I think there does have to be some balance here. I agree with a lot of what Sandra (the OP) has to say - there is an inordinate amount of panicand paranoia about the scores. Ramon and Vesna - you are both top-rated with 4.9+ stars and a JS of 90%+ (same as myself).
When you, Ramon, say, "It is indeed a question of professionalism. For many of us, low feedback or job success is a direct criticism of our skills. You may not care how you come across to strangers in a professional context, but some of us have pride in our abilities.", and "This is probably because she is dependant upon her husband for the majority of her income..."
Well, a) how on earth do you know that?, and b) why do you have to take such an aggressive and arrogant tone against someone who is merely trying to inject some balance into the situation? Do you know anything at all to back up your surmise that Sandra is less professional than you?
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but when someone comes into a thread to inject some blance with a reasoned opinion, I don't think it helps to be instantly going on the defensive. It's a forum.
@Stephen B wrote:
Ramon and Vesna - you are both top-rated with 4.9+ stars and a JS of 90%+ (same as myself).
True, but I read some stories how people had over 90 % JS one day and the other bellow 85 %. The thing is not that I'm unsatisfied with the stats in this very moment, but with constant insecurity. I don't know how exactly JS is calculated. Week ago I was happy to have 100 % JS. Then it dropped down 5 %. Mods say it's because activities in the past. Conclusion: I could work today the best I can and tomorrow I'll be penalized for the mistake I did two years ago.
Yes, I'm nervous about everything. It's the how this system works that makes me nervous. We are supposed to annoy clients to close contracts and provide us with feedback while many times they just don't want to. I asked politely 2-3 of them and they promise they'll get with new work in a month or so. It's unecessarry and contra-productive to force us freelancers to constantly remind clients to close contracts. Or should I train my patience? Wait 2-3 months, ask, get an answer or don't get any, then ask again. If nothing happens be prepared to get penalized with lower JS?
Actually, could UpWork provide us with some form of best approach for reminding clients to close long inactive contracts? When to ask, what and how to ask, ... what to do in a case when client doesn't reply at all? If you have it for cover letters and various YouTube tutorials you could make some examples, as well, for reminders. How would you ask someone to close the contract when a person is totally uninterested in doing that or leaving a feedback? I'm just not smart enough.
Yes, but I also lost 5% due to intentionally malicious tinkering with changed feedback (I think I lost 1% + for every time the client changed it). Fortunately, I have another job outside odesk, but without it, I'd feel in the same position as everyone else. Online work is like any other form of home-working, generally poorly paid, and with none of the benfits of regular work. I don't think you should be soley dependent upon one platform however, particularly in light of how many people we've seen disappear over the last few months.
To use Stephen's love for analogies.
You take an exam, you score 85%. A is 90% so you would like to improve. However you never receive a scorecard, not even for the categories.
You study and try harder at everything even though you don't know the original problem. Retake the exam, you score 81%. At this point you are flustered, because still no scorecard to know what went wrong.
You retake the exam 3 more times, scoring 88%, 86& and finally 70%. At this point the exam board warns you for expulsion because of successive low grades. You are at wits end in despair.
How is it the board expected you to improve without useful feedback. You didn't want to know the answer to each question, but at least the overall for each category. The problem folks is a real one, whether all of us agree or now. And I doubt any of us here are unreasonable about scoring low if we did not study, but it is the uncertainty of not knowing how the exam is graded and which areas to improve. It may be only a matter of time before the board writes us that letter. And its not a long shot.