Thursday, February 4, 2010

The End of Free Speech for ProZ members is the biggest online translators 'community' in the world and for many years I was a proud member. The forums were a valuable source of information, a great place for networking and an excellent instrument for providing support to less experienced colleagues. All this changed in 2009.

As some of you may have noticed, many long-time members are now leaving because of the strict censoring of forum posts. Currently German translators that have been here for many years are leaving in droves. The excellent moderators we had until last year were replaced by inexperienced and unqualified people who allowed themselves to be (ab)used as Securitate policemen that censor each and every posting for conformity to a host of ridiculously strict rules, just as in a police state. 

The head of this dictatorial regime is officially Henry Dotterer, but have a look at the name of the moderator at nearly every sub-f0rum about Pr0Z: Jared. The arrival of this person meant the end of Pr0Z as we knew it and entered an era of strict control and the end of free speech on Pr0Z. 

Be careful what you write, don't mention anyone's name, don't mention external site links, don't write anything that could be perceived to be negative about anyone, especially not about moderators or the management, etc. etc.

Pr0Z is a business and it can do what it want, you say? Maybe, except that it started as a community with the help of a host of volunteers, who must feel quite screwed over, now that this 'community' is starting to look like a totalitarian state. This is 1984 materialized.  

It may ultimately mean the bankruptcy of ProZ, but I doubt it. Besides, who is served by that? We want our 'old' ProZ back.

What can you do? Pr0test! Maybe the current leaders can still be prodded toward allowing free speech by the threat of hundreds of paying members leaving the site. Your voice is only one, that's true, but it matters in the chorus. 

- Ryan