Contact: No Peanuts! for Translators
(https://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/). Release in .pdf format available here.
For immediate release: 1 June 2010
ProZ.com censors discussion of No Peanuts! principles
Thread deleted from “Money Matters” forum
for alleged “unauthorized advertising”
A thread discussing the No Peanuts! movement was canceled from ProZ.com’s “Money Matters” forum last weekend after a moderator charged a member with “unauthorized advertising.”
In a 30 May 2010 thread—entitled “Tired of Being Paid Peanuts?”—a ProZ.com member quoted from Point #5 of the No Peanuts! Statement of Principles (“Take back control of your role in the client/service provider relationship”). Within two hours, the thread, along with some seven responses, was eliminated by “moderator extraordinaire” Astrid Elke Johnson.
Johnson said the cancellation of the thread was justified by ProZ Site Rule #3, “Advertisements are Prohibited,” which states in part that “unauthorized solicitation … is not allowed. Discussion of sites offering competing services is also prohibited, due to past abuse.”
The poster of “Tired of Being Paid Peanuts?” was not, of course, soliciting anything. Moreover, the No Peanuts! Movement is strictly informational and in no way competes with ProZ.
Specifically, Johnson told the poster to delete the word “clearinghouse” in reference to ProZ (a quote from the No Peanuts! Statement of Principles), demanding that it be changed to “something more neutral.” In addition, Johnson objected to the Statement of Principles’ characterization of TransPerfect as a “mega-agency” and suggested that both ProZ and TransPerfect be referred to as “major online portals.”
When the poster refused—on the grounds that she was quoting verbatim from No Peanuts! materials and was reluctant to edit something she had not written—Johnson deleted the entire thread.
Johnson has been named in more than one incident regarding what some ProZ users consider arbitrary censorship, including in Kevin Lossner’s 26 December 2009 blog post, “Back in the Stool of Repentance.” Wrote Lossner, “Censorship on ProZ continues in its usual pointless manner, carried out by individuals of sometimes dubious perception and judgment who seem to roll dice to come up with a silly rule to quote in justification.”
A long-time paying ProZ.com member, meanwhile, had this comment: “ProZ censors every post that it does not like…. When I complained about the abusive rates offered via their Connect system … the post was deleted with no explanation…. Don’t believe ProZ is really looking out for the good of the translation industry…. They’ve known for a long time about the market erosion promoted and supported by them, due to individual complaints like mine, and they (have) ignored them.”
Reached for comment, ProZ.com’s founder and owner, Henry Dotterer, responded, “Moderators are members who volunteer. They don’t act at the beck and call of site staff.” Dotterer declined to take any specific action regarding the removal of the “Tired of Being Paid Peanuts?” post.
No Peanuts! demands that ProZ moderate its moderators! Free and open discussion of the No Peanuts! Movement and of other efforts to give translators and interpreters more control over their businesses is in everyone’s interest. ProZ.com, whose stated mission is to provide “experiences that enhance the lives of its members,” should support such information-sharing, not shut it down. If you agree, write to Astrid Elke Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Henry Dotterer (email@example.com) and tell them so.
No Peanuts! for Translators was founded in May 2010. Its mission is to provide support and resources to professional translators and interpreters in demanding and receiving a living wage for their work. In its first 28 days, the No Peanuts! blog site received more than 19,730 visits—about 700 per day—from 103 different countries. No Peanuts! is officially endorsed by more than 165 language professionals, including by members of 40 of the world’s most prestigious organizations of translators, interpreters, editorial proofreaders, and subtitlers.