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Discussion on proz.com has become severely hampered by a number of rules
Thread poster: Richard Creech

Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
Jul 28, 2006

Recently it has become apparent that discussion on proz.com has become severely hampered by a number of rules, which seem vague in their construction and arbitrary in their application. Now I am in favor of a civil level of discourse, and I believe that it is appropriate to limit conversation on this forum to language-related issues, but in the past few weeks it seems as though legitimate debate has been stifled by proz.com censors. I think this is quite regrettable and a disservice to our community.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-07-28 16:30]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
Member (2003)
Polish to German
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Sorry, but I do not get your point Jul 28, 2006

Now I am in favor of a civil level of discourse, and I believe that it is appropriate to limit conversation on this forum to language-related issues...

This is exactly what is the aim of rules - at least as I understand that.

...but in the past few weeks it seems as though legitimate debate has been stifled by proz.com censors.

So you are not for the limitation to language issues? Or what?
What censors do you mean? Shall we again discuss the necessity of stopping discussions on certain topics, even if they seem to be on a civil level?

Sorry, somehow I cannot get what you mean...
Regards
Jerzy


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 01:11
SITE STAFF
Adherence to rules Jul 28, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Recently it has become apparent that discussion on proz.com has become severely hampered by a number of rules, which seem vague in their construction and arbitrary in their application. Now I am in favor of a civil level of discourse, and I believe that it is appropriate to limit conversation on this forum to language-related issues, but in the past few weeks it seems as though legitimate debate has been stifled by proz.com censors. I think this is quite regrettable and a disservice to our community.


Hi Richard,

With a few exceptions the basic rules of the site and the site definition of scope have been with us for a very long time.

Moderators do a great job for our community by enforcing the site rules. If you have a complain in particular please feel free to open a support ticket about it.

Regards,
Enrique


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
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Children, behave! Jul 28, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:
Recently it has become apparent that discussion on proz.com has become severely hampered by a number of rules, which seem vague in their construction and arbitrary in their application. Now I am in favor of a civil level of discourse, and I believe that it is appropriate to limit conversation on this forum to language-related issues, but in the past few weeks it seems as though legitimate debate has been stifled by proz.com censors. I think this is quite regrettable and a disservice to our community.


While I agree with you on this point (so much so, that it's the main reason why I am not a member), it seems apparent that "keeping it nice" is the mantra these days.

I guess it makes sense if the site is for any and all, not just for level-headed, mature language professionals.

--
Dyran

[Edited at 2006-07-28 15:26]


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Jul 28, 2006

Jerzy Czopik wrote:



Sorry, somehow I cannot get what you mean...


I am sorry if I was unclear. My point is that the rules are over-broad in that they do not only limit discussion to language-related issues, but they prevent many language-related issues from being discussed. For instance, the rule against "politics" has been invoked, rather arbitrarily I might add, to prevent discussion of issues regarding translation of Arabic. Many Arabic translation issues are inevitably caught up in politcal matters. Indeed, ALL language questions, and all issues are ultimately poltical; the decision as to what is political or not is itself a political matter. Just because a matter (and again all matters ultimately do) have a poltical component is not a reason why professional discourse should be disallowed. Indeed, it is often precisely the matters with the strongest political overtones that could benefit the most from reasoned professional discourse. I am not advocating that the forum become a venue for completely off-topic political debate, or that the rules of civility be dropped, but it seems to me a disservice to the community to preclude discussion of a matter simply because someone operating under what appear to be unarticulated criteria deems it to be a "political" matter.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
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Thanks for the clarification Jul 28, 2006

Regards
Jerzy


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Atenea Acevedo  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:11
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Bravo! Jul 28, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Indeed, ALL language questions, and all issues are ultimately poltical; the decision as to what is political or not is itself a political matter. Just because a matter (and again all matters ultimately do) have a poltical component is not a reason why professional discourse should be disallowed. Indeed, it is often precisely the matters with the strongest political overtones that could benefit the most from reasoned professional discourse. I am not advocating that the forum become a venue for completely off-topic political debate, or that the rules of civility be dropped, but it seems to me a disservice to the community to preclude discussion of a matter simply because someone operating under what appear to be unarticulated criteria deems it to be a "political" matter.



A.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
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Richard put it very well indeed! Jul 28, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Jerzy Czopik wrote:



Sorry, somehow I cannot get what you mean...


I am sorry if I was unclear. My point is that the rules are over-broad in that they do not only limit discussion to language-related issues, but they prevent many language-related issues from being discussed. For instance, the rule against "politics" has been invoked, rather arbitrarily I might add, to prevent discussion of issues regarding translation of Arabic. Many Arabic translation issues are inevitably caught up in politcal matters. Indeed, ALL language questions, and all issues are ultimately poltical; the decision as to what is political or not is itself a political matter. Just because a matter (and again all matters ultimately do) have a poltical component is not a reason why professional discourse should be disallowed. Indeed, it is often precisely the matters with the strongest political overtones that could benefit the most from reasoned professional discourse. I am not advocating that the forum become a venue for completely off-topic political debate, or that the rules of civility be dropped, but it seems to me a disservice to the community to preclude discussion of a matter simply because someone operating under what appear to be unarticulated criteria deems it to be a "political" matter.


Being translators makes us naturally inquisitive and at least I want to know more including ramifications. Especially when I am dealing with a tricky language question.

Keeping things nice as Dyran put it is not conducive to understanding. In fact, it kills learning.

[Edited at 2006-07-28 16:01]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
Member (2003)
Polish to German
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You all drive cars (or at least most of you) Jul 28, 2006

And driving a car is obided to follow some rules. They differ from country to conutry, but when you drive abroad you are expected to follow the rules in your target country.
Now imagine we would put all the rules in one pot and asked you to follow them all the time you drive a car. Otherwise you would loose your driving license. That would be ok for most of us I assume.
We do not have a speed limit in Germany. But when we drive in Poland, we have to follow the speed limit there - comming from a country without a speed limit does not free us from following such limits elswhere.
The rules are there and have to be followed. Period.

Now imagine ProZ is one country for us all - with all the rules to keep anyone smiling. For example we have a working limit on KudoZ, instituted after a long period of discussing that. Now we have a brand new topic, asking for even more limits... What I want to say is, that in such a big community you will not be able to keep particullary anyone smiling - because there always will be someone who will complain exactly because the other is smiling.
Calling the moderators "censors" and calling what we do (for the sake of keeping the community smiling, believe me) "censoship" is not okay for me.

You are once again starting an empty discussion, which leads towards nowwhere, as IMO here is a lack of understanding for the reasons why.
Just please try to imagine you have a wolf, a sheep and a cabbage and has to bring them safe to the other side of the river, but what you got is only one boat and you can take only one thing with you on any journey. Quite similar to the situation we have on ProZ. The only difference is IMO that we have here not only those thre things, but hundreds of such.

Regards
Jerzy

PS
This is only my personal point of view, which does represent neither any other Moderator nor ProZ itself.
Please apologise also, if my wording should not be appropriate - this might be caused by my limited knowledge of English.


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
Italian to English
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Poor Richard! Jul 28, 2006

In his case, not only was his original forum locked, but the forum DISCUSSING the locked forum was also locked! (That's a mouthful!)
http://www.proz.com/topic/52170

Watch it, Richard, or you'll be locked again

On a serious note, well said. I fully agree with you.
Catherine


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 23:11
SITE FOUNDER
Are you proposing something? Jul 28, 2006

Do you think something should be changed? If so, what concrete steps would you take?

Thanks.
Henry


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:11
Member (2004)
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Richard, Jul 28, 2006

I'm afraid you try to mislead everybody here.

Only yesterday you asked the same question about moderators' intervention and you got a reply from Site Staff:

We can discuss Arabic translations and linguistic issues within the framework of the site rules.
The focus of Richar's postings was off-topic and controversial, the linguistic element was of little relevance.


Now you re-open the same discussion, but you haven't mentioned that your post hidden by moderator was about HR management in US Army and there was really nothing about "Arabic translations and linguistic issues" in it.

So please, be fair and don't pretend that linguistic discussions are prevented here.

Magda
Moderator


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
My Suggestion Jul 28, 2006

The relevant rule currently states:

"Valid topics for discussion include language and language services (translation, interpreting, localization, subtitling, etc.), as well as business and technical issues of interest specifically to language professionals in their work. Postings which are not related to language or translation, or the business of language or translation, are not allowed. Postings which are political, religious, or otherwise controversial in nature, or that may be considered offensive by other users, will be removed without regard to the views expressed. [ For details, see the site's Definition of Scope ]"

There is a lacuna in this rule, as it does not squarely address the situation in which a topic satisfies the criteria of the first sentence (i.e. it is about "language and language services) but also falls into the ambit of the second sentence (e.g. it is "political, religious, or otherwise controversial," etc.). A matter can be both. As long as a matter is about "language and language services," it should be open to professional discussion, regardless of whether someone may deem it to be "politcal," "controversial" and so forth. A big problem here is that there is no definition of what these terms mean. What is meant by "political"? As I (and many others) have said, all things are political, every statement represents a political position regarding the world, and a decision to classify something as political or not is itself political. Inevitably, what happens is some topics which express certain viewpoints are classified as not being "political" while others are deemed "political." The result of all this is that serious matters that are the proper subject of debate are removed from the community's consideration. Perhaps someone can tell me why such a rule is even needed? As long as something is about language issues, and the issue is discussed in a civil and professional tone, isn't that all that matters? Why add further, vaguely articulated and undefined restrictions whose arbitrary application favors some positions over others?


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
Italian to English
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It IS mentioned Jul 28, 2006

I posted one of the links. No one is being misled here.
Catherine

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

I'm afraid you try to mislead everybody here.

Only yesterday you asked the same question about moderators' intervention and you got a reply from Site Staff:

We can discuss Arabic translations and linguistic issues within the framework of the site rules.
The focus of Richar's postings was off-topic and controversial, the linguistic element was of little relevance.


Now you re-open the same discussion, but you haven't mentioned that your post hidden by moderator was about HR management in US Army and there was really nothing about "Arabic translations and linguistic issues" in it.

So please, be fair and don't pretend that linguistic discussions are prevented here.

Magda
Moderator


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Comments Jul 28, 2006

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

I'm afraid you try to mislead everybody here.

Only yesterday you asked the same question about moderators' intervention and you got a reply from Site Staff:

We can discuss Arabic translations and linguistic issues within the framework of the site rules.
The focus of Richar's postings was off-topic and controversial, the linguistic element was of little relevance.


Now you re-open the same discussion, but you haven't mentioned that your post hidden by moderator was about HR management in US Army and there was really nothing about "Arabic translations and linguistic issues" in it.

So please, be fair and don't pretend that linguistic discussions are prevented here.

Magda
Moderator


Magda, I take exception to your comments for the following reaons:

1. First, they appear to be in violation of proz.com's rule against commenting on other people's opinions.

2. I didn't mention any of the particulars of the posting precisely because it was doing that which resulted in the banning of the topic to begin with. There was no intent to mislead here. If the topic were posted everyone could have read the articles (which were from CNN and MSNBC, incidentally) for themselves.

3. I am astonished that you don't consider the employment criteria for an Arabic translator and the political ramifications of a mistranslation to be issues related to "Arabic translations and linguistic issues."


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