Remember how you started programming? I’d bet that when many of you were kids who played with graphic editors after school and at some point decided to find out what the difference between
.exe files was. As a result, you installed Turbo Pascal and instead of working with funny pictures, you tried to add something to the downloaded “Hello World.” The typical programming approach at that stage looked like this: "How to increase a counter? - Copy the line with the counter a few times!" Findings like functions or a debugger were no less important than the Theory of Relativity.
Also, do you remember when you made the most progress? Probably, when you met a peer as interested in programming as you. It’s likely that during the first month of working together, your knowledge increased more than in the previous year, when you had studied programming alone.
It appears that our international communities are growing and following the same scenario. Consider this:
- All international communities start with standard settings on the site.
- Each community faces similar problems that other international communities face at some stage.
- At some point, some of the problems become critical.
- The community, after contributing a lot of time and effort, finds solutions to the critical problems one by one.
- All other international communities do not benefit from those solutions because they do not know what happens on other sites and...
- ...they continue to suffer, until the same problems become very critical on their sites as well.
Why not to work together?
International communities face the same problems again and again, but being isolated, they don’t know that their problems have often been solved elsewhere.
(1) Site settings
At some point, on Stack Overflow in Russian we had gotten a lot of questions with greetings. Some users began to edit the questions, which resulted in a large number of edits in the review queue. Reviewers became angry at the editors and the community began discussing what to do with these edits, whether it was necessary to edit old questions at all, etc. We began digging and it turned out that on the site there is a setting that configures the engine to remove greetings automatically when a question gets posted. Kind of the same story with the “thank-you” like comments.
The company is constantly improving the site, including the user interface. Sometimes this leads to a loss in translation. The situation is very annoying and all the international communities suffered from it until g3rv4 created traducir.win, which helps to avoid losing translations in the most common cases. Unfortunately, traducir.win is not used by all communities which results in some communities still losing translations.
I think the international communities can be more effective if we move forward together. The first step towards joint development is to start sharing our problems, findings, and initiatives with all international communities.
The essence of the approach
In the context “Feedback And Initiatives On International Sites”, it would be great to keep a list of each community’s current problems, findings (aka “solved problems”) and initiatives on MSE. For example, in the form presented in the wiki answer to this question.
If you have any ideas about the the initiative, please share it!
At the same time, do not hesitate to add your community’s current problems, findings, and initiatives to the list. Even if we change the process based on feedback, the list will help us see the actual situation.
Spanish: Los problemas, hallazgos e iniciativas actuales de la comunidad (thanks to gbianchi)
Portuguese: Os problemas atuais, as descobertas e as iniciativas da sua comunidade (thanks to Anderson Carlos Woss)