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Imagine that a user was currently suspended on the Stack Overflow site in one language (currently English, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, as far as I'm aware). Should they be allowed to use one or more of the various other-language sites instead? In making that determination, would it matter whether the user actually knew that language or was intending to pass all of their content (any questions, potentially including quotes from other sources, comments or answers) through Google Translate or similar1, leading to questions like this and this?

This seems like a bit of an edge case, as it only applies to one of the topics this network covers, but it feels equivalent to creating a sock puppet to do things you would not be permitted to do with your main account.


  • 1 generally considered to be a poor experience, per e.g. How do I deal with non-English content? on the English-language site meta:

    Non-English posts should normally not be translated into English by anyone other than the OP, unless there is indication in the OP's statements that they actually can speak English. The OP needs to be able to respond to feedback provided in English (by comments, answers, or Help Center content). Translating a post of a non-English speaker sets up the OP, and anyone participating on the post, for a poor experience, due to the OP not being able to follow and respond to comments, understand answers, or get assistance from the Help Center.

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    There either is a per-site suspension or a network-wide suspension. You can't cherry pick. The general idea is that you're allowed to participate on other sites, assuming you stick to the rules there. While I agree it is unlikely that a user will be fluent in all those languages, yet to assume up front that a suspension on one SO site bans you from all others is a bit of a stretch. At best I can imagine user annotations are carried forward so mods on the other sites know upfront if they are dealing with a "special user" – rene Oct 29 '20 at 16:55
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Should they be allowed to use one or more of the various other-language sites instead?

Yes, they should. Those are all different sites with their respective Meta sites. Banning a user from a similar site (not a meta) for breaking the rules on another seems a bit much. If the user didn't break the rules on that site, they shouldn't be suspended, unless it's a network-wide suspension. As long as they follow the rules for that site, they should be allowed to participate, unlikelihood of that user being proficient in those languages or not.

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No, suspensions are not translatable between the Stack Overflow “variants”.

You should not view these sites as “basically the same just with a different language”, because they are not.

Each of the alt language SO sites have quite distinct cultures; they are not merely “Stack Overflow in your local language”. They each have their own communities that are distinct and separate from the other sites, just like any other Stack Exchange site.

For example, Stack Overflow “The Original” is far, far busier than the local language versions and so needs a very different moderation style. As a result, what may be grounds for moderator intervention (including suspension) on one Stack Overflow variant doesn’t necessarily directly translate to another. And I’m not even beginning to touch upon cultural differences around what is acceptable behaviour or not in these different site cultures.

So, no, suspensions on Stack Overflow variants are no different from suspensions on other Stack Exchange sites. Misbehaviour on one does not automatically mean a user can’t stay out of trouble on another.

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