36

You know, some of us read right to left...

Certain sites like Mi Yodeya and Islam have an obvious need for this, as Arabic and Hebrew are Right To Left (RTL) languages. Many answers on those sites cite the Torah and the Quran respectively. Directly quoting these sources properly requires RTL text.

19

This isn't necessarily a localization issue. A site in which the language of discussion is English may well want to talk about something that isn't in English. For example, someone on stackoverflow.com might well want to pose a question about how the Unicode BiDi algorithm works, or why they get some particular odd rendering in the browser, or in Java, or somewhere else, for some particular text. It would be good if the site had the necessary fences to make sure that RTL text didn't leak around and mess up other aspects of the display.

8

We now support RTL... sorta... on two sites.

On Mi Yodeya (Judaism) and Biblical Hermeneutics, we have an integrated virtual keyboard for entering Hebrew. It includes a button to insert a right-to-left mark, which signals the browser to display text, well, from right to left. For sites that are mostly English, but also include sources in a RTL script, that should be sufficient. Currently, we do not support Islam with an Arabic keyboard, but depending on how the experiment goes on the Hebrew keyboard, that's a possibility.

Looking ahead, there is also a Hebrew proposal. It's unlikely that we'd offer the virtual keyboard since we would expect that people using or learning Hebrew would have their own methods for entering RTL texts. Since the site hasn't gotten close to clearing the commitment bar, we haven't considered other aspects of the site that might be comfortable to a Hebrew reader. (See Wikipedia in Hebrew to get an idea of what that might be like.) As Stack Exchange increases its scope internationally, this is certainly something that we'll need to consider more carefully.

  • 1
    Importantly, StackExchange still does not support RTL alignment. So even though the RTL letters will appear in the correct order, they are still aligned to the left side of the paragraph instead of the right. (Alternatively, you can have th entire text box RTL aligned; but you currently CANNOT have part of the box LTR aligned and part of the box RTL aligned). It would be a great help to have this fixed. Here's how correct formatting looks in Microsoft Word: imgur.com/kHumBfF . Here's how the same input looks in a StackExchange input: imgur.com/lWhS4S9 – ChaimKut Sep 27 '18 at 9:30
  • Somehow I have made my editor right to left. How can I change it back to left to right? I'm halfway through my question :( I have no idea what combination I pressed and Google "left to right" doesn't bring up much at all – Eoin Jul 5 at 23:03

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