StackOverflow in other languages ​​is a redundancy detrimental to the global community of programmers.

A great deal of effort in the design of stackoverflow is put into detecting and eliminating redundancy, to help its users save time and effort when looking for an answer or answering a question.

What do you prefer, a great tower of Babel or hundreds of mostly overlapping replicas with a centesimal fraction of its usefulness and greatness?

As I write in Spanish, I cannot write in English.

A person who learns English has immediate access to all the existing information on the site.

Anyone can learn English. Learning English and using it as a technical language does not require more effort than learning a new programming language.

You think you're leading an effort to increase the community's scope and reach more people, but such an effort can only end up in excision.

It is an effort that harms everyone, even those who are supposed to benefit from it: As a programmer in India writes a response in Hindu that already exists in English, he or she is being kept from answering a new question. The same happens with other languages ​​and in the end we all get a fraction of what we would have if we agreed on one language for everybody. Meanwhile a significant amount of people who grew up in an environment where the only spoken language was not a popular one would still be in great disadvantage.

In short, splitting StackOverflow in different languages is the very definition of inefficiency.

It's like when a new programming language that brings nothing new comes out, but we have to learn it because some consortium has the interest and enough power to put pressure so that it becomes another de-facto standard; not only we have to redo everything that was done in the new language if we want to collaborate with the consortium, but also new creations are not made available to the pre-existing languages until someone comes and bothers to port them, multiplying the effort we have to put by N times to achieve the exact same goal.

Today the vast majority of programmers have to learn English if they want to be competent.

I hope it stays that way for long, because although like everybody else I would also prefer the official language of the programmers to be my mother tongue, I am not willing to sacrifice a global community with the means and tools for fluid communication with the least amount of noise for a fraction (no matter how significant) of what it currently is, only to express myself more comfortably or include people who are too lazy to learn how to communicate.

And now I could move on to another topic, but I have to double my efforts and waste my time to write this in Spanish to accommodate people who do not want to accommodate to what luckily is a universally accepted standard: English as the official technical language, not only in programming, but in all branches of engineering.

I only have one request regarding the language issue on stackoverflow and stackexchange sites: Please let the community flourish by being kind and offering your support and acceptance to those like me who are still learning the language and putting their best effort on improving their communication skills to be as close as possible to the rest of the community. If we give them the proper encouraging we will all end up benefiting from those who are still shredding the language but have or will have great questions and answers to contribute: If you think a question is interesting or an answer is valid but it is poorly expressed, please edit it instead of simply downvoting it.

Proposal: Stack Overflow (in Spanish)

  • 3
    +1. Stack Overflow gave clear reasons when they started SO in other languages. But it seems to be getting out of hand. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 15:19
  • 9
    possible duplicate of Are Stack Overflow (in language x) proposals actually viable?
    – Wicket
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 15:27
  • Duplicate: blog.stackexchange.com/2014/02/… Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 6:27
  • 2
    This is a well-formulated opinion piece. But apparently the data doesn't back it up. -1
    – Flimzy
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 1:39
  • 1
    So, stackoverflow in Portuguese is a big hit. The end of the integration effort and the beginning of the fragmentation effort. We were missing on peeking on the great minds there, and we will keep on missing it. And don't tell me to go learn Portuguese. I already know it: I have lived all my life 10 Km away from Portugal, lucky me. My point is I don't have time to duplicate myself participating in 2 communities! Then what? Learn Chinese and participate in 3 communities. How many languages and duplicated answers and questions will I be posting in the end?
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 7:16
  • [sarcastic]Well, C (or php if you prefeer it) is the de-facto language to write software. Why is StackOverflow supporting too many languages with all the confusing tag system?. It may be better to open a C only site, and stop fragmentating the world talking about too many programming languages.[/sarcastic]
    – jachguate
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 17:54
  • Please read again your comment. I do not think you have established a reasonable parallelism with your comparison. But you have a point: It is a major inconvenience to fragmentate the language echosystem. Even inside the language, the number of frameworks is too damn high! People keep creating languages and frameworks that don't bring anything new just to make profit from them. That is also not good for the community.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 11:14
  • And I am not against new languages and frameworks. I am against fragmentation of the community into segments of people that are doing basically the same but cannot communicate with each other, that's all.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 11:17
  • By the way please be my guest and try to write a web CMS in C. Or an OS kernel in PHP. Some languages are not the same, they serve totally different purposes. You cannot say that about typical natural languages.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


Anyone can learn English. Learning English and using it as a technical language does not require more effort than learning a new programming language.

This is not true. As somebody who has learned a decent handful of both programming languages and natural languages, I can say confidently that the effort involved is not anywhere even close.

For example, C was the around the third programming language I learned, and Russian was the third natural language I learned. It took me a few weeks of tinkering around with C to be adequately productive in it, whereas it took me over a year of fairly dedicated practice and living in Russian-speaking countries to be competent enough to contribute to Stack Overflow in Russian, and even then I still make mistakes rather frequently.

Right now I'm working in China and have tried to program against some APIs that only have documentation in Chinese. I don't know Chinese very well. It's not easy. Wrapping your mind around an unfamiliar technology is often hard already, and adding in a language barrier amplifies those mental obstacles manyfold. And that's just reading information, with all the help I can get from dictionaries and automatic translators. I'm nowhere anywhere close to being able to contribute any sort technical knowledge in Chinese.

Expecting everybody to have to go through those same obstacles seems unduly cruel to me, especially for beginning programmers who already feel overwhelmed.

And now I could move on to another topic, but I have to double my efforts and waste my time to write this in Spanish to accommodate people who do not want to accommodate to what luckily is a universally accepted standard: English as the official technical language, not only in programming, but in all branches of engineering.

While English is undeniably the de-facto prevalent language for programming, there's no such thing as a universally official standard language for programming. Programmers don't belong to some organized club with rules about what language you can use; programmers can, and do, write in whatever language they want to.

And for certain technologies and services, English is decidedly not the standard language. If I had a question about programming an application integrating with the ВКонтакте API, I'm pretty sure I could find more experienced people to answer that question on the Russian Stack Overflow than I could on the English Stack Overflow. Similarly, if I need to know something about writing an app integrating with 微信, I can almost always find more information on Chinese websites than I can on the English Stack Overflow.

Different programming communities already form naturally because of language barriers. The success of the Portuguese Stack Overflow and the Russian Stack Overflow is a pretty good indication to me that not everybody is content to be confined to rely on the English Stack Overflow, including people who know English well enough to do so.

As a programmer in India writes a response in Hindu [sic] that already exists in English, he or she is being kept from answering a new question.

A separate Stack Overflow doesn't prevent anybody from doing anything. If a multilingual English/Hindi speaker has a desire to answer new questions in English on the English Stack Overflow site, they can do that as much as they like. They're perfectly free to ignore the existence of any Stack Overflow sites in other languages.

Plenty of people want to share knowledge that already exists in English in different languages so that it can be accessible to a wider audience. For example, I have written questions/answers in Russian that have already existed in English, and feel that this effort was more worthwhile than answering yet another my-website-doesn't-work-plz-help question on the English site. But when I want to answer questions in English, there's nothing stopping me from doing so.

  • So you are saying that (correct me if I am wrong): 1) Because programmers are using a variety of languages it makes more difficult for you to do your job and communicate with other programmers all around the world. 2) Learning a new natural language requires a lot of time and effort. There is a language barrier. The solution is not supporting the use of a standard language but learning a lot of languages (and their complex writing systems like Chinese and Russian and Japanese) instead. 3) We live in a multiverse where a person can be answering more than 1 question at a time.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 6:52
  • @elcodedocle 1) Programmers using Chinese makes things difficult for me. For many others, programmers using English makes things difficult. The difficulty can be reduced for everybody by having adequate materials in multiple languages. 2) No, the solution is letting people use their own language so that fewer people have to learn foreign languages. (BTW, it seems strange to describe Russian as having a "complex writing system", when it is much more phonetic than English, and certainly not comparable to Chinese or Japanese.) 3) I didn't say that, are you deliberately trying to misunderstand me? Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 7:38
  • 1) why should we have to care about that? We are programmers not linguists! 2) Coming from somebody who had to learn 3 of them to do his job and should thank the current standard that forces people to use English for not having to learn many more, that is a weak point 3) Yes I am. And so you did (I didn't say I wouldn't be able to contribute to English and Spanish SO. I did say it was a redundancy that would cut my time on the English one, with the result of many more unanswered questions. It is a cummulative and catastrophic effect)
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 21:20

Desde mi punto de vista es una idea genial, democratizar el acceso a un recurso tan valioso solo puede traer un impacto positivo en el ecosistema de desarrolladores de software y realmente en todo el ecosistema de TI.

Hay que ser más inclusivos, el hecho de que algunos tengan la facilidad de manejar más de un idioma no quiere decir que la mayoría lo tenga y de hecho en especial en latinoamerica la mayoria no tiene segunda lengua.

Esta es precisamente la razón del porqué en latinoamérica encontramos decenas de grupos de facebook dedicados a solucionar dudas de programación , la gente sencillamente no tiene donde llegar y se va al lugar menos indicado a buscar solución de sus dudas.

Para los profesionales más Senior si es habitual manejar más lenguas, pero la mayoría de la fuerza útil de programadores aún se encuentran en etapas iniciales de su desarrollo profesional.

Otros tantos colocan preguntas en pseudo-inglés y entienden la mitad de las cosas que les mencionan en las respuestas.

Hay que ser muy conscientes de la realidad del mercado y no quedarnos con una visión sesgada donde solo se incluyan a los más favorecidos.

  • 1
    Excluir es poner barreras, multi lenguaje, multibarreras. Democratizar es igualdad de oportunidades, no que el conocimiento sea dividido en N compartimentos estancos dedicados a la elite que conoce el idioma K. Vale que elegir un idioma es un beneficio enorme para la gente que se cria en un entorno donde es el isioma oficial, pero es un pequeño sacrificio en comparacion al enorme beneficio de que la comunidad global pueda comunicarse. No me considero una persona cerrada de mente todo lo contrario, pero es alucinante como todos vuestros argumentos en defensa son argumentos en contra!
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 19:56
  • Ahí está la respuesta, desde tu posición no has visto a la gente en la calle. A ver cuantos latinos alguna vez en la vida pueden ir a Dublin a participar en una conferencia con expertos del primer mundo y de seguro hablando inglés o alemán... un entorno donde la mayoría de los ponentes y asistentes lo han tenido todo.
    – JuanK
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:07
  • 1
    Que igualdad de oportunidades hay en sesgar un recurso a una sola lengua? para ti puede ser fácil pero allá fuera, en el mundo real,hay millones de personas que no tendrán esa oportunidad jamás. Tu postulado sería válido en un mundo ideal donde todos tenemos acceso a las mismas oportunidades, pero al menos en latinoamérica menos del 5% de la población es bilingüe, y no se trata de que seamos perezosos y no queramos estudiar inglés se trata de que no hay dinero para pagarlo y solo las personas de clases acomodadas tienen acceso al inglés en la escuela desde niños.
    – JuanK
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:08
  • He borrado el comentario porque no tiene demasiada relevancia. Pero yo no pague nada por ir allí. Hice un proyecto. En inglés, como todos mis proyectos. Lo envié al comité y lo aceptaron para su presentación.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:08
  • El mismo proyecto lo presento en España en inglés e interesa a mucha más gente: españoles y no españoles. Es la gran ventaja de que haya una lengua franca en lo nuestro.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:11
  • Además no he pagado nada por aprender. En la era de internet el que diga que tiene que pagar por aprender algo es un vago (por supuesto hay excepciones, pero un idioma NO es una de ellas). Otra cosa es legitimarlo con un diploma.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:13
  • entonces el 95% de los latinos son unos vagos que no han querido aprender inglés... seriously?
    – JuanK
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:20
  • Dudo mucho que el 95% de los latinos diga que no sabe inglés porque no tiene dinero. Yo digo que el que diga eso miente y lo sabe. Tú les estás llamando vagos, al establecer la premisa de que quieren o necesitan aprender inglés para algo. Estimo que la gran mayoría no lo necesitan para absolutamente nada o casi nada en sus vidas y por tanto tienen cosas mejores a las que dedicar su tiempo y esfuerzo.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:59
  • Totalmente de acuerdo!
    – César
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 22:21

Since the dawn of history the entire human knowledge is already partitioned into different areas of info and people speaking different languages can access more info than only one-language speakers. That's a big disadvantage for most part of english speakers who are not able to speak any foreign language and often confuse english knowledge with human knowledge, but that's not reason enough to avoid new knowledge exchange areas creation.

In short, splitting StackOverflow in different languages is the very definition of inefficiency

Do you think is more efficient to have a single site understandable by only 20% of world population than, let say, mandarin, spanish, russian, arab and french, 5 more sites covering 60% of world population? I don't think so since multilingual users avoid those sites to be isolated from the others.

I'd like to understand mandarin. That would bring me access to a huge amount of information, culture, ... wisdom. I can't but that's my problem, not the problem.

In short: More is better.

  • Your solution to the problem is bringing the mountain to the people instead of helping the people reach the mountain. But whatever. Mountains can definitely be moved. It is not a great idea, but we are not discussing that any more, are we?
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:34
  • They can be moved or even spread all over the world into ridiculously tiny bumps of knowledge. Lets call them "The vast flatlands of knowledge" where everybody speaks his/her own language and every time you want to learn a new thing you are required to learn a new language. What a nice work that would be, right? I am considering founding elcodedocleoverflow in my own language and start asking and answering questions there. You may call me a biggot but since we have not established yet how little is too little to not be considered discrimination I think I might have a point
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:43
  • I understand and respect your point of view. I would even agree with you if I only could speak english, but that's not my case nor the majority. Let me show you two ideas:
    – Ra_
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 14:33
  • 1. Is not about to bring all the people to the only mountain, it's about make more mountains closer to the people. 2. Do you think german or spanish wikipedia are ridiculously tiny bumps of knowledge or mere translations from english wikipedia? I don't think so.
    – Ra_
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 14:43
  • I am talking about the partition of knowledge. I am talking about raising new walls. We have only got two hands and one brain. Do not have time to repeat myself in Spanish and English. I am repeating myself enough as it is in English trying to explain that you are not building anything extra or new. It is just about cloning something so it is available in more than one language. There is no special Spanish content that makes no sense in the English site or in the Korean site. Not in this case.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 8:12
  • From my point of view, you are not letting people in, you are not helping them reach our knowledge and share theirs. You just want to go the easy way: "let's divide what we have into groups that do not share or talk to each other". That might be a patch, but it is not a good solution in the long term. Please, open your eyes and analyze it carefully.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 8:17
  • There is no special Spanish content that makes no sense in the English site or in the Korean site. Not in this case --> I could agree whith you, but that's not the point. The point is increasing the contributors in a realistic way. Let's divide what we have into groups that do not share or talk to each other --> I disagree: Let's grow what we have bringing access to more people. People already love sharing and talking to each other!
    – Ra_
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:06
  • Let's grow what we have bringing access to more people. People already love sharing and talking to each other... Yes, but by helping people learn english and editing good questions that are poorly written instead of downvoting them. We can even point out documentation written in other languages when it is pertinent. In the real world learning english will be a huge benefit for them anyway because most of the papers and documentation published is in English. English is the lingua franca of science and engineering. I see no reason to change that.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:02
  • There is not a reason to change that: changes just happen. It's a common mistake to think the time we live is so so special that things won't change anymore. Latin was the lingua franca for 1000 years, english is being for 150, mandarin is going to be the lingua franca soon, and the world keeps turning. Imagine yourself in 2025 discussing about the advisability or not of creating an english knowledge exchange area just because it's already running in mandarin ...
    – Ra_
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:34
  • Well then lets keep on track for another 850 years, shall we? If I have to learn mandarin (and I think I will probably have to at some point) I would prefer not to, but I would learn it, just the same way I have learned english, before trying to change it yet again to another language more convenient for me.
    – NotGaeL
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 13:54
  • 1
    :DDD Who believes we still have 850 years? I'm affraid we don't even have 8.5 ... but I think we are missing the point. Anyway, it has been a pleasure discuss this topic with you. Perhaps we read each other in the future in another Stack Overflow topic. (S.O. English version, of course;)
    – Ra_
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 14:46

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