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You know, some of us read right to left...

Certain sites like Mi Yodeya and Islam have an obvious need for this, as Arabic and Hebrew are Right To Left (RTL) languages. Many answers on those sites cite the Torah and the Quran respectively. Directly quoting these sources properly requires RTL text.

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...gnisufnoc teg dluoc tahT –  Kyle Cronin Jul 14 '09 at 17:26
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Actually, when reading an RTL languague it isn't that confusing - it's readable but lines start from the wrong way and numbers mess it all up. –  Dani Jul 14 '09 at 17:40
    
this could be useful too: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boustrophedon –  Kyle Cronin Jul 14 '09 at 17:52
    
Will there also be support for grapheme-color synesthetes?: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapheme-color_synesthesia –  gnostradamus Aug 11 '09 at 19:22
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Any plans for this? It is definitely something that would be used often on Judaism.SE –  Yaakov Ellis May 16 '11 at 18:46
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This is already possible. See my comment on this answer. It uses a special Unicode control character. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 16 '11 at 19:23
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Rise from your grave! –  Ben Brocka Jul 3 '12 at 16:08

2 Answers 2

We now support RTL... sorta... on two sites.

On Mi Yodeya (Judaism) and Biblical Hermeneutics, we have an integrated virtual keyboard for entering Hebrew. It includes a button to insert a right-to-left mark, which signals the browser to display text, well, from right to left. For sites that are mostly English, but also include sources in a RTL script, that should be sufficient. Currently, we do not support Islam with an Arabic keyboard, but depending on how the experiment goes on the Hebrew keyboard, that's a possibility.

Looking ahead, there is also a Hebrew proposal. It's unlikely that we'd offer the virtual keyboard since we would expect that people using or learning Hebrew would have their own methods for entering RTL texts. Since the site hasn't gotten close to clearing the commitment bar, we haven't considered other aspects of the site that might be comfortable to a Hebrew reader. (See Wikipedia in Hebrew to get an idea of what that might be like.) As Stack Exchange increases its scope internationally, this is certainly something that we'll need to consider more carefully.

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This isn't necessarily a localization issue. A site in which the language of discussion is English may well want to talk about something that isn't in English. For example, someone on stackoverflow.com might well want to pose a question about how the Unicode BiDi algorithm works, or why they get some particular odd rendering in the browser, or in Java, or somewhere else, for some particular text. It would be good if the site had the necessary fences to make sure that RTL text didn't leak around and mess up other aspects of the display.

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