Once again I object to penalizing freelancers for disappearing clients / inactive projects

I had a 100% JSS for a long time. I recently had one job not end successfully and that dropped to 99%. Fine, I'm no longer perfect. But there haven't been any others and now it's down to 97%. The only thing that I have heard of that can affect this that has occurred in that time is a couple of contracts have gone inactive.

 

I object to this metric being part of JSS. It has nothing to do with whether or not I do my work or please my clients.

 

It's UNPROFESSIONAL for Upwork to constantly make me have to nag clients to close projects so I'm not penalized for something that DOESN'T FLIPPING MATTER IN THE FIRST PLACE.

163 REPLIES 163

Also, when I discussed this issue a while back, a bunch of "experts" here told me I didn't need to worry about this because it only became an issue after several months. Well, none of my idle contracts has been inactive for more than 2 calendar months. So apparently it matters after several weeks, not months.


@Charles K wrote:

 Well, none of my idle contracts has been inactive for more than 2 calendar months. So apparently it matters after several weeks, not months.


 Then they are not what caused the drop.

 

Remember good factors falling out of the calculation window, hence a "bad" factor counting more heavily if it becomes a bigger percentage of the overall count.

There are no other relevant factors. 100% client recommendation rate. No other projects closed. And I've been here less than 6 months, which is the smallest "calculation window."

 

And I just had a CS rep from Upwork in chat confirm that the idle contracts are why my JSS dropped.

 

Maybe someone from Upwork could actually CLARIFY for us how much time we have before we start getting POINTLESSLY PENALIZED FOR THINGS THAT DON'T MATTER.

 

Never mind, what a crazy thought.

THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. NOW.

I have several contracts that are over 2 months inactive and don't affect me. 

 

Can you contact the clients to close the contracts?

I've tried before and just tried again.

 

The CS guy said they can start to affect JSS after 30 days. 30 days! It's summer. I went on a two week trip.

 

Clients also go on vacation sometimes.

 

And some clients COMMONLY have work only once every month or two. Why do I have to make them close the contract because of this arbitrary, idiotic system?

 

I was also told that what matters is the relative proportion of active and inactive projects. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY? What the hell difference does it make what percentage of my projects are active or not?

 

So this means if I have a project successfully complete, so my number of active projects goes down, then my inactives count negatively against me MORE?

 

If I am busy with a small number of ongoing clients I have to take on extra jobs just to keep my JSS up?

 

This entire system is INSANE.


@Charles K wrote:

 

The CS guy said they can start to affect JSS after 30 days. 30 days! It's summer. I went on a two week trip.

 


30 days since when?? I always had a feeling it was 3+ months. Can a mod confirm this? And how can CS give out info like this if it's supposed to be a "secret"?

Bear in mind that the CS guy could also be wrong.

 

That's the problem with "secret calculations," nobody really knows what is going on.

 

Apparently I also have 6% "bad outcomes," the definition of which includes even projects where the client and I mutually agree to cancel the project, or if I provide a refund, and other nonsense.

 

Insane.

The actual bottom line of this, beyond the stupidity of counting idle contracts automatically against freelancers, is that my JSS is going down because I am not actively seeking out new contracts. I have been busy and I have had a small number of clients with a lot of repeat work, which apparently doesn't matter as much as it should.

 

I have been told by some long-timers that they have to go and get small jobs just to get more "successful completions" on their profiles. Guess that's where I am now.

I have to say, I've been starting to get pretty fed up with this discussion. I started deleting some of my postings because I not longer wanted to participate in what I'm coming to believe is an incredibly stupid and circular discussion, but then I read this. 

What this appears to be saying -- which is incredibly insane ---  is that something in algorithm is downrating certain freelancers for things they either can't control or don't know that they should control because no one has come out with any clear statements about it. So if they haven't been on the forum and read all the advice from the moderators, they won't know about what's being said about it. 

 

What's weird is that people are noticing that there are issues with their scores changing (mainly going down) for reasons that aren't apparent or don't make particular sense considering their other activity on the platform.

I actually had an idle contract that I made an effort to close. I contacted the client, she gave me a five star score and closed the contract. I didn't close out any other contracts in the same period. And my score went (drumrolll) ..... DOWN! So should I interpret this as the client giving me bad ratings in the private feedback section?

If I care about what I do, how do I respond to this? I can't know what the JSS is about or how it's calculated. And I can't respond to client negative feedback that I can't see. This is supposed to provide some incentive that will make me a "better" worker? 

 

 


@Charles K wrote:

 

 

Apparently I also have 6% "bad outcomes," the definition of which includes even projects where the client and I mutually agree to cancel the project, or if I provide a refund, and other nonsense.

 

Insane.


 Actually, it makes perfect sense when you consider that JSS purports to measure the percentage of jobs successfully completed. A canceled job, even by agreement, was not successfully completed. 

 

Providing a refund in and of itself does not have a negative impact--it's the client's private feedback that may.

Seriously? I've been looking into this and I think I've been penalized for giving a client a refund. The reason I did this was that my computer broke down right after the contract started and I couldn't continue. The bill was something like $12. I thought I was being an honest contractor! Shouldn't I get rewarded for that?

Hi Renata, 

 

Contracts where the money was refunded (even fully) can contribute positively to your Job Success Score as long as the freelancer and client resolved any issues and ended the contract on good terms and with good feedback. As such, refunds don't automatically have a negative impact on your Job Success Score, it's the outcome of the project that determines the score.


~ Avery
Upwork

Yes but mutualy canceled contracts didn't completed unsuccessfully either.

Maybe it doesn't hae to boost your JSS but it doesn't to lower it either.

It is poor choice, I wont use harsh words, but it's completely unfair to freelancers.


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

@Charles K wrote:

 

The CS guy said they can start to affect JSS after 30 days. 30 days! It's summer. I went on a two week trip.

 


30 days since when?? I always had a feeling it was 3+ months. Can a mod confirm this? And how can CS give out info like this if it's supposed to be a "secret"?


That sounds like nonsense.

 

 30 days? What the hell? 

Well, 6% negative outcomes would factor into it when it involves cancelling contracts for example. You have no "no feedback" contracts so why not close a couple of the inactive ones if the client's have cone awol.

 

you can also exclude that unsuccessful contract from your calculation using your perk, can't you?

Now the "premium support" person says 2 months.


@Charles K wrote:

Now the "premium support" person says 2 months.


If this is true, and I totally doubt it (and have evidence that it is not) it would be a new thing.  

 

Cancelled contracts without payment DO affect it, especially if the cancellation reason given by the client is negative.

 

Refunds have no effect, at all, but the outcome of the refunded contract can have an effect.

Apparently I have to guess as to whether using my perk on this job will help or not.

 

She actually told me that maybe I should save it for a future job where I am sure.

 

I wish I was making this up.

 

Petra, what do you think? While we've clashed on certain things in the past I do respect your opinion on these matters greatly.

 

And I have no idea what is going on here.

 

I just did get one of my idle jobs closed. But it's not the one barely over 2 months.

 

I don't even know if closing these now will affect JSS next update or if I am stuck with this for the next 24 months.


@Petra R wrote:

you can also exclude that unsuccessful contract from your calculation using your perk, can't you?

I asked about that. And the first guy said he didn't see any problem with that job.

 

So I asked, what is the 6% unsuccessful outcomes from then?

 

Wouldn't tell me.

 

He then transferred me to the "premium" person. She asked for the contract number again.

 

She looked at it.

 

I asked it it was counting against me. She said "I'm sorry but I can't tell you that."

 

So I said: "You're telling me I have a perk that I can use to remove feedback negatively impacting JSS but you won't tell me which contracts are having that impact?"

 

And she replied (basically) saying "Usually the freelancer already knows."

 

So I have 6% "unsuccessful outcomes," one of which apparently is because it has been idle for 2 months and 5 days (I just checked) and they won't provide any useful information.

 

Meanwhile she keeps telling me my JSS is "great" and I'm a "great freelancer and keep up the good work."

 

This is a sad joke.

In fairness 97% IS great. You said originally that you had an unsuccessful contract so you DO know, don't you? 

 

If the client with the oldest idle contract is unresponsive and the work is done, just close it.

Petra, that project ended due to certain complexities I don't want to divulge here. But I refunded the escrow, and the client said that even though we couldn't proceed he appreciated my feedback, and he said he would recommend me and he gave as the reason for cancelling the job that he didn't need the work done any more (which is basically true.)

 

I can't see any reason why this would count against my JSS, but this system is insane, so who knows?


@Charles K wrote:

I've tried before and just tried again.

 

The CS guy said they can start to affect JSS after 30 days. 30 days! It's summer. I went on a two week trip.

 

 


 The unfortunate situation we are in is that CS reps do not know much about how Upwork works. Their responses are largely lifted from templates, and many, many accounts in the forums demonstrate that they regularly choose the wrong one. (In this case, for instance, the rep was probably thinking of the fact that contracts are automatically paused after 30 days).

 

No one at Upwork who actually understands the system will ever tell you exactly why your JSS dropped--they're not allowed, because they are protecting the algorithm. 

 

Most of us have or have had multiple contracts that have gone 30 days without activity at some point, with no drop in JSS. I currently have three jobs that have been inactive for between 30 and 60 days and my JSS is still 100%.

Hi there,

I have the same issue and I'm really frustrated about it.

I went from a rising talent status to a JSS. And I had 9 jobs in total by now.

7 of them were rated by 5 stars. Two are still open but one is suspended due to inactivity (less than two months), and my JSS is 83%!!!

I mean this is hilarious. There is no mathematical or any other logic in this.

And it's a bad way for calculation, cause client see a low JSS and just move over your profile, don't even open it. Of course thinking you've done some poor contracts, which is far from the trooth.

It's just making a lot of damage to us freelancers.

I'm supporting your protest!!!

 

Goran,

 

Both public and private feedback contributes to your Job Success score, including private feedback on contracts where no money was paid that don't show on your profile publicly. We won't be able to share information about any specific feedback, but you can check the explanation of how JSS is calculated here.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Valeria,

 

Yes we are all aware of how JSS is calculated, and that's the only thing that complete CS is telling us.

But what you are not hearing is that your calculator sucks (with all do respect), and that people are having complains that you can't resolve. It's becoming frustrated. Freelaancers aren't protected at all, and your current calculations are on their damage.

And what is the catch with that private feedback?

Why two of feedback anyway?

So if all of my public feedback are 5 star rated and my score isn't 100% or close, I have to assume, that someone who gave me a positive feedback and 5 stars, that same person left a bad private feedback? That doesn't make sense!

And further more, you will accept that extremely non logical decision.

 

Goran and Ken,

 

Private feedback is an additional way for users to share their experience working with each other on a contract honestly and without any external pressure. Unfortunately, the rating system we had previously that was based solely on public feedback could easily be manipulated and this is something we are able to avoid with Job Success score. You can refer to earlier discussions of private feedback in the Community.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Or dishonestly if the freelancer is unable to see it.

Valeria,

 

It seems to me that you guys (Upwork) are trying to convince us in something, that we (freelancers) are trying to point out as a poor colaboration, as a bad thing.

The difference is that we are stating with facts and you are wawing with secret metrics and demagogy.

What does the private feedback do when that client has already left the public feedback?

Please?

In my case, on all of my finished contracts, I have 5 ratings public feedback, no jobs without feedback and no bad feedback at all. And that means that someone left private feedback in oposite of his public statement. And would you valiadate private or public in that case?

We all state that this is not good metric, and we have no rights or protection (obviously) by Upwork.

I have a full time job and this is something additionally to me, but things going in this direction would make me consider of changing the platform.

Lot of us can't afford switching like that but be fair to them. Be fair to us freelancers.

Offer some mechanism that would protect our interest.

All answers that we recieved by now are copy/paste. They all are the same. And they told us nothing. You don't need to convience us that your metric is good. You need to hear us!!!

What if:

 

Freelancer does good work for a client.

 

Client wants to keep freelancer at low cost and available.

 

Client gives 5 stars public but negative review private to push down JSS score.

 

Now freelancer has a harder time gaining new clients and raising rates.

 

Client is happy bacause freelancer is available and still at the low rate.

 

Is this a possible scenario?

 

 

 


@Ken S wrote:

What if:

 

Freelancer does good work for a client.

 

Client wants to keep freelancer at low cost and available.

 

Client gives 5 stars public but negative review private to push down JSS score.

 

Now freelancer has a harder time gaining new clients and raising rates.

 

Client is happy bacause freelancer is available and still at the low rate.

 

Is this a possible scenario?

 

 

 


 Yes.

 

It is also a possible scenario that the client is not really a client, but a freelancer who wants to gain your information to create a fake profile and steal work from you.

 

It is also a possible scenario that the client is a serial killer and has invited you to his job because he decided from your photo that he wanted to dice you up and fertilize his garden with you and he's using a job offer to make contact.

 

Your paranoid fantasy scenario above is just about as likely as either or both of these.

Please elaborate on the private feedback.

 

How does a freelancer respond to feedback that is unseen by the freelancer?

 

How does a freelancer improve their freelancing if the feedback is not available to them?

 

 

This thread includes screen shots of the private feedback form:

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Client-private-feedback/m-p/267929/highlight/true#M16678...

 

It is a net promoter scoring system. It asks a totally different question than the star-based feedback. So the two can be different without either being untrue. 

 

I may have been okay with the work a freelancer performed, but not so impressed that I would recommend him or her to someone else. It freelancers insist that the private and public feedback must match, it is much more likely that they would see their public feedback go down. I don't know anyone who would care to see their 5 stars downgraded to 4 or 3 to match the private feedback. 

 
iaabraham
Member


@Charles K wrote:

Bear in mind that the CS guy could also be wrong.

 

That's the problem with "secret calculations," nobody really knows what is going on. 

 


I'm pretty sure they're wrong but who knows. Not to take away from the main point of your post, but this is an issue that really needs clearing up by mod or someone official - once and for all. And then you maybe you can rule out that factor in your JSS.

 

Does an inactive contract affect JSS after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 months??? And if we're not allowed to know, then can someone please tell CS not to give out inaccurate information?

Another update....

 

I asked to speak to a supervisor. I got a call from a "senior agent on the premium support team."

 

I asked about various things and was told basically that they do not have access to the algorithm so even they do not know the actual answers. However, he recommended having projects that are more than 30 days idle closed.

 

He reminded me that I can close projects myself. I said that this means I'd have no feedback on it, and he pointed out that I currently have 0% with no feedback and that this number has to be "high" (whatever that means) for it to be a problem. The implication was that the open idle contracts were more of a problem than closing them without feedback, which is useful information I wanted to share.

 

He could not answer definitively if a contract closed because the client says "no longer needed" counts as a negative outcome. He said it could. Of course the client may also have provided negative feedback and just told me he didn't; I don't know.

 

The bottom line after all of this is: I am confused, unhappy and don't know what to do next. I am leaning towards removing the recent job as a precaution, though this leaves me "unprotected" in case of problems in the next 3 months, and I'd have to get and complete 10 more jobs as well.

 

Any advice / thoughts much appreciated.


@Charles K wrote:

 

...The implication was that the open idle contracts were more of a problem than closing them without feedback, which is useful information I wanted to share....

 

Any advice / thoughts much appreciated.


Charles,

I spent some time making this point to you privately some months ago, as well as making this point, along with a number of seasoned contractors, multiple times in public.

Perhaps you need to move from appreciation to implementation:

  • Ask clients, once, to close contracts. (You can do this when you thank them for releasing payment, or whatever other end-of-service correspondence you do. You don't even need to mention Upwork; you can present it as your own housekeeping practice.)
  • If clients don't respond within a reasonable time, close the contracts yourself. (Advise the clients if you like, perhaps along with a reminder of the various ways they or you can initiate new contracts.)

Done and dusted.

 

Best,

Michael

Michael, I only want to close a client's contract on my end if it becomes necessary. The problem is that I was led to believe that I had "several months" before this was an issue and that information was incorrect. To me "several months" means at least three, and my most idle contract is only a hair above two.

 

If I don't get a response to my most recent request I will do that.

 

I forgot that the Upwork rep gave me one other good piece of advice (which I had actually thought of myself a half hour prior during my chat discussion.) From now on I will mention this issue to new clients up front and ask them to please close the project promptly and rehire if they need me later on. No more "leave the contract open because I may need you again in X weeks."

 

All of this of course has nothing to do with the utter nonsensicality of having open contracts count against freelancers in the first place.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Charles, Isabelle Anne and Petra,

 

We can't confirm information customer support shared about the timeframe in which an inactive contract starts counting negatively. We can't share those details either. Apologies for the confusion in the ticket.

 

As we've shared before, it's a good practice to have contracts closed if you don't expect any work to be done on them in the near future. If something comes up, the client can always hit a rehire button. We have also introduced a new feature which allows freelancers to propose a contract to make the rehiring process smoother.

 

Charles, if I were you, I wouldn't use the perk now. Your JSS is very high and you are nowhere near losing your Top Rated status. You also have completed an impressive amount of contracts already. None of them have No Feedback so you don't need to worry about that affecting your score. The perk is meant to be used when a Top Rated freelancer comes across that rare contract where things just don't work out at all and no amount of communication with the client can save the situation. 

~ Valeria
Upwork

Appreciate the response Valeria.

 

To be clear, I consider 100% a good score. Anything below that means I am doing something wrong and I want it corrected. Sure, this is perfectionistic. But I worked hard for that 100%. I promise my clients a good job done every time. That's what the number is SUPPOSED to reflect.

 

When I slipped from 100% to 99% I didn't really care. I know keeping 100% forever would be impossible. The issue is the trend, because then it slipped to 97%. And I was just told a "recent" calculation had it at 94%. They (naturally) wouldn't explain what this means. But it suggests my score is about to go down further.

 

94%, IMO, even leaving perfectionism behind, is not a good score. It implies that 1 out of 16 of my jobs didn't end successfully. This is not true, and IMO looks bad. If I had to choose between a freelancer with 99% or 94%, I'd take the 99%. Who wouldn't?

 

Would you have your child's appendix removed by a doctor who had a 94% success rate?

 

I have not had 6% or even 3% of my projects end badly here. Why does the JSS tell clients otherwise?

 

In the meantime, I have a "perk" that nobody at the company can even tell me what the effect of will be. So I have to sit here and watch my JSS go down and what, wait for a REALLY bad job outcome to use it?

 

This is egregiously unprofessional.  This system is an abomination and it is well past the time that it was fixed.


PS After six months I am STILL waiting for a SINGLE rational explanation for why freelancers are penalized by clients who don't close projects.