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Are taglines & signatures disallowed?
Is English required on Stack Overflow?

Being still somewhat of a new active user of SO I am a bit unsure of the culture here.

I answered a question about converting dictionaries where I had a reason to think that the questioner was either a German speaker or a student of German. (Being a native speaker of German myself) I concluded my answer with 4 simple German words meaning, I hope this helps.

Ich hoffe es hilft :-)

This was edited out (first time anything of mine has been posted) without any explanation. Are these 4 words (easy to google) so threatening? I didn't answer the question in German.

I see SO as a place where people help each other, this strikes me as a bit overzealous (and perhaps slightly unfriendly/xenophobic), what's wrong with a little human touch?

For that matter, should the German words in the dictionary be edited out?

My questions:

  1. Am I off with my take here?
  2. Can I undo the edit (and what's the common practice with regard to this, not really looking for a tit-for-tat)?

Thanks, I'm just trying to get my bearing re culture here.

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    Parceque, si personne ne peut comprendre le fin de la poste, il n'est pas utile. May 9, 2012 at 8:33
  • @Manishearth: Tut mir leid, ich verstehe Sie nicht. ;) May 9, 2012 at 8:38
  • חדל קשקשת ברשת...
    – Lix
    May 9, 2012 at 8:39
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    ...what's wrong with a little human touch? Who the hell said that we're humans?! May 9, 2012 at 8:42
  • @Kobobby Mujhe samajh mein nahin aaya. May 9, 2012 at 8:50
  • @Kobobby Mhanunach sagale ikade yede ahet. Konihi "human" nahi ahe. May 9, 2012 at 8:50
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    Oh, also: Welcome to Meta Stack Overflow, where votes are a little different and the points don't matter! May 9, 2012 at 8:55
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    @Manishearth: Des is' jetzt irgendwie echt deppat, des deppata Google schofft's nämli' net des jetzt irgendwie zu übersetz'n... May 9, 2012 at 8:57
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    @Mysticial appreciate the link, but no tag line or signatures involved in my question.
    – Levon
    May 9, 2012 at 12:13

3 Answers 3


Yes, foreign words/phrases should be edited out of all posts.

This is an English-speaking site, and all content is expected to be in English—including comments! Please don't take it as an insult that someone has edited it out; it's not meant that way. We're not trying to disparage your culture or imply that the English language is somehow superior. But in the spirit of consistency and equal accessibility for all users, we do require that everything be in English.

Think about it this way: we have moderators that may not speak your native language. How can they be expected to properly moderate the site if they can't read what you've written? For all they know, you could be insulting the other person in their native language. Keeping everything in English ensures transparency.

Additionally, it's also important to realize that this site is not a discussion forum. You're not interacting with other users per se. Rather, you're providing an answer to a specific programming question. Who asked the question is inconsequential. One of the important goals of Stack Overflow is to build up a repository of knowledge that is freely available on the Internet, that way if someone else comes along later with the same question, they can easily find an answer. And in order for that answer to be useful to them, they also need to be able to understand it.

Finally, as has been pointed out in other answers to this question, we also encourage users to keep the "noise" level down. That means omitting the typical niceties of a face-to-face conversation, such as "hello", "thank you", and "you're welcome"—in any language. We want the focus to be on the content.

  • To be consistent, then all of the dictionary entries in that question should be in English too? I wonder why those weren't edited. I agree with much of what you say and will accept the answer, but the enforcement strikes me still a bit as overzealous. Ordinarily I'd say "thanks for the answer", but I guess that's just noise here :-/
    – Levon
    May 9, 2012 at 12:11
  • @Levon: Well, in general, code gets a free pass from editing because it's too easy to mess something up and ruin the whole question/answer. That's probably why someone didn't edit them. Keep in mind that all contributions here are collaboratively edited. If i'd made a typo in my answer, you can bet that someone would have jumped in and fixed it, regardless of the language. You shouldn't think of that as overzealous. We just have a very active and helpful community. I think it's overall a good thing. May 9, 2012 at 19:30
  • @CodyGray, South African English allowed? Singlish allowed?
    – Pacerier
    Nov 12, 2017 at 6:14

I don't think the problem is the German per se.

It's just that phrases such as 'thanks in advance', 'hope that helps', 'hi everybody' are considered noise because they don't contain any information relevant to the question being asked/answered.

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    I really want to edit this to remove the Latin...
    – Widor
    May 9, 2012 at 11:47

I'm not sure this had anything to do with the phrase being German. "Useless" courtesies like "Please", "Thank you" and "Hope that helped" are often edited out of questions and answers.

We don't tolerate politeness around here.

  • Whether tongue in check or not (We don't tolerate ...) it does little to discourage the stereotype of socially inept nerds (I am a computer scientist, so I get stereotyped like this too). Unfortunately, not helpful.
    – Levon
    May 9, 2012 at 12:08
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    @Levon Are you saying my statement encourages the stereotype or that the fact that people do that does? Because I'm just stating the facts.
    – sepp2k
    May 9, 2012 at 12:10

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