[openstack-dev] [election][tc]Question for candidates about global reachout

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Mon Sep 17 13:32:11 UTC 2018

On 2018-09-16 14:14:41 +0200 (+0200), Jean-philippe Evrard wrote:
> - What is the problem joining Wechat will solve (keeping in mind the
> language barrier)?

As I understand it, the suggestion is that mere presence of project
leadership in venues where this emerging subset of our community
gathers would provide a strong signal that we support them and care
about their experience with the software.

> - Isn't this problem already solved for other languages with
> existing initiatives like local ambassadors and i18n team? Why
> aren't these relevant?

It seems like there are at least couple of factors at play here:
first the significant number of users and contributors within
mainland China compared to other regions (analysis suggests there
were nearly as many contributors to the Rocky release from China as
the USA), but second there may be facets of Chinese culture which
make this sort of demonstrative presence a much stronger signal than
it would be in other cultures.

> - Pardon my ignorance here, what is the problem with email? (I
> understand some chat systems might be blocked, I thought emails
> would be fine, and the lowest common denominator).

Someone in the TC room (forgive me, I don't recall who now, maybe
Rico?) asserted that Chinese contributors generally only read the
first message in any given thread (perhaps just looking for possible
announcements?) and that if they _do_ attempt to read through some
of the longer threads they don't participate in them because the
discussion is presumed to be over and decisions final by the time
they "reach the end" (I guess not realizing that it's perfectly fine
to reply to a month-old discussion and try to help alter course on
things if you have an actual concern?).

> I also have technical questions about 'wechat' (like how do you
> use it without a smartphone?) and the relevance of tools we
> currently use, but this will open Pandora's box, and I'd rather
> not spend my energy on closing that box right now :D

Not that I was planning on running it myself, but I did look into
the logistics. Apparently there is at least one free/libre open
source wechat client under active development but you still need to
use a separate mobile device to authenticate your client's
connection to wechat's central communication service. By design, it
appears this is so that you can't avoid reporting your physical
location (it's been suggested this is to comply with government
requirements for tracking citizens participating in potentially
illegal discussions). They also go to lengths to prevent you from
running the required mobile app within an emulator, since that would
provide a possible workaround to avoid being tracked. Further, there
is some history of backdoors getting included in the software, so
you need to use it with the expectation that you're basically
handing over all communications and content for which you use that
mobile device to wechat developers/service operators and, by proxy,
the Chinese government.
Jeremy Stanley
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