People have asked, “What is the mission of our International Sites? What problems do they solve?” The answer, “They are just like Stack Overflow in English, only in a different language” makes the International Sites even more mysterious. We thought that it would be great to dispel the fog of mystery by adding a help center article about the mission of these International Sites. Please take a look at your_language.stackoverflow.com/help/manifesto and let us know what you think! It’s moderator editable and we would appreciate translations.
Please, let me give you a few thoughts behind this mission. To start, please think of the difference between a native English speaking developer and a non-native English speaking developer. How does this difference affect their lives?
(I found this picture on Google Images.)
With this illustration I want show that the experience of going from point A to point B depends heavily on the environment, the path of the same length for the same people may differ a lot.
The problem of non English-speaking developers: Less, Late, & Poor.
If one searches for an answer on programming in a language other than English, they will mostly find links to overwhelming phpBB-like forums, answers scattered in personal blog comments, dev mail list chains, etc. It seems that we’re still stuck in 2007: it's really hard to find anything on how to solve a nontrivial technical issue.
In other words, there is a tremendous asymmetry in information available in different languages. Developers all around the world who do not speak English have less information available, it appears late, and some important nuances get missed.
Has Stack Overflow in English impacted non English-speaking developers? Yes, indeed! Over the last few years we have seen the dawn of sites with auto-translated Stack Overflow content. One can only dream that it has been quality machine translations with human corrections but it’s a ton of spam-like content most of which does not make any sense to a human being. There are a dozen such sites with a few million generated pages on each. This is what we, non English speaking developers, see in the search results each day...and it’s not a joke.
The situation creates huge inequality between developers whose first language is English and the rest of us. For a big part of the world population, programming itself is a big grey area, the threshold to getting into the industry is still high, learning programming is very difficult and expensive.
Currently, IT is not designed well for people outside of the English speaking world. But, together we are going to change that trend!
The Goal: Detailed answers to any possible programming questions in your native language.
In our world today, people with similar abilities and passion for programming start learning at the same time. A few years later they may have a big difference in their knowledge and working experience, because of the disproportion of information available in their native languages and how accessible it is.
Mission and ultimate goal of international Stack Overflows is to create a world where everyone has equal opportunities to be successful in programming irrespective of their native language.
Stack Overflow solution: Unlimited, On Time, & Comprehensive.
Everyone starts the same — with a strong passion for being a developer. The only difference is that some of us have enough comprehensive materials when needed in their native language. Others do not. We, who do not, have to spend zillions of extra hours just on translating, reviewing, and going through content many times while clarifying all the nuances of a technology. If we want to be effective, we need to change this trend. We believe that a good starting point is the creation of a well structured library of detailed answers to all programming questions and a community of mutual help.
Stack Overflow speaks many languages
Stack Overflow is about us. It’s about all developers around the world who want to help others and who are looking for an answer online, regardless of any language boundaries whether programming or human.
To make the treasure of community wisdom available for everyone, we need to have you on board! Please join our International Sites, ask and answer questions, and share the sites with your friends. Tell them why international Stack Overflows exist and what their mission is. Your recommendation is the only way the International Sites will grow.
- Spanish translation here (thanks to @gbianchi!)
- Portuguese translation here (thanks to @Anderson Carlos Woss!)
- Stack Overflow in Japanese スタック・オーバーフロー 多言語版：制限なく、遅れなく、包括的なものを、あなたの母国語で (thanks to @aki!)
- Stack Overflow in Russian Международные Stack Overflow: неограниченно, вовремя, развернуто на родном языке (thanks to @alexolut!)