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rxqm
Member

Suggestions for Upwork policy on feedback and JSS

Overall, Upwork is using a cookie-cutter approach and say no activity/feedback is likely bad feedback, but there are very simple ways to distinguish whether it's really due to freelancers not doing great work.

 

Suggestion 1. Allow private feedback without public feedback, and let negative private feedback affect JSS negatively, while a contract with no private and no public feedback at the same time do not affect JSS. As a client, I don't care about freelancer's ability to convince clients to leave feedback on Upwork. Everyone have strengths and weaknesses. To work well with people. I can't expect them to be perfect at everything. It's important to focus on what really matters to delivering great work, and soliciting official feedback is certainly not on my list.

 

Suggestion 2. Allow freelancers to respond to no public feedback.

2.1 Because no public feedback can be due to a various reasons, not just freelancer didn't do great work, so freelancers deserve a chance to explain what happend - Scenario (1) client happy with work but simply forget to end the contract, freelancer tried to reach client but no response, freelancer end the contract; Scenario (2) client not happy because freelancer didn't meet client's unreasonable demand; Scenario (3) client ran out of money and couldn't afford the work needed for final deliverables; etc.

2.2 Even though freelancer can leave feedback to client, the text is not shown on the freelancer's profile unless you click on each job. As a client, I usually just glance at each freelancer's profile without clicking on any job, then freelancer won't have a chance to let me know what really happened for a contract without public feedback. Alternatively Upwork can show freelancer's feedback text to clients on freelancer's profile.

2.3 To be fair, clients should be allowed to publicly respond to freelancer's feedback or no public feedback.

 

Suggestion 3. Do not let contract without activity affect JSS. I simply don't see how this is correlated with whether a freelancer can do great work. As a client, I can be very happy with freelancer's work and still want to leave a contract open without activity (there may be future work but not absolutely sure), simply because it's less work than ending a contract and starting a new one.

 

If contracts without activity somehow cost Upwork more money to manage, and/or contracts without feedback are not as informative about freelancers as Upwork want, it is Upwork's responsibility to urge clients to end contract and leave feedback. Upwork should not hold JSS as hostage to force freelancer to do Upwork's work. Whether a freelancer can do great work and whether he/she can optimze Upwork's business operation are two separate things. As a client I care about the former, not the latter. Upwork should not mix them together and mislead the clients.

29 REPLIES 29
petra_r
Member


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

Overall, Upwork is using a cookie-cutter approach and say no activity/feedback is likely bad feedback,


 No.

 

Only a significant percentage of such contracts affect the JSS.

 

Careful, competent contract- and client-management prevents the percentage of such contracts becoming "significant."

 

 

Xiaoqing, while I appreciate your support for freelancers, you're overlooking one thing. You wrote, 'Whether a freelancer can do great work and whether he/she can optimze Upwork's business operation are two separate things. As a client I care about the former, not the latter.' But Upwork cares greatly about its business operation, and consequently attaches great importance to feedback, especially private feedback. Job Success doesn't merely measure client satisfaction, even though Upwork gives the impression that's what it represents.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce


@John K wrote:

Xiaoqing, while I appreciate your support for freelancers, you're overlooking one thing. You wrote, 'Whether a freelancer can do great work and whether he/she can optimze Upwork's business operation are two separate things. As a client I care about the former, not the latter.' But Upwork cares greatly about its business operation, and consequently attaches great importance to feedback, especially private feedback. Job Success doesn't merely measure client satisfaction, even though Upwork gives the impression that's what it represents.



We both agree that Upwork cares about its business operation, but my point is that Upwork should not mix it together with what clients care about. If Upwork really wants to punish freelancers for not optimize Upwork's business, simply create another category like "success score for optimizing Upwork's business operation" or however they want to sugar coat it. When my coworkders and I first saw "job success score", we assume it tells whether a freelancer can deliver great work to us, and has nothing to do with optimizing Upwork's business. And Upwork never explicitly says JSS does take into consideration of Upwork's business optimization, we just inferred it because that's the only way it makes sense. So we feel that Upwork is misleading us. 


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

So we feel that Upwork is misleading us. 

Mislead is a strong word. We could give Upwork the benefit of the doubt and say it oversimplifies things -- after all, a client *could* google Upwork Job Success and gain greater insight into Upwork policy.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce


@John K wrote:

@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

So we feel that Upwork is misleading us. 

Mislead is a strong word. We could give Upwork the benefit of the doubt and say it oversimplifies things -- after all, a client *could* google Upwork Job Success and gain greater insight into Upwork policy.


We can't say for sure whether Upwork factor into JSS freelancer's ability to optimize Upwork's business operation. We highly suspect it, because that's the only way we can think of that makes sense. If that is really the case, Upwork is indeed misleading because I did not see it explicit say that anywhere in their help articles etc., so clients may not be able to find out about it by Google or any other text-searching method. Even if I give it the benefit of the doubt and believe it's said somewhere hard for me to find, it'll be just like the fine print that brings something too good to be true back in reality - with the same intention of lying by omission.


@Petra R wrote:

@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

Overall, Upwork is using a cookie-cutter approach and say no activity/feedback is likely bad feedback,


 No.

 

Only a significant percentage of such contracts affect the JSS.

 

Careful, competent contract- and client-management prevents the percentage of such contracts becoming "significant."

 

 



That's why I said "likely", not "definitely". Every contract without feedback is potentially a building block to a significant percentage, especially when you don't have many contracts. Because of the field each freelancer specializes in, some may have many contracts with small work load, while others may have just a handful contracts with large work load, Also, Upwork won't tell us the percentage, it's not safe to assume what you consider a small percentage won't be considered a significant percentage by Upwork.

 

Rather than making us uncertain about what that percentage is, like I said, Upwork can simply allow private feedback without public feedback, and let negative be negative, no feedback be no effect on JSS.

iaabraham
Member

I completely agree with you; so many of my clients don't want to close the contract because it's less hassle to leave it open for when new work comes up. It's such a struggle to get them to close it / leave feedback.

 

This issue has been brought up many times but unfortunately your suggestions will fall on deaf ears because this isn't a concern for Upwork as it doesn't affect them.


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 It's such a struggle to get them to close it / leave feedback.


 Oh come on now. "Such a struggle" is like calling a molehill "Mount Everest." It is NOT "such a struggle" and takes seconds to close and eventually rehire.

 

 


@Petra R wrote:

@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 It's such a struggle to get them to close it / leave feedback.


 Oh come on now. "Such a struggle" is like calling a molehill "Mount Everest." It is NOT "such a struggle" and takes seconds to close and eventually rehire.

 

 


 I think Isabelle Anne A means that even though it's really easy for a client to end a contract and start a new one, some clients still don't want to do it, despite that freelancers repeatedly tell them how important it is to end the contract and leave feedback, especially when their contract is on a lower hourly rate than the freelancer's current hourly rate, because they are afraid that the new contract will be a higher rate. As a client, I don't mind freelancers raising rates on me, because I want to respect the value of their work, as long as I believe it's worth it. If you keep undervaluing freelancers' work, they have no reason to deliver great work to you or even work for you. But not every client has this mindset. And some clients simply forgot about their open contract or even don't use Upwork any more, so they become unresponsive, and it is indeed a struggle for freelancers to deal with this situation.

If someone disappears, I just close the contract.

 

I don't struggle at all cuz I don't care.

 

eta: actually, I do care sometimes cuz when they disappear and it's been a rocky relationship I get to ninja close it with no bad feedback so I win.


@Jennifer M wrote:

If someone disappears, I just close the contract.

 

I don't struggle at all cuz I don't care.

 

eta: actually, I do care sometimes cuz when they disappear and it's been a rocky relationship I get to ninja close it with no bad feedback so I win.


 I agree, you shouldn't care, because you have so many jobs, a few bad apples or "no apples" don't affect how great you are; and ninja-closing bad contract is great too. But it comes back to what I said before, some freelancers' specialties determine that they have just a handful large contracts, one inactive or no-feedback contract can count a lot, especially when it's been a great relationship with a lot of money spent, and the client just simply forget and/or don't use Upwork any more, it'll be a big loss to turn a potentially great-feedback contract into a not-so-great- or no-feedback one.


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

 I agree, you shouldn't care, because you have so many jobs, a few bad apples or "no apples" don't affect how great you are; and ninja-closing bad contract is great too. But it comes back to what I said before, some freelancers' specialties determine that they have just a handful large contracts, one inactive or no-feedback contract can count a lot, especially when it's been a great relationship with a lot of money spent, and the client just simply forget and/or don't use Upwork any more, it'll be a big loss to turn a potentially great-feedback contract into a not-so-great- or no-feedback one.


 ok, I can appreciate that. So why don't you ask one of them to close and reopen. Everyone won't do it but someone will.

 

I like to have longterm contracts though cuz I believe it holds me up when I get bad feedback.


@Petra R wrote:

@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 It's such a struggle to get them to close it / leave feedback.


 Oh come on now. "Such a struggle" is like calling a molehill "Mount Everest." It is NOT "such a struggle" and takes seconds to close and eventually rehire. 

 


It's such a struggle for ME to get them to CLOSE it - I know very well that they just need to perform a couple of clicks to close and rehire (and often send them the links to the relevant help guides). But that doesn't matter to many of them; it's unecessary hassle in their view and so it is a struggle for me to convince them to close it. 


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 

 

This issue has been brought up many times but unfortunately your suggestions will fall on deaf ears because this isn't a concern for Upwork as it doesn't affect them.


 Actually, it does affect them.

 

Abandoned contracts affect Upwork's operations.

 

Mass failure to leave feedback affects Upwork's ability to recommend freelancers that will give clients a positive experience.

 

Closing contracts and leaving feedback both have a clear and direct impact on Upwork's business, and thus Upwork encourages the behavior that makes it's operations more efficient and less expensives and improves its ability to rate freelancers.

Xiaoqing, I agree with you when you indicate that, for a number of clients, exactly what JSS means is presented in a convoluted at best and, at worst, in a misleading fashion.  

 

I also feel that clients should not have to bother digging thru reams of info to figure out what JSS means and if/how it could/impact their choice of a provider.

 

However, Upwork is not going to change their approach.  Perhaps a few words explaining what JSS really means should be included on RFP forms. As a client, do you think that might help?

 


@Wendy C wrote:

Xiaoqing, I agree with you when you indicate that, for a number of clients, exactly what JSS means is presented in a convoluted at best and, at worst, in a misleading fashion.  

 

I also feel that clients should not have to bother digging thru reams of info to figure out what JSS means and if/how it could/impact their choice of a provider.

 

However, Upwork is not going to change their approach.  Perhaps a few words explaining what JSS really means should be included on RFP forms. As a client, do you think that might help?

 



Hi Wendy. Yes it would definitely help. But I'm not sure you mean users or Upwork explaining JSS. If users, I'm not sure if Upwork will give us trouble if we "misrepresent" the meaning of JSS they want public to believe. If Upwork, I hope they separate freelancers' ability to optimize Upwork's business operation from JSS. 

do you really explain it? I don't say anything about jss. who cares unless someone asks

 

do people ask you? Is yours low or something?


@Jennifer M wrote:

do you really explain it? I don't say anything about jss. who cares unless someone asks

 

do people ask you? Is yours low or something?

 


 I'm a client and a freelancer. As a freelancer it's not a huge deal to me in particular, because I'm top-rated and got enough work as of right now. A lot of times I don't think my clients care either, because I'm probably the only one they can find for the job. What bothers me the most is the unfairness of JSS, i.e. mislead us to believe it's all about clients' interest but sneak in Upwork's business interest.

 

As a client, I'm worried the problematic JSS causes us to underestimate freelancers' proficiency. Our team was once considering a freelancer with 72% JSS. Three of our team members said ditch him because his JSS sucks, another guy and I was like well all his reviews say he's great, why don't we hire him for 5 hours and fire him if he really sucks. And it turned out he was truly great - as we get to know each other we found out he's been a great freelancer for a long time, doesn't use Upwork much, has a couple very old contracts being idle before JSS was implemented, has a few contracts without feedback because clients ran out of money and couldn't pay him to finish the product. When he works with clients directly outside of Upwork, there is no official action like ending a contract or leaving a feedback somewhere, so he doesn't see the need to solicit feedback or request ending a contract on Upwork. He probably gets penalized on JSS unfairly because of inactive and no-feedback contracts. We don't want to miss freelancers like this just because they don't optimize Upwork's business operation. Upwork's JSS policy is like saying this lady you are dating is not a good mom because doesn't she want to go home with you tonight.


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:
@Jennifer M wrote:

So why don't you ask one of them to close and reopen.


 well when they disappear, they won't do anything you ask them. Thanks for the suggestion though.

  


Since she said "and reopen," it was pretty obvious that she was talking about ongoing contracts, which by definition do not involve clients who have disappeared.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:
@Jennifer M wrote:

So why don't you ask one of them to close and reopen.


 well when they disappear, they won't do anything you ask them. Thanks for the suggestion though.

  


Since she said "and reopen," it was pretty obvious that she was talking about ongoing contracts, which by definition do not involve clients who have disappeared.


ook. I get it now. Great suggesion because if it all works out, it'll be great. But here is I imagine how the conversation goes:

 

Freelancer: Do you mind close the current contract and open a new one?

Client: Why?

Freelancer: Our collaboration has been great. I would like to turn our one contract with great feedback (hopefully) into multiple ones with great feedback, because I believe it'll boost my JSS.

Client: I understand the importance of JSS to you, and yes I think you are great and I'm happy to give you great feedback. But this just sounds a little bit artificial to me.

Freelancer: I'm just worried if in the future you don't have work for me for a while, you forget about our contract, it'll become a contract with no activity or potentially ended with no feedback, which may negatively affect my JSS.

Client: Please be rest assured, I won't let that happen.

 

And then the client it let that happen anyways, because people have good intentions, just sometimes doesn't remember the promise they need to keep.

 

I can be the freelancer or the client in this conversation.

 

But still, worth a try. Will post how it goes if worthwhile.

 

Also I want to say: I really appreciate all the suggestions and help to deal with the current JSS situation, and I'll use them both as a client and a freelancer. But still, this doesn't mean I can put up the unfairness of JSS. It needs change.

 

 

I assume that you wouldn't say any of that to the client. 

 

I don't know what type of work you do or how it breaks out, but there are typically natural breaking points between projects where it makes sense to suggest ending the contract and starting a new one for the next phase.


@Tiffany S wrote:

I assume that you wouldn't say any of that to the client. 

 

I don't know what type of work you do or how it breaks out, but there are typically natural breaking points between projects where it makes sense to suggest ending the contract and starting a new one for the next phase.


 Most of the work I do is algorithm development. After 1st version is delivered, revisions and updates can be endless and go on for months and years. Naturally, most of us in this field don't see the need to find a break point. That's why we've been slacking on ending contracts both as freelancers and as clients. Maybe we deserve to be hated by Upwork, just please make it clear to the public that you hate us because we are bad for your business, not because we are not proficient in our specialty.


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

I assume that you wouldn't say any of that to the client. 

 

I don't know what type of work you do or how it breaks out, but there are typically natural breaking points between projects where it makes sense to suggest ending the contract and starting a new one for the next phase.


 Most of the work I do is algorithm development. After 1st version is delivered, revisions and updates can be endless and go on for months and years. Naturally, most of us in this field don't see the need to find a break point. That's why we've been slacking on ending contracts both as freelancers and as clients. Maybe we deserve to be hated by Upwork, just please make it clear to the public that you hate us because we are bad for your business, not because we are not proficient in our specialty.


 You seem to be suggesting that Upwork (with which I have no connection other than being both a freelancer and a client just like you) is using a flawed or dishonest algorithm because that algorithm may negatively impact a tiny, tiny fraction of freelancers in a tiny, tiny niche within the Upwork universe. 

 

I'm not sure why you think it's "natural" that no one in your field would end a contract after the initial round of revisions is completed simply because you might some day do an update. But, assuming that's true...how do you imagine that having long-term paying contracts is bad for Upwork's business? That's Upwork's goal. It's the low dollar one-offs that are bad for business.

 

Are you just assuming that there must be something sinister in play because you don't like the impact of the system as designed on your particular tiny niche?


@Tiffany S wrote:

You seem to be suggesting that Upwork (with which I have no connection other than being both a freelancer and a client just like you) is using a flawed or dishonest algorithm because that algorithm may negatively impact a tiny, tiny fraction of freelancers in a tiny, tiny niche within the Upwork universe. 

 

I'm not sure why you think it's "natural" that no one in your field would end a contract after the initial round of revisions is completed simply because you might some day do an update. But, assuming that's true...how do you imagine that having long-term paying contracts is bad for Upwork's business? That's Upwork's goal. It's the low dollar one-offs that are bad for business.

 

Are you just assuming that there must be something sinister in play because you don't like the impact of the system as designed on your particular tiny niche?


I'm saying JSS is misleading, I don't think it's sinister. It's misleading because it mixes together Upwork's business interest with client's interest in finding the right talent, which are not the same thing. If JSS is really as justified as you seem to believe, why can't Upwork simply come out and say JSS factors in Upwork's business interest, or simply separate the two - have a "deliver great work to client succuss score" and a "help Upwork's business success score"? I think this will make their platform more healthy, efficient and successful as a business.

 

So about my field, I just assume "natural" means everybody does it and nobody think it's weird, i.e. the percentage of the clients I work with who leave contracts open for future revision is very large. And our team as a client used to do the same thing, until we realize it's bad for freelancers because of Upwork's JSS policy. When a contract is left open for revision for a long time, sometimes client forget about it, and it becomes an inactive contract that negatively affect JSS, and causes a series of dilemma I talked about before. And I've got suggestions from everyone that I'll try, thanks again.

 

About "tiny tiny niche", well I guess you call it tiny because you assume not a lot of people around you holding similar opinions to me, not because you really know how many people on Upwork agree with you or agree with me, it's not like you have a poll result or anything like that. I don't have it either and I prefer using facts, so I won't argue with you on this further.


@Xiaoqing Claire R wrote:


I'm saying JSS is misleading, I don't think it's sinister. It's misleading because it mixes together Upwork's business interest with client's interest in finding the right talent, which are not the same thing. If JSS is really as justified as you seem to believe, why can't Upwork simply come out and say JSS factors in Upwork's business interest, or simply separate the two - have a "deliver great work to client succuss score" and a "help Upwork's business success score"? I think this will make their platform more healthy, efficient and successful as a business.

 

You've yet to respond to my repeated question about how you think disadvantaging people with long-term contracts could possibly benefit Upwork's business, since ongoing freelancer/client relationships are its most lucrative asset.

 

About "tiny tiny niche", well I guess you call it tiny because you assume not a lot of people around you holding similar opinions to me, not because you really know how many people on Upwork agree with you or agree with me, it's not like you have a poll result or anything like that. I don't have it either and I prefer using facts, so I won't argue with you on this further.

 

No, I'm referring to your field as a tiny, tiny niche because I have looked at the readily available data regarding the number of active freelancers in various industries/with various skill sets on Upwork (since that's what people who actually prefer using facts, versus just posturing about it, do).

 

There are 4080 freelancers listed in your industry, but only 1,715 of them have ever earned a single dollar on Upwork. That's a small fraction of 1% of Upwork freelancers. For comparison purposes, there are 182,503 web designers who have earned money on Upwork, 111,,884 people offering data entry services, and 151,105 writers. It's hard to see how whether 1,715 out of several hundred thousands was a tiny niche could be an "opinion" question, or how my statement could be subject to agreement or disagreement. Given your field, I would expect that basic math would prevail over how you feel.


 


@Tiffany S wrote:

There are 4080 freelancers listed in your industry, but only 1,715 of them have ever earned a single dollar on Upwork. That's a small fraction of 1% of Upwork freelancers. For comparison purposes, there are 182,503 web designers who have earned money on Upwork, 111,,884 people offering data entry services, and 151,105 writers. It's hard to see how whether 1,715 out of several hundred thousands was a tiny niche could be an "opinion" question, or how my statement could be subject to agreement or disagreement. Given your field, I would expect that basic math would prevail over how you feel.

 


You can call my field a tiny tiny niche, but this is not just about my field, people in other fields may have similar concerns, like I said, it's about people agreeing or disagreeing with you or me, regardless of field. Neither of us know that data. So let's not dwell on a discussion where we can't convince each other.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 

 

This issue has been brought up many times but unfortunately your suggestions will fall on deaf ears because this isn't a concern for Upwork as it doesn't affect them.


 Actually, it does affect them.

 

Abandoned contracts affect Upwork's operations.

 

Mass failure to leave feedback affects Upwork's ability to recommend freelancers that will give clients a positive experience.

 

Closing contracts and leaving feedback both have a clear and direct impact on Upwork's business, and thus Upwork encourages the behavior that makes it's operations more efficient and less expensives and improves its ability to rate freelancers.


That's a good point and I didn't think of it that way. But then what does it imply when our JSS gets affected after a certain number / ratio of no-feedback or inactive contracts? Freelancers who can't effectively badger their clients to close a contract and leave feedback get punished?

 

Of course, I'm not saying that most clients don't close the contract - they do, but there are many who don't want to or can't be bothered to close and it's not because the freelancer didn't do a good job (which is what a low JSS suggests). Several of my no-feedback / inactive contracts are or have been with clients who were new to the platform and only hired once (me) and then disappeared because they didn't need anything else from the platform. Once the job is completed and paid for, they don't understand why or feel that they have to come back, close the contract and leave feedback. 

 

I'm not pretending that the number of my no-feedback contracts is significant enough to make a difference, but it is an unecessary headache to concern myself whenever a client seems like they're going to disappear without ending the contract (because I have to keep the number of no-feedbacks under control).

rxqm
Member

In addition to "optimizing Upwork's business success score" for freelancer, I just thought of another solution to separate Upwork's business interest from JSS - a "refundable contract maintenance fee" on both freelancer and client. Goes like this:

 

When a contract starts, Upwork charges the client $X fee, and holds Y% of earnings or $X from freelancer, whichever is less. When the contract ends, a portion of the fees are refunded to both client and freelancer, then when either party leaves a review, the rest of the fee is refunded to that party. Because I suggested allowing private feedback without public feedback earlier, doing so should also get the full refund. If a contract ends without work done, client gets full refund of fee. $X should be small enough to afford, while large enough to work for, like somewhere $10-50 maybe?

 

When a contract idles, Upwork can even send emails in a reasonable frequency to freelancer/client saying "hey, end the contract / leave a feedback and get your money back!" - sounds very caring and convincing.

 

Per JSS, freelancer is the only party with vested interest in ending the contract and soliciting feedback, while client has no skin in the game - the two parties' interests are not aligned to motivate them working together to this goal, so it's like pulling teeth sometimes. While per "refundable contract maintenance fee", both parties are now incentivized to end contract and leave feedback as soon as it idles, so it works out for everyone - freelancer and client (neither lose money as long as they help Upwork's business), as well as Upwork, who gets a faster turnaround of contracts and feedbacks. The cost for users is just a small decrease of free cash flow, I can accept that both as freelancer and client - I lose money by increasing cost of Upwork's business operation, sounds fair to me. The cost for Upwork: very simple software implementation, then just a couple extra fee transactions on top of the existing gigantic transaction volume, should be negligible. Overall, the cost of all parties is for a more fair, effective, transparent and straightforward system that benefits everyone, I think it's well worth it.

 

Of course there'll always be problems I can't foresee right now, but solutions can be found and improvement can be made.

 

Lastly, I'm not saying I love for companies to charge me more fees. It's just if Upwork is so hell-bent to penalize me for not optimizing their business, I'd rather be penalized on cash flow, instead of a misleading representation of freelancer's proficiency by JSS, which I believe cost me more as freelancer and client, and cost Upwork more. I think for Upwork, most important is what kind of company they want to be - one with a policy they are not proud to make clear to the public, or one that strives to gain trust from users?

rxqm
Member

I accidentally labeled one of my own reply as solution by mistake, I asked Customer Service to remove the solution label for me, but after they are done I found some reply posts missing. I apologize if your post is one of them, I did not intend to remove anyone's post.