VarageSale Founder Addresses English-Language Policy Concerns

In a follow-up to a story about whether or notToronto-based VarageSale has instituted an English-only policy for its community pages, our founder received the following email yesterday from Tami Zuckerman, founder of VarageSale:

Hi Julio,

Your concern was definitely at the top of my mind all weekend, and I made sure to reach out to a number of admins to dig a little deeper and better understand the issue from all sides.

Being from Canada’s French-speaking province (Quebec), I completely understand the frustration of some members. In fact, my in-laws are native French-Spanish speakers (and don’t speak very much English), so we are all pretty familiar with barriers due to language issues. We would never implement a policy that discriminates against speakers of other languages and we definitely don’t have an English-only policy here at VarageSale (as you mention in the title of your blog post).

In fact, our end goal is to have multilingual platform, where members can post an item or leave a comment in their language, which could then be translated at the click of a button. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. The VarageSale app is still in its infancy. My team is working at building a bigger and better platform every single day, but it will take some time before VarageSale evolves into the platform of our dreams.

Until then, my number one priority is ensuring members feel safe. Thanks to our volunteer admins, VarageSale is safe! The problem is, if an admin doesn’t speak Spanish (and the majority don’t), it’s tough for them to do their jobs properly. Keep in mind that they are tirelessly monitoring the feed, catching and deleting abusive comments, banning bullies and revoking spammers—all to keep communities friendly, welcoming and safe. Of course, they need to be able to read the comments to do this.

The good news is we have a temporary solution. Beginning this week, we’re going to make sure our admins are all on the same page when it comes to the following:

  • It’s always okay to send PMs (private messages) in any language a member desires.
  • When posting or commenting publicly, we simply ask members to write in both their native language and English. All they need to do is use a free translation tool to make sure their post or comment appears in both Spanish and English.

Here’s an example from one of our existing communities (see screenshot below).

spanish-english-posting-v2

As we work on reaching the VarageSale of our dreams, we wholeheartedly welcome people of all languages on to the platform. We want everyone, no matter where they are in the world or what language they happen to speak, to feel comfortable using the app.

I sincerely thank you for alerting me to this issue.

Warmly,
Tami Zuckerman

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