I myself am an native Mandarin Chinese speaker, which is what the language of this question is written in. However, for the sake of the international community here on the WorkPlace SE, I strongly feel English should be the standard language of the site. The question below is poor, both as to

  1. Unclear as to what OP is asking
  2. Questions on what to do are explicitly off topic

How does the community feel about questions such as these - we don't want to turn away valuable questions simply because they are not in English but at the same time the community must clearly understand the question in order to meaningfully answer such a question.

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3 Answers 3


Both questions are spam. Please flag them as such.

I am a native Chinese speaker.


While @scaaahu is absolutely correct about the above question(s), I think you are asking an interesting general question about questions being posed in a language other than English.

Unfortunately, unless one of our bilingual members can translate the question, the range of possible answerers is very limited. And of course, then the asker will unlikely be able to understand the responses, unless someone kindly translates it back for them, or the Google translation isn't total gibberish.

So I would say it would be nice to be able to have people ask questions in languages other than English, it's not really practical here. Perhaps if there is enough demand, an [insertlanguagehere].workplace.SE could be spawned :)

  • 1
    I see the reasoning behind restricting the site to English. However, non-English questions are still useful to keep around. Posts on SE are editable by community. There have been a few questions translated from "gibberish" to English, and those got a decent response. Even if the answer doesn't benefit the asker per se, it is still useful to the community, especially if the question is a great one. There are also people who can "read" English but cannot "write" it, so it might benefit the asker too. BTW, I am not bilingual, I am pentalingual (octa, with some shoehorning). :)
    – Masked Man
    Aug 2, 2015 at 17:10
  • @MaskedMan I almost said "multilingual" :) I am barely monolingual ;)
    – Jane S
    Aug 2, 2015 at 23:38
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    In hindsight, my above comment sounds pompous, but anyway, my point there was non-English users visit this site quite often, so there is value in keeping non-English questions here and hoping that someone would come along and translate it. I vaguely recall someone had once posted a question in Arabic (maybe it was on SO, not here) a few years ago, someone else translated it to English, and it received some decent answers. Also, I am one of those who can understand when someone else speaks (not writes, though), but cannot frame a sentence myself (in case of Japanese).
    – Masked Man
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:33

The SE policy on non-English questions is already quite clear:

It is not our goal to teach English. It is our goal to teach programming. If the post has salvageable English and makes some modicum of sense, it should be edited and improved just like any other post. If it does not, it should be closed.

While harsh, this is the reality of SE. If people are putting non-English questions, answers, and comments, it becomes far more difficult to handle administration duties, conflicts, abuse, foul language, spam, scammers, etc. I myself brought up a meta thread some time back on a polite "Engrish" type tag (though with a less offensive name, of course), that could be used to flag/alert other members of the SE community to help translate a question into comprehensible English.

However, after reviewing comments by other members, the reality of the matter was made clear: it is an administrative nightmare with minimal benefit to the community.

  • 1
    meta thread some time back on a polite "Engrish" type tag: Feature or tag to request assistance from non native English speakers? - this one, right?
    – gnat
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:37
  • @gnat Yep, that's the one. I'm kind of surprised at how negative the question score was compared to the answer score. It was a very well meant question.
    – Cloud
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:43
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    at MSO, this is to be expected. I think the fact that it was well meant (and especially that it was well presented) literally saved you from it getting to like -13 or even lower (I for one recall voting it up solely for this reason, I thought it was very well fit for an answer explaining why it would be bad idea)
    – gnat
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:47
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    @Dogbert I recall reading that downvotes on meta questions are often used to signify disagreement with the suggestion rather than an indication of the question's quality but I don't know if that's actually true, useful or encouraged.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Aug 11, 2015 at 13:33
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    @Lilienthal Yes, that's true. It's explained in the What's Meta? Help Center page: "On posts tagged feature-request, voting indicates agreement or disagreement with the proposed change rather than just the quality or usefulness of the post itself." So it's a good "question" (as much as feature requests on Meta are questions), but it's not really a proposal that's going to get a lot of support, hence the downvotes. Aug 14, 2015 at 8:44

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