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A while back, a staff member posted this answer, saying that sites in other languages are no longer accepted. When I contradicted the two points mentioned, the writer of the answer told me (and I appreciate how quickly he replied, and more so after the accusation I made) that there were infrastructure problems to do it. I consider that as something valid, but... If the infrastructure is not prepared for sites in other languages, why were they accepted before?


I'm not assuming that it is easy to create sites in other languages. Nor do I ask that they make sites in other languages. I only ask for context.

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  • 1
    You refuted nothing there. The answer is what animuson said: there is no capacity for new non-English sites, and Stack Exchange does not have the resources to create that capacity.
    – Nij
    Jan 21 at 22:24
  • @nij Well, I didn't refute anything, because English is the center of the world and the domain thing is considered impossible (which is not true). However, if you read my question carefully, you'll know that his comment doesn't answer my current question.
    – Dante S.
    Jan 21 at 23:30
  • So there was capacity before and now there isn't?
    – Dante S.
    Jan 21 at 23:30
  • If that were so, you don't think SO es wouldn't exist, is it?
    – Dante S.
    Jan 21 at 23:32
  • 2
    If you're going to respond to me, please respond to my point. The capacity exists to maintain the sites that are in place now. It does not exist to extend onto several different language-specific sites for multiple subject areas. It's very easy for you, and other critics of Stack Exchange, to sit there saying "but it's easy! just do this and this!" while ignoring the perspective and statements of the many people who already told you that doing it is not possible, including the employee responsible for trying to make it happen.
    – Nij
    Jan 21 at 23:49
  • @nij You just answered my question. It exists for those who are NOW. Also, I never said it was easy, I just wanted to know why they are not accepted more. And don't think that StackExchange employees boast to be English speakers. Anyway, if you elaborate your comment as an answer, I'll accept it.
    – Dante S.
    Jan 21 at 23:56
  • Why this negative vote? Just ask for context! Does asking for context deserve a downvote? They don't vote for an opinion!
    – Dante S.
    Jan 22 at 1:22
  • @DanteS.: Downvotes aren't an "attack", and people don't have to explain their downvotes; repeatedly demanding that people do so isn't productive. See this MSE post for more info: Why isn't providing feedback mandatory on downvotes, and why are ideas suggesting such negatively received? Comments are for others to request clarification or suggest improvements (which you can then respond to, if needed), not for basically arguing with people; nobody needs to justify their votes, even if they are encouraged to help others improve their posts.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Jan 27 at 18:23
  • 2
    I've cleaned up some of your subsequent comments demanding an explanation for downvotes. I've also edited the post to remove the meta-commentary irrelevant to your main question. (As a final note: The confrontational/rude tone in parts of your post and comments, as well as the repeated comments demanding explanations for downvotes, probably contributed to most of the downvotes on your post. ...And making another post to continue complaining about those downvotes certainly doesn't help either.)
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Jan 27 at 18:33
  • Well, how would you feel if you were in front of a community that you perceive that they only think about themselves, they make excuses so that nobody notices, they attack people with negative votes and they think that all sites should be English-speaking. I don't perceive them that way anymore, but I still think their unexplained votes are a problem. And if that's how voters are on other non-Meta Stack Exchange sites, it's very concerning.
    – Dante S.
    Jan 27 at 20:56

1 Answer 1

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The original plan

Most of the internationalization work took place before I was hired, so I am only privy to the details that were shared publicly. Part of the detail that I am familiar with is that we initially only planned to create Stack Overflow sites, and only for languages which weren't already well-served by the existing English community. As in, having many developers that did not speak English and could not effectively participate there.

There was never a plan to create other sites fully with non-English interfaces. There was only ever a "let's see what happens with this experiment" and a hope that it would expand into something more. It never did...

So there is no infrastructure prepared for non-SO non-English sites because we never planned to make those sites in the first place.

So what happened?

There were some roadblocks that prevented the overall vision from succeeding fully. In particular, we had initially planned to launch a Stack Overflow in Arabic site. It never came to fruition because supporting right-to-left translation throughout the entire interface was much harder than anticipated and we never implemented it, opting to close down the proposal instead.

The International Stack Overflow project was also largely spearheaded by people who no longer work here or have transitioned to other teams. Only two of the community managers who were heavily involved in the international sites still work on the Community Team to this day. Launching sites in new languages is exponentially more difficult than launching a standard English site, even without the technical considerations I mentioned in the other post. That is why we've previously mentioned that we require a Community Manager fluent in that language to be hired before we were willing to launch a site in that language. We just can't pull it off without that connection to the language.

But past that, without the team that once worked so much on internationalization, the project just kind of died off. Priorities shifted, and the idea of launching more non-English sites fell off all the backlogs over time. I'm sure someone will want to pick back up and run with it at some point, but it's not currently on anyone's radar that I know of.

Don't get me wrong: we consider the international sites we did manage to launch resounding successes. Their success just never catalyzed further site creation like many expected.


I wish I could provide you with more information on the intentions there, but a lot of this information has been lost due to the transitioning of information between different systems over time and the original people behind it no longer working here. If you can't find it in public posts here, you're probably not going to find it.

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  • Thank you very much for answering, the information you have given has been enough! Thanks to you and Nij!
    – Dante S.
    Jan 22 at 0:00

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