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Proz-bashing on FB and elsewhere
Thread poster: neilmac

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:25
English to Polish
+ ...
Well put Apr 30, 2015

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

The reason I would criticise ("bash", if you like) Proz, or any other site for that matter, is that it does nothing to reign in people who frequently ask questions assuming that it's okay to have their colleagues spending their valuable time doing the research rather than doing it themselves. Some of them even have the nerve to say "I haven't got time to look into this now". This applies to forums or terminology questions. Every site has their serial askers and since moderation does not allow us to point this out, staff shouldn't be surprised that users eventually get fed-up. Unfortunately the only response we ever hear is "If you don't like it then leave", which does little to engender the community spirit they claim they want to build.


I basically agree with everything Lisa says there. Community spirit would include helpfulness from answerers but also basic respect and professional commitment from askers — except for the occasional self-professed non-professional asker, who probably tends to get a lot of slack.

Regarding rules and moderation, there's just no magic there, just like legislation enacted by parliaments, governments etc. — it can't bend the proverbial laws of physics. You can't eliminate energy, you can only make it go find a different outlet. If you put too much in a bottle, it will burst. Same way, rules that are bad will become ignored and fall into desuetude (for example the bulk of unreasonable KudoZ rules are ignored by PLEN answerers and moderators), outlawed criticism will find a different place to voice itself and be heard, users subjected to rules that are too many or too restrictive or too arbitrary will eventually become disappointed and start talking about it.

In short, there is always price to pay, even where solving a problem by 'legislation' — enacting a bunch of rules never really fully solves anything.

Finally, communities pretty much by definition are not built on 'love it or leave it'. Kinda like marriage, communities require mutual adaptation, making the match isn't the end of it but only beginning.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Kudoz rules Apr 30, 2015

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to
... See more
I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.
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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
The list has been there for a while already Apr 30, 2015

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

So may be, we from the users side, should put together a comprehensive list of the changes that we would like to see so that proz.com has a checklist to refer to when it gets down to redesigning the site. If we miss this opportunity, it would be a long while before another one crops up.


On the right to the Proz menu bar there is a button "Ideas".

Click on it, and go there. You'll see the list, crowd-prioritized by votes.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I rather like keeping it as a guideline, but I see your point Apr 30, 2015

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.

-- my emphasis.
I prefer keeping it as a guideline.
When other resources have been exhausted is hard to define these days.

Time is also a resource, and if someone has made a reasonable effort to find a term, I look mildly on anyone who just has not gone all the way.
Adding the slightly more difficult terms to the glossary, often with discussions, enhances it, even if you can find more about the terms elsewhere.

How many resources, dictionaries etc. should one be obliged to own or subscribe to?

And given the general dissatisfaction with the way some rules are enforced, think of the wrangles it might generate if someone had to define when other resources actually had been exhausted...

The second half of the question, listing where the asker already has searched, should also be emphasised, but again is hard to enforce without a lot of wrangling.

However, I work in a smallish language pair where KudoZ functions more or less as intended, and as far as I can see this guideline is observed to a large extent anyway.
I do appreciate that in some of the busier language pairs, it can be very annoying when it is constantly flouted.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:25
French to English
Enforceability? Apr 30, 2015

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used... (snip)

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.


At first sight, I'd agree, but then, how to you enforce it? First, even if something is a piece of cake to find for everyone else, it's hard to prove someone hasn't looked all over the place first and just failed to find it for some reason. Obviously a repeated pattern of behaviour would indicate, er, laziness, say, but it seems each question has to be taken on its own merits (I can kinda see that point of view, in truth).

And then, even if you could prove someone hadn't looked, or indeed if you took the pattern of behaviour and decided they probably persistently hadn't looked very hard, what would you do? Well, OK, I know what I'd do - mark the profile as "banned" (so people can still find it, but see the state of affairs and act accordingly) and ban the user - but do you think proz would kick people off for it? Given they love the kudoz traffic? I wish they would, but they won't.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not enforceable Apr 30, 2015

But the requirement to demonstrate some modicum of effort might rein in some of the abuse. At the moment all that is required to post a question is a series of: "pls see below thanks".

I'm not arguing because I think anyone is paying the slightest bit of attention, just pointing out yet another inconsistency in their enforcement of rules.



[Edited at 2015-04-30 11:01 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:25
French to English
Au contraire ! Apr 30, 2015

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I'm not arguing because I think anyone is paying the slightest bit of attention,


They are, just not the way we'd like them to - go on, call me an idiot for spouting arse gravy about enforceability and we'll see


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:25
English to Polish
+ ...
... Apr 30, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

I prefer keeping it as a guideline.
When other resources have been exhausted is hard to define these days.


Yes, and being allowed to use an online question asking platform only after visiting a couple of physical libraries would be a bit excessive. I don't mind people asking after exhausting online sources that are accessible free of charge, or not coming up with particularly clever and complex search queries for Google.

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

But the requirement to demonstrate some modicum of effort might reign in some of the abuse.


True that.

I sometimes vote non-pro. While KudoZ points are nice, I'd feel bad for increasing my ranking through enabling such type of lazy asking.

[Edited at 2015-04-30 11:02 GMT]


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Teeeacher!! Apr 30, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I'm not arguing because I think anyone is paying the slightest bit of attention,


They are, just not the way we'd like them to - go on, call me an idiot for spouting arse gravy about enforceability and we'll see


Charlie said a rude word!


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
That used to be a rule-protection of Askers is now paramount or so it seems Apr 30, 2015

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.


2.1 used to be a rule but has become a toothless guideline. Askers as a group seem to be regarded as a sort of 'golden goose' and the rules have been either deleted or changed to protect them.

Other former rules that have simply disappeared or become unenforceable guidelines:

2. Asking KudoZ questions

2.4 - In general, askers should refrain from posting a large number of questions in a short period of time. Bear in mind that a question may be sent to several thousand people, and use your judgment.
2.3 - Sufficient context must be provided with each question. When there is no context, indicate the subject area and type of document. It can be helpful to enter entire sentences or even paragraphs where the term(s) in question occur. Appropriate general and detailed fields indicating the context must be chosen from the dropdown menus. Avoid choosing "Other" when there is a more appropriate field.
2.6 - Expressions such as 'see below', 'in this context', etc., must not be entered in the form boxes intended for the term in question, or its proposed translations. Entering such expressions interferes with the expected display of the KudoZ viewing page, alerts, digests and glossary entries. The use of quotes, unnecessary capitalization, question marks, and anything else that would not be found in a dictionary, should be avoided.

4. Answering KudoZ questions

4.1 - Answerers should read KudoZ questions carefully before answering. When answering, choose the confidence level that best reflects yours. Guessing should be avoided.
4.2 If you answer KudoZ questions, be prepared for colleagues to comment both positively and negatively on your terminology. Do not take it personally.
4.5 - Avoid answering in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.

5. Peer Comments

5.2 - Backing up peer comments with references is encouraged.
5.5 - Avoid entering peer comments in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.
5.6 - Be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from peers.

Imo, those of us who started out on Proz before the rules and guidelines were changed to what they now are and before moderators were reduced to police work understandably have a harder time than newer members in adjusting to and coping with the site as it now is.


 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:25
German to English
The KudoZ input/output machine Apr 30, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used... (snip)

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.


At first sight, I'd agree, but then, how to you enforce it? First, even if something is a piece of cake to find for everyone else, it's hard to prove someone hasn't looked all over the place first and just failed to find it for some reason. Obviously a repeated pattern of behaviour would indicate, er, laziness, say, but it seems each question has to be taken on its own merits (I can kinda see that point of view, in truth).



In the early days pro translators were attracted to KudoZ in their language pairs and started bonding, learning from each other, helping each other, critiquing each other. They soon formed communities with the aid of pro-active linguist moderators, and the community spirit drove improvements accomplished over time: better rules about asking and answering questions formulated by linguists, which can no longer be mentioned. When cowboys (askers who simply refused to provide context week after week and answerers who offered machine translations) showed up, the community let them know how they felt about it and the moderators took action because they wanted to preserve a strong community of pro translators who were rightly offended to see their communities rudely invaded.

Then, in my opinion, the site decided to take out as much of the human element as possible. Like machine translation, it seems that machine KudoZ is the dream of the future. A fully automated system that can be operated by anybody. Moderators can be easily trained by a staff member who has never asked or answered a KudoZ question and by computer programmers. Moderators don’t need to master the target languages they moderate because moderators aren’t “linguistic authorities”. They are rules enforcers.

But pro translators don’t want to ignore questions posted in their communities. They want to help newbies improve their performance and thus get the help we all want to give them.

Under the new rules-governed system, moderators have little more authority than members. They can only apply the rules, not common sense or even linguistic training. It’s not a community any more, it’s an input/output machine.



[Edited at 2015-04-30 12:29 GMT]


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:25
German to English
Who cares if it's enforceable? Apr 30, 2015

Even if it's not enforceable, the rule would make it possible to reply in the comment box: "I have requested that moderators delete your question as it is in violation of rule [or guideline] 2.1 and you have not exhausted other resources, such as the KudoZ archives, dictionaries, search engines, etc. I recommend that other translators not respond to this question, because it and their responses will soon be blocked soon anyway."

That may not be quite as satisfying as simply calling
... See more
Even if it's not enforceable, the rule would make it possible to reply in the comment box: "I have requested that moderators delete your question as it is in violation of rule [or guideline] 2.1 and you have not exhausted other resources, such as the KudoZ archives, dictionaries, search engines, etc. I recommend that other translators not respond to this question, because it and their responses will soon be blocked soon anyway."

That may not be quite as satisfying as simply calling the asker a §$%&ing &%!* for translating from their D-language into their C-language in a field they have not listed as an area of expertise and in which they obviously have no knowledge and that they are apparently even incapable of carrying out a Google search involving anything more than a combination of two words.

Who cares if the question actually gets deleted?
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Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:25
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Current rules are not new Apr 30, 2015

writeaway wrote:

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:

I should add that while moderators seem quite keen to apply draconian rules to those questioning time-wasters, they never seem to apply the first item on the list of Kudoz rules:

2.1 (Guideline): "Help" KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.

I suggest deleting "guideline" from this, making it a rule and displaying it in a prominent position.


2.1 used to be a rule but has become a toothless guideline. Askers as a group seem to be regarded as a sort of 'golden goose' and the rules have been either deleted or changed to protect them.

Other former rules that have simply disappeared or become unenforceable guidelines:

2. Asking KudoZ questions

2.4 - In general, askers should refrain from posting a large number of questions in a short period of time. Bear in mind that a question may be sent to several thousand people, and use your judgment.
2.3 - Sufficient context must be provided with each question. When there is no context, indicate the subject area and type of document. It can be helpful to enter entire sentences or even paragraphs where the term(s) in question occur. Appropriate general and detailed fields indicating the context must be chosen from the dropdown menus. Avoid choosing "Other" when there is a more appropriate field.
2.6 - Expressions such as 'see below', 'in this context', etc., must not be entered in the form boxes intended for the term in question, or its proposed translations. Entering such expressions interferes with the expected display of the KudoZ viewing page, alerts, digests and glossary entries. The use of quotes, unnecessary capitalization, question marks, and anything else that would not be found in a dictionary, should be avoided.

4. Answering KudoZ questions

4.1 - Answerers should read KudoZ questions carefully before answering. When answering, choose the confidence level that best reflects yours. Guessing should be avoided.
4.2 If you answer KudoZ questions, be prepared for colleagues to comment both positively and negatively on your terminology. Do not take it personally.
4.5 - Avoid answering in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.

5. Peer Comments

5.2 - Backing up peer comments with references is encouraged.
5.5 - Avoid entering peer comments in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.
5.6 - Be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from peers.

Imo, those of us who started out on Proz before the rules and guidelines were changed to what they now are and before moderators were reduced to police work understandably have a harder time than newer members in adjusting to and coping with the site as it now is.


Hi writeaway,
It is correct that KudoZ (and other) rules were modified at some point in time, but it may be worth mentioning that they have been in the current form (with minor modifications and additions) since mid 2006.
Regards,
Enrique


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:25
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Very less KudoZ traffic Apr 30, 2015

Because in the past month I observe a decreasing KudoZ traffic (at least in my combinations), I wonder what are the advantages of other now existing translator help boards in Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Knuddels etc? As in real life, it nowadays seems that everything MUST be better which exists beyond more or less proven systems. Do I miss something? Who is the last to switch off the light here? I hope not me!

[Bearbeitet am 2015-05-01 06:35 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:25
French to English
That IS new for the old skool Apr 30, 2015

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

It is correct that KudoZ (and other) rules were modified at some point in time, but it may be worth mentioning that they have been in the current form (with minor modifications and additions) since mid 2006.


The current version of the rules is not recent, perhaps, but is nonetheless new, in comparison to the old


 
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