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Proposal for slowing down heated threads
Thread poster: Arnaud HERVE

Kristina Kolic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 07:20
Member (2007)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Rules and sanctions for rule breakers are already in place Mar 8, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
A non native accepts to participate in a discussion on a general English thread. Being a non native he makes one lexical mistake, among thousands of correct words from him. A native then seizes this opportunity to point at the mistake publicly, and proceeds to infer from that that the non-native is a bad translator and should get no job from outsourcers.

The example that you gave is indeed unpleasant and should not be left unsanctioned. No user/member should be allowed to act in a disrespectful way towards others. i.e. to make comments of a personal nature that could be perceived as offensive, insulting or humiliating. In this particular case, sanctions should have been taken forthwith since the comments described appear to be covered by Site Rules 1.2 & 1.4, Forum Rule 1, but also by KudoZ Rules 1.2, 3.5 & 3.7. which address comments of a personal nature and refer to them as been prohibited “as elsewhere” on the site:

Site Rule 1.2: «Mutual respect, professionalism and fair play are expected. Site users are expected to treat each other with courtesy, whether posting publicly or making direct contact, and are advised to act under the assumption of good faith. Harassment and attacks of any form, as well as discouragement of another's use of the site, will not be tolerated. No action aimed at gaining unfair advantage in KudoZ, the directory or elsewhere, whether taken alone or as a group, will be tolerated.»
http://www.proz.com/siterules/general/2#2

A “restriction to one post per day” could be implemented in addition to the specific actions already in place for the purpose of enforcing the existing rules:
“* contacting site users to call attention to specific rules
* refraining from approving (or removing/hiding) postings that violate a rule
* causing a message related to the rules to appear to certain users when they undertake certain actions
* suspending, temporarily or permanently, access to site features that have been used in violation of the rules.”
http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=forum
However, it should not be applicable to a particular thread, but only against rule breakers, i.e. in case of misconduct, harassment, disrespect, intimidation, humiliation, insults, aggressiveness and the like.

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
Why many people don't post? Well I have one explanation: they are cautious. They don't feel it's safe. (…) You see, the situation is not only unpleasant, it has become downright dangerous. (…)

Sorry, but I do not share your views on the dangerousness or lack of safety on the site. Individual cases such as the one that you described are fortunately isolated incidents only and should therefore be treated as such - they do not make the rule. Insulting comments of a personal nature are one thing and should not be confused with off-topic comments (in breach of Forum Rule 1.4), or opinions expressed in a thread that we simply do not share, or the length or frequency of posting. Like in any conversation, we should always be ready to hear or read different or dissenting opinions without feeling offended, or just skip and ignore the parts that we find boring or not interesting for any reason. Implementing the proposed restriction in this context would only result in reducing overall participation in forum discussions and turning otherwise active threads into inactive threads, meaning less input, less exchange and less information.

As a matter of fact, I fully agree with Giuliana on the reasons why some persons simply do not participate in forum discussions as much as others do:
Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:
(Even though I am not forum-shy, I for one don't feel compelled to post my opinion often - provided I have one, which is often not the case, because a) I am not interested in the subject or b) I lack the necessary background for coming up with a formed opinion based on solid ground or c) I am not competent enough for answering what is asked or d) I'm buried under work or e)....... (various other reasons). There are so many qualified colleagues, who can say anytime the same I would (another reason) or much better, so why should I come forward)


[Edited at 2009-03-08 13:18 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Show it! Mar 8, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
I am certain that we would attract more users with a slower forum, and that those who already post would not suffer intolerably from posting only one post a day on the same thread. If you think about it, it even allows you to post many posts on many threads... You may call it fascist, I call that mild.


In your words, indeed I call it fascist. Yes. I am completely against cuts on my freedom to post how and when I like within certain rules.

But I accept the challenge: make a firm proposal to Proz.com to become the moderator (maybe becoming a moderator is what this whole forum posting is all about really) of a "Forum for the wise", defining the forum as a place for people who QUOTE are not compulsorily very intelligent, but more like able to master the parameters, the know how, the proper behavior, of a skilled communication END QUOTE. And limit its posting frequency to one reply per posting-user-day. And let's see how many people visit the forum. It will be interesting to watch!

This forum would be fantastic for Proz as they would have something more to advertise. Who would not feel that a "Forum for the wise" for people who "master the proper behaviour of a skilled communication" is a good thing to have? It would certainly attract all those wise translators out there who are longing for a place where they can show their skilled communication!

(Edited to remove a part that could be considered repugnant.)

[Edited at 2009-03-08 20:23 GMT]


 

Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:20
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Dear Tomás Mar 8, 2009

Your posting above breaks the Site Rule 16459 Section 654 Subsection 38, therefore your Forum Posting Rights henceforth will be limited to once a fortnight.

Thank you for using ProZ.com!

Uldis, ex-mod

(PS. joke, of course- but a bitter one...)

[Rediģēts plkst. 2009-03-08 17:21 GMT]


 

Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
English to German
+ ...
Good point! Mar 8, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

It's interesting to see how non-paying members try to alter things we paying members are happy with, isn't it?



Tomás, I'm very happy you mentioned that!!!

Many thanks!

PS: It was not my intention to offend non-paying members.
I only said "It's *a* good point", no more, no less.

Edited for typo

[Edited at 2009-03-09 07:58 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
French to English
Cheap shots Mar 8, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

It's interesting to see how non-paying members try to alter things we paying members are happy with, isn't it?



Tomás, I'm very happy you mentioned that!!!

Many thanks!


It was only a proposal. One welcomed by the site founder, no less, on the first page.
I happen not to agree with it.
If I'm honest, I happen not to agree with much that Arnaud says at all.
But I find this attitude to his suggestion just because he is not a paying member utterly repugnant.
By all means argue against his position with logic. But do not claim the high ground purely because you have paid for membership and he has not.

Given that one of the side-issues on the thread is how to make the forums more appealing and open to those who do not currently post, I wonder how, exactly, you two think that attempting to belittle the views of an individual purely on the grounds of membership status is helping to do that?


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry! Mar 8, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Given that one of the side-issues on the thread is how to make the forums more appealing and open to those who do not currently post, I wonder how, exactly, you two think that attempting to belittle the views of an individual purely on the grounds of membership status is helping to do that?


Ok, Ok. Sorry!


 

Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
English to German
+ ...
I am not claiming the high ground Mar 8, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

But I find this attitude to his suggestion just because he is not a paying member utterly repugnant...
By all means argue against his position with logic. But do not claim the high ground purely because you have paid for membership and he has not...
I wonder how, exactly, you two think that attempting to belittle the views of an individual purely on the grounds of membership status is helping to do that?


Charlie:
I am a bit surprised to read your comment tonight. Perhaps you are overinterpreting what Tomás and I said. All I said is "It's a good point". What's wrong with it?

By the way, why did you not address Tomás' comment? Instead you are overinterpreting my comment to Thomas post "It's interesting to see how non-paying members try to alter things we paying members are happy with, isn't it?"

Do you really think that it's my attitude to consider a paying member (ProZ customer) superior to a non-paying member?

I am sorry if I hurt your feelings or the feelings of other non-paying members.

Peace, please!


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:20
Member (2004)
English to Italian
:-) Mar 8, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:


I am sorry if I hurt your feelings or the feelings of other non-paying members.

Peace, please!


ahhhhh....

I think Charlie will have to wait two days before answering this...


 

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:20
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Attracting people Mar 9, 2009

I think it all boils down to a choice of what kind of people we want to attract on ProZ forums. It is a long-term choice.

Taking two extremes, we can have:

1) People who invent for themselves the role of policeman/policewoman for all threads, deciding arbitrarily who is a criminal or not, or even if sharing concerns about this and that is allowed.

Or we can have:

2) People who have a life, can leave their computer for a day, prefer to walk outd
... See more
I think it all boils down to a choice of what kind of people we want to attract on ProZ forums. It is a long-term choice.

Taking two extremes, we can have:

1) People who invent for themselves the role of policeman/policewoman for all threads, deciding arbitrarily who is a criminal or not, or even if sharing concerns about this and that is allowed.

Or we can have:

2) People who have a life, can leave their computer for a day, prefer to walk outdoors for cooling down, and will wait until they have something useful to say to make an interesting contribution.

Of course the choice is obvious. So why is it difficult to admit? Because, as Henry said, we are still in the early days of moderation. All moderators have the skill to detect a troll and moderate it. But what do we mean using the word "troll"? What do we imply?

We imply:

1) That the troll has an obvious ugly appearance. That would be foul language on forums. But, if a poster makes a vicious ad hominem statement with very polite words, we don't have the tools to prevent that yet, although it does poison the thread.

2) That the troll is alone in a crowd of normal people. But what do we do if it's normal people that are isolated, and attacked by a swarm of bees that will sting, sting, sting? What is the method against that?

Just imagine a person with normal abilities and normal self-respect, who just registered on Proz. Why would one risk:

- Having one's profile scrutinized and any perceived weakness pointed at in public. To the point that one will actually hide strategic contacts from one's profile, in order to protect them.

- Being compared to an animal for evoking obvious economic trends. Or even animal excrements sometimes.

- Getting systematically illogical answers, to the point of doubting whether the translator profession is for graduates

- Being forced to stop answering out of health concern, because one participant is showing threatening signs of apoplectic hysteria and nervous breakdown

- Getting answers that bring no content, but are just posted to hurt

I receive mails of quite a few people who have left ProZ forums. What do we do to convince them to come back. Are we ready to let them post in a sufficiently serene atmosphere, and to provide them with decently relevant answers?

[Edited at 2009-03-09 02:11 GMT]
Collapse


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
French to English
It was about the point of view, not you as individuals Mar 9, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:
All I said is "It's a good point". What's wrong with it?

By the way, why did you not address Tomás' comment? Instead you are overinterpreting my comment to Thomas post "It's interesting to see how non-paying members try to alter things we paying members are happy with, isn't it?"

I quoted you quoting him (!), the intention being that my remarks were related to both posts.

Do you really think that it's my attitude to consider a paying member (ProZ customer) superior to a non-paying member?

No, and that is not what I said.
It was about the implied consideration that should be given to suggestions from non-paying members.
No-one said that any member, paying or otherwise, is superior as a member to any other. Neither you or Tomas said that, and I did not say that you did. It was in no way a general criticism or ad hominem comment. Merely that I disagreed with the particular views expressed, particularly, as I said, in view of the fact that a related issue appeared to be to encourage fresh faces to post, and I felt such comments could discourage other non-members.

I simply believe (quite strongly ) that comments about suggestions or any other postings should be disagreed with (or indeed agreed with) on the basis of the logic behind them, the soundness of the proposal or otherwise, technical issues, possible impact, relevance, or whatever other factors appear pertinent at the time. Not on whether the person making the post is a member or not. That was all.

Hopefully this does not count as one of the heated threads
I wish one and all a happy and successful week, and many more of the same to follow....!


 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:20
English to French
+ ...
Devetting posts Mar 9, 2009

Charlie wrote:
And, er, what does "devet" mean here?

This is a word used by site staff and moderators to designate the action of hiding a post. The post isn't deleted - it is just hidden from public view. Part of what I suggest uses devetting to allow a person whose post was hidden to edit that same post instead of having to write it anew. You know how some posts feel like they were dictated straight by a divinity in heaven, and the inspiration for such posts can sometimes run dry mere minutes later. As I said earlier, not all posts are entirely off topic or offensive, and some of them still deserve to be displayed, as long as the non compliant parts are edited out. I am willing to read an opposed view as long as it is on topic and doesn't mean to attack anybody.
Charlie wrote:
Whatever it means, I genuinely think it hints at thread starters being allowed to censor divergent viewpoints.

Stop right there! Read again what I wrote. I specifically said that thread starters who abuse of their privilege to devet posts should also be sanctioned. I also said that thread starters should only be allowed to devet posts which are clearly off topic or which contain personal remarks (trying to pick a fight or insult others, for whatever reason). What you seem to have read in my post is that a thread starter can unilaterally decide which posts are good enough and which ones just don't cut it. That is very far from what I proposed. In fact, the thread starter who devets a post should provide a reason for it, and the moderator is automatically advised as well, just to make sure there is no abuse.

In the thread I referred to earlier, several people have posted views that are opposed to mine, and had I had the right to devet their posts, I still wouldn't have - it would have been unfair. But there were a few who posted off topic comments and personal remarks (one of which was naming people and was accusatory), and those had to go. Even if those posters had agreed with me, I still would have devetted those few posts. The moderator actually did devet those posts, but he was too late (we're not all in the same time zone), the damage was already done, the topic got totally out of hand in the mean time and it was easier at that time to just close the thread (to the moderator's and most of the contributors' regret). The entire thread was totally ruined. How is that fair to those who were able to respect forum rules and who were interested in discussing the topic?
Charlie wrote:
a) if it is simply a "quash" function, the poster may be genuinely unaware of what part of the post caused offence
or
b) if the "quash" function includes an explanation/reason, the poster may receive 3 different specific complaints. Then what?

Excellent question. Seeing as there are users here who have a problem with long posts, I wanted to be brief, and so I didn't get into the details.

I also had in mind to make it compulsory to pick a rule that one feels was violated. Each person who makes a quash request has to name the forum rule they feel was violated, and only if there are three quash requests with matching forum rule violations is the post quashed (even if there are more than three quash requests, the quash is only authorized once there are three quash requests referring to the same forum rule). If a pattern emerges, and the same people keep quashing the same people's posts, then measures could (and should) be enforced against those people. In short, if there is abuse, people lose forum privileges (e.g., they are limited to one post per day).
Charlie wrote:
However, a few forums I use have a "report post" function. On Proz, we can only report the whole thread. A report post function allows a specific complaint to be made to a moderator. It is a watered-down version of your quash idea. And again, it removes the final decision from the hands of those who may not be able to be objective.

This just gave me an idea. How about if the community could temporarily hide a post until the moderator steps in? As you suggest, the final decision would be taken by the powers that be, but in the mean time, threads wouldn't go to waste. What do you think?
Charlie wrote:
But overall, I think that we do essentially have the tools in place already to address the points you make.

I think so, too. I was just trying to suggest solutions to the problems that Arnaud brings up. If anything should change about this forum, it should be for the better, not for the worse. And I believe Arnaud's suggestion would be a change for the worse.

To sum up my stance, people should learn to control themselves before trying to control others. I hope this is clear. I also hope that this comment will not be considered as heated.

Edit: A word just came to mind: streakers. Streakers are people who go to American football games, get naked and run across the field, mainly in order to disconcert those who watch the game, in the stadium or on TV. I consider that people who post off topic and who make things personal are streakers (although not all of them do it on purpose, granted). It is quite unpleasant and it has been taking place here recently fairly regularly. I am sure the people who post threads on this site are not positively impressed by this, and those who like to partake in the discussion aren't either. In reality, streakers are arrested, fined and often locked away...

[Edited at 2009-03-09 02:44 GMT]


 

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:20
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not very clear to me Mar 9, 2009

Viktoria, I think letting people moderate their own threads is not a very good idea. In order to create mutual trust on a large scale, the moderator, like a referee, must belong to another category than the participants.

You will notice for instance that the good moderators on ProZ are careful to post scarcely in the categories they control.

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
To sum up my stance, people should learn to control themselves before trying to control others. I hope this is clear


Well I wish you will be able to take some time to explain how your moderation suggestions correspond to your summed up principle.

I had understood that you wanted thread starters to gain more control of other people's posts.

[Edited at 2009-03-09 02:34 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Qualifying to make a proposal Mar 9, 2009

There are two kinds of people I just can't stand: those who look down on others and those who play sneaky tricks. Proposals to modify things can only come from people who are honest and open, accept criticism, and genuinely want to improve things. Anything else is A) a sociological experiment, or B) trying to warp the reality of things in your personal benefit.

(Edited to remove a quote that shouldn't have been there.)

[Edited at 2009-03-09 07:27 GMT]


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:20
German to English
+ ...
Size 43, anyone? Mar 9, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Proposals to modify things can only come from people who are honest and open, accept criticism, and genuinely want to improve things. Anything else is A) a sociological experiment, or B) trying to warp the reality of things in your personal benefit.


I would replace "can only come" with "should only be taken seriously". I find this one both self-serving (not, by itself, an exclusion criterion) and counter-productive (so forget it).


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
French to English
Some agree, with a smidgeon of disagree :-) Mar 9, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

Charlie wrote:
And, er, what does "devet" mean here?

This is a word used by site staff and moderators to designate the action of hiding a post. The post isn't deleted - it is just hidden from public view. Part of what I suggest uses devetting to allow a person whose post was hidden to edit that same post instead of having to write it anew.

Ah, right, thanks for explaining.
I must confess, my personal experience of this procedure leads me to conclude it does not match your description. I have twice been notified by email that a post of mine had been removed by a mod to give me the opportunity to tone it down a notch.
Both times the post had actually been deleted.
I'm afraid devetting gets a massive thumbs down from my corner

Charlie wrote:
Whatever it means, I genuinely think it hints at thread starters being allowed to censor divergent viewpoints.

Stop right there! Read again what I wrote. I specifically said that thread starters who abuse of their privilege to devet posts should also be sanctioned.

Right back atcha.
I specifically acknowledged that point and said that I considered punishing people after the event was too late and unsatisfactory.
Better, in my view, not to give people the opportunity to abuse a privilege they do not really need to have in the first place, than to have to punish it afterwards. Prevention better than cure. That kind of thing.


In the thread I referred to earlier, .... The entire thread was totally ruined. How is that fair to those who were able to respect forum rules and who were interested in discussing the topic?

If you are talking about the thread I think you are talking about, I agree 100%. Especially since you had clarified a point for me, and I wanted to agree with you about that too I still think that locking that thread was hasty. But as I mentioned a page or two ago, the mods are not consistent in that regard.



This just gave me an idea. How about if the community could temporarily hide a post until the moderator steps in? As you suggest, the final decision would be taken by the powers that be, but in the mean time, threads wouldn't go to waste. What do you think?

In theory, I like it. I think 5 votes rather than 3 would be better threshold. Not sure how easy it is technically. See also my reservations above about how the devet (same as hide, no?) mechanism actually works in practice.
Other boards have a thumbs up/down voting system in place for posts, so I guess something like that could be implemented,with "hide" once X votes are reached....

And I believe Arnaud's suggestion would be a change for the worse.

So do I.

Streakers are people who go to American football games, get naked and run across the field,

Not just American football games
It was quite popular over here in the 1970s. Streakers at all sorts of sporting events, and songs about them in the charts. One 1980s streaker here was actually quite famous for a while..... I digress (please don't lock the thread!) - it's another sporting analogy like Henry's earlier that does actually work in this context - it's the streaker that is punished, not the whole match that is abandonned.


 
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