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reality check

by Anonymous Monk
on Jul 10, 2003 at 21:28 UTC ( #273146=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Non-English posts on Perlmonks

Has anyone thought about the practicalities of such broadminded acceptance?

I understand the concern about avoiding censorship and I agree on that.

However, how do you handle the daily routines of the Monastery?

  • There are more than 3000 languages in the world. But let'e be generous and say that only the 20 major languages are seen in the Monastery. Could you imagine how to deal with such a Babel?
  • How do you approve posts you don't understand? If it was posted to PerlMonks Discussions, for example, how do you know that it should be approved/moved to Meditations or SOPW?
  • How do you address people to the FAQs or the instructions on how to ask questions, which are the basic principles of our community? Are we going to translate each piece of relevant information in every language that shows up? It took about three years to get those documents to the actual state, in one language only. How do we plan to deal with the additional languages?
  • How do you consider a post for editing, deletion, promotion, if you don't know what is it talking about?

The Monastery is kept up to its current excellent status thanks to a system of community control. If the community is unable to exercise its power of self control, how is the Monastery going to keep its standards?

As for the availability of people who can understand the questions, how can you assume that the one who knows the language is the same who knows the solution? Making a back-of-the envelope calculation, I would say that it is unlikely that a question in whichever language gets the attention of somebody who speaks the language and knows how to solve the problem at the same time.

I am a non-native English speaker. I understand very well the problems of who is exposed to a foreign language environment and can't make himself understood.

However, I believe that by being more libertarian we will only create confusion and not solve many more problems than we create.

We shouldn't forget that we are a community. But let's get real. Principles are a good thing, organization requires some rules to adhere to, even if sometimes hurts.

I would love to have PerlMonks in my mother tongue, but I would rather force myself to speak a foreing language to partecipate in a well organized community than speaking my idiom within a mess.

Peace.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: reality check
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jul 11, 2003 at 00:29 UTC
    There are more than 3000 languages in the world. But let'e be generous and say that only the 20 major languages are seen in the Monastery. Could you imagine how to deal with such a Babel?

    Perlmonks exists now for how long? 3, 4 years? Allmost all of those 3000 languages existed for much longer. How many posts in foreign languages have you seen in the history of Perlmonks? Have you had a problem with that "Babel"?

    It's an issue that's raised every few months in comp.lang.perl.misc as well. Perl usenet groups predate perlmonks by many years. It gets the occasional posting in German, French, or some other languages. Usually, it gets answered. Most of the time in the same language, but it happens that the replier understands the non-English language well enough to read, but not enough to write, and the answer is given in English. The group copes with foreign language posts fine.

    How do you approve posts you don't understand? If it was posted to PerlMonks Discussions, for example, how do you know that it should be approved/moved to Meditations or SOPW?
    Eh, you don't? I never approve posts - and perlmonks runs fine. Approving, frontpaging, editing, etc isn't a duty. It'll get done by someone else, or it doesn't get done at all. So what?
    How do you address people to the FAQs or the instructions on how to ask questions, which are the basic principles of our community? Are we going to translate each piece of relevant information in every language that shows up? It took about three years to get those documents to the actual state, in one language only. How do we plan to deal with the additional languages?
    Do you think it's your duty to reply to each and every question asked? How do you address people to FAQs or instructions when you are on vacation? If you can't understand the question, move on to the next.

    Note that the F in FAQ stands for frequently asked. Two Polish questions a year don't make the question frequent. But if questions appear frequently, a FAQ will be made. That is the nature of forums like this.

    Furthermore, the fact they don't know English well enough to write it, doesn't mean they cannot read English. They got here after all. They managed to learn (some) Perl. I wouldn't be able to post in German. But my knowledge of the language is good enough to be able to understand many written texts.

    How do you consider a post for editing, deletion, promotion, if you don't know what is it talking about?
    Well, you don't. Regardless whether you don't know what they are talking about because you don't understand the language, or whether you have no knowledge of the topic being discussed. You'd move on and leave the editing, deleting, promoting, etc to others. Perlmonks is a community effort - it runs fine even if you skip an article or two.

    Besides, you are an anonymous monk. Anonymous monks don't have editing or deleting powers anyway. ;-)

    Abigail

Re: reality check
by adrianh (Chancellor) on Jul 10, 2003 at 23:47 UTC
    There are more than 3000 languages in the world. But let'e be generous and say that only the 20 major languages are seen in the Monastery. Could you imagine how to deal with such a Babel?

    I'd wait and see if a babel actually occurred. If it did I would (or rather, I would encourage pmdev to :-) tag posts with the language and allow users to filter posts by the languages they're interested in.

    How do you approve posts you don't understand? If it was posted to PerlMonks Discussions, for example, how do you know that it should be approved/moved to Meditations or SOPW?

    I wouldn't approve posts I don't understand. Just like I don't approve posts on technical topics I am not familar with, or posts that I cannot understand because English is not a language the writer can use. People who do understand it will approve it, or it won't get approved.

    How do you address people to the FAQs or the instructions on how to ask questions, which are the basic principles of our community? Are we going to translate each piece of relevant information in every language that shows up? It took about three years to get those documents to the actual state, in one language only. How do we plan to deal with the additional languages?

    As with any community led process those with the knowledge will translate - or it won't get translated. Translation is also a less time consuming task that writing.

    How do you consider a post for editing, deletion, promotion, if you don't know what is it talking about?

    I wouldn't consider a post if I didn't understand it. Just like I don't consider posts on technical topics I am unfamiliar with. People who do understand it will do the consideration, or it won't happen.

    Yes, perlmonks in other languages is going to be less useful than perlmonks in English - just because there are more perlmonks with English as a common tongue. However, I don't see that this is going to make perlmonks as a whole less useful.

    To me all this talk of principles and rules in premature. Let's wait to see if an actual problem occurs. I doubt it will because perlmonks is useful because of the community and the majority of the community has English as a lingua-franca. In my opinion allowing other languages will not change this.

Re: reality check
by allolex (Curate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 22:19 UTC

    I'll take care of the languages. I'm a lousy programmer, so it'll make me feel better. ;) I think there is enough diversity among the monks to fill the necessary roles. The core documentation is already very good and it would require only translation, not the (apparent) three-year evolution that it has taken so far. Anyway, I don't think anyone expects a flood of non-English posts all of a sudden, even though I did invite the Paris Mongueurs to visit the Monastery.

    Tolerance and Flexibility

    --
    Allolex

Re: reality check
by CountZero (Bishop) on Jul 10, 2003 at 22:13 UTC

    No no, it is not a matter of Perlmonks being anything else than an English-based website. This is the way it has been set-up and the way it should remain, but ... it does not mean that foreign language posts should be banned or even "tagged" with little "Warning: foreign language post follows" signs.

    Suppose an Anonymous Perlmonk out of Inner-Mongolia posts a message in Mongolian. It may very well be that it is not about Perl at all, but maybe a diatribe against his Government or an advertisement for exotic herbs which will increase your reproductive functions (hardly appropriate in a Monastery, I'd say). However, as he is the only Mongolian speaking poster/Monk, his message will have no effect whatsoever on the community. And if there is someone who understands this post and finds it out-of-place, he can alert the Gods to take care of it.

    CountZero

    "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

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