Today I was browsing the latest questions in PHP area and I noticed, in the preview, a question written in French (Google Merchant Center).

I opened it and, to my surprise (but I'm quite new around), the user - just arrived on SO - had made no attempt to provide a translation in English.

I've just made a search here on meta and I found these two questions, Do posts have to be in English on Stack Exchange? and [some Chinese characters here], which look like the reference for the argument but I couldn't find a general rule to adopt in cases like these.

What is someone supposed to do in these circustances?

  1. Drop a comment to the user telling him, please, to provide an English translation in order to get more help (in which language? does the user understand English?)
  2. Edit the question providing a translation
  3. Flag the question to get moderators' attention and let them decide
  4. Ignore and go on

I opted for the second (luckily I can understand French, though I never studied it), but I realize that very few people will be helping this poor guy (I edited it at least 10 minutes after the question was formulated), and the answer, if any (actually someone answered, French+translation), would be of less help for the overall community.

I aknowledge the fact that not everyone is English mothertongue (me too), and that English is not mandatory here, but what's best for the overall community?

Will questions and answers like these be a positive addendum to SE? Can it provide a 'precedent' that in the long run can bring more and more people to ignore others and focus only to its personal concurrent problem (and compel SE to revise their rules on fragmentation of the community)?

What strikes me is the fact that there was no effort in even trying to formulate an English sentence (that could have been corrected)...

What's the right thing to do in these situations?

1 Answer 1


You should flag it for moderator attention and we'll remove it. English is required here. It doesn't have to be your first language, but you do need to make an effort. It shouldn't be a burden on the rest of the community to translate questions, then translate the answers back to the original language.

  • 1
    Ok, if it ever happens again I'll make sure to remember this! I thought I got the opposite, but maybe I was wrong! Commented Jun 10, 2011 at 18:35

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