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Do questions have to be written in English? Or is asking in other languages ok?

Proposal: English Language Learners

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  • I understand other's answer,
    – viridis
    Mar 30 '17 at 13:19
  • I understand other's negative answers, but note that there might be lots of people that are learning Arabic --and therefore not able to read it properly-- and might not understand English enough to learn Arabic properly reading English explanations and maybe grammar equivalencies. I think if there is a strict English-only policy, maybe the site won't have a critical mass of users and won't be born ever. The problems from having other languages might be dealt with tag-per-language or a similar method. Don't you think so?
    – viridis
    Mar 30 '17 at 13:26
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This is an English-language site.

We are in the process of localizing the interface to support non-English sites, but even then, each community would likely be configured with one "official" language. I don't believe there are any plans to create mixed-language sites (this is still all under development, and subject to change).

To build a successful site, you have to attract a critical mass of users who can properly vet the content and operate the site. If that central community cannot fully communicate with each other, you are effectively fracturing the users into smaller, less-functional communities — any of which may not have the critical mass to properly vet and support their content. That goes against the ideas of what makes a Stack Exchange site work so well.

I can be more specific as to actual implementation details when the localization plans become available.

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Experts on learning English should themselves speak English with a fair degree of fluency. Questions should certainly be allowed in other languages on sites where that makes sense-- and that's not just language sites: Biblical Hermeneutics frequently sees questions with significant portions in Koine Greek or ancient Hebrew. This is still 'an English language site' but that's really just for the reasons @Robert mentioned:

To build a successful site, you have to attract a critical mass of users who can properly vet the content and operate the site. If that central community cannot fully communicate with each other, you are effectively fracturing the users into smaller, less-functional communities — any of which may not have the critical mass to properly vet and support their content. That goes against the ideas of what makes a Stack Exchange site work so well.

Sometimes site content can only really be dealt with in another language. Even before 'language localization' there were sites like Math.SE which use almost exclusively symbolic notation and even Stack Overflow gets questions in non-english-based programming languages from time to time (though they seem to only get questions for the symbolic kind of non-english, not the actually-based-off-another-existing-language kind).

If your site would actually benefit according to the SE value criteria from having multiple languages (e.g. Biblical Hermeneutics) you can probably acquire special dispensation for that. Unfortunately, while asking about it before hand might seem like the right thing to do, the people with the power to make the dispensation are unlikely to do so unless your site already supports such behavior so they can see the utility of it.

In your case, I think allowing non-English questions is a bad idea (as explained above). In general, I think if you think it's a good idea you should post it on the site's meta once it has one (for discussion there) or here as a discussion (like you did), and whether that specific site should be 'English only' can be determined by the userbase.

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