How do we address the East/West disconnects within Ethereum Classic?
It is actually really simple when you understand that the root issue is technical hindrances to communication across the Great Firewall of China. I would argue that these technical hindrances are much more significant than language barriers. There are many countries which share language, but differ a lot in culture.
“England and America are two countries separated
by a common language” – George Bernard Shaw
The vast majority of communication within English-speaking Western and global communities is happening on the ETC Discord server and on Crypto-Twitter, but both of these applications are blocked by the Great Firewall, so are inaccessible to the majority of people on the Chinese mainland. This is a fairly recent thing, with VPNs being a lot more accessible (though legally “gray”) until this year. Even beyond that “brick wall”, these communication tools are very little known in China.
WeChat, on the other hand, is completely ubiquitous in China, and not just for chat, but also for payments and other functionality. It works just fine in the rest of the world too, so is the natural choice for a global communication platform for Ethereum Classic in which we value the Chinese community’s needs to a degree appropriate to their importance to ETC.
There are a lot of people in China. There are a lot of great companies. Much of this is unknown in the West because of the language barrier and these communication barriers. So let’s fix this, and get active two-way communication paths going. We want the Chinese communities to benefit from the latest information from the English developers and also to build greater understanding of Chinese development efforts in the West.
So please join us on the brand new ETC Global Comms channel:
On 3rd October 2019 we reverted EthereumClassic.org from the WordPress site which was active from April 2018, having been one of Anthony Lusardi‘s earlier projects as the previous Director of the Ethereum Classic Cooperative (February 2018 to March 2019).
So was that spending a waste of money? Not at all. That website served the community for 18 months and was a significant upgrade both in its aesthetics, but also in its content. We are not going to lose any of that content. We can migrate it back across. This is just a change of underlying technology, motivated by the workflow benefit we gain by enabling anybody to update the website themselves by submitting pull requests against a public Github project, rather than having to ask administrators (first Anthony and then myself) if they can please add an extra entry, or make change XYZ. That is not a scalable approach, and it resulted in the “rot” of some of that information.
Where this infrastructure touches on East/West disconnect is that we have also had an information gap between the communities because ethereumclassic.org has only ever been an English language website to this point.
There are two primary communities and their websites covering China, to this point:
The earlier community was ethereumclassic.cn, maintained by ETCC – Ethereum Classic Consortium (China), with Roy Zou the best known face. Here is Roy presenting at the first ETC Summit, in 2017 in Hong Kong.
The second community was started in 2018, driven by DFG and ETC Labs, but has a broader scope. That is ethereumclassicasia.org, covering China, Japan and Korea, and also having outreach to other Asian countries. Christian Xu is the driving force behind these communities.
Having multiple community groups for a single country is not intrinsically problematic. Ethereum Classic is permissionless. There is no “official” anything or any right to exclusivity.
Not even the ETC Cooperative itself is an “official voice” and can only use its influence and respect to suggest that things move in any particular direction.
If we add Internationalization support to the Github-based ethereumclassic.org, such that Chinese language documentation on the platform is available without needing a specific website then we will be a lot more aligned in the information we have access to. For countries which only have small communities and perhaps only have users rather than developers / companies building the platform, just providing translations without the overhead of maintaining their own website, and all the overhead of keeping that information up to date will be very appealing.
Indeed, within minutes of me suggesting this approach, we had a volunteer to do German and Russian translations.
So I think that Adding Internationalization Support to the EthereumClassic.org will be the second “move”, as well as the creation of the WeChat channel, will move us in a very, very good direction. If you agree, please help! Come to Github and comment on that issue, offering your help in whatever form you can. I don’t think it will take long!