If two effectively identical questions are asked but one in English and one in German, how do we handle these.

  • Are they two completely different questions?
  • Should one be closed as an exact duplicate?

4 Answers 4


I suggest that both questions are left open, but in each question a edit is made to include a link to the question in the opposite language which might contain useful and relevant answers for someone searching.


Yes, it should definitely be closed as a duplicate. Leaving both open would only fragment the path to the correct answer between the two threads.

Remember that the closed, duplicate post will still be linked to the canonical answer-thread. It provides another way to find the content.

But there should only be ONE collection of answers to that question, not two. That's what "close as duplicate" is designed to avoid.

  • 11
    At the moment questions asked in German seem to be getting answers in German, and English questions answers in English. If someone with weak German asks a question in English which is immediately closed as duplicate of a question where all the answers are in German, then that won't help them to understand the answer to their question.
    – Twelve47
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 20:50
  • 4
    @Twelve47: We can't treat this site as two separate entities in that manner (English content, German content). If experts in "German Language & Usage" have to be segregated that way, we may run into extreme difficulties about the long-term viability of this site without a proper "localization" interface. This site is only one hour old. I hope you can make this work using the framework and behaviors provided by Stack Exchange. Commented May 24, 2011 at 20:57
  • 1
    @Robert but then a consensus must be reached re translations. How to translate a German or English question so people who are weak in the other can understand it? Is it acceptable to edit in a translation, or should comments be used for that? This needs to be decided on. Are there any existing Area 51 communities that might be able to share their experiences, like the French one?
    – Pekka
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 21:49
  • 3
    @Pekka: If it makes the question or answer better (and it almost surely does), then MOST DEFINITELY... editing in a translation is acceptable. A big part of Stack Exchange is supposed to be wiki aspect of this site. More than any other site, this type of collaborative editing will make the answers that much more accessible and useful. See: this post Commented May 24, 2011 at 21:55
  • 1
    @Robert, what do you think about the points made in blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/… and how they relate different languages? If an almost duplicate question (i.e. different language) prompts more answers but in different words (more specifically, a different language), is this a bad thing?
    – BudgieInWA
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 10:13
  • I think "closing" is not the right tool here. IMO the software needs a way to link questions that closely related. That is, questions whose meaning is duplicative, but that should not be closed as duplicates because answers to either are not necessarily answers to the other (which I believe is a good formal definition of "duplicate question"). Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 16:24
  • 1
    I completely disagree, -1 because of blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/…. Both languages in slightly different questions clearly add value from user perspective and from search engine perspective. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:25

If I ask a question in English that has already been asked and answered in German I would not be able to understand the German answer and closing mine as a duplicate would mean that I would not receive the help I sought.

I mean there is incentive for answering my English question, since you'll get rep if your answer is accepted and/or upvoted. There is very little incentive for translating the German question. Also there might be relevant comments and translating all comments too doesn't seem feasible.

So in my opinion you shouldn't close the English question as duplicate unless the German question provides translations of all posts and vice versa.

I would not be against having one English and one German version of each question and have them linked to each other, rather than closing one of them.


Maybe the standard reponse should be closing the question AND adding a translation to the linked duplicate? Or a "please-translate" tag?

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