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

Community Guru

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

Tonya P. posted:


Pat, you clearly aren't seeing your name correctly. You should read more. Smiley Tongue 






Reply to: Renata, who is Pam M?  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  (I'm pulling a Rene or is that Renee? lol)   


Hi Pam Pat, I'm not sure if the Reply Function is working so this might not appear as a response, but it might show up further down the thread, thus confusing everyone who didn't see your initial question. 


No worries. Yeah, you. I meant you.  LOL.  I'm usually on the receiving end of this. That might be how I started editing. (I knew someone who wrote my name as Reneta for aboout 15 years. I was a bit subtle about trying to tell her, and after a while it just became funny and endearing). I'll go edit your name so people aren't confused. 


I've been dealing with this issue in the background for a few months, so I think I've been working up a headful of steam without knowing it. I think I was looking for something else when I saw the title of this thread and it really hit home. 


Thanks for your earlier commentary. I thought your insights were very well observed and it really helped me to calm down. Just "hearing" someone say that it was a more complex issue than people are making it out to be made me feel significantly less crazy (although at this point, a full recovery seems somewhat unlikely). I'm realistic about not always having 100%. However, I'm also realistic about the issues you encounter if your score goes too low. 


I posted some links to other forum threads. I'm not sure if you'll find anything helpful there, but at least it's a little more evidence of people having bizarre issues. I'm not sure how I found these -- it was a bit random. And that's my issue with the info transparency, something I find myself repeatedly hammering on about. Discovering these types of details (especially when you’re actively trying to get more information) shouldn't be like visiting StumbleUpon. 


Reply to Tonya P: If some fabulous, government-sanctioned, transparent worker's paradise is what you seek, surely there is a platform in one of those wonderful countries that provides it. Here, no one cares. We submit work, we get money. It's a wonderful, capitalistic system. Adapt. 




How are transparency and capitalism mutually exclusive ideas? 

@Renata S wrote:

How are transparency and capitalism mutually exclusive ideas? 

 Nobody says it is mutually exclusive.


If you want transparency, look at your numbers.


Your 6 month window consists of 16 ended contracts, of which 3 ended with bad feedback.


So maybe concentrate a little less on smokescreens (inactive / no feedback) and more on a high percentage of contracts that went wrong.

"If you want transparency, look at your numbers."



I believe the moderator made a point about this earlier. I have to admit I don't get the issue with someone wanting clear and understandable information about something that affects their working life. 

This is message from last week if there's a need for a reminder:


08-16-2017 10:35 AM



Some posts have been removed from this thread. Please, refrain from making personal attacks. Be respectful toward other members and mindful of the Community Guidelines when posting.


Thank you.

~ Valeria



If you want transparency, look at your numbers.


Your 6 month window consists of 16 ended contracts, of which 3 ended with bad feedback.


So maybe concentrate a little less on smokescreens (inactive / no feedback) and more on a high percentage of contracts that went wrong.



Since this stuff is still up, I feel the need to respond to it. 

And I also feel that it's the perfect illustration of what potential clients do when they look at your scores and client responses on your profile. Maybe you've heard of a concept called heuristics? It's used in economics. They're rules of thumb that people use to make quick descisions. Or in some cases snap judgements. You don't have or don't want to spend a lot of time reading or assessing, so you go for the 100% freelancer.

I certainly understand that that there are "bad marks" on my file and I notice those are what you're intently focusing on. I was at 99% when I got the first one. I had a run of interesting contracts. I knew the score would go down and it did. I went down to 90% after the third one and it stayed stable for a number of weeks. What I was not expecting was that, even though I had better experiences with the subsequent contracts (the ones you don't mention with the five stars and the others that provide really good specific feedback), when I completed these contracts with the better feedback and then ended an inactive contract for which I was given a five star review, the score went down.  I had to ask myself what was going on.

So no, since I do have some level of maturity, I did not expect to maintain a 100% score.

Since you might need some further details, I'll describe one of the "bad marks" situations: 
One was from someone I did an edit for. It was a paper that was patched together in a particularly strange way that was not evident when I first looked it over. Yes, I always ask to see the documents first, but I don't necessarily have time to read the whole thing before I accept a contract and there are sometimes major issues that only come out when you're doing a deeper read.

What I did in this case was to edit the paper (what the client asked for) and sent it to her. Then I sent a couple of follow-up emails explaining the structural problems and offering a few suggestions about what she could do to fix it (most of the time, it's not possible for me to do any significant rewriting because I don't know the research material, and in this case I hadn't been asked to do it). She read the paper and ended the contract without looking at the follow-up emails. She emailed me back saying that she would have given me a better score based on the whole package of the copy edit and the follow-up suggestions. I was busy and didn't ask her to do that.

Does that sound like 3.5 star (70%) service to you? That's one of the things you're looking at and judging me on. 


Community Guru

Funny, I agree with both Pat's "cynical view" and Tiffany's response.


I happen to be one of those freelancers whose JSS has been continuously great (hoping that doesn't change), but at the same time, I don't like the way JSS is calculated, and I feel dismayed on behalf of those who come here complaining after a huge drop in their JSS (because let's face it, that can easily happen to me the next time the recalcuation day comes around).


Although I do agree that *many* no-feedback contracts might indicate dissatisfaction with a freelancer, I am completely against paused/inactive contracts being a negative factor - especially if it's after only 1 month of inactivity.


One example: I have a client who I've worked with since 2014 (one of my first oDesk clients), who has maybe 2-3 major projects in a year. There are huge gaps between projects, and they want to leave the contract open, but I don't want to sit with an inactive contract that might affect my JSS. And so I have to continually ask them to close our contract. This has been going on for 3+ years, and I am honestly astounded that they're not fed up with me yet and are willing to rehire. However, this is an exception case, and it seems that most other clients I've had are not as patient / not as understanding of Upwork's "quirky" measure of performance.


While I think that the concept of JSS is reasonable, I do hope that Upwork is not settling for it as a permanent solution, and is working to improve the system.

Community Leader

Agree with OP 100%. I have two clients who I have contacted repeatdely about closing projects, and either they don't respond, or they say, oh sorry yes I'll do that, and then forget again.  How is this the freelancers fault? I think there are clients who come to the site, get what they need done done and move on. It in no way implies they had a negative experience - at all. We should not pay the price for this.

Community Guru

For people who have not experienced bizarre JSS issues, these are links to some examples of people reporting unusal and sometimes extreme JSS fluctuations:

Community Leader

I don't understand the notion that a client is a liar in public but an oracle of truth in private.  


I'm completely failing to see how this solves more problems than it creates.





@Ken S wrote:

I don't understand the notion that a client is a liar in public but an oracle of truth in private.  


I'm completely failing to see how this solves more problems than it creates.





 Well, no...I'm sure no one would apply a ridiculously overblown term like "oracle of truth" to clients under any circumstances.


However, there are quite a few reasons that clients lie in public:


-They may want to keep using the freelancer (perhaps his services are only passable, but that's all that's required for the client's purposes and he's cheap)


-The client wants to avoid the outrageous harassment that is common among a significant sector of Upwork freelancers


-The client sees that the freelancer has otherwise good feedback and doesn't want to hurt the freelancer's profile in case his bad experience was an anomoly.


-The client leaves honest public feedback, but eventually caves in to the freelancer's relentless harassment to change it


None of those common issues applies when the feedback is private, making is possible for a significant sector of clients who lie publicly to be more honest in private feedback.

Community Leader

There are two major flaws with the JSS.  Private feedback (this is just bizarre on it's own) with the assumption that the client is more truthful in private than in public.  And counting non-feedback as negative.





The notion that private feedback is more truthful than public is not bizarre; it is a reasonable inference from the available data. Years ago, oDesk saw rampant inflation of the 5-point star system; scores were rapidly approaching 5 as the virtually universal norm. Stars had become a useless metric.

As has been stated countless times, non-feedback is not counted as negative. A pattern of no feedback is counted as negative.


I believe that currently the JSS is a useless metric based on what I know of it's calculation.

I don't think it's useless. It's probably not good for new people who take 1 bad hit because they have no volume to buffer the bad score. In that case, a good provider could have an 80% score.


For long-term providers, I think it's pretty good. The 80-90% people are where it's kinda tricky. 80%+ is a good score but it's easy to drop into the 80s with 2-3 bad outcomes. It's just at 80-90% you don't have the TR badge, so you're second choice in most cases.


It depends on whether you have a 1 year and 2 year score as backup in case the 6 month goes sour, which is what happens when you get a bad score initially. You are then stuck with the 1 year and 2 year, and new people don't have that advantage. That's why it's so common for people to lose TR when they are new.


If a provider has less than 80% and they have a lot of projects, it's def a sign that the quality is probably not there. Less than 75% and I'd stay away.

Hi Ken, 


I would just like to reiterate what has already been shared by Valeria why the private feedback is necessary: 

"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."


We will be closing this thread for further comments from the Community and would like to thank everyone who participated in the discussion. 


~ Avery