Trials and Tribulations of Global Communities

I’m not about to write a lengthy essay on online cultures. Just an interesting observation on some events on the Tornado mailing list.

So, I lurk in that mailing list because Tornado is one of those awesome technologies in the Python world, and there are usually gems flying around.

As with most discussion groups I join, English is the norm. In fact, some have gone as far as to argue that English should be the lingua franca of hackers. To a great extent, I agree.

So, all is well until one day some Chinese messages started appearing on the list. Now, I read and write Chinese but I can’t making a living with Chinese geek-speak. Those messages didn’t bother me though I was thinking it must be annoying to non-Chinese speaking subscribers. And true enough, we got a message from one of the subscribers today:

我们看不懂你的中文信息,写英语,请。

Obviously the output of machine translation with an input to the effect of:

We cannot understand your Chinese messages, write in English, please.

I find it pretty amusing, and hope our fellow Chinese hackers don’t take offense.



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