Can we ask questions in non-English natural languges?

This question was closed recently for not being in English.

Stack Overflow, the largest site, does require questions to be in English, but certain other sites, such as the Mathematics site, do not. Sites about a specific language like French, Spanish, or Mandarin have their own policies, but they're sort of a special case.

In the Mathematics site, questions can be posed in any language and someone will add a translation to the end if the question wasn't originally in English. The consensus seems to be that answers can be in English or in the language the asker used, with English being preferable. I'm not totally sure about the policy for answers on the Mathematics site.

I don't know whether relatively new sites like this one can choose to adopt a rule that's more inclusive of non-English languages, but it might be worth considering.

  • 2
    I'm not sure where you got the idea that the Math site allows questions in languages other than English. As far as I'm aware, the only sites where languages other than English are frequently used are on the four language-specific SO sites and Russian Language (which allow only their languages) and some of the language sites, which allow posts in either the subject language or English (e.g. on French, questions may be asked in French or English).
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jul 20 at 5:40
  • I've asked about the policy regarding non-English questions on the math site before, and some people there referenced discussion on their meta. The consensus there appears to be that questions can be asked in any language and a translation into English can be provided by the original asker or someone else at the end of the question. I've also seen questions asked in Spanish and French on the math site before, and community members have provided translations. Jul 20 at 5:50
  • 1
    There are some meta posts on Math that say that, yeah but I talked with the mods and, in practice, anything asked in a language other than English is closed - and that's pretty standard. In addition to the moderation issues that jk mentions, if someone doesn't speak English but they get answers in English either the answers have to be translated so that they can understand them or they try to muddle through with tools that translate, which aren't always great, so the value of the content is diminished. It's far better for someone to try asking in English and have some edits from fluent users.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jul 21 at 22:12

The major problem with questions in arbitrary languages is moderation. One has to understand the questions fully to be able to moderate which includes the recognition of offending language or to decide if a question aims has a factual answer or is opinion based. DeepL or Google Translate aren't good enough tools for that, I'm afraid. They are good for getting the gist of a text in many cases, but not for the finer points needed for moderation.

So I think the language for question on this site should be English.

  • 1
    Concur, unless, as in the indicated question, someone translates it. I have enough competency with Spanish that cleaning up the google translate text is easy in either direction. I'd not do this with German. I've done this on other forums with Italian & Portuguese, but would much rather simply clean up a good question written in bad English.
    – elemtilas
    Jul 28 at 12:00

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