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If people are interested in this, please 🅼🅰🅺🅴 🅽🅾🅸🆂🅴; I suggest describing your interests and expertise in an answer: the proposal (once proposed) will be immediately closed if there's no pre-organized community.


There seems to be a lot of language sites not surviving: American Sign Language, Arabic, Aramaic, Bangla, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Jamaican, Lojban, Malayalam, Malaysian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Samoan, Sanskrit, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Thai and Lao, Yiddish; Baltic Languages, Indian Languages, Nordic Languages, Semitic Languages, Slavic Languages, Turkic Languages; Translating and Languages; and probably more. Some, like Greek and Arabic, have been proposed multiple times.

What a waste of expertise...

Perhaps a solution is to create a Languages.SE (or Polyglot.SE) site. (This idea has gone through a few mental revisions---I'll tidy it up.)

1. Unique site feature: language label.

Each question has a unique, required language label. The community will have to work out how to do this (but we've figured out other complicated boundary issues, e.g. the religion sites). These should be chosen based on what would make a good stand-alone site topic.

(I originally suggested the 5 usual tags be distinct for each language, but maybe that's not necessary. The language tags tend to overlap heavily (, , ) that it's probably unnecessary.)

I currently feel we should require diamond-moderator approval before creating a new "language label". This needs to be done with the utmost care.

It should be possible to "favorite" and "ignore" languages in some way.

2. Synchronized with existing language sites.

Each of the non-English language sites (Chinese, Esparanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Русский язык, Spanish, Ukrainian) are synchronized, in the sense that questions at these sites pop up on Languages.SE.

If you click on a question about e.g. German, you're redirected to the German site.

Why? (a) Many people have interests and expertise in multiple languages. (b) Languages overlap (off the top of my head, Chinese-Japanese-Korean and Urdu-Persian-Arabic).

3. Ability to ask about languages without an existing language-specific site.

At Languages.SE we can also ask local questions about Arabic, Malaysian, Hebrew, etc., for which there does not exist a unique site. We add the language label to categorize them.

4. Potential to launch successful sites.

When e.g. Vietnamese posts are sufficient to demonstrate it's viable as a standalone site, a separate Vietnamese.SE can be created from the questions with the Vietnamese label.

  • Splitting a site will split users reputation into Vietnamese.SE and Languages.SE, but leaves Languages.SE badges unaffected.

  • The questions now labelled Vietnamese redirect to the newly launched Vietnamese.SE, so there's no major seam.


The biggest problems I (currently) envisage...

Moderation, curation, and voting

Moderation and curation seems to be a major challenge with this proposal. I feel like there needs to be a hard rule here: local questions are strictly in English only. Why?

  1. It facilitates moderation, and allows users to cast educated votes.
  2. Expertise comes from polyglots, so I don't see this as a major inhibition.
  3. English is the default language of Stack Exchange.
  4. Sites "launched" from Languages.SE can subsequently admit questions in their language.

I can't think of a realistic way to allow non-English questions, while having them responsibly moderated, curated, and voted upon.

Language boundaries

What's a language? What's a dialect? There are also questions [e.g. etymology] which straddle the boundaries between languages (but this is already a problem).

However, I feel like if this is done carefully in discussion with the community, it would be do-able. Proof-of-concept: Linguistics.SE has language-specific tags (Arabic, Turkish, etc.), and they're not constantly bickering about boundaries.

Localization issues

Perhaps a site running multiple scripts for multiple languages would result in an unresponsive site. Maybe additional scripts are best left for "launched" sites.

Many languages can already work in today's browsers:

  • لكن لا بد أن أوضح لك أن كل هذه الأفكار
  • 応向知警岐真政全無提県権江待抑権住。
  • קצרמרים החופשית לויקיפדים בדף מה אנציקלופדיה צעד
  • สไลด์ชาร์จเซ็นทรัล แฮนด์ไฟลต์ปาสกาลเพาเวอร์ ไพลิน ดีลเลอร์นู้ดเซ่นไหว้ยะเยือกบัส
  • chỉ đơn giản là một đoạn văn bản giả
  • jest tekstem stosowanym jako przykładowy wypełniacz w przemyśle poligraficznym
  • छपाई और अक्षर योजन उद्योग का एक साधारण डमी पाठ है
  • საბეჭდი და ტიპოგრაფიული ინდუსტრიის უშინაარსო ტექსტია

Related discussions

I found some similar ideas Merging All the Language Proposals into one language website (2011) and What are the advantages of single language sites over collective ones? (2016). I also found Combinining all language related sites into one (2019) on meta.SE.

But I'm not proposing to eliminate or exclude single-language sites, but instead create a supersite: i.e., we have both.

Prior feedback

What this fails to address is that many of these sites either require or at least allow questions in the site language (e.g. French or English on the French site), making a composite site particularly confusing for everyone involved.
Catija♦

The major problem with a multilingual site where most users won't speak all, or most, of the languages being used is one of moderation and communication.
Borror0

Hence why it seems necessary to have the hard rule "local questions are in English".

  • Often, languages are too far away from each other to be lumped sensibly
  • Large languages will dominate over small ones too much
    Jan

Is the first point even a problem? There are polyglots who are interested in languages in general. Moreover, Linguistics.SE exists and some of its questions requires expertise in multiple languages.

The second point is an issue at virtually every SE site (e.g. Minecraft dominates at Gaming.SE): some tags are used far more frequently than others. It's why we have indexing (i.e., tags).

If you make English the sole languages allowed on meta, then that'll alienate every non-anglophone on the site. Native English speakers will have a lopsided influence on the site.
Borror0

English would need to be the sole language allowed on meta for asking questions on the main site, and for posting meta questions. I do not see why this would "alienate every non-anglophone" more than other English-only sites (not having a site = 100% alienation). Realistically, "active users" have a lopsided influence, regardless of their native language.

Mock up

I took some ideas from the My Filter page and combined them to give:

(Imgur: annotated; unannotated.)


Question: Would a general Languages.SE supersite (synchronized with the current language sites) be feasible?

I'm still not 100% sure this is a great idea, but I'm yet to think up a "dead on arrival" problem. I currently feel that if people wanted to make it work, they could make it work.

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  • Many people in this hobby do not speak fluent English. The technical terms may be hard to understand. It would surely help non native speakers with their problems. So yes! – Fritz Wlan Jan 19 at 23:05
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    You might want to gather some users from Linguistics and Language Learning to kickstart a community here. – gerrit Mar 3 at 13:04
  • Would we be okay with starting a Languages.SE that doesn't have any of these special features, or do we want to wait until the features are available before starting it? – Tanner Swett Mar 29 at 6:25
  • It's not up to me, but it seems plausible. Although if it were implemented "down the line", it'd require manually editing every question. That may or may not be problematic, depending on the number of questions at that time. – Rebecca J. Stones Mar 29 at 6:32
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    I've started a proposal in Codidact for such a Languages 'supersite', meta.codidact.com/questions/276701 . Codidact is " currently only creating sites that have a community already interested.", so if enough existing people are interested in the Codidact proposal, we might be able to make it happen. – user41805 Jul 12 at 6:59
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    There is now a languages.codidact.com site. – Rebecca J. Stones Aug 6 at 2:17
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Yes, please. This is a very good idea.

Sure, a question tagged or might not get much attention, but as long as there are enough people passing by to get rid of spam and poor quality content, this is not a problem. After all, we can already ask questions about obscure software on Super User or an obscure programming language on Stack Overflow, and sometimes they're even answered. Subcommunities can exist as long as the overall larger community is thriving.

I think the biggest practical problem may be the support from Stack Exchange Inc. They've been going through a lot of turbulence lately, their community team has shrunk, the future of Area51 is uncertain, and this would require new software development. But in principle: yes please.

We have the Language Learning and Linguistics sites already. Those are different, but their communities should be interested in this.

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  • Indeed, I ask about obscure games on Gaming.SE, and sometimes get a correct answer! – Rebecca J. Stones Mar 8 at 2:46
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It seems that this idea would also be valuable for cryptocurrency stack exchanges, since there's so many stack exchanges for cryptocurrencies now. In your screenshot, we could have questions from Bitcoin SE, Etherium SE, BitcionCash SE, eois SE, etc.

Maybe we could also do something like this for science stack exchanges: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, etc. There is indeed a lot of overlap and I would certainly love to see all questions from all science stack exchanges aggregated.

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Yes, this would work.

Let's take an example of Engineering Stack Exchange which is a generic Engineering site accepting questions from all branches of Engineering. (There are some core branches of engineering e.g. Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Chemical etc.) and so on. It is still in beta for more that 5 years and working fine according to Area 51 states. These branches of Engineering may deserve their own/separate sites in future. Electrical, Robotics and Software Engineering have their communities also!

In similar way I think generic Languages Stack Exchange would work.

Earlier, after realizing insufficient potential for Sanskrit, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali etc. separate Language communities, I had thought of creating generic/master Indian Languages site to gather traffic by broadening scope to include all Indian Languages and proposed that site also but didn't success.

So, trying Languages.SE would be worthy.

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𝕀'𝕕 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕖𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕤𝕚𝕥𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕡𝕖𝕟

About me: I'm a native English speaker. I've traveled to maybe 30 countries.

I live in China and I'm actively learning Chinese. I'm an active user of Chinese.SE. Chinese often overlaps with Japanese and Korean, so it'd be nice to have a supersite to see these languages together.

I'm also a Muslim and thus have an interest in learning Arabic suitable for reading the Qur'an. I've traveled to Iran a few times, and have learned some basic Persian.

(And I guess I should put up my hand to be a moderator on an eventual site, if needed.)

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I'd be happy if such a site could take off.

My experiences with the last two or three Arabic proposals (after closure of the Beta) were really disappointing.

It seems either the community has resigned or the criteria for launching the site have become harder and harder which seems unfair, as many sites that were launched earlier have by now reached a status of stagnation too.

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