Yes, you are right. She is probably an exception. But this example served as food for thought regarding the criteria that should be set in order to secure quantity, which is very much needed due to the rising number of projects, and quality which should always be safeguarded.
Quantity is easy to measure and limit, if you want to, and that’s what rules or guidelines about the number of projects can achieve. But quality and consistency, which I believe is what troubles us all, cannot be achieved by quantity rules. One might have 3 projects and never finish them or do a bad job and other problems that have been mentioned in this thread, while someone else might be like the contributor in my example. What I mean is that the problem is not hoarding itself, but hoarding that leads to bad results. Limitation to the number of projects may be a useful indirect way of taking care of the problem, but it’s not a decisive one, in my opinion.
Another thing we should always keep in mind is that this is a volunteer-based community. That means that volunteers are needed and should not be discouraged by too many rules (I’m guessing that is what viki thinks), but what is actually needed is volunteers with decent contributions, since when the job done is bad, people are displeased and turn their back on what doesn’t satisfy them. And, at the same time, those contributors who try their best get discouraged and might also turn their back.
So, what could be a solution, you will naturally ask. I already mentioned I’m a relatively new contributor, so I’m not aware of many things and problems here on viki, but based on my experience here so far, I will dare to make some suggestions, which depend mainly on the management and staff of viki and less on the contributors/volunteers, who are already offering their time and effort:
- I get the concept of contribution, but if viki wants to keep its viewers satisfied, there should be some monitoring of the quality of contributions. There should be at least one person responsible for each language available on the platform. It could be a trusted volunteer to whom some kind of extra reward is offered or a paid employee (I have mentioned before that every solution needs time, money and human resources). That/Those person/s (depending on how large the specific language community is) can assess the work of moderators, subtitlers and editors, in terms of quality and consistency, and can also help CMs check moderators they’re recruiting on their projects. I understand that “assessment” is a scary and discouraging word in every field, but this is what everyone is talking about. And when I say quality and consistency assessment, I don’t mean there is a need for professional skills here, but a minimum decency regarding subtitles and some rules regarding consistency.
- Consistency can be monitored with deadlines. It has already been mentioned in this thread that there should be some deadlines to secure the completion of a project. These deadlines can vary for on-going and “library” projects. I won’t be the one to set the deadlines. When there are deadlines, people will think twice before hoarding projects.
- And what will happen when the assessment result is bad or against the rules or deadlines aren’t met? Should there be a “punishment” on a volunteer-based community? I believe that if such an assessment exists, the community will be auto-regulated. Moderators won’t recruit bad subtitlers and CMs won’t recruit bad moderators. And if they do and things don’t go well, they can replace them. The only role left to be regulated are CMs, who probably want their projects translated in as many languages as possible and sometimes overlook or – more often – are unable (due to language barriers and lack of information) to check all of their team members.
- So, the final question is what to do with CMs hoarding channels and leaving projects unfinished, delayed or badly done, since as they say in my country “when the fish smells bad, it probably starts from its head”. Well, CM selection is made by viki staff. So, they should make sure to check CMs thoroughly. Otherwise, we’re discussing in vain. Lately, there have been projects with viki staff appointed as CMs. If that means that the CM applications were assessed and found lacking, that is a good thing. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was able to monitor a fellow moderator and could tell a lot about her work. So, viki staff should be able to do that as well when CMs are being selected.
- Last, but not least: Extra care should be given to the translation in English, since it’s the translation source of every other language. It is obvious that there is a lack of translators in English. I don’t know how this can be solved (with “contributing” methods), but it definitely would make things better, if there were more Korean-Chinese-Thai etc to English translators.
Wow, this is not a post, this is an essay! I apologize for the extent of this post, as well as for the possibility of being irrelevant (since we are talking about “hoarding”). Just one closing remark: I joined viki contributors’ community, because I was so frustrated with seeing so many projects with bad subtitles in my language. I can watch dramas in English, so why bother, right? Because I love the idea of more people from my country enjoying them as well. But “enjoying” requires good subtitles, not just any subtitles. People might not know a foreign language, but they know their own. It’s better not to be translated at all than being badly translated.