Jost Zetzsche Tool Kit

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Serving as moderators to

There is a call for proz members to consider becoming moderators. A forum was specially opened for the same.

When I became an ordinary member way back in 2003, I was quite awed by this portal. I still am grateful to the site, but the awe has given rise to certain skepticism.

While calling for moderators, it is made clear that they are only volunteers and no privilege will be given to them. And this from a commercial Website, which has - indeed should have - a profit motive.

But then, why should a member be a moderator? And as I understand it, only platinum members can become moderators, who pay quite a sum of money already.

Way back in 2003, I saw wonderful moderators such as Ralf Lemster, Kim Metzger and others. These two have ceased to be one and I wonder why. A spate of well known moderators left the scene likewise. At that time there was much talk about it in the proz fora.

On seeing the conditions being imposed on a moderator and the benefits he is likely to get, I am not enamored of becoming one. Which is now beside the point as I am no longer a platinum member.

But yet:

The forum cited above has been locked. A few posts have been made invisible. I am not able to make my points there. Hence this blog post.

The benefits a moderator is supposed to get is expressed in the following words:
Moderators are volunteer members and are not paid for their work. However, there are a number of benefits to participating in the program: 

First, serving as a moderator provides an enhanced opportunity to help others benefit from the mission. For a person who has achieved success as a translator or interpreter, or in a translation company, and who has derived benefit from, the moderator program provides an opportunity to give something back by sharing what you have learned with others. 

Secondly, as it turns out, helping others to benefit from the mission also allows one to experience the benefits of the mission in a deeper way oneself. For example, because each class of moderators consists of a group of about 100 professionals from around the world, the program provides a great opportunity for personal networking. The camaraderie, and resulting friendships, cross linguistic and geographical boundaries. Also, because of the high profile nature of the role, moderators gain exposure that in some cases may lead to new business opportunities. Finally, as is the case with any professional challenge, the moderator role provides opportunities to advance as a professional and have fun at the same time.

Hope this explains.

No, this does not explain it, I am sorry to say. This can then be claimed for any free work. Surely the recipient of such pro bono work will think along those lines. But why should one consider becoming a moderator? 

In the Gotranslators portal. articles are solicited from members and in the event of giving one, they are offered 2 months of gomembership (equivalent to proz's platinum) free of cost. In that way I was a gomember for a period exceeding one year. 

Proz can consider such a gesture for moderators. This incentive will surely attract good talent. And by the way this gesture is not exactly new for proz. I was a platinum member of proz for 4 years and I did not spend a single cent for the same. It came about in the following manner. 

There was a move to localize proz into Tamil, my mother tongue. Three of us worked on that and a lot of browneys were given to us. It was in this connection that I wanted a platinum membership in exchange of the browneys. I initiated a forum post for this. There were lively discussions on this point. But if you now see that forum post, you will have no inkling of what actually happened. 

One fine day in July 2007, I was admitted to the platinum membership for one year against 20000 browney points. Come 2008, there was call for me to renew membership through payment with offer for 1/3 discount against 4000 browney points. I had more than 60000 browney points at that time and I remained adamant about getting platinum membership in the same way. 

In July 2008, I was given platinum membership for 3 more years and it lapsed this month. Not much browney points remained and I let the matter go.

My localization into Tamil was considered as valuable contribution and I got the membership. But then moderators too do a valuable service and they should be given at least browney poitns generously and if some of them convert it to platinum membership renewals, why not? 

There is precedence for this and I am that precedence.

Proz is a commercial site. It should consider getting the best talents. Just vaguely referring to the dubious mental satisfaction will not wash. 

Dondu N. Raghavan