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Not speaking English should not be a reason for your concerns not being taken into account. We are probably losing a great deal of knowledge and ideas due to the language barrier.

I know there are sites in languages other than English, but what about the sites concerning the greater Stack Exchange community itself? Are there any plans to create non-English versions of Meta Stack Exchange and Area 51?

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    No, there are not any plans, AFAIK. Do you envision an MSE and Area51 per language? Can you elaborate where the experts come from that would provide the content that visitors are looking for on those language specific MSE and Area51? – rene Jun 26 at 10:03
  • somewhat related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/315311/… – rene Jun 26 at 10:08
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    It shouldn't, but isn't it how everything works? For instance, academic works that are not in English are in a huge disadvantage. I think someone coming to participate in Stack Exchange should have already accepted that they'd need to communicate, at least sporadically, in English. – M.A.R. Jun 26 at 10:09
  • @Marshmallow I agree... but only partly. Imagine if we wanted to make a, let's say, Bullfighting Stack Exchange community. English would be a very bad language choice – David Jun 26 at 10:12
  • @rene Of course I'm not talking about having 7000 different Meta sites, but just as 7000 is not the best number, I am pretty sure 1 is neither! I don't see what harm would there be at having a Meta site in Russian, Chinese or Spanish – David Jun 26 at 10:27
  • @rene, participants in the meta sites of es.stackoverflow.com and spanish.stackexchange.com might contribute to es.meta.stackexchange.com; similarly for the other languages which already have multiple sites in the network. – Peter Taylor Jun 26 at 10:33
  • “… 7000 different Meta sites …” Seven thousand? Do we need this hyperbole? Plausibly, it would be around 69 (excluding French, Italian, German, and Russian) at the very most 73. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 12:12
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    @Mari-LouA I used "7000" because that's one of the most accepted estimates of how many languages are spoken in the world – David Jun 26 at 13:08
  • So do you think there should even be 1,000 stack exchange sites? What do you think would be a realistic number of meta sites? Or are you suggesting that each of the 173 SE sites should have 100 meta sites catering for at least 100 different languages? One hundred, not seven thousand mind you. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 13:10
  • @Mari-LouA Please read again my comment on that subject, mainly the part where it reads "Of course I'm NOT talking about having 7000 different Meta sites, but just as 7000 is NOT the best number..." It seems you are struggling to understand English, which is exactly my point – David Jun 26 at 13:12
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    @Mari-LouA just admit you're struggling with English ... ;) – rene Jun 26 at 13:19
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    While I'm not unsympathetic to the idea of increasing inclusiveness by breaking down language barriers I try to envision how this should practically pan out. MSE is for setting network wide policies. What happens if the ch.meta.stackexchange.com reaches a different consensus on down voting. How is that then applied / communicated network wide? Same for Area 51. Can I propose an Chinese Language site for Portugese on the nl.Area51.stackexchange.com? There is too much unclear to consider the feature request in its current state. – rene Jun 26 at 13:28
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    As I said earlier, that is true for other reasons then that English is mandatory. – rene Jun 26 at 14:00
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    How did we get from "English language" to "racist"? Requiring English might not be inclusive, but I don't see how it's racist. Anyway, I suggest we back down from the accusations and hyperbole and focus on the core problem, which is how to include those not fluent in English in meta discussions that affect the whole network including the non-English parts. – Monica Cellio Jun 26 at 17:40
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    This question is tagged feature-request but is asked more as a discussion question. Which did you intend? I think it's a fine discussion to have; FRs usually do better if they make a strong case. (In my experience, asking for the discussion first and letting that inform the FR, if you decide to make an FR, works best.) – Monica Cellio Jun 27 at 2:31
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Not speaking English should not be a reason for your concerns not being taken into account.

That's true, but the problem with stating your concerns in another language than English would be that 80%-99% of the people here (depending on the language) wouldn't be able to read, let alone respond to those concerns. This includes both the 'Meta crowd', who is usually able to give good feedback on concerns/ideas, and Stack Exchange employees who might need to make executive decisions. To state it differently, for effective communication we need a lingua franca and it happens to be English (which is not surprising since the network originated as a site about programming).

Note that for topics which are deemed important enough, discussion in different languages is actually facilitated (see the question @rene linked to, Feedback And Initiatives On International Sites) but this requires a huge effort of (volunteer) translators, and it's hard to keep track of discussions happening at multiple places simultaneously.


We are probably losing a great deal of knowledge and ideas due to the language barrier.

IMHO, we might lose some ideas but certainly not a 'great deal'. A little Google Translate goes a long way - a good machine-translated proposal will get a lot more attention here than one in Spanish anywhere on the network.

I can even argue that es.meta.stackexchange.com already exists. The scope of Stack Overflow Meta en español is [not limited to Stack Overflow en español alone]:

  • ...Stack Overflow la empresa se comunique con la comunidad (pidiendo comentarios sobre nuevas ideas o funciones, o discutir políticas que afecten a la red completa)

(translated)

  • ...Stack Overflow the company to communicate with the community (soliciting feedback on new ideas or features, or discussing policies that affect the whole network)

(emphasis mine)


Are there any plans to create non-English versions of Meta Stack Exchange and Area 51?

No, there are no such plans. Actually, the current policy is to not add any non-English sites at all:

Update: As of 2015, we are not currently accepting proposals for non-English sites. This is because launching and supporting a non-English site requires a lot of support, from localizing the entire user interface to hiring a community manager that speaks the language in question. Overall, supporting many non-English sites will not be sustainable given the current administrative state.

  • That's just shameful! And also quite racist! Maybe the reason why "80%-99% of the people here" will not be able to understand those discussions is precisely the English-langauge focus of the platform – David Jun 26 at 11:00
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    What exactly is shameful/racist? I've tried to word my post as objectively and 'neutrally' as I can, but I'm open to improvements ... – Glorfindel Jun 26 at 11:02
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    I am not talking about the post, but about the policy – David Jun 26 at 11:03
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    Oh, sorry, my mistake. – Glorfindel Jun 26 at 11:04
  • There are far more than 1% of users who can speak more than one language. 80% monolingual users seems to be a better guess. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 12:16
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    @Mari-LouA correct; what I meant is that if I post something in Dutch, 99% of the users won't be able to read it (without Google Translate). In Spanish or Chinese, it might be 80%. With English, I'm sure 99% of the network will be able to read it. – Glorfindel Jun 26 at 12:18
  • Oh, I don't know. There a few Dutch users. Cerberus and rene (I think) a few who come to mind, not to mention those who lurk. And...in my limited experience, Dutch people tend to have excellent English skills. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 12:30
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Well, MSE is a bit of a special case: the "language" metas, for the most part, should cover their own languages. MSE's kind of the prototype for all the metas, with their own quirks. In many cases, unless it's a network wide issue, a local meta would be your first port of call, even on English sites.

If you do have a language site with a specific problem you can't solve on your meta, someone's gotta be able to write English. Work it out on your meta, mug a mod or a trusted bilingual, and get them to bring it up. If it's a broader issue not local to your site, it's still OK here.

If you have an actual problem, someone will help. We'll just have to work together to find the best way to bridge that language gap.

From the perspective of a long time user of the network (and a moderator): each additional language has tended to need a fair bit of additional resources - and is pretty intensive compared to a regular site. Each language had a native or semi-native language-speaking CM (though, for the most part, those got rolled into the main CM pool). I think there's about 11 CMs, and having four CMs specifically for languages ended up not working that well. We do still have a few native language-speaking CMs (and one person whose exact role is a mystery covering a site) for the non-English sites. Diversity is awesome, but even if we had one CM per language, about a third of the team or more would be covering one site each.

There's cultural communication: stuff sometimes would get lost in translation, even between different dialects of the same language... If there's a critical issue on the site, it's going to be tricky getting someone up to speed and looking at it.

Well, at least at the moment, I don't think Stack Overflow (the company) has the resources and willpower to do it for now.

I suppose that could change if a new language worked with the company's bigger goals. The language SOs were when folks were pushing for SO to grow, and felt those developer communities were underserved. SE's kinda in a bit of flux, and has been for a while.

  • But there is no need for a CMs being natives! Why not hire a couple of people who speak a lot of languages each? – David Jun 26 at 11:38
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    Polygots don't exactly grow on trees - and well, honestly, looking at the current state of SE, I'd rather have more resources for the 170 or so sites over hiring folks for maybe 2-3 sites that may or may not work. – Journeyman Geek Jun 26 at 11:45
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    They actually do! The problem is that this is too America-focused, where nobody is a polyglot. More than a billion people in the world speak 3 or more languages – David Jun 26 at 11:48
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Tl;Dr

The key success factor for a feature request like this one is to have already a community around the topic in focus that is willing to have Q/A site based on the SE Network model.

Many proposals failed (were rejected) because the community didn't exist on before hand.


This isn't straight forward but I think that it's a good workaround for asking a question about the SE Network:

If a user speaks Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, ... and they are not able to post their question about the SE Network on the a Meta site that use one of those languages, they could post their question on the main sites and it will later be migrated to the corresponding Meta. Then if the topic should be escalated a local moderator will do this and if if someone else that speaks the local language and English thinks that the topic is of interest of the audience of Meta SE they will do the translation / adaptation and post it here.

Regarding Area 51, the last time I look at this, they weren't accepting requests for new International sites.

If you are interested on proposing a new SE network site where there are already a community were most of the members don't speak English that could make things harder but not impossible, I think.

  1. You should have to "recruit" a certain number of community members that speak English and that are willing to serve as "liaison officers"
  2. You should accept to use English as the main language and as the language of the UI.
  3. You have to argue why it's important to allow questions on a different language in similar way that it's done on language learning sites and convince the Area 51 CM that it is a good idea.
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    Let me add that the other way around is also possible. I had seen a meta post on one of the russian meta sites which I could provide an answer for. I left a comment in English first, asking if an English answer would be appreciated (as I don't speak, write or understand Russian). After that I posted my answer in English that was later in a few edits translated to Russian. – rene Jun 26 at 19:47
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    @rene Another example of that is that the International Sites CM doesn't speaks Spanish so he post in English and someone translate it to the local language. – Rubén Jun 26 at 19:50

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