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Does publicizing a freeware tool break site rules?
Thread poster: Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
Oct 8, 2008

Afternoon ProZ users,
as some of you may know I developed a freeware tool for translators some time back, which I will not name on this occasion in order to be sure not to break site rules.
Since the interface of my tool has been localized by unpaid volunteers into several languages, I thought it might be nice to publicize its existence on the relevant "non-English" forums, where it seems it has never been mentioned before.
On Sunday I posted a message to one of these forums, which I will not mention so that the moderator does not feel compelled to reply to this post.

A couple of hours later, I was very surprised to receive a message telling me that my "unauthorized commercial solicitation" had been removed since "it was not in line with site rule:
http://www.proz.com/siterules/general/3#3"> http://www.proz.com/siterules/general/3#3. The same message informed me that "paid advertising is available from ProZ.com in designated areas of the site", which is clearly out of the question for a freeware product with zero advertising budget.

On Monday morning, I wrote to the moderator pointing out that my tool was freeware and asking them to reconsider their decision. I have so far received no reply.

My questions to forum readers are:
1) do you agree with the moderator's interpretation of the rule?
2) If so, don't you think the rule ought to be changed to allow the existence of freeware tools to be publicized?

Thanks in advance for your replies
Mike


[Edited at 2008-10-08 13:10]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
Is it always going to be freeware Oct 8, 2008

... or are you planning to impose a charge at some later stage?

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Herbert Eppel  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:52
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Please allow IWS to be publicised on ProZ! Oct 8, 2008

Michael Farrell wrote:
My questions to forum readers are:
1) do you agree with the moderator's interpretation of the rule?
2) If so, don't you think the rule ought to be changed to allow the existence of freeware tools to publicized?
Thanks in advance for your replies
Mike


Hi Mike,

My answer for Q1 is "Definitely not!"
My answer for Q1 was negative, but I'll answer Q2 anyway: "Definitely, especially for indispensable tools such as IWS"

Best wishes
Herbert Eppel
www.HETranslation.co.uk


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Notified staff Oct 8, 2008

Hi Michael,

I have notified the ProZ staff about this, so let's see what point of view they are coming up with. Personally, I see no harm in promoting useful freeware, on the contrary, but with a moderator's hat on, things can be different.

Best,
Wolfgang


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Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
No plans to charge Oct 8, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

... or are you planning to impose a charge at some later stage?


The freeware in question is a compiled AutoHotkey macro. AutoHotkey is open source. Although I remember reading somewhere that the author of AutoHotkey says macros written in AutoHotkey code can be sold, I personally feel a little uneasy about selling something based on other people's unpaid work.

The answer to your question is I currently have no intention to charge for it and I don't think I ever will.

Regards
Mike


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Fernando Campos Leza  Identity Verified
Spain
Portuguese to Spanish
+ ...
This software is free and specially useful for translators! Oct 8, 2008

I would say that the moderator has not understood that this is freeware.

I cannot think of a forum for translators not allowing information about freeware for translators to be published. If they definitely don't allow that publication, they really need some more developped comercial logic, I think.

Fernando Campos Leza


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Could be a ProZ.com policy on selfpromotion? Oct 8, 2008

Michael Farrell wrote:
A couple of hours later, I was very surprised to receive a message telling me that my "unauthorized commercial solicitation" had been removed since "it was not in line with site rule...


I have also previously posted information about tools that I had created, and they were removed (but without any mail telling me why). In one case I remember a user asked if a tool exists that can do X, and after no-one came up with a real solution, I wrote such a tool, put it on my web site, and posted a reply. My reply was removed by a moderator, presumably because it counts as "selfpromotion". My tool was both GPL and freeware, so budget and proprietariness obviously counts for nothing.

But there is no consistency in applying that rule. Just recently someone wrote a tool that can calculate rates, posted a message about it, and got many replies of thanks, and not the post nor any of its replies were removed by the moderators.

My questions to forum readers are:
1) do you agree with the moderator's interpretation of the rule?


I don't have enough facts to say yes or no. It may be that something in the moderator's mind was triggered by the way you wrote the post.

2) If so, don't you think the rule ought to be changed to allow the existence of freeware tools to be publicized?


Not necessarily. Freeware tools can detract from paid tools whose developers pay money to advertise on ProZ.com. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Still, I think many translators have tool-creation skills and there should be a forum where translators can discuss such tools (created by themselves or others), with topics about how to improve tools, topics that contain wishlists, topics where users announce their own tools (or tools in whose development they are actively involved in), etc. What would you think of such a subforum?


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Jon Peck  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
English
Description was lacking so it did read like an advertisement Oct 8, 2008

Mike,

I've reviewed both your website and your post. To answer your question, announcing and discussing (one thread) a freeware tool that you wrote is fine. However, I see why the moderator removed your initial post; it did not say it was freeware and it did sound like an advertisement.

Therefore, it's my opinion that you should repost about your tool. However, I'd word it so it's a description of what the tool is. Something like - "IntelliWebSearch - Freeware Windows terminology research tool", then a factual description of its features and capabilities. You need to describe your creation to colleagues in a neutral manner, not sell it to them. There is a line between describing and advertising; do not cross it. Feel free to contact me with a preview of the post and I will review it.

I would recommend detailing the license on your website when you get a chance; I don't see it. It's implied that it's free, but is it closed source? Open source? BSD? Something to consider.

I will send a message to the moderator who vetted your initial post with this clarification.

Best regards,
Jon Peck
ProZ.com Site Staff


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Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 8, 2008


However, I see why the moderator removed your initial post; it did not say it was freeware and it did sound like an advertisement.


Yes, you are right. I stupidly forget to mention it was freeware in my post, which is why I wrote to the moderator. However a quick visit to the site (the link was in the post) would have cleared that up.


Therefore, it's my opinion that you should repost about your tool. However, I'd word it so it's a description of what the tool is.


I wrote it in a non-working language. I'd have to recruit some help to write something more complicated


I would recommend detailing the license on your website when you get a chance; I don't see it. It's implied that it's free, but is it closed source? Open source? BSD? Something to consider.


Point taken. Thanks for the suggestion. When I get a moment, I'll put the license agreement up so it can be read before downloading.

Regards
Mike


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
site rules Oct 8, 2008

Hi Michael,
I have vetted your posts about this application in the past in the Translator Resources forum, I know it is freeware and I appreciate your work on it and your letting us know about it.
Having said that, I also saw your recent posting that was deleted and I have to say that I agree with the moderator's action. In addition to what Jon already wrote (which referred to that one posting), we should also look at the bigger picture, i.e. all of your recent postings about this tool. In the last week I see postings announcing this application in 4 different forums. This could easily be considered self-promotion, at least in my eyes. Also, please keep in mind another rule: that we cannot post the same thing more than once. You can reach a large audience by posting in Translator Resources, as you have done in the past, making sure you follow Jon's advice.

Maria


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Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Is crossposting in different languages really crossposting? Oct 8, 2008

Maria Karra wrote:
In the last week I see postings announcing this application in 4 different forums.


In 4 different languages, including the one that didn't make it.

As I said in the first post in this thread, I would like to reach 'non-English-speaking' colleagues who may not be aware of a tool that speaks one of their languages because they do not read the English language forums.

I'm perfectly willing to dilute the posts over time, if that helps, but I would like to be able to crosspost multilingually.

Regards
Mike




[Edited at 2008-10-08 15:08]


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Jon Peck  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
English
Difference between cross-posting and repeating a hard sell Oct 8, 2008

Michael Farrell wrote:

Maria Karra wrote:
In the last week I see postings announcing this application in 4 different forums.


In 4 different languages, including the one that didn't make it.

As I said in the first post in this thread, I would like to reach 'non-English-speaking' colleagues who may not be aware of a tool that speaks one of their languages because they do not read the English laguage forums.

I'm perfectly willing to dilute the posts over time, if that helps, but I would like to be able to crosspost multilingually.

Regards
Mike
Mike,

The issue is the way the information was presented, not the language that it was presented in. If you present your software in a neutral, factual manner, there won't be any question about your intentions.

Best regards,
Jon


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
On crossposting Oct 8, 2008

Michael Farrell wrote:
I'm perfectly willing to dilute the posts over time, if that helps, but I would like to be able to crosspost multilingually.


I'm not staff, so I only give my opinion. In my opinion, posting in a forum means initiating a conversation or a discussion. So you should only post in a forum if you are capable of having a discussion there. Your profile shows Italian and English as the languages you are capable of conversing in. Would you be able to hold and keep upt with an intelligent discussion in the other languages you posted?


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Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
L2 interference Oct 8, 2008

Michael Farrell wrote:

I'm perfectly willing to dilute the posts over time


Ooops. It would be a little more English to say "space out posts over time".

Mike


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Michael Farrell  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:52
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Forum languages Oct 8, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
In my opinion, posting in a forum means initiating a conversation or a discussion. So you should only post in a forum if you are capable of having a discussion there. Your profile shows Italian and English as the languages you are capable of conversing in. Would you be able to hold and keep upt with an intelligent discussion in the other languages you posted?


English and Italian are the languages I work with.
I have also studied and, a few years ago, I was able to converse in the deleted message language. I was actually quite proud of the fact that I had managed to shake off enough rust to come up with something I thought was quite reasonable, and I was looking forward to having to deal with possible replies.
In the case of the French forum, I must admit I crossed my fingers and hoped no one would write. I can understand the gist of written French, but I would have had to apologize and reply in English if anyone had started a discussion.

Your question has however given me an idea. I think I will ask for volunteers on the tool users' group to compose and post one publicity message each on each of the non-English ProZ forums concerned (a total of four or five I think). In other words, I will not be the sender.
Jon, Maria, would that be acceptable?

Regards
Mike


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