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I just saw this Stack Exchange site proposal, which is for Portuguese physics discussions.

Up to now, it feels like everything not English has been kind of taboo here. There is a strong will to keep Stack Overflow English only, as every discussion on the matter has proven. Obviously, for non-English speakers, this is a problem; but now, if Stack Exchange sites are opening in other languages, should it be a problem for English speakers?

Right now I can think about four points:

  • There are enough non-English speakers in the world, interested in various topics, to justify opening to a non-English audience.
  • If Stack Exchange does open to a non-English audience, there's a need for people who know English and [said other language], because Stack Exchange is administrated by English-speaking people.
  • If Stack Exchange does open to a non-English audience, the most obvious model implies that several sites will share the same subject, but will be separate because of their languages.
  • People who speak English and [said other language] will possibly be more attracted towards the English counterpart than to the [said otherlanguage] part, at least at first, because there is a larger audience.

What is the official stance for non-English proposals? What avenues are being considered? How could all this be reunited?

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Please see here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82176/… –  Jon Seigel Mar 16 '11 at 17:08
    
The way the title is worded, it is a duplicate of the question @Jon points to. However, in my view it is really not, because it lists points in favour of localization. Please keep that in mind when considering to vote –  Pëkka Mar 16 '11 at 17:21
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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The massive challenge that I see is transporting the philosophy that is SOFU to local sites. What makes these sites great is not just the way they work technically, but also a constantly evolving clear definition of what is on topic, what is not, and how to determine the rules by what to define it. Localizing the UI is trivial compared to localizing that.

At the moment, the team can monitor and, if necessary, intervene in the way the SE sites develop. That direct access would be completely gone on non-english sites. The entire evolution of those sites would rest upon a few people who 1.) have the ability to translate well, 2.) have the experience to serve as moderators and 3.) understand and accept the underlying philosophy of the sites.

Also, feature changes would have to be communicated into each language. Imagine the recent... lively discussion about the missing envelope, but in 20 different languages.

I'm not saying it's impossible, or not desirable - it is very desirable! - but it is a thing that needs a lot of good thinking about. (With one valid result being that the communities will be allowed to develop as they may without much supervision from SOIS.)

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Definitely a case which requires thinking very hard upfront, rather than just trying and seeing what happens... –  Benjol Mar 16 '11 at 17:35
    
+1 for lively –  belisarius Mar 17 '11 at 3:12
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This post has over 2 years now and still the ideas presented here are pure science-fiction... –  Lukasz May 17 '13 at 19:03
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