Why is the URL for stackoverflow em Português (or Stack Overflow em Português?) https://br.stackoverflow.com/ rather than https://pt.stackoverflow.com/?

br is the language code for Breton. It's also the country code for Brazil. The language code for Portuguese is pt. When I see br in the URL, I understand this to mean for Breton speakers or for Brazilians.

Is the title misleading and is the site reserved for Brazilians (excluding people from Portugal, East Timor, Angola, etc.)? This would seem bizarre. I expect that the site is actually intended for all Portuguese speakers. It feels unwelcoming to non-Brazilians to have a URL that explicitly excludes them.

In this particular case, there's a low potential for confusion, since I don't expect to see a Stack Overflow in Breton. However for other topics and other languages ambiguities will arise, and potentially clashes. Are we going to have br.stackoverflow.com (programming in Portuguese) and br.homebrew.stackexchange.com (cider making in Breton)? Will ar.stackoverflow.com be in Spanish (because Argentina) or in Arabic (because Arabic)? Is stackoverflow.com really en.stackoverflow.com or us.stackoverflow.com?

For the sake of automated processing, I can't find any sense in not using ISO language code. Humans aren't so concerned (they hardly ever look at the URL anyway), but at the very least the SE language designations should be consistent across topics. Using country codes risks creating political friction.

Why was the (seemingly obvious to me) decision made not to use standard language codes?

  • I agree with your point and I think language codes should be used, but the only justification is that I can think of is Brazil has roughly 95% of the Portuguese speaking population (at least among countries where Portuguese is officially spoken) Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:25
  • @psubsee2003 I think it's about 80% or 85% if you include second language speakers whose native language is barely represented on the Internet (in Angola, Mozambique and other places). Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:41
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    The site seems to be totally geared towards the Brazilian market, so an argument could probably be made for calling the whole thing "Stack Overflow Brazil" and dropping the pretense of aiming at a language altogether. But +1 for raising the point either way
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:42
  • Related, our community manager for the site explaining the decision (in Portuguese) Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:58
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    FWIW, the post linked by @Kasra has a score of +7/-5. It does say that Brazil is the primary market for the site, but it doesn't convince me that's a good enough reason for using br instead of pt in the URL. Also, we currently have a lot of users from Portugal among the top users in the private beta.
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 1:06
  • @KasraRahjerdi: Just FYI, your link doesn't work for people who aren't part of the private beta. I can make just about enough sense of Portuguese that I would've liked to take a look, but I don't feel like committing to the site just for that. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 1:26
  • @IlmariKaronen I posted the original text as an answer.
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 1:35
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    I think SO founding fathers have only maps of western hemisphere and they've simply forgotten there's something like Europe. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 7:50
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    @ŁukaszL. Heh. All else aside, we're well aware that Europe exists. Among other continents.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 8:16
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    @Anna something weird just happened... I was able to join even though it's in private beta and I did not follow/commit via Area51. Bug, or is this an exception due to the importance of the site? Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:03
  • As a side question, why are private beta questions present in the real-time question websocket feed, and how can I distinguish them from normal posts as a userscript? Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:05
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    @ShadowWizard That's normal. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/212239 for reference.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:06
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    @Gilles, our original intent was to keep out Parisians, but it's obviously not working, so we're changing it to "pt" as induced in David's post below.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:40
  • Couldn't "br" be intended to say that it's using the Brazilian dialect of Portuguese, rather than Portuguese Portuguese? Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 12:20
  • @AndrewGrimm Then it should be pt-br.stackoverflow.com, not br.stackoverflow.com. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 12:23

4 Answers 4


We discussed this and we're going to change it to pt.stackoverflow.com to be consistent with the name.

We can't do that until the end of private beta because it will log everyone out and in private beta you need a special URL to get back in.

  • 10
    Good news indeed!
    – Largato
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:44

Even a significant part of the brazilian site users (including me) prefer pt. instead of br., but unfortunately it seems that it was an internal decision, not a community oriented one (see note below).

Also, the current site title is "Stack Overflow in Portugues", matching the original area 51 proposal that people commited to. "br" is inconsistent with everything else.

At the moment of my original posting, the only reference I had about it seeming to be an internal decision was the response of our moderator. I'm glad to hear from @David Fullerton they agreed to change the site's url to pt.

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    There's even no b in title! Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 7:48
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    @ŁukaszL. but an r is there ;-) Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 13:41

Translation of the official answer by Gabe

By parts:

  • Maybe we can get stackoverflow.com.br, but at the end it would be just a redirection (by a series of reasons, like login sharing with other sites of the network).

  • The choice as to when/where use BR or PT was topic of more conversations that I'd like throughout the project. We had to weight many factors about who's our taget audience, what are our plans to other languages, how are the comunities going to compare themselves, ... Basically, it was not by chance.

  • Brazil has around 80% of the Portuguese speaking population. If we consider the programmers population, the proportion would probably be bigger. So it's only natural that the site has a familiar feeling to Brazilians (I'm from there, the localization was done clearly for PT_BR, this sort of things).

  • The number of programmers in Brazil that don't know English, and that do not want/can/will learn it is bigger, in absolute and relative terms, that in Portugal. Obviously, SOPT is open to any Portuguese speaking person, but the site wouldn't exist if every programmer from Brazil and Portugal spoke English... So it's not any secret that Brazil is our main motivation for the project.

  • The idea is that this will be the first site using a "foreign language", so things like standardization are important, unless it doesn't interfere with the points above.

Stack Overflow Brasil?

Brazil is the main target of the site, certainly. Hence the need of avoiding any decision that would affect Brazilians entry. We need to make the site welcoming of anyone that speaks Portuguese, but to make it plain clear to Brazilians that never heard of SO that they are the main motivation of this idea. We don't want to make a green and yellow site (first because it's tacky...), neither call it Stack Overflow Brasil because these are too much exclusive, but this is a site thought to the Brazilian public.

The decision to orient the site to Brazil was taken when the localization process started. All site texts are PT_BR, some small things were thought to Brazilian culture. Doing all of this and saying that "it's an equalitarian site for all Lusophones" makes less sense that having a br in the URL.

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    By the way, at this moment this answer scores -1, and the pro-pt answer scores 10.
    – Largato
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 1:46

:), we can think of Winter Bash is designed for users in the North Hemisphere, but it is summer here in South and I feel welcome to participate in wearing hats.

I believe, it is just a question of which public the main target is.

If you propose the site to have the URL changed because of language standardization (to be coherent to Portuguese and not Breton) I support your idea too.

However, this question is more about if the site is only for one specific country.

Gabe's answer states there are some minor issues purposely customized to Brazil's culture because it is the main target public, but he also emphasizes SO Portuguese welcomes everyone who speaks the language, wherever is the user location.

Most important is the moderation (community and moderators) on that site to be friendly with all users, so they can create and keep a real healthy environment.

@David Fullerton glad to know you will change the site's url.

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