarchist (so, atheist) thinker, where you will find lots of examples of disinterested help in wild animals. You can read a little bit about animal altruism in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_in_animals

I don't think that such askers skew their own chances of getting the best answer. I might be the other way round. There are answerers who just want to grab KudoZ points and answer whatever nonsense, just in case they can get some more points. If the asker does not know very much about that subject, he/she can not see what is the nonsense and what is the good answer. Making the question "not for points" helps to avoid the point grabbers and to get help from the kind people who say "hey, a colleague in trouble, let's help!"

¡Salud!

Ignacio Vicario Esteban



[Edited at 2009-04-24 00:53 GMT]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
English to Tamil
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
If the asker does not know things from Adam, he has no business to be in the translation field Apr 24, 2009

I respect your point. But I target regular translators earning money out of translation. They expect some help and the least they can do is not to be free with the option "Not for points"

Anyhow, I just keep away from questions having used that option.

Regards,
N. Raghavan

Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:
IMHO, posting a KudoZ answer is up to you, I personally answer all questions if I have time to help and I feel can do it, the points for me are like a whipped cream on top of the capuccino: the coffee is good in itself and I feel comfortable myself either with or without it.
Liza Czopyk


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:42
English to German
+ ...
A fine line Apr 24, 2009

RNAtranslator wrote:

If, walking on the street, somebody asks me where the cathedral is, why should I waste my time explaining him/her the way? because I am a kind person!. Helping each other is part of humankind. A person who is not willing to disinterestedly help other people is not fully human. And it is not a matter of Christian charity; you can read the book "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution" by Peter Kropotkin


I don't mind if a non-member posts a "Not for Points"-question. Such questions posted by a paying member however will be ignored as I consider such an attitude selfish, lazy and superficial. A simple "Thank you" will not empty your bank account. Let me guess, whenever you explain the way to the cathedral to a tourist, you will be rewarded with a beaming smile - priceless.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:42
English to French
+ ...
Exactly the point of not-for-points questions Apr 24, 2009

Narasimhan wrote:

If the asker does not know things from Adam, he has no business to be in the translation field.

Yet, as you probably know, too many people who "can English" are translating, and many of them are users of this site. I am busy at the moment correcting translations by people who, in my opinion, shouldn't be translating, and it is making me mad. What can I do about it? Absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, those who want to beef up their credibility as translators, even though they shouldn't be here in the first place, are resorting to KudoZ points grabbing. I do not want to encourage them in any way, and if it were up to me, I would make sure they do something else for a living, something that will not allow them to cause me headaches and that will not be dangerous to the users of those mediocre translations.

One way I have found to refrain from encouraging points grabbers of all varieties—who are often too quick to provide an answer to really give it consideration—is to ask not-for-points questions. Some may consider that this is cheap of me. But I'd rather have quality over quantity, as I am looking for genuine, thoughtful suggestions rather than careless stabs at a question. This is not to say that all answers to for-points questions are bogus, but there is definitely less competition in the not-for-points territory. I am also more inclined to answer not-for-points questions—you may not agree with me here, but I find that people asking not-for-points questions come off as more serious askers.

I am not trying to convince you of anything, Narasimhan, but I do believe you should give these arguments some thought.


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Suyash Suprabh  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 09:12
English to Hindi
+ ...
I totally agree with you Apr 24, 2009

I totally agree with you, Narsimhan. Some translators do not want to give points to others, and I find it a very selfish approach.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'm with Narasimhan Apr 24, 2009

I admit to being a fairly incorrigible points grabber. I do occasionally answer 'not four points' questions, because I cultivate my 'acceptance rate', and sometimes I think I can give a good answer that will be accepted.

But if my first thought on looking at the question is: 'Why doesn't this person buy a dictionary?' then I leave it.

Another thing that annoys me is the way the points system seems to be getting inflated. Four points are sometimes given for just about anything. Then they barely mean anything!

I have done it myself. At 2 am, with a rushed job, deadline EOB yesterday, or at latest in the mail when the office opens, any plausible answer seems worth 4 points!

But strictly, anything with less than a reliable explanation and reference should not be given more than 3 points... And the person who gives an answer in the title and just a full stop or a smiley as explanation should not get more than 2.

People frequently give me more points than I deserve, so I should not complain, but when I really do look things up, find references and explain a finer point, I feel it is worth far more than my best guess and advice to CHECK carefully!

I'm almost addicted to KudoZ - I do it for the fun of the game as much as anything. I find all sorts of unexpected things in dictionaries and databases, which I can use myself later. So I understand the 'no points' train of thought.

But I still think it is just plain good manners to give points to one answerer and write a note to thank the others.



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polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
Agree and disagree... Apr 24, 2009

I agree that it is impolite to expect people to provide good answers for zero points BUT only because the whole ProZ approach is based on points.

Like others, I think that the points system is flawed. I even suspect that the "no points" options was introduced at some stage as a sop to those insisting on its demise but I have no proof of that assertion.

I would advocate the need for a whole new system, or no system at all. As long as ProZ sticks to its guns over the issue, however, then there are no grounds for discriminating between "points" and "no points".

That said, I agree with Christine, in principle, over the allocation of points (1 to 4). I don't ask questions but, if I did, I suspect I would end up awarding a blanket "4" for fear of incurring the wrath of the rest of the community. It is a bit like 'disagrees' - people daren't give them, however justified, because of the hurt feelings they generate (never mind our hurt feelings at some of the nonsense at times spouted).

Where I disagree with Christine is about the value of the points. There are some questions - turns of phrase being a classic case in point - where it is impossible to quote chapter and verse. You know or you don't. You have a feeling for such things or you don't. How you can support your case is beyond me. Someone who offers a phrase you can pick up and run with as it stands deserves as many points as someone who quotes you screeds of google references, 9/10ths of which are likely to be beside the point (that word again!).

If the points system were scrapped, then all that would become academic. But I know full well that I'm talking to the wall.


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:42
English to Slovak
+ ...
Example of my reason for "Not for Points" question Apr 24, 2009

I have recently asked "Not for Points" question because I found Slovak translation of "Official Solicitor and Public Trustee" on the official EU website, which I considered to be ridiculous and wanted to discuss it with others. I didn't need it for my project, I wasn't in a hurry to meet the dealine, just wanted to discuss it with others and see whether we could come up with something better.
I could probably do it (or maybe was suppose to do it) in the language specific forum, but I had (and still have) the impression that nobody uses Slovak forum.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
English to Tamil
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All the more reason for giving points Apr 24, 2009

Yes, I am convinced that here you should have definitely offered points. You started a discussion here for your own knowledge and the answerers deserved the points. You had all the time in the world to analyze the answers and though no particular translation job was involved, as the beneficiary you owed the answerers this basic courtesy.

I am strict on one point. When I take something, then I have to give something in return. Others are not at my beck and call.

regards,
N. Raghavan

Rad Graban wrote:

I have recently asked "Not for Points" question because I found Slovak translation of "Official Solicitor and Public Trustee" on the official EU website, which I considered to be ridiculous and wanted to discuss it with others. I didn't need it for my project, I wasn't in a hurry to meet the dealine, just wanted to discuss it with others and see whether we could come up with something better.
I could probably do it (or maybe was suppose to do it) in the language specific forum, but I had (and still have) the impression that nobody uses Slovak forum.


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:42
English to Slovak
+ ...
For my own knowledge? Apr 24, 2009

Yes, I am convinced that here you should have definitely offered points. You started a discussion here for your own knowledge and the answerers deserved the points. You had all the time in the world to analyze the answers and though no particular translation job was involved, as the beneficiary you owed the answerers this basic courtesy.

I am strict on one point. When I take something, then I have to give something in return. Others are not at my beck and call.


I'm not 100% sure it was just for my knowledge. I started "discussion" open to everybody interested and believe that people who joined enjoyed it and benefited from it too. What's wrong with that? I personally find discussions connected with KudoZ questions (whether for points or not) very educational and appreciate them.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
English to Tamil
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I still feel that you should have offered points Apr 24, 2009

The discussion was after all started by you in the KudoZ format. So as an asker you have the option of giving KudoZ points. In that way more people would have participated at least for the Kudoz and Browniz points. Don't you think so?

And to tell the truth, you chose the KudoZ route as you did not set much store by the usual discussion fora in your language as you yourself mentioned.

Regards,
N. Raghavan



Rad Graban wrote:

Yes, I am convinced that here you should have definitely offered points. You started a discussion here for your own knowledge and the answerers deserved the points. You had all the time in the world to analyze the answers and though no particular translation job was involved, as the beneficiary you owed the answerers this basic courtesy.

I am strict on one point. When I take something, then I have to give something in return. Others are not at my beck and call.


I'm not 100% sure it was just for my knowledge. I started "discussion" open to everybody interested and believe that people who joined enjoyed it and benefited from it too. What's wrong with that? I personally find discussions connected with KudoZ questions (whether for points or not) very educational and appreciate them.


[Edited at 2009-04-24 12:59 GMT]


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