My daughter turned 18 yesterday, and I decided to celebrate the occasion in a healthy way by ending another unhealthy relationship: my ProZ membership, which was due for renewal that day. Over the past few years, it has become clear that the relationship with the self-designated leading e-portal for translators was an abusive one.
When Mr. Qaddafi, a junior military officer, staged his coup in Libya some 40+ years ago, things were better at first. Roads were built. Schools. Hospitals. Then the Road to Nowhere with its master plan in the Green Book.
When a Japanese translator and MIT graduate founded ProZ and built it with the help of skilled, enthusiastic professionals and others pleased to have a new communication platform with a bit more to offer than creaky Compuserve, there was a honeymoon period with competent moderation of forums, helpful exchanges of ideas and terminology advice and more. And then, when the Ring of RuleZ was forged and darkness fell on the virtual land, nontranslating nazgul redefined right and wrong and wrote the platform's end as a unique and useful place for professionals.
ProZ has always been an easy "fix" for me. A lot of good colleagues complain that in years of quoting posted jobs there they had no success. I have other beefs with ProZ - mostly bad management. As far as the posted projects are concerned, I probably got 70% or better of those for which I choose to quote and did so at quite reasonable rates. It's all a matter of knowing when to quote and how to game the system. And having qualifications that are in demand. If your tail gets in the way of your typing and you munch peanuts and bananas over the keyboard, even Jeff Gitomer probably can't help you upsell your services.
But those little fixes of money and ego boosts of yet another easy score have stood in the way of more serious development, and like someone with Stockholm Syndrome in a violent relationship, I've found excuses for years now to stick around ProZ long after Henry & Co. applied duct tape to my mouth and required individual approval of any forum contributions I might care to make. I'm in good company there - many of the best moderators from the past have been similarly gagged for a long time, and some have been subject to summary virtual execution. I am talking about some of the most ethical, honest, competent colleagues I know.
So it's time for a bit of methadone (free account status) on the transition to a better life in healthier company. I've found it already, actually, in professional associations like the German BDÜ and private, non-indexed forums with carefully screened professionals like Stridonium. Why would I need the ProZ needle in my arm, to put up with an organization that shows open contempt for paying customers with an opinion as it debases its content for wannabes and Asian sausage shop LSPs? Why continue to host a domain there when the costs are far higher than elsewhere and the service truly sucks? Let it go. Time to kick the habit.