Should we make a Spansh-language category?


#1

Fedora, of course, has a large international community. Should we

  • accept threads in whatever language people have?

or

  • make dedicated spaces for discussions in specific languages?

I am, unfortunately, monolingual, and I am worried about my ability to help people across the whole site — let alone concerns about effective moderation.

What do you all think?


#2

I’d be in favor of accepting any language rather than make dedicated spaces for specific languages. (Unless the language itself is important, like as a subcategory of Ambassadors or Translations). For better or worse, people will probably use English primarily, but if someone wants to use Czech, for example, I think it makes more sense to have a Czech thread about Silverblue in the Silverblue area than to have it in a catch-all Czech area.


#3

I agree with @bcotton a lot here. I’ve had several conversations related to this with various contributors who live in non-English language first countries about this over the past several years. I cannot cite everyone who led me to this opinion, but what I walked away with was that separate language forums are generally bad. Ignoring the case where the language is the object of discussion, as @bcotton pointed out, the separate forums are generally of poorer quality discussions.

The reasons that these contributors believed this to be the case was that participants whose English language skills are good enough to participate in conversations on the topic in question will typically go to the English language forum because there, they have a higher likelihood of finding conversations and answers. This is based on the sheer number of English speakers who talk about a topic versus the typically much smaller number of non-English speakers who also speak their additional language(s) talking about a topic.

To that end, I’d like to see us do two things, which I regret not having much energy to help with:

  1. I would like to get this in front of our localization and ambassadors groups to get more input that what we have so far. I will send some email highlighting this thread.

  2. I would like to know if discourse could support language tagging or some answer for this. What these contributors and I talked about was a hypothetical environment where you had attributes like this:

    If you browsed with a language specific url/setting you were presented with an interface completely in your language and saw only posts in your language. If you browsed a forum that had other language content, that was hidden, you received a dismissable, one-time, notification that encouraged you to consider modifying your preferences to show more than one language at once. This is shown for English speakers too.

    The theory here is that monolinguals only see what they can read. Individuals with more than one functional language would see everything in a single hierarchy and would therefore be encouraged to participate and bridge conversations in all languages they can work in.

    I do not have time to follow up on discourse’s functionality and hope someone will. If this doesn’t exist, I believe this is the kind of advancement upstream that Fedora should figure out how to support.


#4

Language tagging is an interesting idea. Discourse already has tags which can be followed or ignored. It’d be interesting to run language auto-detection on posts and suggest language tags for non-english posts. I wonder if there’s a good open source language classifier…


#5

Wouldn’t this solve the issue - or at a minimum be helpful to that end?


#6

Probably — but we’ll need to move to hosting our own instance in order to enable that.


#7

Yeah, it would be something definitely to consider. It’s a bummer it isn’t available on all hosted plans:


#8

accept threads in whatever language people have?
or
make dedicated spaces for discussions in specific languages?

I am still not sure “accept threads whatever language” here (admin perspecitve or human perspective). So I might change my thought later…

I am from FLP (aka fedora localization team).
When we see non-English message posted in trans list, we (who can understand) react asking him/her to re-post their own provided language ML. Or we (who do not understand or chose not to understand) ignore the comment.
I naturally expect mono-lingual speaker do the same way.

cheers

noriko


#9

I have a bias on the subject, my every day communication is in Spanish, but I use English for all technical stuff.

I think that having a mixture of languages, where most people will use English will discourage new participants to post in their native language. Making “redundantly_explicitly” can have the problem that someone may post in a language with minimal participation and may not get a timely response.

I think that if there is a group of people willingly to support a language other than English, it will be a good thing to have a communication channel for that language. It will always have the trade-off of not be the main channel and some important ideas, may not get feed back from that language group.

Life is not perfect, I am just trying to provide the most balanced opinion as a bilingual contributor.

Best regards

Neville


#10

Personally as an ESL speaker I’d prefer the forums to be English only; allowing other languages splinters the community and I feel it would drive people away - noone wants to sift through a bunch of threads they can’t read, people would just not bother. I doubt the translator plugin would work reliably enough to make reading other language threads feel natural; if even something with as many resources as Facebook fails at it, I’m not confident a much smaller project like Discourse can be much better.

If we absolutely have to allow other languages, it’s essential to make them easy to filter out, either through separate categories or through tags, as long it’s possible to filter by multiple tags (e.g. English OR Czech) - which doesn’t seem to be possible currently, but maybe we can change that. There are problems with both approaches, though:

  • With separate categories, any time anyone wants to start a thread in a new language, they need to message an admin to create a new category - and we might end up with way too many categories, most of them with only one or two threads in them. You can’t exactly tell someone “sorry, your langauge is way too obscure so we won’t make a category for you” either, so there’s no way to keep the amount of categories in check.

  • With tags, any newcomer for the forum will at first visit see an unfiltered front page, and they might not understand that you can filter it, so if we have a lot of non-English discussions going on, the forum will look like the Tower of Babel, or like it’s getting spammed by bots. We could show only English by default, but that would mean many people might never even know there are other language threads.

I really don’t see a good way of doing this. FWIW the most common approach forums I’ve seen have taken was creating separate categories, or even a single category with language tags specific for that category.


#11

That’s a good point about the maturity of the translator plugin… it uses the microsoft or google engines - so would only be as good as they are - and as a regular user of Google’s… it gets the job done, but at times can give an inaccurate or less than optimal translation.

Regarding English only… I know several that have adopted this policy… one that immediately comes to mind is the Tiny Tiny RSS project - the owner is Russian - but only allows English - for the reasons you stated.

The assumption I guess being that if someone has a problem with english, they could use a machine translator and post the english output - not perfect - but a solution.

Another note regarding English - for better or for worse it’s the de-facto international language - another case in point would be Air Traffic Control - English is mandatory.


#12

I would agree that this is the best approach, we could tag machine translated posts with “international” which would show other that the poster is not a native speaker so maybe it could reduce the misunderstandings. From my experience I only seen non-english speaking users resolve to automatic translations when they need help and can’t get it in any other way. For example I’ve seen some forums have older japanese users that are technically knowledgeable but have insufficient English skills - there can be misunderstandings sometimes because machine translations are not as good. But for bigger european languages like Spanish those are pretty good though.


#13

My mother tougue is Chinese and I can use some English and Japanese. I have to say that I perfer even Japanese rather than English in daily life because my English is quite bad. But I still think “make dedicated spaces for discussions in specific languages” is a better idea.

In my opinion, it is a dilemma of choice between efficiency and adaptation. Single language means less time spending in communication at the cost of missing excellent idea written by other lauguage. For fedora, since we have so many contributors, I’ll think that it may be more important to communicate efficiently than to generate new idea.

Allow different language may help some people express more easily(I would write this more fluent by using Chinese). But it’s costful. The only diffrence is that the cost would be transferred to readers.