Why don't the owners of these various Q&A sites just go multi-language? It's pretty simple, if you've got a community behind it.

  • a multi-lingual user would dillute his effort , and most likely not bothering to answer the same question in both languages;
  • english is the lingua franca of programming anyway - see 'The Ugly American Programmer;

Because Jeff Atwood hates people who are different than him.

  • 3
    It's funny because he has more or less said this, just not in that way. It was fun listening to him stuttering in the podcast while trying to explain this view of his. I like to think that Joel was just staring at him incredulously the whole time. – Welbog Jul 7 '09 at 16:57
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    Then why is an attractive, successful person like me allowed on SO? Oh, no! Did I just out myself? Correction: I am a hideous, parent's-basement-dwelling troll. Please do not ban me. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jul 7 '09 at 16:58
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  • @devinb: If you think I was joking, you are incorrect. – GEOCHET Jul 7 '09 at 17:31
  • Does it count as humour if I laughed anyway? – devinb Jul 7 '09 at 17:32
  • @devinb: It only counts as humor if you know how to spell humor correctly. – GEOCHET Jul 7 '09 at 17:33
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    @Rich, I do. Do you object to my behaviour? Does it colour your opinion of me? – devinb Jul 7 '09 at 17:34
  • @devinb: I now vow to edit your every post. FOR ETERNITY! – GEOCHET Jul 7 '09 at 17:36
  • @Rich will you be making them better? – devinb Jul 7 '09 at 17:38
  • @devinb: No. I will just edit your salutations out. PURE EVIL YOUR WAY COMES. – GEOCHET Jul 7 '09 at 17:41
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    @Rich I never salute people, it's a voluntary show of disrespect that no one notices. But, I've decided to edit all your posts to include "Hi, Thanks" and "Love -Rich" at the bottom. – devinb Jul 7 '09 at 17:43
  • @Devinb: <3 <3 <3 – GEOCHET Jul 7 '09 at 17:53
  • This is a terrible answer. – Trilarion Jul 10 '14 at 11:33

If SO were multi-lingual I wouldn't ask anything in portuguese. Nobody would answer my questions.

When I search something programming related in Google I always use english words. But Google keeps giving results in portuguese. :(

  • There is a portugues SO now. With Google I believe one can set the preferred language. But anyway I hate Google for some of their automatic "features". – Trilarion Jul 10 '14 at 11:34

This was discussed heavily in a previous podcast. Jeff Atwood doesn't like the idea. I believe Joel was a lot more amicable towards it.


Instead, why not allow people to translate answers for others?

Eu posso ajuda com portuguese (brasil).

  • Eu posso ajudar com português. ("I can help with portuguese.") – Daniel Moura Jul 7 '09 at 21:19
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    Translate others answers/question is an unneeded burden!! Plus, it doesn't scale. – OscarRyz Jul 9 '09 at 0:51

Wouldn't that entail individual translations of every question, answer, and comment to every other language? I don't think I could be convinced that this is nearly necessary.

  • necessary? no, we don't NEED much of any of this. do you think it's inconceivable that these translations could be done programmaticly? – expiredninja Apr 28 '12 at 9:43
  • @expiredninja: Yes, with current technology I find it inconceivable that program-based translations would suffice for technical questions and answers with a reliability I'd accept. I've read enough questions that I couldn't really understand, written by humans who could use machine translation if they wanted to. – David Thornley May 1 '12 at 17:28

Because I'm useful only for questions asked in English, and for giving answers in English. If we all have a common language, we can all participate in our areas of expertise, and we can come to reasonably agreed answers. If this were a multilingual site, then we'd reduce it to a batch of overlapping sub-communities, and we would have a danger of having significantly different answers in (say) German and Japanese.

By having one official language, we have one community, with sub-communities based on subject area rather than language, and we can consolidate duplicates to some extent. The benefits are real. If we have only one language, it obviously should be English. (This isn't true for all conceivable subjects, but it is for software.)

I'd have absolutely no objections to having easily available translations of questions and answers, since there's a lot of people using this site that have problems with English (and I really, really hope that all of those people are not primary English speakers). Really, I have nothing against Swedish speakers, I just can't communicate with them except in English, and so I can't cooperate with them except in English. (Yes, I'm a US citizen.)

  • how is a multilingualism reductive? "The benefits are real."...for you! – expiredninja Apr 28 '12 at 9:24
  • @expiredninja: Unfortunately, I really don't know what you just asked. – David Thornley May 1 '12 at 17:26

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