As one of the employees tasked with monitoring the meta sites across the network, I have a small request. While I consider myself an articulate, intelligent human being, I don't speak or understand German. Of the SE team, only one of us is fluent in German insofar as I recall.

As such, I have a humble request: on the meta site, please use English! It is really difficult for me to address issues or follow a conversation that I don't understand, and I am loathe to paste text into a translation engine. It also isn't fair for me to shuffle all the monitor duties for this site onto our sole German-speaking developer employee.

As such, for the meta site alone please default to English for discussion. That way, if/when issues come up that we need to attend to, we (that is, the Community Managers, developers, et al) can assess and respond to the situation in an expeditious manner. :D

Note: This rule has been abolished.

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    Please also see this meta post on the French.SE meta.
    – Aarthi
    Jan 31, 2012 at 16:18
  • Well, I guess there was only a link to this meta.french.stackexchange.com/questions/78/… discussion on French.SE, so no duplicate. Feb 1, 2012 at 15:08
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    @Aarthi You better had copied the french version here including (or translated quickly after posted). Now for a German it reads speak English or shut up.
    – bernd_k
    Feb 3, 2012 at 7:50
  • @bernd_k :( That wasn't my intention! I was requesting that things on the meta be in English because I can't read German. This isn't a punishment or anything; it's a call to arms for the community to support each other by providing a better translating mechanism than a simple machine translation!
    – Aarthi
    Feb 3, 2012 at 16:24
  • @Aarthi Than quick translation would help both sides: the moderators and those who can't post fluently in English. I just don't like the idea of discouraging the later to ask questions.
    – bernd_k
    Feb 3, 2012 at 16:50
  • @bernd_k I agree! I apologize if the post read incorrectly, but hopefully these comments will provide clarification. :) I only noticed because a number of De.SE posts came up in the feed and I couldn't read any of them -- or the answers! :o
    – Aarthi
    Feb 3, 2012 at 17:06
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    @Aarthi: How should we handle comments? Not naming names but there are people that write every comment in both languages now. This makes comment threads very cluttered. Otoh I can relate to them wanting non-English speakers to understand the discussion.
    – musiKk
    Feb 4, 2012 at 15:11
  • 2
    @musiKk Hmm. On the meta -- and only on the meta -- I think English should be given precedence. That said, I think if comments are non-English, anything really important should be edited into the main body of the question / answer, as comments are consistently treated on the site as a "second class citizen". So, basically: non-English comments are fine, but edit in anything really important into an answer or the question -- and only on the meta site. How you all conduct the main site is a non-issue.
    – Aarthi
    Feb 6, 2012 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


I think there are various things to consider:

  1. Whether the SE team and the CHAOS one trust the Pro-Tem Mods or not, is not that relevant. I'm sure they do, but they still have the right to post, participate and read directly and not be forced to interact with us with someone else in the middle.

  2. The Meta discussions are not just important to the upper floors but also, and especially, to the other users. We can safely assume that everyone knows English here, at different levels, but we know that not all know German. So, also for a matter of respect, let's stick to the one that involves the most people possible. This doesn't mean I don't like German or that I have no intention to learn it, of course. If I didn't, I wouldn't have signed up to this site in the first place. But even if I knew German, I'd still be in favor of English, because other people don't know German but they do know English.

  3. French SE safely and successfully implemented French along with English, so I suppose that German along with English would be accepted. The problem is that when I see a post both in German and English, the comments are inevitably in German only.

In conclusion, English must be there, alone or together with German (please post actual translations and not just a summary in English).

  • 2
    1. Is a straw man argument. Nobody disputed the right of the moderators to participate. 2. How can you safely assume, that every user knows English? I would expect the opposite. I don't know why you expect people not being able to follow a discussion to participate in GL&U. Would you expect the same on Mathematics.SE? Feb 1, 2012 at 14:56
  • @userunknown If you write in German, you are denying them to participate, because they don't know German. 2. You actually think that the people who know German are more than those who know English?
    – Alenanno
    Feb 1, 2012 at 15:02
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    a) Not being able to do something is not being prohibited to do something. b) I think that more people potentially interested in GL&U know German than English. Not persons per se. For the main page, people who don't seak German, are irrelevant. Feb 1, 2012 at 15:39
  • (1) If you speak German, especially when you're being asked to speak English, you're intentionally denying nonnative speakers from participating. (2) Interested in German doesn't mean having the skills to speak/understand it. And we're not speaking about the main site, but about the Meta site.
    – Alenanno
    Feb 1, 2012 at 15:44
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    a) You needn't be a native German speaker, to be allowed to speak german. b) If you speak English, especially when you're being asked to speak German, you're intentionally and actively denying non Englisch speakers from participating. And from the topic, this page attracts German speaking people, not English. You want to exclude French, Indian and Brasilian users, interested in German, who don't speak English, to do you a favor. Lern the basics of German elsewhere, and then revisit. You can't participate much on Mathematics.SE if you don't know 2+2. Feb 1, 2012 at 15:52
  • We're not talking about me, so please avoid personal references. Regardless of what I say or how I say it, you still disagree, so I think that there's no need to continue the discussion.
    – Alenanno
    Feb 1, 2012 at 15:58
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    @user If someone non-English speaking posts a Meta discussion or request in German, the appropriate course of action would be to translate it to English for us. We don't need to fuss at them for not posting in English, but at the same time, we should not leave it in just German.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 1, 2012 at 16:04

I would discuss much more here in the meta-section if it was German. I think here are enough volunteers with high skills in English who are able to translate German discussions into English. Maybe they should get be a special bonus for their work.

I'm a German Native Speaker with mediocre skills in English. On the Main-Site I answer mainly questions that are written in German because it takes me much more effort to understand a english question then a German question, and I write my answers in most cases in German too for the same reason. It is so much easier to communicate in my native language then in a foreign language that I almost never speak, rarely hear and only use to read and write.

I am not here on GERMAN-stakexchange to practice my English! This is so skurril and kafkaesk that you have to use a foreign language to discuss how this site about German Language could be made better.

To insist that meta-discussions must me made in a foreign language (like english) means, that you efficiently exclude German Native speakers with weak skills in English from this discussion.

So this is my suggestion for all Language-Sites on stackexchange:

Allow Meta-discussions in two languages:

  1. English (wich should be the main-language)
  2. The main-sites language (i.e. German for german.stackexchange)

Both languages should be allowed in meta-questions as well as in answers and comments, but users should be encouraged to use english if they are able to use it.

If non-english discussions seem to be important for people outside the sites "family", volunteers should translate them into english, and they should be given a bonus for their translation-work.


Aren't the moderators Moderator Pro Tem Announcement of the community trusted enough?

What do you do if an argument on Meta handles about a German discussion on the main page?

Wird den Moderatoren der Community (s.o.) nicht getraut? Was, wenn eine Diskussion auf Meta einen Streit in main behandelt?

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    It is important for us on the Community Team to know what is being discussed, whether or not we directly interfere or give our input. Knowing what scope discussions happen, what tag disputes, what questions turn up as problems - these are all important things for us on the Community Team to be aware of. We trust the moderators to handle the things that are in German on the main site, but if it's large enough to end up on Meta, we need to know that they are handling something and on what grounds.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 1, 2012 at 16:00
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    @GraceNote To really know what is being discussed here you have to be able to follow the discussions on the main site. That means in many cases you have to be able to read German, the same way as you cannot follow every discussion on Aviation, Physics, Chemistry ... SE META without some knowledge in that field. For some meta questions it surely works, but for others that deal with some specific question on the main site you have to understand that main question to being able to follow the meta question.
    – Matthias
    Jun 23, 2015 at 7:55

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