In a recent discussion about our close reasons, it was proposed to add a German explanation. While a basic knowledge of English is required to handle the SE user interface, it is debatable whether understanding a longer phrase like a close reason can still be seen as basic knowledge. We should keep in mind that knowing English is not at all a requirement for learning German in general, and that we might have users here that don't know much more English than needed to translate the "Ask a question" button. We should welcome these users as best as we can and help them to use our site as it is intended. For that objective, I consider it better to use both German and English in some crucial texts on our site than to explain afterwards if we notice that someone doesn't understand English well enough. We might not always notice that!

For that reason, I still support the efforts taken in

Should and can we make more clear to newcomers that we are bilingual?


Let’s make a German welcome page/FAQ for visitors who speak little or no English

Additionally, I want to propose

Why not simply have English and German close reasons in parallel? We are limited to 3 custom close reasons, and it seems very unlikely that we, as a beta site, would get an exception. But it wouldn't be no good anyway if some items in the list differed in reason and others only in language.

Why not making the close reasons themselves bilingual? Because each custom close reasons is limited to 400 characters. A bilingual close reason would then have to fit in 200 characters in each language, which might not be enough.

  • 1
    I think bilinguality is a bad idea for a site's rules. Changes are tedious, official policies might be updated, generally the rules should be given (and discussed) in a single language to allow for simpler communication. Also translating stuff is always a little fuzzy and IMO an effort of questionable benefit.
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 22:05
  • Regarding German close reasons, it feels wrong to have separate entities for the same thing.
    – chirlu
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 6:59
  • @chirlu I didn't propose German close reasons, and I don't know what separate entities you are speaking of.
    – Matthias
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 7:25
  • @Matthias: I was referring to this part: "Why not simply have German close reasons? Because we are limited to 3 custom close reasons." I mean that, even if we got an exception to the limit of 3, I wouldn't think duplicating close reasons is a good idea.
    – chirlu
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 7:51
  • @chirlu I see. I thought: we can't have them anyway, so need to discuss it further. Beside: I agree. I would favour bilingual close reasons if they could be longer, but I wouldn't want separate close reasons that only differ in language.
    – Matthias
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 7:55
  • Someone (Carsten I believe) mentioned somewhere that exceptions are possible, and he was right: meta.askubuntu.com/a/6996
    – chirlu
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 8:06
  • 1
    @chirlu Ok, to make this crystal clear I've just edited that part.
    – Matthias
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 9:01


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