If you are a reader of my blog, you may know I post alot of technical stuff here. If you are not, what are you waiting for? Subscribe and read! :). Today I am not going to post anything related to software or tech in general. Today is one of these days where I will post a personal situation, just because I needed to share it.
There is a platform, called OnToys. I discovered it because a few friends were talking about it, and when I asked they sent me the link. Basically it is a game platform designed to be blind friendly, similar to other platforms like the playroom and RSGames. I liked it because there were interesting games available, and because they claim their games are fully open source. I like open source projects, and I thought I could help them to spread the word in the Spanish community, and of course help the Spanish guys to have a translated version of said platform in their native language. I truly believe everyone should be able to use software in their native language.
So i signed up there, and sent a support request where i just told them that I was interested in helping them with the Spanish community, mostly because their platform was looking so interesting for so many users in Spanish speaking countries. They replied me by asking my skype username, and the main Developer, Ivan Sebekin, added me.
During the first messages in skype, I told him that I can understand russian, if he wants to write me in his native language. I also clarified that I would not be able to write russian yet, so he started to write me in Russian and i was replying in english. He said that was OK. I just told him I was interested in translating his software, and he showed me how I could do that. Finally, he asked me to send him the translation as soon as I will have it done. For translating the platform, there are two main components: the platform interface and games themselves. I mean, games can be translated separately than the main graphical user interface for the platform. For translating the platform interface, you just have to create a new text file with all of your messages, put it in certain location and the program will list it as an available language. However, games cannot be translated that way. For translating a game you should unzip the game, create a new file with all translations for your language, zip it again, and send the game to him. Because whenever someone wants to play in OnToys, the server will check if the game you have in your PC is the same file that he has in their server. If the checksum validation fails, OnToys will re-download a copy of the unmodified game, to ensure people is not hacking in the game and cheating.
I started to translate the game interface, and I completed the almost 800 strings needed to have it fully translated. I also translated a few games: Myle by mile and football. I took about two weeks for translating everything, mainly because I had some issues with the russian plural representation (he is using a way to conjugate verbs based in russian conjugations, wich does not match with the spanish ones, so I had to sacrifice some words in order to do it right). I did my best for making a high quality translation, mainly because in our community we have some translations that are poorly done and have alot of spelling mistakes. Finally after a few weeks I completed these translations, and planned to send him one by one.
Firstly, I sent him the main translation file. I basically uploaded the file to my server, and sent him the link. When I did it, he hasn’t replied anything. I thought “Well, maybe he is really busy, can’t understand my words or whatever else. But at least he got the link”. This happened almost 3 weeks ago. I am a developer and i understand sometimes you just don’t have the time to deal with everything, so I basically ignored it. I thought he just will take the file and put it upstream, for the next update. I have decided I won’t send him the game translations until he will merge that main interface translation, mainly for not overloading him.
But time was going, I didn’t have any kind of reply, and people started to ask me more and more about the translation. I didn’t want to send them the translation without asking him if it would be OK. So I did, and the following just happened (Note: I’m pasting a skype history here, I have translated russian into english and put it between parentheses).
Manuel Cortez: Hi, people in Spanish community have been asking me for the translation. Is it OK if I will send them the spanish file and provide instructions to put it in the right place, or should I wait until an official update?
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): HI. что ты хотел? (Hi, what do you want?)
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): или будем вспоминать русский? (Or, let’s remember russian already?)
manuel cortez: I don’t mind sending them the translation. Of course I’d explain that for now only the game interface is translated and no games.
Найк Бес (naik Bes): вроде как недавно ты убеждал меня в том, что русский понимаешь (I thought that recently, you were assuring me that you can understand russian.)
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): ну иди тогда нахуй (then fuck off)
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): пидарасы (fuckers)
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): знаешь, за что мы вас русские ненавидем? (do you know why we russian hate [foreign persons]?) [ In the next two messages, the translation reads: You always say a lot, but do nothing, we never do such thing]
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): никогда не скажем
Найк Бес (Naik Bes): бла-бла-бла, а дел ноль
After this, he just blocked me.
I have some friends who can speak russian. My girlfriend, for example, is one of these amazing persons who have been helping me with everything related to my hard path for learning the language. I also know some guys from a site called blind games, a website where people can find information and talk about accessible games and some other topics, completely in russian. All of them are great and I like to go, from time to time, to their Teamtalk server and enjoy their jokes and stuff. I have to say that they all warned me about working with the main developer of OnToys. They told me some stories of people who have been colaborating with him, and after some time and strange situations like this one, they just were being insulted and of course, leaving the project. I took into account these suggestions, but still wanted to help Spanish people, so I was not so surprised when i read these messages in Skype.
After he blocked me in Skype, I just realised something. It’s so sad that people sometimes don’t understand the key difference between the phrase “I can understand your language, so you can write me in russian” And “I can speak russian like a native”. Being honest, it hurts. and not because he said that shit about me, or about foreign people in general, but because I was wondering if other russian speakers I have met felt the same about me. I Just hope none of my other russian friends really think that I am not doing my best for communicating with them in their language. Russian is one of the most difficult languages in the world, and I have been trying to master it for a while. I still am going slow, but I am doing my best whenever I have free time to practice.
Also it gave me a few lessons. First and foremost, you should not allow anyone to talk to you in a rude manner, even if they are developers. I think some of us who write some bugs and a few nice features in a program believe that we are more important, or somehow able to treat everyone else like a shit. I am almost sure something like that may happen with other developers, in other languages and to other persons. But listen, my fellow developers or future developers, when you will start a project built with or by people, you should never forget people behind the project. Because they are not only helping you to get that job done, they are a part of the project and its success or problems will depend alot in how you treat your collaborators. You want to have a nice project, with lots of support and things like that? Build it including your people. Especially if you are developing open source or non-paid projects, because people are the only resources you will be able to get. People always want to help, but of course if you treat them like a shit they never will want to do the same again.
Another thing I have seen, is how different we are. As I stated above, I am also a developer, or something like that. But this situation allowed me to see that i can have alot of problems, of course I am not perfect nor try to be, but I never, ever would bitch a person like that, no matter if he/she does not speak my language or cannot understand it. I think the quality of your projects depends alot in the quality of human being you are, and i am happy I am not this kind of person who just will insult someone whom they don’t know at all.
Finally I just wanted to warn everyone who may want to go to tiflo.space, as some others warned me in the past. Be careful, especially if you plan to work with him. Because as far as I know, I am not the first person whom he treats in this weird way, and probably I won’t be the last one. I will leave his platform, and I suggest people to do the same if they want stable things and everything working normally. Probably in the future, when he will get more support from the Spanish community or any other, there will be problems regarding to how their staff (or himself) treats users. Just because your platform is good and you have more security features than others, it’s not enough to make it well. If you are an idiot, normally all what you will say will be stupid.