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Andrew Morris of the ProZ.com team is airing personal views on a variety of subjects (Staff: 'yes')
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:31
Member
Italian to English
Apr 21

I see that one of the newest members of the Proz.com site staff is using the site in a way no staff member, IMHO, has ever done before - using it as a platform to air their personal views on a variety of subjects, and to indirectly publicise their work as a freelancer. The views expressed by this site member are often strong, and discussions struggle to stay on track.

I also see that in one particular thread, this staff member has posted using his freelancer profile and site staff p
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I see that one of the newest members of the Proz.com site staff is using the site in a way no staff member, IMHO, has ever done before - using it as a platform to air their personal views on a variety of subjects, and to indirectly publicise their work as a freelancer. The views expressed by this site member are often strong, and discussions struggle to stay on track.

I also see that in one particular thread, this staff member has posted using his freelancer profile and site staff profile indiscriminately.

The role of site staff up to now has always been very neutral, making relevant announcements and giving discussions a gentle nudge when they stray off topic, or removing site posts that do not conform with site rules. This is how site staff should act, in my opinion, and it is a strategy that has always worked well up to now.

Surely Proz.com is not the place for site staff to air their own personal opinions? This particular member has a freelancer profile and has contributed to threads using this profile - why not continue to do so? I feel that the line between the two roles is being blurred, and I feel it is inappropriate.

Curious to know what others think.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2019-05-13 14:49 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2019-05-13 14:52 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Disturbing Apr 21

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
Curious to know what others think.


I agree. Disturbing presence, lowering the tone, etc. etc.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:31
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Just to be clear Apr 21

Just to be clear, this is NOT about not having the right to express opinions. It's about the capacity in which those opinions are expressed.
Not to mention the prerogative of site staff to lock a thread when they see fit.


Tom in London
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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
New role with the aim of sparking discussion? Apr 21

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I see that one of the newest members of the Proz.com site staff is using the site in a way no staff member, IMHO, has ever done before - using it as a platform to air their personal views on a variety of subjects


I believe this is 'as intended'. The problem is, IMHO, that this new role has never really been explained and introduced on this site (and if it has it seems to have gone unnoticed by most). I have seen posts on LinkedIn and Facebook (and I believe there was an email from ProZ.com a while ago?) explaining what the new role is about but I don't think there was much on here at ProZ.com. Maybe that could be done now...

[Edited at 2019-04-21 17:52 GMT]


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
Could this possibly be... Apr 21

...referring to me?

I have been appointed with a role in messaging, which also involves expressing opinions about being a freelance translator, if I feel they might help other freelancers. That is in fact a key part of my brief, so I personally see no conflict of interest.

It is also true that most of the site staff have not worked primarily as freelance translators in the past, so it stands to reason my posts adopt a different approach.

And therefore it a
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...referring to me?

I have been appointed with a role in messaging, which also involves expressing opinions about being a freelance translator, if I feel they might help other freelancers. That is in fact a key part of my brief, so I personally see no conflict of interest.

It is also true that most of the site staff have not worked primarily as freelance translators in the past, so it stands to reason my posts adopt a different approach.

And therefore it appears to me that I am fulfilling that brief in posting on a variety of subjects. But everything I have written so far pertains to freelance translation. I don't think I have, for example, written about politics, religion, or the environment?

I am sorry if my "strong" views offend you, Fiona. Then again, to my knowledge no one is obliging you to read my posts, which are clearly marked in my name? And I am hardly the only person with strong views, even within this very thread.

It is frankly absurd to suggest I am trying to publicise my own business. To other freelancers? No, I tend to choose clients for that purpose.

As for lowering the tone, I am at least glad to note a healthy sense of irony here. I like that.

Finally, on a technical point, if I have inadvertently posted while logged in as a translator rather than a staff member, that was a mistake, and I apologise for the confusion caused.

It happens, with several windows open at times. But it is not, unless I am mistaken, a crime.

I'm not really sure what your post sets out to achieve, Fiona. Perhaps to censor my contributions? I'm at a loss here...
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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:31
Member
English to Italian
Partially agree Apr 21

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

The role of site staff up to now has always been very neutral, making relevant announcements and giving discussions a gentle nudge when they stray off topic, or removing site posts that do not conform with site rules. This is how site staff should act, in my opinion, and it is a strategy that has always worked well up to now.


I beg to differ. See below for one of the countless examples of why.


Surely Proz.com is not the place for site staff to air their own personal opinions? This particular member has a freelancer profile and has contributed to threads using this profile - why not continue to do so? I feel that the line between the two roles is being blurred, and I feel it is inappropriate.

Curious to know what others think.


Actually, that "particular member" is also an outsourcer. In the first thread posted by that "particular member", another user inquired about the "appropriateness" of another freelancer AND outsourcer being also made member of the site staff, and thus be given full access to every other member's profile and data (in addition to full control on the fora, ofc). The post made by that user was quickly disposed of (for being OT...) and in the end the entire thread was locked and removed from the "most recent posts" view.


Katalin Szilárd
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Posting as staff vs posting as oneself Apr 21

Andrew Morris wrote:
I have been appointed with a role in messaging, which also involves expressing opinions about being a freelance translator, if I feel they might help other freelancers. That is in fact a key part of my brief, so I personally see no conflict of interest.


I think that when a poster on the forums is identified as "site staff" (see screenshot below), the assumption of us all is that what the person says is somehow official, i.e. representative of the opinion of the cabal.

site staff

I think that unless staff believes that a particular staff member's opinions about freelancing are in some way more important or more accurate than the opinions of other freelancers here, it would be more appropriate for such a person to post under his own account instead of his staff account.

Then again, to my knowledge no one is obliging you to read my posts, which are clearly marked in my name?


Your posts are marked "site staff". The convention here is that site staff typically don't post a lot, unless they need to say something staff-y or unless they're involved in a discussion that has such repercussions that it is important for other forum participants to recognise that the post was made by "site staff".

Finally, on a technical point, if I have inadvertently posted while logged in as a translator rather than a staff member, that was a mistake... It happens, with several windows open at times.


It happens if you use the same browser for both roles. I suggest you use e.g. Chrome when using ProZ.com as yourself and e.g. Firefox when using it as a staff member. Then make sure that the "other" account's password is deleted from the browser that you're not using for that role.


[Edited at 2019-04-21 18:37 GMT]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:31
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I think my post was clear Apr 21

Andrew Morris wrote:

I'm not really sure what your post sets out to achieve, Fiona. Perhaps to censor my contributions? I'm at a loss here...


I think my post was clear.

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Just to be clear, this is NOT about not having the right to express opinions. It's about the capacity in which those opinions are expressed.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 12:31
SITE STAFF
Thomas is correct Apr 21

Hello all,

Thomas Pfann wrote:

I believe this is 'as intended'. The problem is, IMHO, that this new role has never really been explained and introduced on this site (and if it has it seems to have gone unnoticed by most). I have seen posts on LinkedIn and Facebook (and I believe there was an email from ProZ.com a while ago?) explaining what the new role is about but I don't think there was much on here at ProZ.com. Maybe that could be done now...


Thomas is correct, on both counts. I will make sure this gets announced more widely. Thanks.

Jared


Andrew Morris
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:31
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jared Apr 21

Thank you for the clarification, Jared. I appreciate it.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
Will the real Andrew Morris... Apr 21

I will be more than happy to post and respond in a personal capacity, as “just” another freelancer, if that is requested of me by ProZ.com

Absolutely not a problem. And then, I imagine, the above stated objections will magically disappear?

Let me assure everyone I wouldn’t even dream of using my site access for my own business. You may not believe me of course. That’s your call.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
"Just another freelancer" Apr 21

Andrew Morris wrote:

I will be more than happy to post and respond in a personal capacity, as “just” another freelancer, if that is requested of me by ProZ.com

Absolutely not a problem. And then, I imagine, the above stated objections will magically disappear?


Well, if you are acting upon the request of ProZ.com management while you pretend to be "just another freelancer", you are still an employee, and you are likely to be viewed as a puppet - so I don't think that would be a good idea.

I think your posts will not be seen as posted by "just another freelancer", unless:
- you are off the payroll of ProZ.com, AND
- you are subject to the same posting rules as everyone else, AND
- you have the same amount of control over posts as everyone else.


[Edited at 2019-04-21 20:20 GMT]


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Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
Puppet on a string Apr 21

So it seems if I post as a staff member, that doesn't work. But if I post as a freelancer, that doesn't work either? Oh dear....

That DOES sound a little like censorship, wouldn't you agree?

Tell you what, I think I'll wait until the people who actually employ me tell me which stance they would like me to adopt.

Because their opinion on this particular issue is the only one that count
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So it seems if I post as a staff member, that doesn't work. But if I post as a freelancer, that doesn't work either? Oh dear....

That DOES sound a little like censorship, wouldn't you agree?

Tell you what, I think I'll wait until the people who actually employ me tell me which stance they would like me to adopt.

Because their opinion on this particular issue is the only one that counts, at the end of the day.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A good label might fix it Apr 21

Jared Tabor wrote:
Thomas Pfann wrote:
I believe this is 'as intended'. The problem is, IMHO, that this new role has never really been explained and introduced on this site (and if it has it seems to have gone unnoticed by most).

Thomas is correct, on both counts. I will make sure this gets announced more widely.


An announcement will only work if everyone reads the announcement. What is needed, I think, is some kind of label underneath Andrew's name that makes it clear that his role is not prescriptive but descriptive.

In fact, a good label would almost make the announcement unnecessary -- anyone who sees a post by Andrew will be able to see that although he is "site staff", his role is to troll (and I mean that in a neutral sense, of course... so... what is the neutral or positive word for "troll"? member liaison? feedback manager? social media official?).

feed the troll

I have no objection to the role. But I think it's important to realise that no matter how benevolent site staff may be, they aren't regarded as "one of us", and Andrew's role requires him to appear that way.



[Edited at 2019-04-22 19:49 GMT]


Tom in London
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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 16:31
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Reconsider Apr 22

Andrew Morris wrote:

I have been appointed with a role in messaging (...).



"My role is to make sure the company's mission is clear to the public, and encourage that same public to give feedback" (sic).

Well, Andrew, ProZ's mission has been pretty clear to everyone I've ever met here over the last 18 years, so I'm not entirely convinced it addresses any urgent need.

And you can rest assured that the "public" needs no encouragement to give feedback, as you've had ample opportunity to realise.



I am sorry if my "strong" views offend you, Fiona. Then again, to my knowledge no one is obliging you to read my posts, which are clearly marked in my name?



I may well be alone in this, yet this "you don't have to read it" retort strikes me as rather childish.
I don't believe it has anything to do with causing personal offence, as Fiona has made quite clear. It's rather about what is perceived as your conflicting roles and dubious behaviour, apart from a clear failure at this "messaging" you're supposed to be doing.



As for lowering the tone, I am at least glad to note a healthy sense of irony here. I like that.



I'm quite willing to believe that this is unintentional, but this "I like that". It sounds patronising, "chulesco".



I'm not really sure what your post sets out to achieve, Fiona. Perhaps to censor my contributions? I'm at a loss here...



I'm also at a loss when site staff imply that someone wants to censor them...



Tell you what, I think I'll wait until the people who actually employ me tell me which stance they would like me to adopt.

Because their opinion on this particular issue is the only one that counts, at the end of the day.



No. Beginner's mistake.

The only opinion that counts is the client's.

Because without them, you got nothing....


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