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You're probably reading that and thinking, "what?!", and reaching for your close votes or your edit sticks. And that's a perfectly good thing. That's precisely the kind of feeling I want.

What on earth did I just write in the title? What is that horrible garbage? Italian? Oh my; who speaks that? What did I just say there? Imagine this question was completely written in Italian. How would that question be useful to the 99% of the world that doesn't speak Italian?

Think it was a programming question - for all you know, it is, since you can't understand it. Then what are the chances it isn't a question already asked on Stack Overflow? Do we need to have experts in translation now?

Actually, come think of it, what if it isn't a question on Stack Overflow? What if it's the first question about whatever thing it is that thingadongdong question title is asking, and it got an excellent answer, and now nobody but people that can speak Italian can access it?

That would be pretty terrible, wouldn't it?

So:

"<site> in <language>" proposals create unacceptable language barriers and must be killed with extreme prejudice

(Yes, that's what the title says. Hence the <h1>. Sorry.)

I'll take a short but correct Engrish answer over the best Jon Skeet treat ever on the site - but in Japanese, and through Google Translate easily, any day.

Just consider this: you're Anna Lear. An expert programmer that speaks Russian and English fluently. You have a programming question. Where do you ask? Why would you ask on ru.SO over en.SO? Asking on both sites would probably be the "better" thing. Now you have an expert that needs to spend twice as much time while asking a question so he can also provide a question in the localized site.

Let's now say the answer on en.SO arrives from me, because I'm a lucky Italian dude that just happened to stumble on the problem before Anna did. Now Anna "has to" translate my answer to ru.SO, so that no ru.SO user spends time pointlessly in solving something that's already been addressed. So our expert is spending thrice as much time on any question he asks in an effort to do The Right Thing™. That doesn't scale, obviously, and now Anna needs to pick which site needs to take her attention. (Nevermind for the moment she's a moderator - bear with me.)

No matter what Anna's choice is, one of the two sites has just lost an expert to the language barrier.

It's not just that. There's me too. I now have a good answer on en.SE, but no question for it for it.SE. What do I do? Yeah! I'll just translate Anna's question on it.SO! But, you know, I really like reputation. And I really like feeling like I'm helping people! You know what? Screw this: I'm going to hook up the Bing translate API and just start translating everything from one language copy to the other in order to reap the most reputation!

So long as the translation is "good enough" people won't mind right? I mean, we already do accept Engrish and Babelfish on en.SO, why should ru.SO require people to use perfect Russian? What if I'm Romanian, don't know English but know just a little Russian? Since "Stack Overflow in Romanian" probably won't happen, Google Translate would probably be my only choice.

Having multiple dumb copies of a Stack Exchange site in multiple language is just a ton of trouble waiting to happen, a time sink for the English as Second Language users you have and very little value for the internet at large, in a world where compulsory English teaching becomes increasingly pervasive.

What's next? "English Language and Usage... in French?" "Gaming... in German?" What domain name would you give those sites?

What about meta? English Ask Ubuntu is okay with software-rec's... but is Spanish Ask Ubuntu equally accomodating?

How many perfectly identical Area 51 proposals do we need where the only thing that changes in the title is one word? Do we really want to see this happening? Isn't having a SE proposal for every single language, dead or alive, enough Stack Exchange sites? How can this possibly scale? Does the world have enough experts willing to moderate all those sites? Are we going to reach a point where everybody has a diamond somewhere?

If it doesn't make sense to have Judean People’s Front.SE and People’s Front of Judea.SE and Judean Popular People’s Front.SE and Popular Front of Judea.SE, why does it make sense to have Judean People's Front.SE and Fronte Popolare di Giuda.SE and Judese Volksfront.SE and ユダヤの人民戦線.SE?

Related reading: Aaronut on "Cucina Italiana.SE"

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I lost you by the 2nd paragraph. TL;DR –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 1:33
    
@Null Check the TL transcript. –  phwd Nov 29 '11 at 1:33
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Precedenti discussioni: StackExchange 2.0 sites in other languages than English? Is it OK to have non-English question and answers in Area 51? (spoiler: la risposta è sì) –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 1:35
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"Just consider this: you're Anna Lear". Damn it; this sockpuppet was going so well –  Michael Mrozek Nov 29 '11 at 1:36
    
As said elsewhere, "it was OK to propose sites in foreign languages,.. seriously do not think he was referring to proposals with exactly the same scope as existing sites but in a different language" So those discussions are irrelevant. (sticking to the language I know best) –  phwd Nov 29 '11 at 1:40
    
@Gilles La première question a une réponse, "il ya des propositions", sans examiner le fond. Le second a la réponse «Je ne vais pas dire non à tout, mais sachez que dès maintenant vous ne pouvez pas faire." Rien ne touche les problèmes que l'excédent. (Pardon my Babelfish) –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:40
    
I think this question and answer nail it: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/52331/… Joel Spolsky deems your concern invalid, so that's that. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 1:40
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@NullUserExceptionอ_อ you do realize that's what Gilles commented. Language barrier at work! –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:41
    
@Null not by a long shot. See my previous comment. –  phwd Nov 29 '11 at 1:41
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@null Joel runs the site?? Oh okay, can I put in a request for the FAQ to be changed and meta.so to be closed as invalid?? since this no longer applies "We don’t run Stack Overflow. The community does." –  phwd Nov 29 '11 at 1:48
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@Kevin There's no reason this discussion has to be in private. A public chatroom can suffice. –  Grace Note Nov 29 '11 at 1:49
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@KevinVermeer This isn't a mod only discussion; if anything it should be moved to a public chat. Where's that "do you want to move this discussion to chat" thing? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 1:50
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/hattip [15 chars] –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 2:03
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Programming.SE, Webmasters.SE, DBA.SE, Security.SE, et al. all "drain audience" from Stack Overflow, yet they have all been launched. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:20
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@badp I see your point, but what do you propose should be done about it? Should english SO remain the only one there is? I think that would be a huge long term loss. –  Pëkka Nov 29 '11 at 10:38

8 Answers 8

Ben oui, c'est exactement pour ça que ces propositions sont parfaitement légitimes et naturelles.

La langue est une barrière. Un site en anglais est inutile pour des gens qui ne parlent pas du tout anglais.


Well, yes, that's exactly why these proposals are perfectly legitimate and natural.

Language is a barrier. A site in English is useless to people who do not speak English at all.

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Pardon, "what" is exactly why these proposals are perfectly legitimate and natural? –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:34

So, your point of view is that everyone who is important will know English enough to participate in an English-only site, and people who are not able to do so, must be excluded, just so the English-speaking ones have an easier life.

The motto of Stack Exchange is Make the world a better place, not Make the world a better place for English speakers.

As I understood the current concept of Stack Exchange, every topic which finds a community will have a chance in the Area51 process. And "Italian-language questions about Programming" are certainly now off-topic (or otherwise not allowed) in Stack Overflow (and every other SE site), so it is not a duplicate.

If there are enough people who want to ask/answer in Italian about programming problems, they should have their own site.

Yes, this will draw some people away who otherwise would have posted on other sites, but this also happens if you open more sites on other topics in English (for example, I'm quite less active on SO now after crypto.SE opened - my total SE time is limited). On the other hand, more new people will participate.

Your example with Anna is a straw man: Nobody is forced to translate her own questions/answers (though if one posts in two languages, one should be polite enough to put links). If someone wants to get reputation by translating an answer, let him do so.

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(And sorry, I'm now really off to bed.) –  Paŭlo Ebermann Nov 29 '11 at 1:45
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No, my point of view is that everyone is better served by a single language Stack Overflow, even if it means a little more effort on the part of ESL's. SE are sites for world class experts - what language do you think all the academic papers and research and advanced books are written in? Language sites are probably an exception here, and perhaps why it isn't so bad after all to have a localized SE per language. But that's it! Italian questions about Programming on SO are not off-topic, they are off-language. You can't solve "off-topic" with GTranslate. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:51
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@badp What about the people who are not ESL speakers? You know, those who do not speak English at all? Why do you want to forbid Stack Exchange to them? –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 1:56
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@badp An Italian version of SO would be a better solution. Less time/effort will be needed for an answerer to try and understand broken English; less effort will be wasted in correcting broken English; and the asker will better understand a solution written in their native language. It's a win-win situation - both the community and the asker are better off. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 1:58
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@Gilles What about the people who are not FSL speakers? You know, those who do not speak French at all? Why do you want to forbid French Stack Exchange to them? Surely we have to use one language though, and two are the "universal" ones, the ones that all the cross-culture science and research etc. has historically been carried through: Latin and English. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:59
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And restricting SE to English speakers is elitist and totally against the spirit of SE - making the Internet a better place. Not all SE sites are scientific/academic. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 1:59
    
@badp That's a straw man. You don't have to participate in a site if you don't want to. That's why am I not a member of Judaism.SE, or French.SE, etc. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:00
    
@badp Don't you mean Chinese, Arabic and French? –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 2:02
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@badp There is a strong correlation between being an expert on French and between speaking French. The correlation between being an expert on programming and speaking English is a lot thinner. The correlation between being an expert on cooking and speaking English is not positive. –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 2:03
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@NullUserExceptionอ_อ You're telling that to an Italian moderator for Gaming. Guess what, ours is one of the sites that might be the most harmed by having nothing but English. I think it still does make the Internet a better place to be. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:04
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ It's not about participating, it's about reading the answer you gave to the question I have, except it's in Urdu. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:04
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@Gilles By that logic, an English site on Cooking should not exist, right? If it would, it'd be filled to the brim about questions about donuts, hamburgers and ketchup? –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:05
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@badp By that logic, an English site on cooking should exist. Because there are many people who are interested in cooking and who speak English but not Italian. –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 2:07

There are three different outcomes here:

  • No other languages on SE but English. Great, but you reach a natural ceiling once you've found all the people who know English.
  • Foreign languages on SE, but you disallow separate sites. Then you have communities inside say SO who speak English, Portugese, Klingon etc. Aside from the huge moderation issue this causes, it also fragments the community along barriers where communication is impossible - you allow say Arabic speakers to close a Chinese question? People can find enough else to disagree on as it is on SE.
  • Foreign language for an existing topic means one site per topic forming a community around that topic only if critical mass is obtained. Risks here include watering down existing sites' contribution base as strong English speakers migrate to their native tongue sites. Other problems include foreign language "buy in" from total non-English speakers - how do you get it to happen when SE is currently "English".

    Note my use of logic phrasing. To make that even clearer, critical mass implies site creation; site proposal/creation does not imply critical mass.

You're essentially looking to find the least friction solution here. Supporting many languages and keeping things running smoothly is hard, but it can work. Of them, I think number 3 is that solution, assuming number 1 is unacceptable. Creating communities using a common language as a basis works because everyone who speaks it should in theory be able to get on in that community.

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If solution #1 would be so totally terrible, then I'd go for #2 with no second thought. Simply show language flags at the top and everything that isn't available in a language gets through whatever translation API. If you want, supply a translation for +2 rep. If the question looks like garbage through Google Translate then that's too bad and your question will probably get closed; then again, who is going to be able to answer it if it is? –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 1:54

English is the best technical language. Any other language is going to inherently suffer from bad-quality posts. I agree that English should be the "official" language of SO - creating other sites just fragments things.

In my opinion, the easiest way to fix things is to introduce a meta tag for each area51-approved language. A good meta tag - people would actively follow/ignore this tag. Editing it in wouldn't be a hassle - it's much easier to identify a language than to speak it.

Even better, build it into the system. A gamified translation system would make the language barrier disappear.

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As much as this answer agrees with me... [citation-needed]. Perhaps on a programming site non-English clones would have to resort to English phrases or names anyway (at the very least for the language method calls), but that doesn't mean you just can't have a technical discussion without English. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:11
    
What about this Italian cooking proposal which is, as far as I can tell, Seasoned Advice in Italian? Italian seems to be a fine language in which to discuss, say, cooking or music - it might even be better than English! –  Kevin Vermeer Nov 29 '11 at 2:13
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-1 for "English is the best technical language." Says who? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:15
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ Jeff Atwood apparently.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/03/the-ugly-american-programmer.html Well, it's not the best, but it's the best we've got. –  Pubby Nov 29 '11 at 2:18
    
@KevinVermeer You have a good point. Programming is entirely different from cooking and they can't be handled the same. –  Pubby Nov 29 '11 at 2:22
    
Why all the downvotes? –  Pubby Nov 29 '11 at 3:49
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ: I disagreee with English being the best, but whatever it is, that language certainly is the most widely used language, and the only common language to the large number of people worldwide (whether they are engaged in a technical discussion or ordering a pizza) –  Goran Jovic Nov 29 '11 at 11:25
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The majority of downvotes probably come from the assertion that English is the best technical language, and furthermore that every other language will have a negative impact. –  Grace Note Nov 29 '11 at 14:40
    
As a native English speaker with no German or Arabic, I'm going out on a limb here, but I thought German and Arabic were supposed to be more technical languages (although TV ads may have brainwashed me), for mathematical or non-software engineering at least. –  Phil Lello Dec 9 '11 at 17:18

Well, since I'm the example child for this question (and I am, in fact, fluent in both Russian and English)... :)

I think this depends. If I'm fluent in both languages, I might still be only active in one linguistic community over the other. Russian has a pretty active internet culture, and I imagine it's similar for other languages (although possibly not all of them).

I happen to be mostly active in the English-speaking side of the internet, but there are people who are fluent in English but still frequent a lot of Russian sites. That's probably fairly likely for people who actually still live in Russia.

Now, regardless of which linguistic affiliation I maintain, it is up to me to decide where to post my question. It doesn't have to be duplicated in every other language available. You're welcome to translate it if you want, but I don't care. It's no longer my question at that point. It's yours to deal with. If you think the automatic Bing translator is going to produce good enough results for you to farm rep, then a) you don't know Russian; b) you're welcome to whatever rep you get from it.

I see potential issues with moderation and ensuring adherence to the network standards. Stack Exchange cannot possibly hire an expert in every language. Even the existing language-specific sites (while awesome in principle) could be potentially problematic. But beyond that... if Stack Exchange as a company doesn't have a problem with that and there's enough community backing to start a site, why not do it? I don't see a problem with it. A person who'd otherwise come to the English SO but doesn't have a strong enough command of English can use a site they're more comfortable with, and people who are fluent in both can pick for themselves and the network as a whole will still be stronger for it.

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It's not a matter of "having to do so", but a matter of "doing so in the spirit of making the internet as awesome as possible" and "doing the right thing". After all, you didn't have to become a moderator on two sites, yet you chose to. :) PS: My personal experience with Google Translate is it works well enough most of the time (at least for the language couples I use). –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:24
    
@badp Trust me on the quality of automatic Russian translation. :) I'm not sure what me becoming a moderator has to do with your argument, though. Lastly, duplicating someone's question across the Internet doesn't help that person one bit. –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 2:27
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@ Anna But it could potentially make the Internet a better place. My main problem with @badp 's complaint is: I don't see what would be lost by having localized SE sites. We have everything to gain nothing to lose. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:29
    
It has to do with the spirit that would lead me (for example) to duplicate the question and the answer to a language specific site: selflessly doing so to help others. Hell, I already do take part in programs such as Steam Translation to ensure basic levels of knowledge are attainable in all languages. Since when is SE about basic levels of knowledge however? –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:30
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@nulluser Potentially, but most questions are driven by the asker's hunger for the answer. Take that away and what's left? What's the point of answering questions? I may be wrong, but I think a lot of us are in this to help people. Making the Internet better is a nice side-effect but it is too abstract and intangible to be a goal in itself. –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 2:32
    
@badp See my answer to NullUserException. I think something valuable will be lost if questions are blindly replicated across sites. (also, if someone asks for clarification on a secondary site, what do you do? As not an original asker, you're not in the position to provide meaningful clarifications.) –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 2:34
    
@AnnaLear Meh, I could just relay the request back to the original answerer. Hell, an insightful enough comment could even lead to a brilliant question or answer on the other site. (Don't look my Bing API spamming provocation too closely; it wouldn't stand a chance in real life.) –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:36
    
@AnnaLear Right; and I think localized sites would greatly help. It will take less effort for the asker to post a question. And since they will post it in their native language, nothing will be lost because of bad translations. Finally, it will be easier for the asker to understand the answers. Really, what's the problem with this system? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:37
    
@badp I don't see your point. What's the problem with "selflessly duplicating a question and the answer to a language specific site to help others"? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:41
    
@NullUser I agree. –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 2:42
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ The problem is it doesn't scale. It's the same reason why we have a daily reputation cap in the first place: to avoid people burning out while trying to help others, spending 'til 4am on Stack Overflow and leading them to the point where they just have to choose between leaving the site or not having the time to get anything done. –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 2:47
    
@badp And who says someone has to participate in both SO and SO in Russian? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:48
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@badp How about the poor guys/gals who don't speak English but want to ask a programming question. Why should they be excluded? And we have tons of SE sites anyways, many of them overlap and many users are interested in a variety of topics spread across several SE sites. Last time I checked, SE was doing fine in spite of all these sites. –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 2:51
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@badp "Not everybody will pick the English version of SE" -- this is good. You're trying to advocate a single site and call it the best approach. I think covering areas that would never join English sites is what's ultimately truly going to make the Internet (and the world) better. –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 3:04
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@badp Geographical areas? Language proficiency is not necessarily geographical. SO (and SE) gets a lot of relatively poor questions from non-English speakers. They're not bad questions, but the language barrier isn't helping anybody. Why not have a place where they can ask their questions comfortably? (With that said, I think I've made my point clearly enough. Let's agree to disagree and let votes sort us out.) –  Anna Lear Nov 29 '11 at 3:40

At the most basic level, site really does consist of a topic in a certain language. Currently, the language is English unless specified otherwise. If you spoke a foreign language, and wanted to have Q&A in your own language because you were more comfortable with it, because your friends wanted it, or because it was a better language for the topic, what topic would you propose? The initial and obvious choice is the language of the site you're currently active on. Most of the time, this is Stack Overflow.

Proposals are currently about topics which presently exist on the Stack Exchange network because the English version of the topic is the site on which the creator originated. It's something of a leap to come up with an entirely new topic for discussion; there's already a user base, scope, and example questions available in English, so it seems logical (the problems expressed in the question aside) to create a version of the site in the creator's mother tongue.

The only sites for which using a language other than English makes real sense are the <Language other than English> Language & Usage sites. For the rest, indeed, it would be better if the creators would just use the pre-existing, unfragmented English sites, doggone it! They speak English, why won't they use it?


The creators are English speakers because they have to be, as mandated by Joel and Robert. These multilingual people have some 6 billion friends, relatives, and coworkers who don't speak English and are unable to participate in the network!

What's happening right now is that the multilingual users are creating <Language other than English> Language & Usage sites. Spanish, French, German, and Japanese are all in public betas. Each of these sites has users with accounts nowhere else on the site. English still features prominently in the site, but I expect that we'll soon have users who speak no English and have no experience anywhere else on the network.

These users will learn about the Stack Exchange platform. They'll think to themselves, "I wish there was a site about <Topic>, without any prompting from an existing site about that topic. They'll learn about Area51, gather momentum on their respective metas and chat rooms, and get a friend who speaks English (or Bablefish/Google Translate) to propose a site. They'll pile on the votes, followers, and committments, still working through translations. And eventually, we'd have a site that doesn't have any English.


We're not there yet. Current proposals exist only by siphoning off other Stack Exchange sites. They are proposed by users active on those sites. These proposals should be closed. However, Stack Exchange, Inc. should to prepare to localize the platform to allow language specific sites that don't require the users to speak English.

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I agree with the spirit of the answer. I'm even available to contribute strings to translate Stack Exchange to Italian. I'd be really upset, though, if those strings end up powering "Stack Overflow, only in Italian!" instead of a site that really needs to be in Italian because that's the main language of the relevant community – worldwide. What do I know... Crafting of pasta? Bread making? Parmigiano Reggiano.SE? –  badp Nov 29 '11 at 3:12

I'm inclined to agree with badp.

One of the reasons my 'French-English' translation proposal didn't get off the ground (I believe) is because it wasn't going to be scalable (the number of potential language pairs is finite, but even so...)

It would be the same if we went for 'Topic-Language' pairs.

I'd be more inclined to go with tagging questions with their language, and then people can filter by languages. I guess you could then say "what's the difference between that and having separate sites?" Well the difference would be for multilingual people - they wouldn't have to chop and change (or choose) between sites.

You could retort "yes, but those people are in the minority", but that is back to the same logic that said we didn't need internationalization in the first place. (And note that there are at least 6 multilinguists participating here)

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If there is a way for people to filter posts in languages that they don't understand, then any-language-goes sites are viable. But this requires a lot of constraints and support to be viable. Answers must be in the same language as the question, because an answer in Hungarian to a Chinese question only helps the tiny fraction of people who speak both languages. You need moderators for every language, and you need translations of meta discussions in every language. When you have N>>2 languages, tagging inside a common site brings in a lot of complexity for little benefit. –  Gilles Nov 29 '11 at 15:02

Executive Summary

Same-topic different-language sites turn any bilingual speaker willing to participate in to the combined knowledge of the entire English language SO, plus their own knowledge.

Linguists become Darin Balus Skeet

With understanding of Japanese and English, any time a question is asked, I can just do a quick search on SO and find a Jon Skeet answer that solves my problem, slap a quick translation on, and post that as an answer. I don't know c#, and my translation may not be perfect, but once I do this a few dozen times, and the community edits the parts I am lacking in, the site ends up with a high-quality answer through the merits of collective editing and a brief translation.

Improved Tools

This process could be made even easier in the future by using keywords to try to find English answers to Russian questions based on function names, code snippets, tag relations, etc. It is not just a duplicate on the side, more data, some community love, and a little development effort means we end up with a better resource, and a better idea of how to find solutions regardless of language. And that's going to improve the internet. That's our goal, right?

Volunteer Effort

People are all volunteers here. If people want to actually take the time and effort to make this work, it doesn't make much sense to stop them. Perhaps it will fail. Perhaps it will succeed. But creating reasoning saying "English works for me" as a reason not to provide tools to other people who English doesn't work for seems counter to the concept of SE in general.

Answering Your Questions

The concept is simple. If a community supports a different language, then non-supporters shouldn't put a damper on their enthusiasm.

How many perfectly identical Area 51 proposals do we need where the only thing that changes in the title is one word?

As many as the community is willing to volunteer their time to support and make succeed.

Isn't having a SE proposal for every single language, dead or alive, enough Stack Exchange sites?

I think it would be too much, as I can't imagine much demand for SO in Latin. But if the Pope decides to commit to so.latin, I am all for having every single language that will be supported by the community.

How can this possibly scale?

With billions of non-English speakers out there, I would think it could scale pretty well.

Does the world have enough experts willing to moderate all those sites?

If there are enough experts to moderate russian.so, why does it matter if there aren't enough experts for aramaic.so?

Note: I did not answer the rhetorical and/or egregious straw man arguments

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So basically your plan is to take Stack Overflow answers you barely understand, put them through machine translation and post them as if they were yours, shooting for reputation on the process. Not only this is a really dumb idea, it violates the content licence because it is impossible to give proper attribution from within SE. -1e7 –  badp Nov 15 '13 at 8:22
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@badp, that is definitely not what I am saying. I am saying that I know Japanese, and I know English. I feel confident that if I saw a Japanese question, I could find a similar English question, link to the question and provide a translation of the contents to the Japanese site. That is attribution, and it benefits everyone. Where are you getting this "Machine translation and no attribution plagiarism" angle from? –  jmac Nov 15 '13 at 8:28
    
No, that is not attribution the way we require attribution to work. You cannot post non-nofollowed links on this site. –  badp Nov 15 '13 at 8:58
    
@badp, so you are saying that Se cannot make this work in any way, that it is somehow impossible to implement any sort of exception for other SE sites, and that because of the current license, SE will ban users for posting SE content on another SE site with a link back to the original post? I have a hard time taking that as a serious hurdle. –  jmac Nov 15 '13 at 10:23
    
I would dare say it is actually a good hurdle to put in the way of people. This license hurdle does not apply to your own posts as it were, because they're already yours and you have full control on them, but it does stop people from gaining reputation just by translating. Gaining reputation by translating would be bad for the system because it breaks the trust model where people have to know what they're talking about before they can moderate a specific vertical. –  badp Nov 15 '13 at 17:03
    
@badp, the license issue is 100% under the control of SE, and they could fix it by fiat in an instant. It is not a hurdle. It isn't even a speedbump. The act of applying relevant advice from the English SO to a foreign language is also a skill, a skill that merits reputation and trust if it actually solves someone's problem. How much rep is gotten from essentially translating documentation in to a specific example that fixes the person's problem? Why should English to Japanese be any different than Documentation to Answer? –  jmac Nov 16 '13 at 3:09
    
No, translating is a skill but a different skill than the vertical's. You don't get to moderate all sites when you have reputation in one. You have to get 3k/10k/20k separately on each site, because you can't moderate or vote on what you don't understand. –  badp Nov 16 '13 at 10:39

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