We agreed to not accept translation requests or proof-readings of individual texts. If we were not asked for help on a single answerable issue all those question will correctly be closed as off topic, which I believe is a good measure to prevent people from asking such questions.

This effect will however be counteracted if we had answered any such a question in comments or even an answer. As much as we all want to help out anybody who comes here we should also take care that we will not be flooded by off topic questions. We do not want to become a free translation or proof-reading service.

So please, do not answer individual proof-readings or translation requests. It it will not help the site in the long run.

  • 1
    Is it possible for a moderator to delete given answers to such questions?
    – IQV
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 10:36
  • 1
    @IQV: yes, that would be possible. To hear what the community thinks if we did so please go ahead and write an answer below. People will then be able to vote upon that suggestion. We may even discuss if such localized requests should be deleted alltogether.
    – Takkat
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 11:00
  • I would like to ask whether there is an agreement made on how to handle such cases. In my opinion there is even a rise in answering translation requests (maybe due to a growing community?), actually I see almost no translation request not being answered. I could proceed and link this thread under every answer, but is this the appropriate way?
    – RoyPJ
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 9:51
  • @RoyPJ: I wrote an answer for people to vote upon in order to reach community agreement.
    – Takkat
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:13

4 Answers 4


When you think ahead this idea, one comes to the conclusion, that answers to such questions - no matter if in comments or as real answer - should be deleted by a moderator after the question is closed as off topic.

  • 2
    While I agree with you that it’s perfectly ok when a mod deletes them, I don’t want to see this evolve into “the standard process”, because it would mean extra effort for the mods - and tedious without a real benefit. Not answering in the first place should be the norm.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 5:16
  • 1
    The system, the community or the author can only delete a closed question if there was no upvoted or accepted answer. So whenever there was such an answer we need a mod to delete a poor Q&A. Closed and unanswered questions will be automatically cleaned up by the system.
    – Takkat
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 10:14

General considerations

There is debate amongst the community what exactly a translation request might be. This ranges from unfortunate fellow users who carelessly use the tag or to people who want us to translate several pages for free. Therefore it is not in each and every case easy to keep apart those interesting questions that would require translations as a side-effect from bulk translation requests. If in doubt we should refrain from overreacting.

Answering comments

In clear cut cases we should not hesitate to flag answering comments for deletion (i.e. no longer needed).


Answers may better be handled by the community who can comment, downvote, and even vote for deletion, depending on their privileges.

  • 1
    Assume this case: there is a translation request that clearly falls under the 'prohibited' category. Close votes are slowly incoming, but an answer has already been given and marked as correct. Later the question is flagged and put on hold. How should we, as the community, approach the user that gave the answer? Comment, downvote, vote for deletion? Or ignore, since it will be deleted anyway?
    – RoyPJ
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:22
  • By way of comparison, the homework policies of Chemistry and Physics were adapted from the FAQ of Mathematics. The policies stipulate more or less to downvote, flag, comment, or delete such answers. However, this is actually handled differently on these sites and often a topic for discussion.
    – user9551
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:43
  • @RoyPJ: clear (really clear!) cases often don't survive unitl the next moderator's view. By the time we pass by they are already closed. If for any reason the community is not fast enough I will close any such clear-cut question as soon as I see it. If I don't see them immediately, a flag can not harm.
    – Takkat
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:55
  • Sadly, even if a question was closed, and did not get any reopen votes there will still be comments later to answer the question.
    – Takkat
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:58
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    I never experienced a request for several pages here. Therefore this exaggeration is counterproductive, because now every real case falls below the critical mark and is open for translation service. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:39
  • @userunknown: I have seen such - if not all in one question but split up in several chunks. I think I made it perfectly clear that it is a broad spectrum we are dealing with but it is by no means another discussion as to what the community thinks such a translation request is. The only "counterproductive" action here is people answering or answer-commenting such questions. Please bear with me if I will not give links to examples here.
    – Takkat
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 19:26
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    @Takkat: Well - I'm not around here since yesterday, and don't remember having seen more than two posts, - darf ich ins Deutsche wechseln? - diese Wortsuche immer - also maximal 2 Posts gesehen, die deutlich länger waren als diese Causa Geiselmann jetzt. Meist ist es nur ein Absatz, um den gebeten wird. Es ist aber gar nicht die Länge. Was keine spezifische Frage ist (das Das in so dass mit doppel-s? die Blicke der Lehrerin - wieso der?) ist automatisch ein Klumpen vieler Fragen, und schon daher off-topic. Runtergebrochen aufs einzelne Wort wird es 'use the references/a dictionary'. ... Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 19:53
  • ... Dazwischen sind angesiedelt Metaphern, Idiome - was sich schlecht nachschlagen lässt. Da übersetzen wir auch schon mal. Es gibt aber keine Bagatellgrenze. Ich denke inhaltlich liegen wir nicht weit voneinander, aber wenn jemand meint, 1-2 kurze Sätze zu übersetzen solle ok sein, der soll die Meinung eben vertreten. Der Punkt, um den es geht, wird aber durch die Frage nach der Quantität eher verwässert, so als gäbe es eben doch eine Bagatellgrenze. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 19:59

This may not work for beginner like myself. I am coming here because I am looking for feedback on my writings and overall, to improve my German writing skills. I do not understand why requesting feedback on writing is bad?

  • 3
    You are perfectly welcome to ask for issues you have while practising your writing skills. Actually we are rather good giving answers to questions on issues that you have. This will however work best if we only had answers on a single issue where we can chose the best answer by voting. So whenever you are faced with an issue you can't answer with your textbook don't hesitate to ask but try not to ask for answers to several questions in one. Also read: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/628/…
    – Takkat
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 7:13
  • This is not really an answer but since it’s meta … Basically, a proofreading request would have a number of issues that come together. You may have a missing comma in the first sentence, a spelling mistake in the second, chosen a bad word in the third and used wrong grammar in the fourth. Now four users turn up and each one notices a different issue. Which is the best answer? None of them! This goes against the policy of Stack Exchange to attempt to identify the best answer to a single question. And that is why we do not accept proofreading or extensive translation requests.
    – Jan
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 10:45
  • @Jan I think "check my translation" should be allowed in limited circumstances, although I have no idea, in which ones. And I think, German-> English translation questions (maybe German -> other language ones) should be allowed.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 13:06
  • I'm coming here for recipes of German cooking and to improve my cooking skills. I do not understand why requesting recipes is bad? Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:42
  • @forethought: The site does not like questions like "Is this passage ok?" But it will accept questions like "Is this verb ok?" As in, am I using the right verb or the right verb form? Asking for feedback on a passage is a "broad" question that SE sites don't like. Asking about verb usage is a much "narrower," more focused question. As a practical matter, if you write a passage and ask a narrow question, people will often give you feedback on spelling or grammar.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 3:29

Personally I find it really hard to "forbid" (yes, in the end it is a forbid). I think it has a lot of negative effects if answers are free to be deleted. This site is a forum where a lot of skilled people can join and give something back to whom ever. Why not allow simple answers to simple questions if someone has time and is willing to do so. Even if it is for the sake of collecting reputation. From my point of view the implications of answering these evil questions is not as harmful as deleting answers which might have helped the poster. Still the answer can be closed for the appropriate reason.

  • 1
    Note that we are not a forum but a Q & A site, which is something very different. It is not those simple questions having simple answers we are talking about here. It is respect for the community vote to not provide a free translation or proofreading service. I believe disrespect would cause harm here.
    – Takkat
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 13:46

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