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TL;DR:

On Esperanto SE:

  • tag names in Esperanto (optionally with synonyms in English) are sub-optimal for Esperanto SE users who don't (yet) know Esperanto well
  • tag names in English (optionally with synonyms in Esperanto) are sub-optimal for Esperanto SE users who don't know English well
  • multi-lingual tag names could solve this dilemma

Motivation

Esperanto Language Stack Exchange allows questions (and answers) in both English and Esperanto. And indeed, some users know only one of these well enough to write in it, and that should be OK. (Especially considering that one of the purposes of Esperanto is to serve as an auxiliary language that's easier to learn than the current de-facto lingua franca.)

This also means that tags must work for people who know English well, but no or only a little Esperanto, but also for people who know Esperanto well, but no or only a little English. For adding tags, that's kinda solvable by having someone who knows both languages add or suggest tag synonyms. But tags should also be recognizable by all users of a site and ideally without always having to refer to the "Usage guidance (excerpt)" or the full description in the tag's wiki.

Suggested Feature Change

Thus it'd be nice to have tags that are actually displayed bilingually, as I've suggested at my answer to "Language of tags" on Esperanto Language Meta. To rephrase it: It'd be nice to, e.g., have a tag "muziko — music" on Esperanto Language Stack Exchange, and to have and as synonyms for it.

Whether this would better be accomplished by allowing spaces and "—" in tag names, or whether tags would better be changed to have a separate name in each language defined for a site that are then displayed together, I'm unsure. I'm leaning towards the latter, because that'd also save us from configuring the monolingual→bilingual tag synonyms manually.


I'm posting this on Meta Stack Exchange, because this would probably need a change in the common software of all Stack Exchange sites and because I think this could benefit other Language-topic Stack Exchange sites, too. (Some of them, like French Language Stack Exchange currently use mostly non-English tags, while others probably use mostly English ones or a mix.)

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    You could wait for this to be implemented, or you could take a similar approach to some (All?) sites about a specific language. I think they use only one language in the tags, and synonymize a tag in the other language with it. German Language, for example, seems to have opted for English tags with German synonyms. – M.A.R. Jun 25 '19 at 21:03
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    Yeah, @Marshmallow, I'm arguing here that having to opt for tags in one language (or to have a mix of monolingual tags in various languages), as is currently the case, is sub-optimal. I'm aware that it'd take some time, if this actually was to be implemented. But before that, I'd like to know whether it'd be a good idea at all. – das-g Jun 25 '19 at 21:08
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    I remember this would've benefitted Japanese.SE back in the day. They had to settle with English master tags, but that made it hard for Japanese natives to use the tagging system, since you're only aware of the synonym when posting questions, not browsing or searching to answer. – Troyen Jun 25 '19 at 21:25
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    This seems like a good idea! – Voldemort's Wrath Jun 25 '19 at 21:27
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    I don't know what a solution to this would look like or if there is one but I figure it's worth pointing out that 35 characters is a hard limit for tag length. This sort of feature would make it extremely easy to hit that limit in many cases and leave sites having to struggle to figure out what to do when that happens. For example, "single-word-requests" is 20 characters, leaving only 15 for the Esperanto version. Synonyms are still searchable, though, so I'm not sure why that's a bad option - assuming the users create the synonyms, which is a lot of work. – Catija Jun 25 '19 at 21:44
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    Synonyms are a good solution for question authors. But those just reading the question won't see them, @Catija. If the synonym target is in a language they don't understand, they won't understand the tag. (Without looking up a translation or looking at the maybe-bilingual tag description.) – das-g Jun 25 '19 at 21:48
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    I think this would be the best solution for y'all... and many other sites. You might add this as a use case there? – Catija Jun 25 '19 at 21:56
  • Good idea @Catija, thanks! I've added meta.stackexchange.com/a/330057/285037 – das-g Jun 25 '19 at 22:11
  • From what I understand, Spanish uses Spanish tag names with English redirects. – Stormblessed Jun 26 '19 at 4:26
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    @Marshmallow At least French Language, Spanish Language, Portuguese Language, Russian Language have $language tags with English synonyms. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 1 '19 at 11:43
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Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be implemented in our current localization model (unless we take on a broader project of providing true, multi-national support with language-switching throughout the entire site and network).

Despite its outward appearance, Esperanto SE is still an English-language site whose subject just happens to be learning another language. Yes, there is a strong component of full-immersion learning, encouraging reading and writing in the target language — and we fully support that — but purporting to support non-English communities in this one feature ONLY presents a problem our international design was meant to avoid.

These are English language sites. The entire interface and support material is still entirely in English only. When we set out to support non-English communities, we did so by creating separate communities with native interfaces so it didn't seem like we took a Euro-centric system and slapped a "foreign label" on it. We didn't want to create that 2nd-class experience for those audiences.

I'm not sure that was the best way to support our international audiences, but singling out and trying to support multi-language displays in our tagging interface isn't likely to be implemented without a much more comprehensive, site-wide, network-wide, internationalization initiative.

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    “Esperanto SE is still an English-language site whose subject just happens to be learning another language” — This is wrong. Esperanto Language has questions and answers both in English and Esperanto, like (AFAIK) all the language sites except Русский язык which is Russian-only. “The entire interface and support material is still entirely in English only” — Yes, that's precisely the problem. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 1 '19 at 11:37
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    “Singling out and trying to support multi-language displays in our tagging interface isn't likely to be implemented without a much more comprehensive, site-wide, network-wide, internationalization initiative” — in other words, you're never going to do it. Incremental progress is the way to go if you actually want to make progress. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 1 '19 at 11:39

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