There is English Stack Overflow. There is Spanish Stack Overflow. There is Portuguese Stack Overflow. There is Japanese Stack Overflow. There is Russian Stack Overflow.

But no.. French SO? Why?

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    Why should there be a French one? Why do you focus on French? Why not Hebrew? Or Korean? Or Tagalog? – Oded Aug 12 '17 at 21:01
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    Because Vive la France, the Tour Eiffel and the St Michel Mount – Dona Sumer Aug 12 '17 at 21:02
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    Which really doesn't answer the question. – Oded Aug 12 '17 at 21:03
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    Because all ... cough ... some French people speak English. – Glorfindel Aug 12 '17 at 21:05
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    Related on A51: area51.meta.stackexchange.com/q/20987/131135 – Catija Aug 12 '17 at 22:51
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    @Glorfindel It is one of the around 3 different "explanations" what they gave, why they don't want to grow. I have a much better explanation, which doesn't look so as a false excuse: the SE is a successful startup not being able to handle its success and growth adequately. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 2:44
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    @Oded Yes, Wikipedia exists on all of these languages. Some of them is small, some of them is bigger, but: all of them exists, and all of them is growing. Particularly in the case of the French Wiki, it is roughly 1/3 of the size of the main English site. If you had started the French SO long ago, it would be now so big as the whole SE network. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 2:59
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    I proposed one once, but it got closed and deleted. – Donald Duck Aug 18 '17 at 8:53
  • Peoples in Quebec speak French, so French Stack Overflow should be proposed. – user298438 Jun 17 '18 at 20:21
  • @user298438 not only in Quebec but in at least 40 countries and provinces ;) (but I disagree with this proposal and this is why : meta.stackexchange.com/a/311435/238720 ) – Idriss Neumann Jun 18 '18 at 14:19
  • Yeah. But Canada has French speaking-citizens, so we need them. – user298438 Jun 18 '18 at 14:19
  • @user298438 Why only underlining the canadian's french speaking-citizens ? No matter for other french speakers ? ^^ – Idriss Neumann Jun 18 '18 at 14:24
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    We have matter in France for English Stack Overflow, so we also need them in France. – user298438 Jun 18 '18 at 14:25
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    Few hundred milion people in Africa speak French as their first language. They would be the primary target group for a French StackOverflow. Why do people focus just on France (or Canada) when it comes to French. Young developers from Africa would greatly profit from a French SO, just as their counterparts in Central and South America profit from Spanish and Portuguese SO. – cezar Apr 25 at 10:17
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    D00d, wh47 5b0u7 5 574c|< 0v3rf10 n 1337? – Columbia says Reinstate Monica May 19 at 2:03

There has been a previous proposal (since deleted) for a French Stack Overflow, and its purpose was discussed at https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1280/french-stackoverflow-translation-or-not. However, that link now gives "Page Not Found".

For the current status of Internationalization efforts for Stack Overflow you could review Internationalization 'State of the Stack' - Stack Overflow edition.


L'avis d'un français parmi tant d'autres :p

First, French-speakers only aren't helpless: there are already many active online French-speaking communities on computing since 1999 (developpez.net for example, in which I am also actively involved).

Moreover, I think that good developers must practice English and I know it's not currently the case but I've seen that since the increasing use of StackOverflow or GitHub platforms (among many others recent platforms) around the world, the level of English is growing more and more in the young generation of French developers. And that's a really good news. It's even a requirement of our institutions.

Finally, I think the first strength and maybe the main purpose of Stack Overflow is to provide the largest community of IT workers (with a maximum of represented countries) and allow different members of different countries to help each other. And to maintain this purpose, I think that creating a French Stack Overflow would be a really bad idea. Splitting the number of users and potential answers cannot be a good idea.

P.S: I'm not speaking for other French people or other French speakers, that's a personal point of view.

  • Please read the post linked in the top answer here. There was a proposal for a French Stack Overflow, but it was declined because Stack Exchange realized they don't have enough resources to support many non-English sites. – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Jun 18 '18 at 6:10
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog I only gave my personal point of view about that (I'd prefer to add a comment in the first post but the limit is too short). – Idriss Neumann Jun 18 '18 at 9:10
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog Don't believe for a moment that it had anything to do with the skills of their programmers! They can French, Russian, German, Hebrew beside of course English (and they don't need to know any language to translate the software to it). It is simply a boss decision, the programmers could create the site in a couple of hours any time. They don't do it, because the boss says no. Why says the boss that? Uhm, it would be a more interesting question, I have a couple of theories but none of them is rational. A rational theory, well, that I don't have. – peterh says reinstate Monica Jun 18 '18 at 23:57
  • I wonder, what is "democratization of Stack Overflow"? – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jun 19 '18 at 6:35
  • @ShadowWizard Maybe it's only a French expression and I'm sorry about that: that mean the increasing use of these platforms around the world ( no relation with the political sense of this word). I'll update my answer to change this expression. – Idriss Neumann Jun 19 '18 at 6:41
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    Fair enough. Now the answer is clear. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jun 19 '18 at 7:00
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    I'm also French and I agree: people should learn the common language (which happens to be English) to connect to a bigger collective brain (the IT part is a small part of the stack exchange). It's necessary to step out of the village mentality trap. – JinSnow Jun 19 at 10:59
  • I just wanted to react to "First, French-speakers only aren't helpless: there are already many active online French-speaking communities on computing since 1999 (developpez.net for example, in which I am also actively involved)." IMHO, these communities are pretty bad overall (I really dislike developpez.net!), even worse in Spanish. In German, it's getting better but... still. Cannot say for other Europeans languages. Like most already said, learning the scientific and technical (and lingua franca) of your field is REALLY a must. – Paradox Aug 5 at 19:14
  • Another point you might be forgetting something subtly given by OP question: French is the language #5 in number of speakers worldwide, so not a dumb question. – Paradox Aug 5 at 19:18
  • @Paradox I never said that is a dumb question, but I said that I think that would be a bad idea and I explain why even if French was the second spoken language in the world. Splitting the number of users and potential answers cannot be a good idea. – Idriss Neumann Aug 6 at 13:41
  • @IdrissNeumann Do not feel assaulted, I was just stating that OP's question was not dumb, since all the four most represented languages worldwide had already a dedicated SE and French is ranked #5. End of story. Regarding your point, it is as well a good one and should be taken into account. Only thing that bothers me it that these two points do not have anything in common but they are strong points which seemed mostly primarily based on the point of view of each one of you. Regarding yours, consider that users on the English SE network are already splitted in communities. ;) – Paradox Aug 6 at 14:32
  • @IdrissNeumann ...and even you are already splitted between communities (SE, developpez.net, etc?). So, long story short, community fragmentation may not be the best approach to address comprehensively this type of problems. – Paradox Aug 6 at 14:39

The Stack Exchange simply doesn't want to internationalize. I don't know why, and I think maybe also they aren't so sure, as their "explanations".

The German SO proposal was simply deleted by the CM @TimPost on the Area 51, in its commitment phase, after it was held back months long, with a "please wait we are working on it"-like message.

So, they don't want it, and that is all. We are not in the position to change this intent, even if we know it is... well... maybe a little bit sub-optimal.

P.s. On the behavior of the SE I see a pattern, that they seem to want to have only, and exclusively the SO. A single site, on English, and no more. Not the rainbow of the 150 sites of the Stack Exchange, not any non-English content, nothing. Only a single, English-only Stack Overflow. This is what I see, after watching them years long, of course it is only my impression and far from being a sure statement.

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    Couldn't it just be that internationalization turns out to be hard, both from a technical as from a management perspective but that they only found out how hard it really was once they tried. Just as they tried with Teams and Documentation. Kudos though to them for trying. In the end they are not the size of Google/Microsoft/Amazone/Yahoo where money matters less. To pay the bills it makes sense to not forget the product that makes them money. As for the silent down votes: I don't fancy ending up in an heated exchange of my opinion vs your opinion. I have better things to do. – rene Aug 14 '17 at 10:47
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    This repeats the same incorrect claims that SE doesn't want to internationalize due a single version of a single website being discontinued that you enjoyed – Ramhound Aug 14 '17 at 11:23
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    @rene Having 27k on the SO, I think you know very well that i18n is not hard. After they support already multiple languages (and they do), it requires only some translation files. I am sure, if they would make them public, they would have translations to hundreds of languages in hours. The pay bill thing is a strong argument to me. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 11:58
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    @Ramhound Not only the German SO was killed, they've done it with around 10-15 other languages, too. Only some of them were killed after they've let them hold months long, after the fulfilled commitment phase, saying that they need only time to start. These were the German SO, the Chinese and the Turkish SOs. And compare this to the Wikipedia: they have even nahuatl, tagalog or latin versions long-long time ago. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 12:05
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    @peterh on the contrary I would say. Having done a couple of these projects myself I know it is hard, &^%$# hard and that was just the technical bit. But maybe I was unlucky in the choices made in those projects, or I'm too dumb to do i18n the easy way. As for the translations being public for the SE sites: That is almost the case. The majority of the static texts used on the sites are in Transifex. That is accessible on invitation and most of the translations are driven by community members of the translated sites. – rene Aug 14 '17 at 12:21
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    @rene Uhm, well, it is surely very hard to switch a translation file to a different one, recompile and redeploy. I don't think you are thinking this seriously. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 13:18
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    Please don't offend me with your assumptions and belittling. I'm taking this as serious as you are taking this answer and comments. I assume that is what you expected when you posted all this. – rene Aug 14 '17 at 13:22
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    @rene Ok. You say switching en.dict to fr.dict in the source code and then recompiling the project is hard. Please allow me to contradict ;-) – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 13:27
  • Sure, if you say so. – rene Aug 14 '17 at 13:33
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    @rene With RTL languages and with languages using a non-latin alphabet could happen some little troubles, but the overwhelming majority of the killed proposals wasn't one of them. – peterh says reinstate Monica Aug 14 '17 at 13:40
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    +1 great answer!!! I'am posting here because I don't have enough reputation!!! – user298438 Jun 17 '18 at 20:27
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    @user298438 In my opinion, this site (and, in general, the meta communities) strongly require a more diverse spectrum of opinions. I suggest start to play with the SEDE, on two reasons: 1) you will learn a lot about the workings and structures of the SE 2) the meta site of the SEDE is also here, the meta SE, and my experience is that it is the only topic here, where you shouldn't count with a terrible count of downs. – peterh says reinstate Monica Jun 17 '18 at 20:53
  • Translation isn't the hard part of setting up StackOverflow in a new language. – Mark Jun 18 '18 at 23:41
  • @Mark Yes... nothing is "hard part" in it, except that they simply don't want to do. – peterh says reinstate Monica Jun 18 '18 at 23:48
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    @peterh, in case you haven't noticed, StackOverflow is a site that has users, not just passive visitors. Setting up a site in a new language means finding a bilingual community manager, which isn't the easiest task in the world. – Mark Jun 18 '18 at 23:53

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