Meta-heads will have noticed a recent kurfuffle with a backdrop of people communicating in 'foreign languages' in chat.

If we set aside the "it's rude to talk a language other people don't understand" (by having a dedicated room), and we presume that the house rules will be obeyed, what is current 'policy' on this question? (and is there a policy, for starters?)

I'm guessing it's probably related to the question of foreign-language proposals/sites (I certainly see the same potential problem: how to ensure 'continuity of SE culture' across language barriers)


Where there's enough activity to justify it, I don't see why we should block people from setting up rooms that support their native language specifically. Auto pruning removes unused rooms, so the system already handles inactive rooms.

Further, chat is much, much more informal, and allowing, or even encouraging people, to discuss topics in their native language would be very appropriate. Forcing someone to talk in English to another person that knows their language is a little like forcing people to wear ties to work when they never interact with clients.

I would encourage people to generally stick to english in the main rooms, and start a new room for their language, rather than having a variety of languages in one room. Unfortunately us unilingual (ie, American) speakers, culturally, have a tendency to be slightly offended when others speak a language we don't know in our presence - as though they have a secret. We probably ought to avoid triggering that feeling, even though it's our own fault.

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    I'm not necessarily against non-English rooms, but one way it can be an issue is when posts get flagged. All SE mods are mods on chat.SE, but since all SE sites are in English that's the dominant language amongst mods. Posts can be flagged offensive in a room and mods have no idea what they say; they have to try and piece through a translation to figure out if the flag is accurate – Michael Mrozek May 28 '11 at 3:44
  • @Michael Sure, but that's a bridge I think we can cross when we get to it. I don't expect the foreign language rooms to be all that busy near the beginning, and as they grow SEI can make a decision whether to start getting moderators for them. I suspect they'll have to deal with that eventually anyway as language specific area51 sites start coming online. In other words, I don't think we should let this issue hold us back. – Pollyanna May 28 '11 at 3:55
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    It already happened, unfortunately – Michael Mrozek May 28 '11 at 4:22
  • @Michael Relevant, sadly. Ah well. – Pollyanna May 28 '11 at 4:27
  • yeah, I was aware of that discussion, but I deliberately avoided linking it directly. It's going to be difficult ensuring a moderator for every known language... – Benjol May 28 '11 at 7:49

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