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Proposal for slowing down heated threads
Thread poster: Arnaud HERVE

Niraja Nanjundan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
German to English
Please don't take it personally Mar 6, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
You make this sound like frequent participation is a synonym of bad behaviour. Please confirm that this is not what you meant to say!


I confirm that this is not what I meant to say

Have a great weekend!

Niraja


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same to you! Mar 6, 2009

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:
Have a great weekend!


Same to you Niraja! I shall be working in the fields under the sun. Yeepeeeeeeee!!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
What's the point in changing? All tools are in place. Mar 6, 2009

Nobody is forced to read anything on these forums. There are effective tools for:
- Selecting which forums one wants to receive all posts by e-mail (none IS an option)
- Selecting individual threads where one wants to receive any post by e-mail
- Viewing a list of all threads by area, by age (most recent) and opening only those one is interested in.
- Searching all old posts using keywords.

Nobody is forced to read any post within a thread, scrolling down or
... See more
Nobody is forced to read anything on these forums. There are effective tools for:
- Selecting which forums one wants to receive all posts by e-mail (none IS an option)
- Selecting individual threads where one wants to receive any post by e-mail
- Viewing a list of all threads by area, by age (most recent) and opening only those one is interested in.
- Searching all old posts using keywords.

Nobody is forced to read any post within a thread, scrolling down or to the next page(s) is always an option.

Navigation is simple and easy all over the forums.

Of course moderators can intervene when a discussion gets personal.

IMHO the system is as good as it can be.
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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:15
English to German
+ ...
The lifeblood of ProZ.com Mar 6, 2009

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.


Hi Niraja,

in my experience there are many translators "hanging out" in the forums who substantially contribute to the success of Proz.com. The forums are the lifeblood of ProZ. Technically speaking the forums provide a wealth of information that could feed a knowledge base.

I just cannot understand what makes you think that the forums should be made more welcoming. Perhaps everytime a user/member enters the forum he/she should get 4 ForuZ points

PS: ForuZ was just created by myself. It's freeware from now on.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
French to English
Your throwaway line is the main point Mar 6, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Nobody is forced to read anything on these forums. (snip)

Navigation is simple and easy all over the forums.

All true.

Of course moderators can intervene when a discussion gets personal.

This is the key point, I think.
What to do when it gets personal, or even just excessively off-topic.

IMHO the system is as good as it can be.

I could not disagree more strongly.
For example, within the last few days, I have observed two very different threads where the forum moderator (different mods in each case), with some cause, intervened, making the observation that the exchange was drifting off topic.
All well and good.

In one case the thread was locked; in the other, the mod just asked people to stay on topic, and they did. As with any regulatory system, a modicum of consistency would be a start.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:15
SITE FOUNDER
Response to Philippe Mar 6, 2009

Philippe Boucry wrote:
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?

No, I wasn't testing the waters, I just posted what came to mind in reaction to a posting made a few minutes earlier. I did not have a specific length in mind.

Basically, I share Arnaud's view of the situation, where he says "Grown-ups do need moderation." If we look at football, we see that the sport has both rules and officials to enforce them. Playing the sport -- and implicitly subscribing to such a system of constraint -- does not make one a child. (On the contrary, it could be said that it makes one an adult.) Personally, I do not consider myself to be above the need for rules and rules enforcement. Does any of you?

But the more central point here, I believe, is what seems to be Arnaud's purpose with the proposal. I share his belief that there might be a constraint structure that, paradoxically, would lead to "fresh air", "more room" and "more diverse opinions". Making such a structure available for optional use seems not to be such a horrible thing. Maybe the option to use it should be in the hands of the poster, rather than moderators, I don't know.

It has been my feeling that we all are still in the early days, in terms of finding the right structures and cultures for online forums. For this reason I personally would not shy away from experimentation.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not all moderators are the same Mar 6, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:
In one case the thread was locked; in the other, the mod just asked people to stay on topic, and they did. As with any regulatory system, a modicum of consistency would be a start.


I think this is just plain normal: Moderators moderate just because they like to do it, with no compensation, and it's OK that they are free to decide what is best in each situation among the possible corrective measures.

This does not at all alter José Henrique's good assessment in the sense that everything is working smoothly as it is.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 04:15
SITE FOUNDER
Good point, Niraja Mar 6, 2009

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.

Good point.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Clarification on what I meant by the 'system' Mar 6, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
IMHO the system is as good as it can be.

I could not disagree more strongly.

For example, within the last few days, I have observed two very different threads where the forum moderator (different mods in each case), with some cause, intervened, making the observation that the exchange was drifting off topic.
All well and good.
In one case the thread was locked; in the other, the mod just asked people to stay on topic, and they did. As with any regulatory system, a modicum of consistency would be a start.


I didn't include moderators in the system, just the software.

I think the system is okay as it is, leaving to human moderators - and not software - the judgment on when anything has gone overboard.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Experimentation in the other way is needed Mar 6, 2009

Henry D wrote:
It has been my feeling that we all are still in the early days, in terms of finding the right structures and cultures for online forums. For this reason I personally would not shy away from experimentation.


I agree with experimentation, but in my opinion the experimentation should go the other way: instead of more restrictions and enforcement, more freedom and personal responsibility. Let everyone write whatever they like about the topic at hand, with no permanent moderator supervision. Should the topic starter or anyone else in the conversation think that the situation is seriously drifting, has a complaint, feels personally attacked, or considers that the conversation is damaging for Proz, any interested party, or the industry as a whole, a moderator should be called to analyse the matter and take action.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
French to English
To continue the sporting theme Mar 6, 2009

Henry D wrote:
Basically, I share Arnaud's view of the situation, where he says "Grown-ups do need moderation." If we look at football, we see that the sport has both rules and officials to enforce them. Playing the sport -- and implicitly subscribing to such a system of constraint -- does not make one a child. (On the contrary, it could be said that it makes one an adult.) Personally, I do not consider myself to be above the need for rules and rules enforcement. Does any of you?

No, to answer the last question first

But what we find here is that too often, the entire match is abandonned by the referee at the first sign of foul play, rather than individual players receiving appropriate punishment.
Clearly if a match descends into chaos, the ref has the option of abandonning it. But typically this will be after a few players have been cautioned and the rest of the players have still not responded appropriately to the signs regarding what will and what will not be tolerated. Which of course they should already know, as the know the rules. But in the heat of the moment....
I think the analogy with sport works quite well, one could probably write several paragraphs on the parallels. Including my parallel above, about matches being abandoned too soon.


 

PFB (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:15
English to French
+ ...
About posts lengths Mar 6, 2009

Henry D wrote:
I just posted what came to mind in reaction to a posting made a few minutes earlier. I did not have a specific length in mind.


Fair enough.

I do not consider myself to be above the need for rules and rules enforcement. Does any of you?


I'm with you here: a community like this one needs rules and these rules need to be enforced (Edited: as promptly and as consistently as possible, as has been pointed out by other participants here). My point was simply that limiting the size of the posts in a forum doesn't seem appropriate in this particular case.

[Edited at 2009-03-06 13:05 GMT]


 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:15
Italian to English
+ ...
Another negative aspect of restrictions Mar 6, 2009

At the very least, any restrictions (which I disagree with in principle) would have to be limited to certain forum areas - their application to the Help forums, for instance, would be actively harmful.

In any case, I fully agree with José, Tomas and Charlie: there is no need to change the rules, just to apply them more promptly (and perhaps more consistently).


 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 03:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I fully agree Mar 6, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:

Hi, I will try to be short here, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

This is a proposal for an additional method of moderation of threads that get "heated", or become aggressive if you wish.

I think that, supposing the exact same post, in case of an argument between persons, waiting for the next day to post it constitutes in itself a soothing down of the conversation. Reversely, remaining stuck on one's computer, waiting nervously for the answer and replying immediately, constitutes in itself a "boiler pressure" effect.

In short, not taking into account the content, the rythm of posting alone can improve things. I also think it is a good idea to have moderate moderations stages, before resorting to locking a thread if necessary.

This moderation rhythm could apply to threads and not persons, to make everybody even, and give a sense of fairness. That is, precisely, for all posters in the thread, one person would allowed to post only once a day.

What do you think?


Hi, Arnaud!

You are right, some people just need to write soooooo much! Instead of summarizing their thoughts in one post per day, they just have to continue and continue writing. They love to add oil to the fire and are waiting for the exact moment when the disagreer is going to answer, in order to quickly answer back with a bombardment of opposite opinions. A very uncomfortable situation is then created. I sometimes ask myself, why aren't they working? Don't they have anything more productive to do??

This will be my only post for this topic, as I've said everything I wanted to express...
Regards!


 

sarandor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:15
English to Russian
+ ...
Observations of a relative newcomer Mar 6, 2009

I've noticed a few trends and recurring themes that do not foster the sense of community, and some of these trends have already been mentioned earlier by other posters. I would like to point out that not all frequent posters are 'sucking air' out of the forums. Many of them post very thoughtful, wise, helpful and funny comments, but some abuse the system and turn the forums into thinly veiled self-marketing. There are also divisive comments, like "us, the top-notch expensive translators" vs. tho... See more
I've noticed a few trends and recurring themes that do not foster the sense of community, and some of these trends have already been mentioned earlier by other posters. I would like to point out that not all frequent posters are 'sucking air' out of the forums. Many of them post very thoughtful, wise, helpful and funny comments, but some abuse the system and turn the forums into thinly veiled self-marketing. There are also divisive comments, like "us, the top-notch expensive translators" vs. those "cheap monkeys who work for peanuts", or "us, the well-behaved citizens of Proz" vs. them "usual suspects', etc.

I would welcome any modifications or stricter and more consistent enforcement of the rules that will make more people feel welcome and less intimidated to share their opinions. A more inclusive atmosphere is vital to the long-term success of this site.
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