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FIVE Rules about valid (and invalid) grounds for deletion  #898568
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), 2018-10-14, 14:28  like dislike  Spam?  
Please forgive my re-opening this thread, which went dead some days ago. I needed time to compose my reply. I add my comments here, because, in my mind, this thread has been our most fruitful discussion to date of this long disputed topic
I also beg your pardon for the length of my contribution. I really intend to make only five points, but to make these points intelligible, they need extensive explanation and justification.  To make my contribution easier to read, I will indent my explanations and justifications.

4;polarjud: In your closing remarks to an earlier thread, [   #898046  ], which unfortunately passed for “chat”, you make an important observation that I believe merits discussion in the present thread, because it reveals  a misunderstanding that is at the source of much of the polemic between "deleters" and "salvagers". In your contribution, you state:
         “There are no rules about grounds for deletion, but there is a very specific rule stating that substantive
          changes are not allowed once a delete vote has been cast unless a comment previously suggested
          the change.”

It is the opening assertion that I want to address in this posting. As I see it,  there are indeed FIVE rules for deletion, that are stated explicitly or implicitly in the various provisions of GL 3.

          Important as it is to rid of junk entries and thus reduce the backload, this task DOES NOT
          take priority over the principal task of providing translations not just for the commonest meanings
          of a term, but also for less frequent and rare meanings of terms, meanings that are often found
          only in special contexts, which are often suggested by SUBJECT-assignations, but, in most cases,
          must be indicated by adding bracketed disambiguations. Thus, the “Rule of Thumb” in GL3 , when
          read in the light of GL3,1 under “Fine Print” effectively gives PRIORITY to salvaging entries with
          minor, easily correctable flaws over deleting* them-

Thus, the GENERAL RULE is: “DON'T vote for delete, IF you (or somebody  with greater competence) can correct it.
 Spelled out, this means:

1.  DON’T vote for deletion, IF you are *not competent * to judge the correctness of the entry.
          This is so elementary that it hardly needs explicit formulation: it is the reason behind the “Skip”-
that paul has built into the system. NO ONE is obliged to vote on every entry that crosses
          his path.
               This rule is expressed in GL3 Rule of thumb: “Always confirm the first correct posting!!!” To
          comply with this rule, you must be competent to judge NOT just the formal correctness of an entry,
          BUT ALSO its *semantic” correctness, i.e. do the terms on either side of the translation equation
          correspond in their meaning and connotations? To judge that, you must be competent in the field.
               Just because you do not, as a native speaker feel comfortable with a formulation on your
          preferred side of the translation equation, does not justify your voting for deletion. Theoretically,  
          you need be able to confirm your “feeling for the language” by citing authoritative manuals of grammar
          and style to identify formal errors or by citing authoritative, comprehensive dictionaries to point out
          semantic errors, i.e. instances where the terms on either side of the translation equation fail to
          correspond- In practice, of course, you usually do not need to research every entry you propose
          for deletion or to write a long discourse citing authorities and setting forth your arguments. If the lack
          of correspondence is patent, you need only remark that the terms on either side of the equation do not
         agree in their meanings and usage. Nevertheless, if your claim is challenged, you should be prepared
         to do this document it with definitions from reputable mo*no-lingual dictionaries or style-books
               *Voting (without documentary proof) on entries outside your fields of competence puts you at risk
         of being outvoted. it is also a serious affront to other, who are more competent to evaluate
         entries falling within their own specialties. it makes for bad blood in our community, and causes  
         competent people leave, because they feel they are not being taken seriously here. But worst of all,
         it is a grave disservice to the whole community and to our users, especially when done by a VP5-
         voter without specific competence, because his/her votumt encourages the next non-comptent VP5
         voter (or a coalition of non-competent voters having lower VP) to summarily delete an entry before
         any truly competent voter has had a chance to review it.  

2.  DON’T  vote for deletion, IF your only objection is that the entry – albeit correct in form and content – is not the best possible or the most usual translation.
         This is explicitly stated in the 2nd sentence under GL3 Rule of Thumb and it is reiterated  under Fine
         Print in GL3,1 and hardly needs explanation.

3. .DON’T vote for deletion,  IF your only objection is that the entry – albeit correct in form and content – is not sufficiently justified.
         Failure to give adequate justification is annoying, but GL 3,? says that this is not a sufficient reason
         to reject an entry. Each proposed translation pair must be judged on its own merits: is it formally
         correct on both sides and do the meanings on each side correspond?
              There is no need to find the proposed translation in any bi-lingual dictionary. Indeed, the more
         specialized a proposed translation is, the less likely it is that you will find it in any existing dictionary,
         The unique strength of – what makes it so valuable – is that it it includes so many
         specialized entries, not only entries that belong to arcane disciplines, but also entries that are valid
         only in very special contexts
               Moreover, even when an entry can be justified by locating it in some +bi-lingua+l dictionary or
         glossary, it is often better to look up the terms on each side of the translation equation in reputable
         mono-lingual dictionaries for the respective languages, since only there can you find their exact
         meanings, and especially their connotations, which are often decisive for the validity and application
       of a proposed translation. Thus, in the last analysis, comparing definitions from mono-lingual dictionary
       entries is the only effective way to prove or disprove the semantic correctness
of a proposed entry..
             * Lack of adequate justification* is vexing, but instead of voting for deletion to punish the delinquent,
       it would be better -- for the sake of and its users -- to admonish the culprit via the
       commentary box and even better, to mail your complaint directly to drive the point home: This is
       especially the case, when the offending author is a newcomer. On the other hand, if the offending
       author of the entry is a experienced but notorious delinquent, you can report him/her to paul for

4.  DON’T vote for deletion,  IF the flaws in the entry are only minor and easily correctable. There are two prongs to this rule, which is expressed in GL3,3: Instead of voting for deletion,
a)   You SHOULD correct simple formal errors by rectifying erroneous spelling, grammar, spacing,
     punctuation, or gender and case tags, and  then vote for the thus amended version.
b)   You SHOULD correct any minor semantic errors by replacing inaccurate terms OR by adding
     bracketed disambiguations on the offending side, (if necessary on both sides). Such disambiguations
     make clear the sense in which the terms are to be understood and in what context they may be

         GL3.3 DOES NOT confer on anyone an absolute right to delete indiscriminately; it lays down  
     narrow conditions justifying a delete vote, at the same time that it provides special protection to a delete
     vote cast by the first voter to tackle a given entry.
         By the same token, although it does not command anyone to to so, GL3,3  DOES NOT forbid
     anyone attempting to salvage what they deem to be a potentially useful, if semantically flawed entry.
     That means that a "salvager" is free, not only to make make not only "minor" changes, but also to make
     major changes ; i.e,. by adding, subtracting or replacing terms on one or both sides of the entry. This
     right is fundamental to the whole verification process. GL 3,3t ONLY FORBIDS making such changes
     after a delete vote has already been cast.
           Important as it is to delete  junk entries, it is equally important to salvage potentially valuable
     entries by correcting their flaws. Very often, flawed entries made by inexperienced or unqualified
     contributors become the source of valuable correct entries at the hands of better qualified contributors.

5.  DON’T vote for deletion,  IF someone before you has proposed a correct version at least by way of a
          This again is implied by GL §,3.  It is not an absolute prohibition, of course you can attempt to vote
    for ddeletion, if you are convinced that the entry remains junk despite the attempts of other contributors
    to improve it, but your votum will not enjoy the special protection accorded by GL3.3 to
    first delete voters and you will run the risk of being outvoted by "salvagers" who disagree.

To test what I have said here, I decided, by way of example, to tackle one of the oldest unverified entries in EN=DE. [] , one that went back to Oct 2015 and was never verified or deleted., but only commented on by several voters. Parker corrected a spelling mistake, but no one felt competent to judge the semantic correctness of the proposal, and they contented themselves with suggesting some alternative formulations on the DE side, alterations that amounted to major changes.
     At first sight, the proposed translation appears plausible, since it follows the EN and DE rules for creating an adjective from a noun; thus, semantically, it is not patently false. But it was not possible to substantiate the actual use of the DE term +spannungsbedingt+within the assigned SUBJECTS. Using this translation in other contexts would not certainly be wrong. Nevertheless, in the end, I voted to delete it, replacing it with several more specific translations  that would apply to special contexts and would suggest alternative translations for other contexts as well.
     Obviously, doing this kind of detailed analysis and evaluation cost me several hours of do the research and to formulate the results, and I do not mean to demand this kind of effort across the board. But I think this example illustrates how older, unverified entries can frequently become the inspiration for quite valuable contributions when some painstaking voter decides to take them up and rework them.
     However problematical, this was never a “junk” entry, and it is fortunate that it was never eliminated by any automatic delete mechanism of the sort discussed back in 2010: see paul’s remarks in #498255  and   #498431 and my own contribution in #540890 .  But it is also fortunate that it was not eliminated by an over-zealous “deleter”, committed to reducing the backlog, whatever the cost.
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