Note! The following investigation has been conducted at the request of several masternode owners. Several sources and witnesses have come forward under the condition of anonymity, and as such their identities have not been revealed. Additionally, this report makes no recommendations whatsoever, but merely provides requested information that may or may not be useful to the voting decisions of masternodes. As always, masternodes have the responsibility to perform their own due diligence when making decisions that can affect the rest of the Dash network.
Late summer of this year, Dash community member JZA, known for the Bitcuners meetup proposals in Cancun, submitted a proposal for the creation of a series of Dash news sites in multiple languages. The proposal passed, and recently a renewal proposal was submitted. Several members of Dash’s global community, however, expressed concerns (both publicly and privately) over the quality of the output of the Dash Global news sites, and requested that Dash Force News conduct an investigation. Below are our findings.
Almost no original content
The vast majority of the content produced by the various Dash Global sites is not original, in other words, has been originally written by other authors and has appeared in other publications first. These sources include cryptocurrency mainstays like The Merkle, Bitcoin.com, CriptoNoticias, and others. Several Dash Force News articles have also been used, as well as content from the personal Medium page of Dash Force News writer Eric Sammons.
When the proposal owner’s JZA was contacted over levels of oversight over the whole project, he described a role more removed from the day-to-day operations of each project, which are managed by the respective team leads:
DFN: How closely do you, as the proposal owner, monitor the work of the various translators, writers, etc. that work under you?
JZA: We have team leads, I don’t speak all the language that we are supporting. The team leads handle oversight of the articles and the overall quality of the content. They are native speakers and are knowledgeable of what’s going on with the DASH community as well as the news cycles, proposals and such.
That said, they are, for the most part, not professional translators, nor our podcasters professional anchor people, nor myself a professional CEO with years behind of long experience handling companies with hundred of employees. We are a group of DASH enthusiasts that want to see DASH flourish with our communities and want to develop a place where people can understand better the value of crypto.
My roll is mostly oversight of the project, recommend new ways to market ourselves, leverage on my participation with the community to extract content and suggest it to our multi-language platform.
Issues with translations
The quality of some Dash Global translations has come under scrutiny by members of international Dash communities. When reached out to, JZA explained his hiring requirements:
DFN: What is the standard/criteria for hiring translators? What professional requirements and work experience did you insist on before hiring? What standards do you apply to the content you produce?
JZA: Team leads evaluate the translators on their work as they are the editors, they also look in the DASH community, some of them are professional translators, others lean more on content creation and do research on the community. Others handle more than one language, we tried to provide the best content that is out there.
I handle recommendations on formatting and structure as well as get them familiarized with the platform and editor until they are able to be proficient enough for the job.
Some members of Dash’s community have taken issue with the way some articles have been translated. An anonymous member of Dash’s Korean community pointed out some translation errors, along with a similarity to Google translate’s results:
“It’s based on Google translate, this one changed some words but, some parts just use Google’s. ‘Some argue that with 4,000+ Masternodes requiring more than 4 million Dash in collateral’ –> translated totally wrong. ‘4 million Dash’ translated to 4K Dash (as Google did).”
“1. typo (correct = augmenter)
2. Grammar (correct: et de son opinion concernant les ICO…)
3. Spelling (correct: démarré)
4. Spelling (correct: dévoilé)
5. Grammar (correct: s’est)
7. Grammar (correct: n’a pas tardé à donner)
8. No quotation marks. The whole post is a copy paste from OVH and for which the source is not given.”
Francophone masternode owner Jol similarly attested to the lack of quality in translation of the French site:
“This isn’t written in French, it’s either a Google translate or a very loose French translation. And coming from me, who has bad French, is saying a lot. The content doesn’t help with an understanding of Dash.”(translated from French)
JZA stated that he is not aware of poor or Google translations:
DFN: Members of several different Dash communities have reported that their corresponding language site was poorly translated, and preliminary checks indicate large portions of some articles have been run word-for-word through Google Translate. Were you aware of this?,
JZA: I haven’t seen such things. In my experience anytime someone see some problem with translations they automatically assume they were translated by Google Translate so I think this is a ‘quick go to move’ for anyone critical of an article. Proving that they are indeed google translated shouldn’t be very difficult however, just put the source article on google translate and if it’s not 100% exact to the one on the translation, that means it WASN’T GT generated, rendering their assumptions false.
I have seen the overall translations for spanish and I think they are very good and achieve the goal of explaining DASH qualities to the readership. More to that, they have been able to get initiatives a higher degree of exposure. For example, Dash Leopards, the soccer team that was able to gain a broader exposure thanks to our sites platform and be accessed by hundreds of new visitors thanks to the multiple language distribution of news, making them able to get more donation to their causes. The same with other small initiatives and proposals.
Many translations appear to follow Google translate results closely, with occasional words changed and minor adjustments throughout. For a useful comparison, this Dash Force News article was translated for Dash Brasil, which can be compared to a simple Google translation for the article. For reference, the article was translated by Dash Force News’s own Portuguese team, which bears less resemblance to Google’s results.
Quality concerns with the sites themselves
The quality of the sites, from a technical standpoint, was called into question by several community members. As originally linked on the proposal at the beginning of this investigation, 3/5 of the sites linked had issues, with two returning a privacy error (i.e. not employing https), and one site not functioning at all. Additionally, the view counts of the various sites has also been a subject for review. When asked about this, JZA provided corrected links for the sites, but did not address site view statistics as requested:
DFN: Of the sites, two of them (DashKorean and DashBrasil) give a privacy error (no https), and one (DashItaliano) is completely down. What is the standard for quality for these sites, and is there a plan to improve them? What are the site view statistics for each?”
JZA: “I noticed the typos on the URL, here is the correct list http://dashitaliano.com/ http://dashkorean.global http://dashbrasil.global/ http://dashfrancais.com and http://dashespanol.com/
Overall we are still looking for a dedicated frontend developer as we have been working on frontend bugs and adapting the site to mobile, this is ongoing work and should be resolved with the masternode approval for the budget. If our readers notice something off, we encourage to send us a bug report at jza at dashglobal.org”
Proposal merge with the Dash Global meetups proposal
As noted in the new Dash Global proposal, the previous proposal to fund a series of meetups around the world will be merged with the news site proposal. JZA was contacted to clarify what that meant as far as accounting for the two separate projects, and was asked what remains of Dash Global’s current budget. The first question was addressed, the second was not:
DFN: “DASH Global will also merge with the meetup budget” Does this indicate that funds paid by the network to fund meetups will instead be used to fund the various news sites, in addition to funding for these sites that has already been requested? How much is Dash Global’s available, unspent budget when combining these two proposals?
JZA: No, it means that meetup proposals will be consolidated with the news site and podcast, so we avoid having multiple proposals for each thing moving forward and manage it within one budget. The money for proposals would be managed separately just like the Podcast and the development budget for the sites internally.
Note: This investigation concerns only the Dash Global news sites proposal, and not the meetup proposal. It is only mentioned here in relation to the news site proposal.
If the need arises for scrutiny into the meetup proposal, a separate investigation will be conducted at a later date.
Cost vs. value proposition
When presented with information on proposals, involved masternode owners evaluate them on a cost vs. value basis. As such, the purpose of investigations into a proposal is to provide more accurate information to the masternodes, who then make the judgment call as to the net value provided to the network.
According to the cost breakdown for the news sites, the total allocated budget per week exclusively for producing content amounts to $6,323.78. Divided by the number of articles translated, this equals $74.40 per translation. In cases where a single article from an outside source is translated eight different times, that would equal $595.17 for each piece of outside (not original) content to be translated in a form that many community members have compared to Google translate in terms of value. As recent as this year, Cointelegraph, one of the article sources translated, paid a base of $20 per original article, and other cryptocurrency news outlets have offered similar, or lower, rates for exclusive, original content.
JZA maintains that the total value provided to the network is worth the cost to produce:
DFN: Do you feel that, at the current rate of funding being requested, the Dash network is obtaining a good value for their money? Why?
JZA: I think that we have produced a vast amount of content, around 350 articles a month as well as around 100 high quality videos between market analysis, technical tutorials, financial tutorials, and news show on 3 months and 744 posts in total since the the start of the site. We also been consistent on our budget with moderate amounts being asked to the masternode network, which means that more than 60% of other proposals ask for more money than us. For example, we a I agree we still have ways to go like any other project, but the return and value proposition will enhance most of the communities around the world.
On condition of strict anonymity, a viewer from the Dash community shared their initial reaction to the video content produced by Dash Global:
“I have seen some of their YouTube content and it… stinks. And he is asking for 107 Dash, which is an absurdly high amount. I watched a recent video (with his typical presenters). There were no comments… and the video was amateurish at best. I thought to myself, ‘What the heck is this all about?’ …I was really shocked by how pitiful the presentation was.
67 views… and embarrassingly bad content… What the heck! So, this is why people are asking for an investigation.”