I have seen the Stack Exchange rules about asking question in the English language, such as:


Shouldn't the "English only" policy be mentioned in the FAQ?

But these articles are only about the use of English when asking questions, nowhere is anything written about comments.

So can I use my regional language to discuss issues in comments?

Note: I am only asking about comments, not about answers or questions.

  • some extra information: it all was started as the discussion here stackoverflow.com/questions/15831646/… where Freelancer and other person have posted some comments not in english – MikroDel Apr 5 '13 at 12:32
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    为什么?你不喜欢英文吗? ... opps, that wasn't very helpful to most users was? Considering the questions and answers are in English, it's best that the comments stay that way as well so everyone can benifit from them. – Mike Apr 5 '13 at 12:40
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    It most certainly is, @Mike , if only to illustrate the point ;) – Oded Apr 5 '13 at 12:40
  • But its not necessary that its been intended to most users, It can be to only poster who knows that language very well. – Freelancer Apr 5 '13 at 12:42
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    Then it should not be posted. Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange) is not a social network. All users who read the post will see the comment - and if they can't understand it, it is noise. – Oded Apr 5 '13 at 12:44
  • @Freelancer - if you have something not intended for most users and you want to have a side discussion with another user in your native language, go to chat. If you have something worth commenting about on a post which is written in english, then comment in english. – Mike Apr 5 '13 at 12:45
  • Why would you actually want to post in another language? – JonW Apr 5 '13 at 12:45
  • @JonW I am not talking about posting all comments in Marathi[native lang]...only the poaters who knows that language. – Freelancer Apr 5 '13 at 12:47
  • I understand what you mean by your question, but I don't understand why addressing a comment in a language only the poster understands is actually necessary. They clearly understand English too, because the question would be in English. – JonW Apr 5 '13 at 12:49
  • @JonW but they understands native language also. why others need to follow my comments? – Freelancer Apr 5 '13 at 12:52
  • @Freelancer - they need to understand to be able to answer your question. Again: if both of you understand English, why not use it? Maybe someone else will be able to answer your question based on that comment. If it weren't in English you wouldn't get your answer. – Mischa Apr 5 '13 at 12:55
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    @Freelancer: Because SO isn't a private individual Social Network communications site, it's a public Question and Answer site where everything is visible to everyone. – JonW Apr 5 '13 at 13:00

No. Please don't.

Comments are visible to everyone. If you feel that you need to comment, do it in English.

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  • its no where written in rules thats why i asked. – Freelancer Apr 5 '13 at 12:37
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    @Freelancer - So? That makes it OK? It is not something we feel we need to put in the FAQ, as it seems obvious that if questions must be in English, so should all other content. We are also not going to put "no pornographic images" in the FAQ, for the same reason. – Oded Apr 5 '13 at 12:38
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    Unlike questions and answers, comments are not community-edited. So they can't even be translated by editors. This makes it even more important that they are in English. – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Apr 5 '13 at 12:39
  • "no pornographic images" - I didnt know it - should edit some of my posts – MikroDel Apr 5 '13 at 12:41
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    @MikroDel - No need. I will be going through all your posts. For... um... educational purposes. – Oded Apr 5 '13 at 12:42
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    =) good to have personal moderator ) – MikroDel Apr 5 '13 at 12:49
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    @MikroDel Or a fan ;) – Andrew Barber Apr 5 '13 at 21:53
  • @Oded - if I see any comment written in other language, I will flag it. But what if the user continues to write comments in other language (frequently with persons from his community)? Do I need to post/flag such behavior? – hims056 Apr 23 '13 at 11:36
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    @hims056 - If the behavior is persistent, you can both comment back to this person, explaining that this is excluding the majority of the community and flag as "other" explaining this is persistent. – Oded Apr 23 '13 at 11:54
  • @Oded - I accidently seen some comments from this OP. So I asked him to not add comments in other languages. But he was not convinced. (I didn't know at that time about this post is posted by him) – hims056 Apr 23 '13 at 11:58

I think Stack Overflow qualifies as a hacker community. So why don't you follow community rule?

From Eric Steven Raymond's "How To Become A Hacker":

As an American and native English-speaker myself, I have previously been reluctant to suggest this, lest it be taken as a sort of cultural imperialism. But several native speakers of other languages have urged me to point out that English is the working language of the hacker culture and the Internet, and that you will need to know it to function in the hacker community.

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Here's my two cents on the matter.

As you know, since you linked to it, the policy is that questions and answers are asked/answered in English. There are StackOverflows in other languages that should be used for those who don't know, or don't want to use English.

Comments are "second-class citizens" on the stack exchange sites, so sometimes they do have policies that're slightly different... but IMO there's no reason to comment in a different language. When you mouse over the "add comment" link it says:

ask author for clarification about this post

And that's what they should be used for. Now if you felt it needed to be clarified, then the odds are good that others do too and if that's the case you need to be writing those comments in the "native" language of the site, which is English.

If you're not adding a comment asking for clarification, then it's possible it's off topic and it's fair game to be flagged and deleted by a mod. If I post on someone's Q or A "hey, I'm from Ohio too, what city are you in?", well.. that should be deleted because it doesn't add anything of use. So if you feel the need to "talk" to someone in your native (non-english) language, consider the content of what you're going to say... why do you feel that this person, and no others, need to read that comment? Maybe it would be better if that comment was made in a private chat.

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