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Proz-bashing on FB and elsewhere
Thread poster: neilmac

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Explanation on a few points Apr 25, 2015

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

lets rogue agencies hide their intent behind an aura of "purchased" high Blue Board scores;


There's obviously no purchasing of Blue Board scores (what a silly idea!), but negative entries face more restrictions than positive ones (subject, conditions etc.), if only because nobody's likely going to challenge a positive comment and request that it be vetted for compliance with the rules.

Also, Proz may not know this, but BlueBoard outsourcers make use of gagging clauses in their standard contracts. I've seen that on my own eyes. They make translators sign contracts that contain obligations not to criticize the company online. Obviously, they don't contractually outlaw positive WWAs. Hence the lack of balance, and multiplication of only positive scores in the hundreds.


Some rogue clients (I don't think this post would remain here if I named them) have planned their cash flow based on policies devised to significantly extend their payment terms.

An example would be, "You (translator) should send us one invoice for all jobs completed, delivered, and accepted within a certain month on the first business day of the ensuing month. We pay translators on the last business day of the following month."

In practice...
- Jobs delivered any time in February.
- Invoice issued on March 1st.
- Payment on April 30th.

In this meantime, they may offer any translator earlier payment in exchange for an earlier WWA = 5. The gagging clause ensures that the WWA entry will be either 5 or none.

It is easy to spot this on the Blue Board. Look for agencies having over 100 BB entries. Then look for series of entries on the same week, preceded and followed by a somewhat long no-entry period. The WWA-raising "campaigns" will be obvious.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
Proz.com probably can't do anything about that, but at the same time the BlueBoard does continue to exist as a not quite reliable tool for evaluating large and powerful outsourcers, i.e. not really what it promises to be.


The problem with the Proz Blue Board lies in its subjectivity, "Would you work for this outsourcer again?" I guess ANY translator would work for ANY client who paid them cash in advance.

I've suggested over and over again to use the TC BB-equivalent as a benchmark, and gradually shift the BB concept to objective, factual questions, leaving no room for mincing words.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
misleads translators into wrong solutions by letting bad answers be chosen on Kudoz;


Proz doesn't directly do that, but reliance on the asker for the picking — by his or her own admission the party least qualified to judge — has its inherent flaws. Also community votes can go bad, as evidenced e.g. by contest results.


Of course Proz doesn't do that, however it is a frequent accusation I see, not on Facebook, but elsewhere.

One translator I know, though the incidents took place long ago, after having (in his opinion - I won't go into that) proven beyond any reasonable doubt that an answer selected on Kudoz was blatantly misleading, had his arguments deleted. What triggered his mud-slinging campaign at Proz was the discovery that the moderator who deleted his messages and the Prozian who suggested the wrong-but-selected answer were long-time buddies.

Okay, this is ONE occasional and possibly minor incident, but ever since that translator has been treating anything Proz-related with obstreperous contempt (e.g. "You are never short of mistranslation examples on the Proz Kudoz", things like this). Multiply this by the likely number of people involved in similar small incidents, and bad-mouthing will gradually gain volume.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:However the unsuccessful translator who:
failed (...) ... will experience soothing relief as soon as they can blame Proz entirely for their failure.


Compensational blame and scapegoating exists, but it ain't as simple as that. 'Bashing' can't be reduced to unsuccessful translators needing to vent.


It may be some mild type of occupational (psychological) "disease", possibly caused by working alone most of the time, however freelance translators DO have a higher urge to vent their frustrations. Evidence of that is the number of threads involving rants on low rates. If these exist, of course, it is because someone is accepting them as pay for delivering work that is acceptable to a certain extent.

So anyone saying "cast the first stone if you have never taken a job at rates you'd normally despise" can easily compromise the rationale underlying these rants. In search for a new scapegoat, they find Proz, and bash it on Facebook.

Other colleagues' inputs here show that such bashing hasn't driven significant changes to Proz. Nevertheless it provided disgruntled translators a venting ritual in their trade.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
Charlie Bavington wrote:

But to get to the main point, perhaps. One reason people criticise this website elsewhere is simply that it's pretty difficult to criticise proz on proz itself. Again, a decision site management is perfectly entitled to make. But I do know that some fairly draconian moderation decisions have driven many people away (sometimes to leave, sometimes just to keep their own counsel).


I have to agree. Moderation could use sensitivity training, along with a bit more respect for paying users (not only re: moderation). I was put on pre-moderation for like a month... I got no private message or anything, they just switched it on like that. I have previously encountered heavy-handed and not quite reasonable moderation too...


AFAIK moderation is voluntary, unpaid work.

I forgot the name of the movie, however I'll never forget this dialog:
"Hey, look what that guy is doing! You must get rid of him, fire him!"
"I can't fire him, he's a volunteer."
"And how much do you pay a 'volunteer'?"
"Nothing! That's why he is a volunteer."
"Nothing? That's exactly how much his work is worth!"

Perhaps a staff member should be made accountable for responsible volunteering among moderators, of course providing them with adequate training. Some moderators naturally get power-happy, and their self-awareness looks the other way when they implement highhanded and/or biased actions.

Yes, I've been an occasional victim of power abuse on Proz too, however my experience in HR led me to understand immediately that it was merely a power-happy individual's expression, and not Proz's tenets being enforced.


Jared Tabor wrote:
Criticism of ProZ.com on ProZ.com is not a problem. Constructive criticism of ProZ.com is welcome and appreciated, though not all of it gets implemented

Those who have constructive criticism or want to propose changes can reach site staff directly with ease, and do.


Fiona Peterson wrote:

I too find ProZ bashing extremely annoying, and I'm not quite sure what drives it, maybe the simple reason that Christine mentioned - anger that ProZ is not the "magic bullet" some hoped it would be in terms of generating work.

Building a freelance career and client base is hard work, and perhaps some are simply frustrated that a paid ProZ membership does not equate to a magic wand.


Maybe Proz WAS once a magic bullet, otherwise it wouldn't have grown far beyond its founder's wildest dreams.

However things change, especially when our planet has communication-wise "shrunk" so much and so fast in the past few years.

Organizational change is not a game for kids, evidence of this being the number of gurus and consultants (yours truly formerly included) that thrive on it.

To illustrate, General Motors was very successful in Brazil for decades, manufacturing and selling mostly Opel models under the Chevrolet brand. As Japanese, Korean, and French manufacturers entered the market, their business began to decline sharply. A couple of years ago, they made a radical decision: GMB discontinued all their previously successful Opel models, and replaced them with a comprehensive line of both American and locally-designed models. Now they are gradually gradually recouping share, however in a market divided among a considerably larger number of brands.

It takes lots of courage and determination, but when - or before - the number of Proz-bashers on FB gets dangerously close to the number of Proz paying members, it will be time for a radical redesign.

Whether Proz leaders will follow the GM Brazil lead or take the Studebaker way, it's up to them. After all, Proz is a business, no matter how much any particular translator loves it or hates it.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:30
English to Polish
+ ...
Could be fixed easily Apr 25, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:

Tim Drayton wrote:
I once made a post including the clause: "..., who is presumably fluent and literate in German, ..." and was told to delete the word 'presumably' because I was supposedly implying that this person wasn't fluent and literate in German and, thus, insulting them.

Hah, interesting but not surprising. I think the evidence increasingly points to moderators who have difficulty reading nuance or, as in this case, read too much into nuance.

Dan


That could be fixed easily be requiring moderators to ask a native speaker before reacting to nuance and in any case get a second opinion (or third, to enable a 2-1 vote) behind the scenes. There should normally be enough staff members/volunteer moderators available online at any given time to make this possible.

Samuel Murray wrote:

Some of the rules do seem un-community-like. (...) The probibition to speak publically about moderator decisions is another problematic rule that serves no purpose other than to protect moderators' feelings (and to prevent them from learning to become better moderators).



I'm saying this as one of the former moderators of a translation forum that no longer exists in the shape it had at the time, and which didn't have that kind of rule in place. While I agree that staff feelings should as a rule not be given too much protection (there are internal ways of dealing with that kind of thing, e.g. reassigning matters to a colleague, asking a different moderator to react if you think you're being insulted or slandered, taking a break, getting some emotional support from your colleagues etc.), or in any case not as much protection as the feelings of customers (forget more than theirs), still, the ban on commenting on moderators' decisions in public is a popular rule, used on many boards and often for good reason, although it does tend to be misused by eventually making moderators believe that they are The Chosen Who Must Not Be Questioned (not really the case on Proz.com, however). Still, without that kind of rule in place, a forum can quickly degenerate into a forum about the moderators and how bad they are. This may be somewhat truer with regard to translators than most other audiences, perhaps because of pressures and tensions in our line of work, often frustration. (Translators do tend to display a lot less maturity in discussions than could be expected on the basis of their education, professional status, nature of their work etc.)

It's my belief that there should rather be a special subforum for users to discuss moderation issues with moderators' participation — and with no insults allowed but without a rule protecting any staff member's or moderator's Exalted Person from criticism — but discussion of issues relating to a particular moderator intervention should be kept out of the thread in which such an intervention has been made. Or else everything will go downhill. Nor should threads discussing moderation be kept in normal forums. As much as they should not be deleted and pretended to never have existed.



[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:12 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:30
Member (2004)
English to Italian
once... Apr 25, 2015

I had a moderator asking me if what I wrote meant what she thought it meant... I said "yes" and she deleted the post...

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Catch 22 Apr 25, 2015

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

I had a moderator asking me if what I wrote meant what she thought it meant... I said "yes" and she deleted the post...


Had you answered "no", she'd ask you to rephrase it, so she'd have grounds to delete it.


[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:13 GMT]


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:30
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Annoying indeed: Apr 25, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Some moderators naturally get power-happy, and their self-awareness looks the other way when they implement highhanded and/or biased actions.


I can confirm this phenomenon even as a rather passive follower of the forum posts although not yet affected. But I wonder how that will be handled in the numerous Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, WhatsApp and what-else-you-have fora with all their minor kings and queens? Any experiences to share here?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Dan Apr 25, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:
Sure, it's a reductio ad absurdum, but that's the point: it's absurd to censor posts to the extent that the posts raised as examples by myself and Tim are removed.


You're right, that's ad absurdum. In real life, very few words trigger the caution, and even then it depends on how the words are used. That is why I said that this is a matter of personal judgement, and utter objectivity is impossible to implement.

ProZ's moderation is excessive and intrusive...


I agree, actually. I'd much rather have moderators simply change the words they don't like, than hide the post and an e-mail to the original author asking him to change it (often not telling him specifically what he must change or to what he must change it). For transparency, it should be visible to others if a moderator had edited a user's post. That would be far less "intrusive".


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Jacques Apr 25, 2015

Jacques DP wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
The probibition to speak publically about moderator decisions is another problematic rule that serves no purpose other than to protect moderators' feelings...

This is a necessary measure to avoid threads to be polluted by meta-talk.


That would be true if this prohibition applied only to posting comments about moderation in threads that are not devoted to discussing the actions of moderators. But on ProZ.com you can't even post a message or start a thread about this in a dedicated sub-section of the forums, where it wouldn't pollute the other threads.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:30
Member (2004)
English to Italian
well... Apr 25, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

I had a moderator asking me if what I wrote meant what she thought it meant... I said "yes" and she deleted the post...


Had you answered "no", she'd ask you to rephrase it, so she'd have grounds to delete it.


[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:13 GMT]


I could have been economical with the truth...


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Old stick Apr 25, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Ahoy there Samuel old stick...


Ahoy there Charlie you old goat...
(I've started the timer... let's see how long before a moderator drops by)


[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:39 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:30
English to Polish
+ ...
... Apr 25, 2015

Jacques DP wrote:

This is a necessary measure to avoid threads to be polluted by meta-talk.


Yeah, exactly.

When you are the one complaining, you feel it's very important and interesting to discuss moderation with the moderators in public.
But for the vast majority of people using the website, it's just noise.


Yup.

Also, without this rule, there can be no effective moderation. If you are free to discuss the moderation in the thread, then the moderator needs to effectively give up on putting order to the thread for the benefit of other users.


Again, exactly. However, keeping order should never be conflated with protecting personal or individual pride — as difficult as that is, where I've probably failed a couple of times in my own couple of stints as a moderator elsewhere.

The problem is... well, we'll discuss it below.

Charlie Bavington wrote:

From which I have learned a) that if people create a show, then they typically very much prefer to run it their way no matter what (a trait incidentally I'm sure I would show if I had the gumption to create anything, and which is more by way of an observation than a criticism), and b) that kicking against the founder's vision is usually a waste of time.


See. Internet admins and mods originated at least two decades ago, when Internet access was an elite feature in itself, the skills were rare, the resources probably even rarer, costs higher, and so on and so forth, as well as far less policing, less government oversight, less awareness of individual rights, well, law and order itself. Hence, moderators and admins began to 'rule' their communities a bit like warlords in Asia. I know, I was one. Well, not a warlord in Asia, but you get my point. It was 'just' (or 'not just', depending how you look at it) the atmosphere of the time. It still exists in 2015, although it's high time for it to change and remove vestiges of personality cult from people equipped with the proverbial 'ban hammer' (the power to exclude you from a community to which you've been contributing, to alter the text of your messages etc.). For the record, Proz.com does have a formal support system for bringing up such matters, and moderators generally tend to avoid preaching or even being too active. Even though a little more sensitivity could sure come in handy, it really isn't as bad compared to other places, including the way some of the Facebook groups are run, for example.

For the record, my impression is that people generally like to criticize authoriatarianism but almost every single person who ends up moderating something on the Internet ends up being at least somewhat arbitrary, just like everybody else before and after him — which nobody seems to realize.

Anyway, someone's vision does tend to be a problem in such situations, and while it's not bad to stick to one's vision, problem start when the vision becomes Something That Must Not Be Questioned. Or something the details of which won't change (because no) no matter they don't work out well. It's humanly difficult to not be defensive about one's own vision and to avoid being defensive and resentful and contrarian (at least to some extent) about suggestions of change coming from the outside (even where you'd normally be inclined to do just what they are suggesting).

Samuel Murray wrote:

I agree, actually. I'd much rather have moderators simply change the words they don't like, than hide the post and an e-mail to the original author asking him to change it (often not telling him specifically what he must change or to what he must change it). For transparency, it should be visible to others if a moderator had edited a user's post. That would be far less "intrusive".


Unmarked edits can be illegal (not just removing expletives or something, but false attribution of statements as a result of trying to tone them down etc.)

[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:29 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The legality of unmarked edits Apr 25, 2015

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
I'd much rather have moderators simply change the words they don't like... For transparency, it should be visible to others if a moderator had edited a user's post.

Unmarked edits can be illegal (not just removing expletives or something, but false attribution of statements as a result of trying to tone them down etc.)


I'm sure there are legal things to say about it, but I'm equally sure it must be possible in a forum to have a rule or mechanism that legally allows a moderator to edit a post of another member, if that member had consented to it. Although the legal side of this is an issue, it is not really interesting to me, and I would be more concerned with making the fact of the edit known (and also the nature of the edit).

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
That could be fixed easily be requiring moderators to ask a native speaker before reacting to nuance and in any case get a second opinion (or third, to enable a 2-1 vote) behind the scenes. There should normally be enough staff members/volunteer moderators available online at any given time to make this possible.


An excellent idea -- I'm not sure if they already have such a thing in place, but I would support such a feature if I was a moderator, i.e. whenever a post is problematic and the violation is not clear-cut, flag the post with a small message, which other moderators can see and respond to in a private channel, after which the moderator can make a final decision about it. And... the existence of such a feature should be made known to ordinary members who think the moderator acts unfairly.


[Edited at 2015-04-25 13:38 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:30
English to Polish
+ ...
... Apr 25, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Some rogue clients (I don't think this post would remain here if I named them) have planned their cash flow based on policies devised to significantly extend their payment terms.

An example would be, "You (translator) should send us one invoice for all jobs completed, delivered, and accepted within a certain month on the first business day of the ensuing month. We pay translators on the last business day of the following month."

In practice...
- Jobs delivered any time in February.
- Invoice issued on March 1st.
- Payment on April 30th.

In this meantime, they may offer any translator earlier payment in exchange for an earlier WWA = 5. The gagging clause ensures that the WWA entry will be either 5 or none.

It is easy to spot this on the Blue Board. Look for agencies having over 100 BB entries. Then look for series of entries on the same week, preceded and followed by a somewhat long no-entry period. The WWA-raising "campaigns" will be obvious.


Proz has to eat, which includes both membership fees and revenue from ads, but I believe principles should govern here and BB rules should explicitly forbid manipulation of entries, including gagging clauses and 'WWA raising campaigns'. After all, companies have to eat too, and being excluded from something as big as Proz.com isn't exactly conducive to filling your stomach (and your numbered Swiss account).

Just to be sure, BB rules + general signing-up rules could and should state something like this:

'By using these services you agree, warrant, certify etc. that you will not inhibit the freedom of your contractors (translators) to publish ratings on the BlueBoard and that any such clause may not and will not be enforced against a fellow Proz.com member or any other translator. Any violation of this rule will be treated as a serious matter and may result in you being banned from the services (no refund).'

The problem with the Proz Blue Board lies in its subjectivity, "Would you work for this outsourcer again?" I guess ANY translator would work for ANY client who paid them cash in advance.


I think the wording is an anti-lawsuit wording with lawyers involved. But what can you expect when somewhat unscrupulous large outsourcers are involved and Proz.com has to deal with the American court system?

I've suggested over and over again to use the TC BB-equivalent as a benchmark, and gradually shift the BB concept to objective, factual questions, leaving no room for mincing words.


Perhaps. Though then there would be pressure to enable such detailed evals for translators also, and that'd be bound to be more controversial and more pain in the side in general, often with outsourcer staff not being sufficiently qualified, forget objective enough, to make that kind of assessments. Nor do I think we would like to be rated for something like 'responsiveness' by agencies.

Of course Proz doesn't do that, however it is a frequent accusation I see, not on Facebook, but elsewhere.


Perhaps people exaggerate the nature, extent or meaning of inaction. It's hard for me to believe that they actually accuse Proz.com of actually promoting wrong answers, that'd be insane (as in really calling for a one-on-one with a counsellor).

One translator I know, though the incidents took place long ago, after having (in his opinion - I won't go into that) proven beyond any reasonable doubt that an answer selected on Kudoz was blatantly misleading, had his arguments deleted. What triggered his mud-slinging campaign at Proz was the discovery that the moderator who deleted his messages and the Prozian who suggested the wrong-but-selected answer were long-time buddies.


Perhaps no ill will was involved, rather a human mistake (if at all — since I can't know if the answer really was bad and really convincingly proved to be bad) but if that's the case, then Proz got it coming. Moderator 'recusal' rules are important to have. Anyway, looks like a single, isolated incident, doesn't it? And involving a community volunteer moderator (Kudoz moderator rather than general moderator at that), rather than staff member.

Okay, this is ONE occasional and possibly minor incident, but ever since that translator has been treating anything Proz-related with obstreperous contempt (e.g. "You are never short of mistranslation examples on the Proz Kudoz", things like this). Multiply this by the likely number of people involved in similar small incidents, and bad-mouthing will gradually gain volume.


Unfortunately. And that's really bad. On the other hand, Kudoz answers are widely used as a point of reference, having previously worked hard for and actually earned that kind of status, so something should actually be done to protect their 'purity' at least against blatantly wrong answers that someone takes the pain to disprove, in the interest of Proz.com community and Internet users (including a good number of not fully professional translators who won't check such answers properly).

It may be some mild type of occupational (psychological) "disease", possibly caused by working alone most of the time,


Few people are free of that, and I believe it rises to a moderate rather than mild level in some cases.

however freelance translators DO have a higher urge to vent their frustrations. Evidence of that is the number of threads involving rants on low rates. If these exist, of course, it is because someone is accepting them as pay for delivering work that is acceptable to a certain extent.


They, we, are venting our frustrations pretty much because there is little else we can do, except maybe those who are both particularly entrepreneurial and operating in favourable circumstances.

You can't really tell a translator to grin a bear it just because some of his colleagues are enablers in what agencies are doing. Or even because he or she also from time to time accepts such jobs because of the need to make a living (and no, it doesn't seem to be true that translation skill determines success and wages in our job line, it has more to do with business aptitude and circumstances).

Also, people's frustration with Proz.com is not necessarily based on their own allegedly being unable to find gainful employment through this portal. Rather, it often is frustration with the fact that agencies and even clients can massively turn to Proz.com to post a reverse auction where hundreds of desperate 'Dear Linguists' will jump at the 'exciting opportunity'. Thus, justifiably or not, their beef is that they see Proz.com as an enabler of such auctions that constitute unfair competition against normal translators, not as necessarily any sort of unkept promise made to themselves (of finding well-paying jobs). And that's a totally different matter.

For example, I certainly don't blame Proz.com for not literally carrying out whatever promises the marketing seems to convey, at least if you're will to read it in that kind of way. However, it's a valid question how the presence of a very accessible, very easy to use prive-driven marketplace affects us in terms of competition. The auctions undercut not only individual members who compete for the jobs but translators in general, along with our prospects of earning a living.

So anyone saying "cast the first stone if you have never taken a job at rates you'd normally despise" can easily compromise the rationale underlying these rants. In search for a new scapegoat, they find Proz, and bash it on Facebook.


Well, like I said above, it isn't that simple. Yes, one should be objective and not look to shift blame on others and away from oneself but rather always remain capable of a calm, cool, honest self-assessment. However, just because one has taken those jobs at times doesn't mean one should shut up and stop commenting on the situation forever (which is probably not what you're saying anyway, but just to make the point).

Other colleagues' inputs here show that such bashing hasn't driven significant changes to Proz. Nevertheless it provided disgruntled translators a venting ritual in their trade.


Unfortunately, that's quite possible. On the other hand, there is more merit to their vents than initially meets the eye, once you ponder the situation more deeply.

AFAIK moderation is voluntary, unpaid work.


A company using volunteer workforce doesn't make customers no longer customers.

Perhaps a staff member should be made accountable for responsible volunteering among moderators,


I was referring to moderation by staff members more than volunteers. I don't know about others, but my negative experience with moderation almost always involved a staff member and not a volunteer (one minor exception I could think about, probably not worth mentioning).

of course providing them with adequate training. Some moderators naturally get power-happy, and their self-awareness looks the other way when they implement highhanded and/or biased actions.


It's not a natural skill to be sure, and I'd cut people, especially volunteers, some slack. After all, like you said, they aren't doing it free of charge. However, procedures, support system and staff attitudes could use some help, as far as moderation goes.

Yes, I've been an occasional victim of power abuse on Proz too, however my experience in HR led me to understand immediately that it was merely a power-happy individual's expression, and not Proz's tenets being enforced.


That's probably always the case, even when a staff member is involved. Nonetheless, when too much is too much, one's just not so eager to continue to make that subtle distinction with unphased enthusiasm. In other words, it gets tiring after a while. Adopting a kinder approach and respecting the user a bit more would solve most of those problems, if not all.

It takes lots of courage and determination, but when - or before - the number of Proz-bashers on FB gets dangerously close to the number of Proz paying members, it will be time for a radical redesign.


Better before than after. And better to do it for oneself than because of critics (or bashers).

Whether Proz leaders will follow the GM Brazil lead or take the Studebaker way, it's up to them. After all, Proz is a business, no matter how much any particular translator loves it or hates it.


Sure, you can't expect Proz to be a charity working in translators' interest, but at the same time it's understandable when translators don't like competition in the form of cheap, quick and easy auctions at dumping prices — which was not meant to be that way but which nonetheless continues to be that way.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:30
English to Polish
+ ...
... Apr 25, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

I'm sure there are legal things to say about it, but I'm equally sure it must be possible in a forum to have a rule or mechanism that legally allows a moderator to edit a post of another member, if that member had consented to it. Although the legal side of this is an issue, it is not really interesting to me, and I would be more concerned with making the fact of the edit known (and also the nature of the edit).


That's my point exactly. Well, almost. The author of any edits should always be made known, to avoid putting words in people's mouths.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
That could be fixed easily be requiring moderators to ask a native speaker before reacting to nuance and in any case get a second opinion (or third, to enable a 2-1 vote) behind the scenes. There should normally be enough staff members/volunteer moderators available online at any given time to make this possible.


An excellent idea -- I'm not sure if they already have such a thing in place, but I would support such a feature if I was a moderator, i.e. whenever a post is problematic and the violation is not clear-cut, flag the post with a small message, which other moderators can see and respond to in a private channel, after which the moderator can make a final decision about it. And... the existence of such a feature should be made known to ordinary members who think the moderator acts unfairly.


Thank you. Just one thing to add — there is no need really to preserve any special 'ownership' rights of the first moderator who saw it. Generally, on the Internet, moderators tend to 'own' the violations they spotted, but I think that's at least a bit unhealthy, due to attitudes that may develop as a result (temptation to assert individual power, competition with other rules keepers etc.).


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 20:30
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Most helpful KudoZ answers are selected by the asker Apr 25, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
misleads translators into wrong solutions by letting bad answers be chosen on Kudoz;


Proz doesn't directly do that, but reliance on the asker for the picking — by his or her own admission the party least qualified to judge — has its inherent flaws. Also community votes can go bad, as evidenced e.g. by contest results.


Of course Proz doesn't do that, however it is a frequent accusation I see, not on Facebook, but elsewhere.

One translator I know, though the incidents took place long ago, after having (in his opinion - I won't go into that) proven beyond any reasonable doubt that an answer selected on Kudoz was blatantly misleading, had his arguments deleted. What triggered his mud-slinging campaign at Proz was the discovery that the moderator who deleted his messages and the Prozian who suggested the wrong-but-selected answer were long-time buddies.

Okay, this is ONE occasional and possibly minor incident, but ever since that translator has been treating anything Proz-related with obstreperous contempt (e.g. "You are never short of mistranslation examples on the Proz Kudoz", things like this). Multiply this by the likely number of people involved in similar small incidents, and bad-mouthing will gradually gain volume.


¡Thanks for a very interesting discussion!

As stated in the FAQa, KudoZ is a community-based terminology network where ProZ.com users offer each other, and guests, free assistance in translating tough terms. The question is posted by someone in need of term help, who should then select the "most helpful" among the answers received. The emphasis is on helping the asker-- the fact that an archive of previously posted terms with suggested translations has been built is a planned, yet peripheral, benefit.

Also, in point 6 of the ProZ.com guiding principles you will find:
    6. The person with the need sets the parameters. Whether it be KudoZ, the forums or the jobs system, the person who has the need is given options for setting parameters and directing the flow of an exchange. For example, KudoZ askers are given the option of making a question for-points or not, of directing the question to people who meet certain criteria, etc. The feeling is that this approach, which may be the one most likely to ensure that needs are met, is appropriate for our collaborative community and service industry.


This means that the askers have the right to select the answer they find most herpful, and nobody else (not even staff members) can question that choice. This is set in KudoZ rule 3.7
    Commentary on askers or answerers, and their postings or decisions to post, is not allowed. Comments or insinuations concerning an answerer's or asker's experience or profile, his/her decision to post a certain question or answer, grade or close a question in a certain way, make a certain glossary entry, etc., are strictly prohibited (whether posted publicly, made directly to the person in question, or made to another site user).


So, if the objective for some KudoZ comment was to show that the asker had selected a wrong answer, it was against the rule and it was OK to hide it. It is hard to judge without knowing the specifics of the case in point, but whenever you suspect improper behavior, even from staff or moderators, you should submit a support request.

Kind regards,
Enrique


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:30
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Constructive criticism Apr 25, 2015

I suggest the job board system needs to be completely revamped.

1. Get rid of posters dictating the terms (rates, posting language - we don't need to read "quote your "best" rate, "only so and so need to "apply," ....)

2.Create a new submission form for posters that let's them state what they need in respectful and realistic terms. They are actually the applicants, the "clients" looking for service providers, and the more respectful a post is, the more likely it seems t
... See more
I suggest the job board system needs to be completely revamped.

1. Get rid of posters dictating the terms (rates, posting language - we don't need to read "quote your "best" rate, "only so and so need to "apply," ....)

2.Create a new submission form for posters that let's them state what they need in respectful and realistic terms. They are actually the applicants, the "clients" looking for service providers, and the more respectful a post is, the more likely it seems to me that professionals will answer it and suggest a realistic and fair rate and provide a professional service - as one could expect from a person featured on a portal that calls itself "Proz.com.".

3.
Review and change the guidelines for Certified Pro membership - isn't it supposed to reflect adhering to best business practices?

If this site calls itself "Proz.com," it makes no sense to have a "Certified Pro" outsourcer post translation jobs for USD .04/word (not just German to English) and expects them to be done by "experts,"or asks for your "best" (= a very very low)) rate or expects unrealistic deadlines. How is that professional? What does that say about everyone else who carries that badge and either posts or accepts such "jobs"?

4. Create a panel consisting of seasoned translators and Proz.com staff who work together to find solutions for these problems.

5 Or you could find a new name for your translation portal.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike all that Proz.com offers. I like the forums - and I appreciate to be able to contribute to this discussion - and other things. But the way this site nowadays seems (to me!) to be driven by advertising and low-ball offers isn't enticing me (currently) to become a member again.

All is certainly not well here. It's not my intention to bash ... but I understand how others can feel pretty strongly about some issues and simply vent their anger somewhere else.
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