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work-fu
Member

How to improve the platform

Howdy,

I'm a member of many forums and mostly a lurker, as in my skepticism (if not downright cynicism) I don't think I can make a difference, but from time to time I get out of my shell and speak out.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the first or the last to mention the problems I'm about to describe, but maybe, just maybe, my voice will stack on top of the others and will amount to something.

 

So, here I am giving some feedback/criticism to the Upwork masters, along with some proposed solutions.

Facts:

#1 - most professional freelancers hate the canned questions Upwork provide to clients when posting a new job;

#2 - most serious clients (as in clients with a good track-record and big sums spent on here) will not resort to said questions;

#3 - the canned questions will therefore be ignored by both the freelancer as well as the client, a professional member of this platform.

 

All these are probably a symptom of the Upwork's desire to attract new clients by facilitating an easy way to post a job. But, a client simply posting a job is not equivalent to revenue, as that depends on whether the job will attract quality freelancers.

 

Proposed solution:

- get rid of the canned questions and add a feature like the milestone one, where you add a question by  writing it and add more by clicking on a plus sign. It will force the clients to think more about what they want and it will improve the overall business relationship between parties.

 

There are probably a lot of first time clients (payment not verified) that will go looking somewhere else because their crappy posting didn't attract a lot of quality proposals. Think about that, from a business PoV, if nothing else convinces you, Upwork.
Thanks.
-
Cat

20 REPLIES 20
feed_my_eyes
Member

Yes to all of this. Have a kudo. I understand that clients may need help knowing what to ask and how to word their bid, but the canned questions are counter-productive.

 

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the up-vote, but I think that the assumption that the clients need help (from Upwork) for knowing what to ask or how to word their needs is the core issue that led to this.

 

If they need help with finding what they want and they come here before finding that out, they'll mostly be ignored on most jobs, as most of us here are wanting to provide solutions to their problems/needs. If they don't know what those are, there's proabably a service they can purchase here too, but in most cases, people like me (coders, 3d artists, etc), are not into providing that. So maybe that's a feature Upwork needs to think about - clients that don't know what they want. Get them to know that and then redirect them to the problem solvers (after having a "chat" with problem identifiers).

 

edit: I'm aware that most problem indentifiers are those that are actually able to solve the problem - so then maybe, allow new clients that don't know exactly what they want to check a box and get bids/questions from people willing to provide them a clue, without having to pay (connects) in the form of clarifying questions,

Oh, forgot to mention - this is not a connects issue - I understand that business has costs, but I for one, can't be bothered to engage with a client that doesn't have a clue about what the job at hand involves, connects or no connects. Connects cost makes that much unlikely that I'll spend my time asking what they're actually after. That's where I'm coming from.

Cat - I usually pass the jobs by that have a list of questions to be answered except on rare occasions when a job does look really good. Those stupid questions are really a pain.

a_lipsey
Member


Cat N wrote:

Howdy,

I'm a member of many forums and mostly a lurker, as in my skepticism (if not downright cynicism) I don't think I can make a difference, but from time to time I get out of my shell and speak out.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the first or the last to mention the problems I'm about to describe, but maybe, just maybe, my voice will stack on top of the others and will amount to something.

 

So, here I am giving some feedback/criticism to the Upwork masters, along with some proposed solutions.

Facts:

#1 - most professional freelancers hate the canned questions Upwork provide to clients when posting a new job;

#2 - most serious clients (as in clients with a good track-record and big sums spent on here) will not resort to said questions;

#3 - the canned questions will therefore be ignored by both the freelancer as well as the client, a professional member of this platform.

 

All these are probably a symptom of the Upwork's desire to attract new clients by facilitating an easy way to post a job. But, a client simply posting a job is not equivalent to revenue, as that depends on whether the job will attract quality freelancers.

 

Proposed solution:

- get rid of the canned questions and add a feature like the milestone one, where you add a question by  writing it and add more by clicking on a plus sign. It will force the clients to think more about what they want and it will improve the overall business relationship between parties.

 

There are probably a lot of first time clients (payment not verified) that will go looking somewhere else because their crappy posting didn't attract a lot of quality proposals. Think about that, from a business PoV, if nothing else convinces you, Upwork.
Thanks.
-
Cat


Agree. Get rid of those canned questions. 

tinker_bell3
Moderator
Moderator

Thanks for your feedback, Cat. I'll be sure to share this with our team for consideration. 

~ Joanne
Upwork

Those canned questions will often put me off applying. I am firmly in the get rid camp although this has been bought up numerous times already. 




versailles
Member

The canned questions are a put-off for many experienced people, especially when they are not relevant to the posting at all. It's been discussed in lengths here, but Upwork knows better that us what we need and they have decided not to remove these stupid questions. As a consequence, many posts will continue to be ignored by freelancers, rightfully so.

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

COMPLETELY agree. The canned questions put me off applying. They harm clients and their chances of hiring the best freelancers because so many people just say "If you can't be bothered to write a proper question, I can't be bothered to write a proper answer!"

 

I also have a set of really snarky, sarcastic canned answers and don't want to be tempted to use them ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Most of us ***DETEST*** those canned questions. They are most completely dumb in the context because they can't normally even be answered in a meaningful way because the job post doesn't give enough context anyway.


Petra R wrote:

I also have a set of really snarky, sarcastic canned answers and don't want to be tempted to use them ๐Ÿ˜‰


Ha ha! Post them here (if it's not against the rules) so we can have a laugh in these troubled times.

And don't get me started on the "start your proposal with the words "purple elephant" so that we know you read the job post to the end." I feel such pity for those poor clients that need to resort to such measures to get quality proposals. At the same time, a proposal that starts with "purple elephant" just can never be a serious proposal, so I always skip those too. Just can't bring myself to do that silly thing. 

Right.

Getting back on topic - another solution, if Upwork feels like it can't do without these canned questions, is to make the cover letter show first on a bid, as well as making answering the questions optional.


Cat N wrote:

Right.

Getting back on topic - another solution, if Upwork feels like it can't do without these canned questions, is to make the cover letter show first on a bid, as well as making answering the questions optional.


And why are you just lurking here instead of contributing until now? 

 

Everything you are saying makes perfect sense.

I think I've explained why I'm a lurker in my first post. And the fact that things are probably not going to change kinda validates my MO.
Here's to proving me wrong, I'm always happy when I'm proved to be wrong, despite my first instinctual reaction of unpleasantness due to cortisol release. ๐Ÿ™‚


Cat N wrote:
I think I've explained why I'm a lurker in my first post. And the fact that things are probably not going to change kinda validates my MO.
Here's to proving me wrong, I'm always happy when I'm proved to be wrong, despite my first instinctual reaction of unpleasantness due to cortisol release. ๐Ÿ™‚

You might find it more rewarding than you think (although I maybe fooling myself and it is all an ego thing). I think a lot of the regulars are actually introverts (most of us work alone and in some kind of isolation).

What would I find more rewarding than I think, speaking out?
Done that. I ve worked in a pharma company, which is a heavily regulated industry (imagine that for a moment) and speaking out has not ushered a no-wake up in the middle of the night sleep.

In the end I left (my boss almost begged me to stay) and now I'm dealing with the same human undesirable idiosyncratic behavior. In my naivete, I thought it would be different, but at least, freelancing allows me to fire a client and never interact with that person ever again.

I'm not sure about your point about introverts - it surely seems that freelancing has a business component, apart from the skill itself, in order to sell yourself and that doesn't usually go well introverted people.

Anyway, the discussion just went deep ๐Ÿ™‚
Hopefully, the Upwork people will ignore our personal ramblings and pay attention to the problems and proposed solutions. Because pragmatism.

Just adding my vote to ditch the canned questions. They're particularly off-putting in a job post to which I've been invited... *Why do you think you are a good fit for this project?* I have responded to that one with *I don't know that I am, but you invited me. Let me know if you'd like to schedule a chat or phone convo and let's talk.* 

 

I usually answer the first question with "pleaee check my cover letter" and leave dashes for the rest, but for that question I'm tempted to say "because I'm a narcissistic sociopath and I'm the best".

Of course, it's up to the client to figure out why I'm the best suited for the job after I make my case (in the cover letter) and provide my portfolio. Anything else is a form of self-aggrandizing, which a client should be wary of.

Anyway, I've been out of my shell for long enough that I now feel the cold. I'm gonna go back under my rock now, awaiting for a change from upwork.
(no sarcasm)
Cheers!
-
Cat

I just got hit with 5 on one job that was otherwise looking very promising. From now on I will be scrolling down first to look for these before I waste my time reading through the description and whatnot.

They really are deal-killers.This client will be receiving (at least) one fewer qualified applicants as a result of these questions. 

5.png


I wonder, are the mod team letting the development team know that it's not just the thread starter who feels this way? Rather, everybody who has so far contributed agrees with them! (Often emphatically).