— Tom MacWright (@tmcw) May 16, 2018
A peek into the four projects show that it’s not only the description field. All of the projects are written in Chinese. If you can’t read it, you’re out of luck.
While this may seem like an indicator of a shift in the people consuming open-source coding projects around the world, a closer look at the projects’ content shows otherwise.
Three of the four are set up to share knowledge; only one has executable code.
Sharing knowledge in Chinese on Github
architect-awesome This is a single text document meant to be used as a guide for a back-end architect—someone who designs the way servers are setup, connected, and interacted with. It’s about 30,000 words long.
architecture.of.internet-product Another knowledge-sharing project. It is a collection of information about how various Chinese companies architected their technology systems. The folders of text files are organized by company name and technical concept.
interview-notebook As its name indicates, this is a a collection of information related to job interviews. It contains solutions to frequently-asked interview questions, key concepts worth memorizing entering an interview, etc. So far, the project has 60 contributors.
Sharing code in Chinese on Github
Why Chinese speakers are turning to Github
Github has shown to be an easy way to publish to the web. A Github project is as much a webpage as it is a repository for code. (In fact, three of the top 25 projects are written in English and also meant as repositories of information and not collections of code.)
In one project, a Chinese Github user documented the timeline of a sex abuse case related a professor at a prominent Chinese university. Chinese censors blocked and deleted information about the incident on Chinese websites. The Github project is still online. There was even a discussion of the allegations on a page of the project normally used for tracking bugs and organizing future work.