re: "I felt it's my responsibility to the freelancer's community here on upWork to clarify things for potential employees"
If you want to be responsible, the main things to do are:
- Do NOT work for free.
- Use the "Flag as inappropriate" button to report bad "clients"
I'm not sure if "clarifying" things for potential "employees" (clients) is something you need to worry about at all. Certainly don't spend time and energy doing so. You may well be dealing with a scammer client who knows they are breaking the rules. In which case, any efforts to "clarify" things are just a waste of time.
If I am dealing with a potential client who I think is genuine and just not aware of the rules, I don't mind helping them learn. But I don't waste time with people I know are scammers.
Anca D wrote:
I don't usually report every person asking me for a free test
Why not ALWAYS flag these projects as inappropriate? It only takes a second, and you'll be doing more to protect the Upwork community than arguing with just one "mean" client.
I just recently decided to submit a brief and realistic bid on a job, while also pointing out that I could not do the quite modest test the prospect had asked for as part of the application. Based on signs of serious intent and good faith throughout the RFP, I interpreted the new client’s request as an innocent mistake. The request was immediately waived in the response, and we went on to have a substantive discussion about the job. In thanking the prospect for not insisting on the test, I did make the point that requests for free work were strictly dealt with by Upwork. (I have the impression that Upwork, in the case of first violations, just states the policy and asks clients to remove the free test request.)
If you have a large body of work and long profile, simply inform the client that you are happy to offer a pre-existing sample of your work in the same niche as their project, even better if your sample is published with credit to you somewhere online. They will either accept that, or they will pay for a trail job, or they will just move on.