This happens mostly on SO.

From time to time, there are random (new) users posting random stuff that's not English. Those posts are often good candidates of the NAA flag. In case one of such post is in Chinese or Spanish, two languages other than English that I can read and write, I would post two comments under the post telling the author that Stack Overflow is English-only, one in the language the post is in, and the other in English, prefixed with "Translated:". Usually after some time, the English comment disappears on its own, which well indicates that it's removed by the community's flagging or a moderator (which doesn't matter, it means the community don't like it).

But in the meanwhile, I've been told, once or twice, not to post non-English comments. That's quite confusing since it's very often that when I post two, the English comment is deleted by the community.

So the question is, in such cases, should I post comments in the wrong language, or English, or both?

Sample comments I would post (almost verbatim, these are often written on-the-fly, so they differ by a little every time.):

欢迎来到Stack Overflow。请注意Stack Overflow是全英语的,所以在这里写问题或回答时请使用英语。

Translated: Welcome to Stack Overflow. Please note that Stack Overflow is an English-only site, so please write English when posting questions and answers.

The key is the first word of the English comment: "Translated:"

Besides, sometimes I promote local (Chinese) sites in the comment, and also translate it into English comment, which doesn't matter - the translated comment disappears while the Chinese comment persists until after the post is deleted.

  • Can't think of a good title for this post. Any help is appreciated. Feb 10 '18 at 7:27
  • I guess its about whether the comment is needed. One of the issues with non english comments is moderation, and the other is sometimes that conversation follows on in the language. Chinese is a bit of an extra pain cause non latin script.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 10 '18 at 7:35
  • 4
    Protip: post both in the same comment. Feb 10 '18 at 7:55
  • No need to be "too nice". If one can't figure on their own that Stack Overflow is English only, it's their problem, not yours. Feb 10 '18 at 22:39
  • @ShadowWizard My primary concern is why the community don't like the translated comment, even though 100% of them speak English and I believe there's less than 1% who can understand Chinese (without Goo-Translate). Feb 11 '18 at 0:07
  • I guess because it's just noise, it's not about the specific question or answer, but targeting the user. Like I said before, it's up for the user to figure their mistake. Feb 11 '18 at 8:37

I guess its about whether the comment is needed. One of the issues with non english comments is moderation, and the other is sometimes that conversation follows on in the language.

I figure if I can spend the effort to google translate what he said, he can google translate what I said.

As a Mod... I just tend to close or delete non english posts swiftly. I kinda feel that most of the site being in english should be a dead giveaway


  • The last paragraph seems unnecessary. I just wonder why my English comment isn't welcome. Feb 10 '18 at 7:39
  • question changed as I was posting. Will edit! I think people just want those posts to go away TBH. Might I suggest a companion question on SO?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 10 '18 at 7:43
  • A companion question? Feb 10 '18 at 12:00
  • a question specific to the scenario on SO. I'm pretty sure mods handle things differently on different sites, and its a good way to get folks on the same page
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 10 '18 at 12:06
  • Great. Add the link to your answer. Feb 10 '18 at 12:17

I think what you're doing is OK. However, I think Sensible Alexander has some... sensible... advice: put the English and the non-English in the same comment.

The main problem when it's just a non-English comment is that most people won't know what you're saying... Are you telling them to post in English? Are you insulting them and/or their ancestors? Are you telling them that regex is the solution to all their HTML paring problems? I don't know why the English comments are being deleted, but only posting one comment will prevent this problem.

As for whether it's a good idea or not in the first place to leave such comments, I don't see what's wrong with trying to help someone. In addition, recommending non-English resources to people who don't speak English is exactly what is recommended in this SO blog post:

Direct programmers to native language resources. Users who post non-English questions should be gently directed to programming forums in their own language. Community should form around the gravity of native human languages. (see: Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.) Feel free to post links to appropriate human language-specific resources.

What you're doing sounds a lot like what I tried to do here, where I tried to create comments to recommend people to use the localized Stack Overflows. My goal was to have a set of non-English comments (and translations) I could copy and paste, but I ran into a small problem—I don't speak any language other than English. The post is Community Wiki, so feel free to contribute.

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