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Who Else Wonders What It Takes to Get C.S. to Actually Read the Tickets?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
21 of 45

undefined:

 

If the issue is clients offering 5-star feedback in return for a freelancer agreeing to work for next to nothing, then I would prefer to flag such a job with the label "feedback manipulation."


 "If???"

 

That is exactly what this whole thread is about.

 

There IS no option to flag such a job with the label "feedback manipulation."

 

Whether you are "comfortable" with the term or not, it **IS** exploitation of the (obviously!) "negative" kind.

 


@Preston wrote:

As I personally pointed out, there are two meanings of the word "exploit" or "exploitation." One is benign or neutral. The other is negative.


 You "personally pointed out" as follows:

 

" to "exploit" is to make full use of and derive benefit from a resource."

 

"Perhaps one can argue that the word "exploitation" is intended to have a negative connotation"

 

Not quite the same, is it?

 

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
22 of 45

This thread has taken some thought-provoking and well-argued turns.

 

As the O.P., I would like to re-iterate, here, my primary concerns (and what has prompted me to post, to read, and to continue posting within this thread):

 

(1) Upwork doesn't include a flagging option that would cover the implicit promise of "five-star feedback" in a job posting. (I, personally, very much like Preston's term "Feedback Manipulation," which, as I understand it, IS against the ToS.) More on this lacking “flag” in concern #4, below.

 

(2) After I made the effort to send C.S. two separate tickets regarding two separate job postings that seemed to clearly link five-star feedback to well-below-market pay (JSS manipulation, I thought), the C.S. response was to scold me for opening too many tickets and to tell me that they were closing my second, "duplicate” ticket. This led to me being discouraged, certainly feeling that my time and effort were repudiated rather than valued, and to my rational conclusion that no one from C.S. would ever investigate the second (supposedly "duplicate") ticket.

 

(3) In specific:  In Upwork's judgment (and I do not at all dispute that they have the right to make such a judgment), a job posting (or two of them) that include[s] the phrase "interested in getting some feedback on your Upwork Profile" in the headline, and that offers a laughable rate of pay for researching and writing a 2500-word article ("bid at or below the $10") is not a prima facie case of feedback manipulation. Note that within the job posting, the  words "completing this job quickly for the fixed bid amount and receiving 5* feedback" are a single phrase and are part of the same line. Opinions and interpretations, of course, may vary, and Upwork makes the judgment call.

 

(4) In general:  It is acceptable to mention 5-star feedback in any Upwork job posting, as part of an inducement to work. This is an acceptable practice, so long as the client posting the particular job accompanies the mention of feedback with a cash offer of at least $5 for the job in question. Upwork does not consider this to be feedback manipulation or a violation of Terms of Service.

 

There. I believe that covers my observations.

cupidmedia
Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
23 of 45

Okay I went and read the TOS to figure this out, because I was trying to figure out where the line is drawn. I've copied the bits specific to feedback below (and skipped the non-feedback bits).

 

https://www.upwork.com/legal/terms-of-use/

 

1.2 USING THE SITE OTHER THAN FOR THE INTENDED PURPOSES

Upwork makes the Site and Services available for Clients and Freelancers to find one another, enter into service relationships, make and receive payments through escrow, and receive and perform Freelancer Services. Users are expected to use the Site and Services for their intended purposes and Users may not use the Site and Services in contravention of their intended purposes. The following are examples of prohibited use of the Site:

  • Offering services for the sole purpose of obtaining positive feedback of any kind;
  • Withholding payment or Work Product or engaging in any other conduct for the purpose of obtaining positive feedback from another User;
  • Attempting to falsify, manipulate, or coerce another User by threatening to give negative feedback;
  • Misusing the feedback feature to express views unrelated to the work, such as political, religious, or social commentary;

So, from what I can see, Valeria's interpretation is correct - as long as payment is involved, and there is no threat of negative feedback, it seems that saying good feedback is on offer is okay. It definitely seems to be a very fine line though.

 

(I also just wanted to add that I've always had nothing but excellent interactions with CS. I think they're doing a great (and thankless) job. I understand other people's experiences may differ. Just stating my own experience to show another perspective.)

 

tta192
Community Guru
Andrei T Member Since: Aug 30, 2016
24 of 45

I'd call it 'attempted' feedback manipulation...

But really, this is that kind of inconvenience that would simply require too much effort to solve, while not that many benefits would be derived. And even with all resources available, it would then lead to a very strict way of applying the rules.

There needs to be an equilibrium, and in order to reach it, users have to contribute by simply ignoring this kind of job posts.

 

Btw, the following rule sounds like applying to such a job would also be against TOS:

  • Offering services for the sole purpose of obtaining positive feedback of any kind;

 

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
25 of 45

I do give the Moderators here great credit for allowing this discussion to be as robust as it has been to this point. I had anticipated that they might do much more editing than has been the case. In my opinion, this discussion has drawn out strong viewpoints, but has merited the leeway allowed by the Moderators (Avery, Valeria, et al.), and I imagine that they must, at points, be figuratively (or literally?) sitting on their typing fingers, kind of like biting one's tongue. (This applies insofar as our little corner of the forum catches the Mods' attention. They have other cats to herd, of course.)

iaabraham
Community Guru
Isabelle Anne A Member Since: May 19, 2014
26 of 45

@Janean L wrote:

I had anticipated that they might do much more editing than has been the case. 


My post was deleted lol. Even I had the same complaints as you. Maybe I was supposed to word them in a more friendly manner.

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
27 of 45

@ Isabelle Anne --

 

One of my posts in a different thread was, likewise, entirely deleted yesterday. I had made factual observations that were apparently deemed by the Moderators to be "personal attacks." (I believe that's how they put it). I was also edited and admonished even within this thread. So, I feel ya, Sister.

 

All the same, I do think that the Moderators have allowed a good bit of leeway with this particular thread, overall--a leeway that I do not think the contributors have generally abused.

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
28 of 45

Reprising this thread:

 

Here is a key posting from a while back:

 

Janean,

 

There is no indication that the client won't pay for the work done by freelancers. They mention fixed price payment and feedback. Freelancers are free to bid with the amount they are ready to complete the job for as long as it's more than $5 which is currently the minumum for fixed-price projects and milestones.

~ Valeria
____________________________________________________
 Now,    
Here is a posting from today (from the "New to Upwork" discussion group), in which Valeria responds to a freelancer who suggests to a newbie that he (the newbie) offer to underprice a job (suggests the newbie price the job at " $5 ") in exchange for the promise of good feedback. In today's posting, Valeria indicates that such an exchange is against ToS.  Which seems to me to be what many of us were previously trying to argue in this thread from a while back.  
**************************************************************************** 
 Freddy G. (making suggestion to newbie) : This might sound a little bit harsh, but you should try to offer services that would normally cost a lot of money for as cheap as $5 under the promise that you'll get a review. 
Valeria: 

Freddy,

 

Please, note that coercing good feedback isn't allowed by Upwork ToS. We encourage freelancers to improve their profile and cover letters while bidding the rate/budget they feel is appropriate for services they offer. ...

 

~ Valeria 
*****************************************************************************
The only difference I can tell between what has been termed "okay" (within THIS thread) and what has today (in a different thread, in the "New to Upwork" section) been deemed to be a violation of ToS is this:
(1) In case #1, it is a client who has posted a job and offered (implicitly) to replace cash with good feedback, although the job is, technically, paid (barely).
 
(2) In today's case, it is a freelancer who would have been making the suggestion (brazenly) to work for good feedback in lieu of cash, although the job would be, technically, paid (barely). 
Case #1 (discussed here for 3 pages) was deemed by Upwork to be within Terms of Service -- to the surprise and indignation of many of us. 
Case #2, on the other hand, which appears in this thread https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Not-getting-any-Job-offer-for-the-last-one-month-looki... has been deemed by Upwork to be a violation of Terms of Service.
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
29 of 45

Sorry about late response, Janean.

 

Please, see points related to feedback in Upwork Terms of Use:

 

________________________________________________________

 

The following are examples of prohibited use of the Site:

  • Offering services for the sole purpose of obtaining positive feedback of any kind;
  • Withholding payment or Work Product or engaging in any other conduct for the purpose of obtaining positive feedback from another User;
  • Attempting to falsify, manipulate, or coerce another User by threatening to give negative feedback;
  • Misusing the feedback feature to express views unrelated to the work, such as political, religious, or social commentary;

_______________________________________________________

 

The freelancers from the recent thread you were referring to was encouraging others to violate the first term I quoted. The job that was discussed earlier on this thread didn't violate any of these points as long as the client didn't state that they wouldn't pay for the work at all or pay below minimum we have established for hourly rates and budgets.

~ Valeria
Upwork
jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
30 of 45

@Valeria K wrote:

Sorry about late response, Janean.

 

Please, see points related to feedback in Upwork Terms of Use:

 

________________________________________________________

 

The following are examples of prohibited use of the Site:

  • Offering services for the sole purpose of obtaining positive feedback of any kind;
  • Withholding payment or Work Product or engaging in any other conduct for the purpose of obtaining positive feedback from another User;
  • Attempting to falsify, manipulate, or coerce another User by threatening to give negative feedback;
  • Misusing the feedback feature to express views unrelated to the work, such as political, religious, or social commentary;

_______________________________________________________

 

The freelancers from the recent thread you were referring to was encouraging others to violate the first term I quoted. The job that was discussed earlier on this thread didn't violate any of these points as long as the client didn't state that they wouldn't pay for the work at all or pay below minimum we have established for hourly rates and budgets.


 Valeria --  How  were the "freelancers from the recent thread [I was] referring to [] encouraging others to violate the first term [you] quoted. " ? Freelancer Freddy advised the newbie to request BOTH five-star feedback AND cash payment. That doesn't constitute "offering services for the sole purpose of obtaining feedback."

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