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Proposal for slowing down heated threads
Thread poster: Arnaud HERVE

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:01
English to French
+ ...
Responsible grown-ups Mar 5, 2009

This forum has rules. When rules are respected, things don't get out of hand. One of the rules is not to make personal comments. Another one is to stick to the topic. These two rules have been trampled on more than one occasion lately.

I think that, as responsible grown-ups, we are all able to simply take note of the rules and post in accordance with them. I think that limiting posts further would come down to watching kids in kindergarten. We are not kids.

On the other
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This forum has rules. When rules are respected, things don't get out of hand. One of the rules is not to make personal comments. Another one is to stick to the topic. These two rules have been trampled on more than one occasion lately.

I think that, as responsible grown-ups, we are all able to simply take note of the rules and post in accordance with them. I think that limiting posts further would come down to watching kids in kindergarten. We are not kids.

On the other hand, since several threads have been closed because some of the contributors were unable to respect or uninterested in respecting forum rules, I think it is time for moderators to learn to step in faster. Many of the personal comments and thread hijackings could have been prevented this way.

The forum rules that are already in place work nicely, provided they are applied evenly and promptly. I have noticed that it is mostly the usual suspects that stray from forum rules. Maybe these people need to be reminded of forum rules, and if, after they were reminded, they still can't respect the rules, then I don't see why the whole community should suffer and be stripped of their right to peacefully discuss topics of interest as they deem fit.
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Miriam300
Local time: 19:01
English to Polish
+ ...
disagree Mar 5, 2009

I disagree with restricting one post per day. What is that supposed to do?- And it takes away a person's freedom for free expression.

However, I do agree that some people make personal and insulting remarks about other colleague translators. This should not be allowed, or tolerated- Zero tolerance to that.


 

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:01
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So far Mar 5, 2009

So far some answers surprise me a bit.

A constitutional right like freedom of expression has been evoked several times, which seems to me totally out of proportion with what we are talking about here. You are not allowed to discuss you local road traffic policies or your next mayor's election on Proz, right? Does it "infringe on your civic rights"?

Talking of grown-ups who are responsible is ok, abstractly, but does not correspond to the reality of forums that we observ
... See more
So far some answers surprise me a bit.

A constitutional right like freedom of expression has been evoked several times, which seems to me totally out of proportion with what we are talking about here. You are not allowed to discuss you local road traffic policies or your next mayor's election on Proz, right? Does it "infringe on your civic rights"?

Talking of grown-ups who are responsible is ok, abstractly, but does not correspond to the reality of forums that we observe everyday on Internet. Almost all forums have moderation. Grown-ups do need moderation.

But, more preoccupying, many posters seem to believe that delaying one post for one day would be harsher than preventing all posts forever. After all, that is what is implied by stating categorically that what I propose would be an intolerable oppression, and the situation should remain the same. And I don't know what to answer to this apparent contradiction.

No, I prefer to think of Proz as an organization, smaller than global society, and this organization has the right to implement rules that serve its scope, including rules to ensure that a proper atmosphere between participants is maintained. In the same way, a badmington club for instance will not only make sure the practice of badmington is possible, but also that a pleasant and loyal sports spirit is maintained.

Let me explain by an example. Two years ago, I had to leave a forum, which was an American forum on global politics.

On that forum there was a lady, who posted as well, and all she wrote was systematically polite, and even very well documented, approximately at the level of a high school history teacher. According to formal rules about rude words and so on, she would have passed systematically.

But... apparently she stayed on her computer all day long, on that forum only. And she replied to all posts with long and intelligent posts. And despite her perfect politeness, it had become a nightmare. Each post was a mountain to climb. And she had become the de facto ogre of the forum.

You have understood that, in order to attract more people, I want some posters to have a handicap, like horses in a race, not only those who get too much steam under the hood, but also those who have too much time and this way become the de facto king, duchesses, counts, knights and petty lords of the forum.

I wish fresh air, I wish more room. I wish more diverse opinions.
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Niraja Nanjundan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:31
German to English
Where are the two hundred thousand? Mar 6, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
I wish fresh air, I wish more room. I wish more diverse opinions.


I agree with you on this point, Arnaud. We always see the same group of people "hanging out" in the forums. Too many users just hide behind their profiles and we never get to hear what they think, and their views are equally important to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the community. Something definitely has to be done to make the forums more welcoming, and I think it's up to active participants to do that.


 

Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:01
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Disagree Mar 6, 2009

Heated discussions are part of group behaviour. I think the moderator system is enough in this case.

If someone becomes aggresive and hogs the thread then the rest of us will simply have learnt a bit more about that person.


 

PFB (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to French
+ ...
Not sure about this, Henry Mar 6, 2009

Henry D wrote:

Limiting the length of posts in such a mode might also make sense.


Did you have a particular size in mind? Can you be more precise or was your post just to test the water, as it were?

I'm not sure I like the idea of limiting post lengths.

In any case, a post that is perceived as being too long - and that perception will vary from one reader to the other - will probably have less impact than one that is clear and to the point. A kind of natural selection will take place then, which I think will work more effectively in terms of defending ideas than a rule that is forced on forum participants.

Edited to add that rule enforcement may lead to even more heated discussions and bad feelings, which is exactly what I believe Arnaud's original suggestion was trying to avoid...

[Edited at 2009-03-06 07:43 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Wrong assumptions in my opinion Mar 6, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
You have understood that, in order to attract more people, I want some posters to have a handicap, like horses in a race, not only those who get too much steam under the hood, but also those who have too much time and this way become the de facto king, duchesses, counts, knights and petty lords of the forum.

I wish fresh air, I wish more room. I wish more diverse opinions.


Sorry Arnaud, but I think there are several things that are wrong assumptions in your statement:
A. People who post here have too much time. Most of us don't, but make it. For instance, I rarely watch TV and prefer to spend that time either catching up on work, being with my family or, why not, posting here.

B. Nobody here wants to become de facto nobility. Or so I believe. Not my case at all! I do enjoy expressing my opinion when some interesting topic comes around. Is expressing an opinion "becoming de facto nobility"? I don't understand.

C. The fact that anybody replies to forum postings here does not keep anybody else from sharing their opinions too. I am pretty sure we all welcome more opinions and are enriched by them (that's why I would prefer shorter replies...).

May I also mention that these fora are part of Proz, a community of translation professionals. Any "fresh air" will always come from other translation professionals with whom we are bound to find both agreement and disagreement.

To me, your proposal to slow down frequent posters would simply be a means of keeping out the people you frequently disagree with. Not the kind of society I would like, to be honest. I prefer to discuss things openly and, where there's friction, clarify and illuminate any cause of concern or discomfort. You know very well that I have tried that approach with you... with no reply from your side. Just sad.


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Long posts Mar 6, 2009

If you restrict people to one post a day, then they may all become like the lady Arnaud mentions, i.e. they will just post one huge mountain a day, and any replies to it will be mountains too. Moderators will have to pick through mountains of text to find dodgy material, and all readers will be climbing Everest too.

And I agree with the "kindergarten" comments.


 

Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
English to German
+ ...
Exactly my thoughts! Mar 6, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I think it is time for moderators to learn to step in faster...
The forum rules that are already in place work nicely, provided they are applied evenly and promptly...
...then I don't see why the whole community should suffer and be stripped of their right to peacefully discuss topics of interest as they deem fit.


I was just wondering what (potential) clients reading this thread will think...

We don't need more rules or censorship!
What perhaps some people need is to learn or understand that any kind of relationship (business, private etc.) is based on mutual respect and tolerance. This is learned at home, at school, in the office etc. It is certainly not learned in the forums where a user can hide behind an empty profile.

A vital point is that moderators should step in sooner in some cases. That's enough!
Let's keep things as easy as possible. Our projects are challenging enough, aren't they?

In my opinion, posting one comment per day or limiting the space for comments would have counterproductive effects.

I also agree with the kindergarden comments.

Edited for typo.

[Edited at 2009-03-06 11:32 GMT]


 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with the disagreers Mar 6, 2009

I don't think there's any need to change the current system - although there may be an occasional need for moderators to step in more quickly. Mods already have the power to place posters on a "review" status so that their posts are checked before becoming public; perhaps it would be sufficient for this power to be exercised a little more often.

As for long posts, nobody's making you read them - you can always skip 'em. I do, quite often.


 

Anil Gidwani
India
Local time: 23:31
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I fully agree Mar 6, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:

We don't need more rules or censorship!
What perhaps some people need is to learn or understand that any kind of relationship (business, private etc.) is based on mutual respect and tolerance. This is learned at home, at school, in the office etc. It is certainly not learned in the forums where a user can hide behind an empty profile.

A vital point is that moderators should step in sooner in some cases. That's enough!
Let's keep things as easy as possible. Our projects are challenging enough, aren't they?

In my opinion, posting one comment per day or limiting the space for comments would have contra-productive effects.

I also agree with the kindergarden comments.

Edited for typo.


I fully agree. Moderators should step in sooner. That's all we really need.

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

We always see the same group of people "hanging out" in the forums. Too many users just hide behind their profiles and we never get to hear what they think, and their views are equally important to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the community. Something definitely has to be done to make the forums more welcoming, and I think it's up to active participants to do that



Is there any bar whatsoever on anyone posting?


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:01
French to English
All suffering for many Mar 6, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
On the other hand, since several threads have been closed because some of the contributors were unable to respect or uninterested in respecting forum rules, I think it is time for moderators to learn to step in faster. Many of the personal comments and thread hijackings could have been prevented this way.


A thread of yours was victim to this not so long ago, much to my disappointment.

Personally, I absolutely hate seeing entire threads locked, it makes my blood boil.

If certain people are misbehaving in a thread, then punish the poster, not the "thread". Other people may still have valid, on topic and polite contributions to make.
Post ONE warning in the thread, and if it happens again, then:
a) stop the individuals concerned from posting in that thread (may be technically tricky)
or
b) suspend those individuals' posting rights for 24 or 48 hours

Let the threads live!

Edit for self-moderation & consistency purposes!

And to respond to the original point - disagree with a restriction of one post per person per topic per day as an unnecessary restriction on the vast majority of people well able to conduct a civilised discussion.

[Edited at 2009-03-06 10:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-03-06 10:33 GMT]


 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree totally Mar 6, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

If certain people are misbehaving in a thread, then punish the poster, not the "thread". Other people may still have valid, on topic and polite contributions to make.



 

Niraja Nanjundan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:31
German to English
No, Anil..... Mar 6, 2009

Anil Gidwani wrote:
Is there any bar whatsoever on anyone posting?


....there isn't. I never said there was


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What do you suggest? Mar 6, 2009

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:
I agree with you on this point, Arnaud. We always see the same group of people "hanging out" in the forums. Too many users just hide behind their profiles and we never get to hear what they think, and their views are equally important to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the community. Something definitely has to be done to make the forums more welcoming, and I think it's up to active participants to do that.


OK, then what do you suggest? Do you think that keeping regular posters from contributing to the fora whenever they wish will make the fora more welcoming to people who haven't wished to participate so far? Is an empty, slow moving, perhaps boring forum more appealing?

You make this sound like frequent participation is a synonym of bad behaviour. Please confirm that this is not what you meant to say!


 
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