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[rpd] Improving participation of francophone and arab country

Chevalier du Borg virtual.borg at
Thu Dec 31 04:49:24 UTC 2015

thank you for you great analyses!

I started this thread because some member of list were mixing my first mail
about "ways to measure board performance" with "language barrier for

my position

a) there are thousands of french-speaker who ARE NOT ON THIS LIST. Some
think it because of language barrier. I disagree ... i think they don't
just care. If they have not even register, how can they claim language

b) IF there are francophone here who do are unable to participate, then as
a community (perhaps with some help from afrinic the company) we should try
to help them.

c) Ultimate policies will remain in English

here is thing we can do

a) afrinic staff can make sure that during meeting ... there are printed
copy of policy texts (latest version) in english and FRENCH
b) afrinic staff can provide monthly summaries of policy discussion in
english and french (even using community help)
b) any person on this list who is french or portuguese or arabic who isn't
understanding a contribution can ask "Pls help with translation for me"

2015-12-30 18:14 GMT+04:00 Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at>:

> So, that being said, let us talk for a second about what the real
problems are in AfriNIC and how the language and demographic debate may be
contributing factors that we can help to solve through the introduction of
translations and better communications in the respective languages.
> Let us first state certain hypotheticals that I would hope we can all
agree on.
> A.) AfriNIC's primary business is the allocation and control of IP
address space
> B.) AfriNIC has to be in a position to be able to operate as a going
> C.) AfriNIC is a non-profit organisation that is reliant on its members
to the pay the bills.
> Now, is lack of understanding of communications due to them being
primarily in English a contributing factor to the delinquency we see in the
payment profiles?  I analysed this, in great depth, using publically
available data off the website.  It is curious that the Francophonie
countries have the lowest rate of members in good standing as a percentage
than any other group of countries.   (When I did my calculations, 63.3% of
members in countries that have French as the first language are in good
standing, as compared to 85.71% of countries that speak Portuguese, 80.1%
of Anglo speaking countries and 76.25% of Arabic speaking countries).
> So, perhaps if you are saying that language is a barrier to this, it's a
problem that we do need to work on, however, chicken and egg situation,
translation costs money and if people aren't paying their bills who is
going to fund it?
> However, the hypothesis outlined above fails, because AfriNIC currently
does NO Portuguese translation and they have the highest payment percentage
(though admittedly one of the lowest portion of member numbers, with only
70 total members as of September 2015).  Their own member base could also
make it easier for them to be in good standing, though again, this
hypothesis is disputed by the fact that there are less members in Arabic
speaking countries who also have a higher payment percentage.

Great analysis. It however miss one important distinction: the afrinic
COMMUNITY is a independent entity (from afrinic the organisation) that make
policy (at least that what I understand from afrinic trainers and training
material)  and is the focus on this discussion.

> So, lets assume based on the figures above, that language is not a
barrier to payment.  So, we need to move onto participation, since we are
looking to find the problem we are trying to actually solve here.  I've
done some interesting analysis on this as well.
> Working backwards to the last 10, Republic of Congo, Ebene, Djibouti,
Abidjan, Lusaka, Khartoum, Serekunda, Yaounde, Dar Es Salaam,
Johannesburg.  At least 4 of these locations are heavily francophone
areas.  Now, considering that to host a members meeting, it requires a host
sponsor who comes forward and offers to host, and then a series of
criteria, this strongly indicates that there IS participation from the
AfriNIC community in franco areas, else the sponsorship would not have
happened for these meetings.  And in fact, the participation when
considering the member counts of the demographics shows that the
francophone countries are participating *MORE* than the Anglo countries.

to advocate for the other side --- i.e. community involvement and
particularly engagement in policy discussions, there are few participation
from francophones ABOUT POLICY. i think that at these meeting, if afrinic
staff provide copies in french of latest policy proposal on discussion and
other key document, it will help participation on site and hopefully those
people will come to mailing list also.

I also note that even in english speaking country ...there is often many
participation life by people who just walk in and are not on the mailing

> Then, on an analysis on the mailing list postings on the RPD, these two
have a heavy participation from francophone speakers, these speakers
*choose* to interact on the list in English, however, if you look at the
locations where the mails are coming from, it is clear that there is
participation here.  It would be up to these people to choose to interact
in French if they so wished.  However, the risk of doing that, policies
require broad based support, and unless comments and policies are proposed
in languages that can be understood by the majority, I question if they
would ever pass consensus, and the majority of the people on the lists DO
speak English (and the posts on the lists are testament to this).
> So again, I ask, what is the problem we are actually trying to solve
here, since it isn't participation, that's already there, it isn't payment
profiles, as indicated by the Arabic and Portuguese segments, it isn't
membership numbers, since the francophone countries have the second highest
member base on the continent.

i started this thread because other member of list made the complain about
francophone balance etc. i don't believe it of course ... the problem i see
is one of APATHY ...generally and also very heavy among north african and
francophone countries.

> That leaves me wondering, are we simply embarking down this road for the
sake of cultural pride?  If so, that's a very dangerous road we walk, and
it is a road that leads to divisions which have come close to destroying
this continent many times before.  If we want translation into French, then
Arabic, Portuguese and actually Kiswahili (which is another MAJOR language
on the continent) should ALL be recognised, to be inclusive.  We cannot be
seen to be given precedence to any specific language demographic, so, in my
view, it's all of the major languages or none

exact! ... i think this is more cultural pride than any reality. which is
sad. Thanks for adding weight to my earlier counter-arguement to  "let's
add arabic too" by pointing out swahili and hausa/fulani which are spoke by
about 25 percent of the continent. France, China, Japan ... advance, bigger
economies with high cultural pride don't fight this fight ...the have seen
it is pointless. let africans not waste time on it.

> These are just my views and spoken entirely in my personal capacity.
> Andrew

Borg le Chevalier
"Common sense is what tells us the world is flat"
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