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Non-English posts on Perlmonks

by Vennis (Pilgrim)
on Jul 10, 2003 at 10:17 UTC ( #272932=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello fellow monks,

Today i saw a portugese post of code. This surprised me a bit. Didn't ever see a non-english commented/described piece of code here i think.

I understand there's no law against it. I do consider it a problem. I don't expect anyone to use perfect english (would exclude me for sure :-) but an reasonable understandable or at least trying to be understandable is the least i think.

I will put my statements here and hope you might support me on this or convince me why i see wrong (either would make me happy :-)

Posting in non-english is not good for the following reasons:

  • You will decrease the results on a topic in a search for solutions.
  • You will miss topics of interest.
  • You will miss usefull comments of people that dont speak your language.
  • You will divide the power of the perlmonks community into 'islands' of knowledge

    People could just as well post PHP-code with english comments, it's just as useful for me (might be even more useful).

    Ofcourse i don't want to make it a problem at the moment, because it's an incident. But it might be good to think about it.

    Q: Why did the Perlmonk cross the road?
    A: He wanted to escape the match.

  • Replies are listed 'Best First'.
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by grantm (Parson) on Jul 10, 2003 at 10:43 UTC

      If someone can really only properly explain their problem in their native language and someone else can explain a solution to them in the same language then where's the problem?

      If you can't read and answer the question then I guess that's one less thing for you to do today.

      You speak of missing interesting topics and comments from people who don't speak your language but what solution do you propose - 'Just learn English' - perhaps?

        ++, I could not agree more.

        IMO, people should be able to post in any language they want. Enforcing English on this website is one step away from censorship. Is that the direction that we want to see this forum head towards?

        Well said :).

        A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jul 10, 2003 at 15:15 UTC
      Posting in non-english is not good for the following reasons:
      Let's assume that someone posting here in a non-English language doesn't have the knowledge to post an understandable article written in English. Their alternative is to not post.
      • You will miss usefull comments of people that dont speak your language.
      True, but you still might get comments of people understanding your language, which is better than not getting any comments, which happens if you don't post at all.
      • You will divide the power of the perlmonks community into 'islands' of knowledge
      Yeah, and? It's not going to reduce the size of the "main", English-speaking island. But it might cause additional islands to form, increasing the total land-mass. And if their are people who understand both English and some non-English language, they can act as bridgebuilders, linking the various islands.

      I don't get what you are saying with your first two points (maybe that's because I'm not a native English speaker).

      Abigail

        hola,

        i find myself defending Vennis again, surprised a little by your assertions, in particular:

        "Yeah, and? It's not going to reduce the size of the "main", English-speaking island. ". if i cannot understand a posting, it diminishes the information i am able to glean from perl monks. if there are many such postings, while they may be of intrinsic worth, i will just tend to switch off, more and more. like i do from my old spam-ridden email accounts. i will choose a medium less polluted by things i can make no sense of . likewise, can you imagine cb, if it were continually interspersed with comments you could not understand?

        perl itself is rooted in english to an extend it is hard to get away from; the pod is rooted in english, the source comments are in english - i find it odd that advocating, as Vennis has done, that the same should apply to perlmonks should so many hackles.

        particularly when he, from what i can gather, is dutch.

        yours respectfully,

        ...wufnik

        in the world of the mules there are no rules

          if i cannot understand a posting, it diminishes the information i am able to glean from perl monks.

          I think you missed the part about bridge building. Yeah, most people post in English, but realistically should someone who wants to learn Perl, but does not quite have a good enough grasp of the English language to feel confident to post in English, be chastised for asking for help. If someone asks for help, regardless of language, they should be helped (and then let the bridge builders do their work, for the benifit of all.)

          If there are many such postings, while they may be of intrinsic worth, i will just tend to switch off, more and more. like i do from my old spam-ridden email accounts. i will choose a medium less polluted by things i can make no sense of

          If you know of (or find) a better medium for discussing Perl than PerlMonks, then I am sure you will not be the only one moving along to greener pastures. (I do like the language optional display of nodes). I also think, (hopefully not mistakenly), that nodes of great "intrinsic" worth would be high on the priority list for translation. In the end I don't really believe that you would notice a decrease in the amount of information you can glean from this site.

          likewise, can you imagine cb, if it were continually interspersed with comments you could not understand?

          I am almost certain that at times I have noticed a good amount of nonEnglish scrolling by on the CB. Nothing exessive, but had it become that, there is the option of "/ignore"ing those who are doing it, so I don't think it would be a problem there as well.

          perl itself is rooted in english to an extend it is hard to get away from; the pod is rooted in english, the source comments are in english - i find it odd that advocating, as Vennis has done, that the same should apply to perlmonks

          I agree, it is rooted in English, but that should not mean that we cannot extend a hand to those who are not fluent enough in English to post (or confident that they will understand an answer given back to them in English.)

          Besides, with the knowledge they are likely to get in their native tongue, they are likely to wonder what other wonderful information is hidden away in English on this site and in time, gain enough knowledge of English to be able glean the knowledge posted here throughout the years. (and then they will be the bridge builders of tomorrow.. community is IMHO a lot of what Perl(Monks) is about.)

          -enlil

          if i cannot understand a posting, it diminishes the information i am able to glean from perl monks.
          As talexb said, it isn't about you, it is about the community. If someone posts in a language other than one you understand, move on and hope that someone else can answer their question. Perlmonks is a place where people needing help with Perl can come and get it. If they are forced to post in English, they might not be able to ask their question, even if one of the many Perlmonks knows their native language.
          if i cannot understand a posting, it diminishes the information i am able to glean from perl monks. if there are many such postings, while they may be of intrinsic worth, i will just tend to switch off, more and more. like i do from my old spam-ridden email accounts.

          Each posting on perlmonks about CGI, or about Windows issues diminishes the information I glean from Perlmonks, because I've no interest in them. If there would be too many of such postings, I'd spend less and less time on Perlmonks.

          I don't have a problem with that. I'm not going to argue that because I don't like CGI or Windows, Perlmonks should have a policy not to accept such postings. At best I could argue Perlmonks should have some filtering options. Or I could run a local newsserver, hack together a perlmonks to NNTP gateway and use a newsreader that does have such filtering ability.

          But I don't think Perlmonks is there for me, or that the prospect of me leaving results in a policy change.

          Abigail

          likewise, can you imagine cb, if it were continually interspersed with comments you could not understand?
          Half of the comments on CB make no sense to me and that has nothing to do with the language in which they are written ;-)

          CountZero

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

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by moxliukas (Curate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 12:07 UTC

      I am Lithuanian, so I would probably like to make some posts in Lithuanian (I know there is at least one Lithuanian post already). It might be a problem if you are searching for something in particular and probably don't want to have search results in all the different languages, but I think the problem can be solved very easily. Just put a sort of warning in the topic (like in the (lang: lt) CGI/Perl Script Security – „lang: lt“) and then add a capability to exclude those posts in the Super Search. Then we would only have to agree on the language tag naming conventions ;)

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by naChoZ (Curate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 12:16 UTC
      This was discussed a bit a little while back. The thing that makes it relevent is that they aren't posting new things in a different language, they're working on translating some of the stuff that's already here.

      ~~
      naChoZ

        Well, translation sounds like a great idea.

        But a little intro about how and what it's about, how hard can that be.

        I really don't understand why people get so worked up about my post.

          In Belgium we have three official languages (Dutch, French, German) and altough no-one is required to know any of them it is pretty helpful to at least know something of the other languages.

          I can still remember the time when some people found that Dutch was a language only good for peasants and that upper-class people considered French the better language.

          If you never had to deal with such things you cannot begin to understand why people get very worked-up about language issues.

          I say: let the posters write in any language they choose and let the Monks answer in any language they can.

          Hey, we didn't get Unicode for nothing!

          CountZero

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

          I really don't understand why people get so worked up about my post.

          My grand-father emigrated from Mexico to America, and I remember many people, not imply you, who believed he shouldn't speak spanish in an english society, and who expressed this belief using many insulting and painful methods. This is one reason people may be getting worked up about your post. That said, since Perl Monks isn't an "english society", ie. people visit from around the world, post in other languages should be expected and, if the poster can't speak english then needed. A note at the end of the post saying "please translate" would be all I see as needed.

          "Pain is weakness leaving the body, I find myself in pain everyday" -me

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by talexb (Canon) on Jul 10, 2003 at 16:29 UTC
        People could just as well post PHP-code with english comments, it's just as useful for me (might be even more useful).

      No, because this is Perl Monks, not PHP Monks. It's not appropriate to post PHP questions here.

      And to respond to your larger question about posting in non-English languages, I disagree.

      • You will decrease the results on a topic in a search for solutions. -- only if you don't speak that language and there is a significant proportion of responses in that language.
      • You will miss topics of interest. -- if the title's in a language I understand, I might take a gander at it -- otherwise I'll leave it (sadly) for the portuguese speaking members of the community.
      • You will miss usefull comments of people that dont speak your language. -- if they don't speak any of my languages, and I don't speak any of theirs, yes.
      • You will divide the power of the perlmonks community into 'islands' of knowledge -- they are only islands if we only speak single languages. I speak passable French and some German.
      This site is a community -- it's not about whether *I* understand a particular language, it's about whether the community understands a particular language. If someone can post something and someone else and reply, that's enough. If no one else understands the language, that's a pity, but it doesn't become a problem under a significant number of posts are incomprehensible by the majority of the community.

      Conclusion: don't sweat it.

      --t. alex
      Life is short: get busy!
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by BrowserUk (Pope) on Jul 10, 2003 at 20:28 UTC

      I've followed this thread with interest and dismay. As a native english, 9/10ths and 3/100ths language speaker, almost anything said in anything other than english goes right over my head, but the idea that it shouldn't be allowed just because I don't understand it, I find ludicrous, discriminatory and sad.

      All the arguments in favour of an english-only PM seem to boil down to a single premise, "I might miss something", which is where the sad part comes in. I've also seen people get on this broken high-horse a few times when a couple of non-native english speakers greeted and exchanged pleasantries with each other in their native language in the CB. What is the problem? The CB frequently has several conversations going on at once on different subjects, and the participants in each simply ignore the others. Is it really that much harder to ignore stuff when you don't understand it? Or is there some other insecurity at play here?


      Examine what is said, not who speaks.
      "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
      "When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." -Richard Buckminster Fuller


    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by sauoq (Abbot) on Jul 10, 2003 at 18:24 UTC

      This is Perl Monks. Not English Monks. Not English Perl Monks. Not Perl English Monks. Where did you get the idea that it is an "English" site?

      English is not a prerequisite for programming in Perl.

      -sauoq
      "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by chunlou (Curate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 20:12 UTC
      This is an English-language site. So, naturally, you expect English.

      But it's also a "world" site. Majority of people here are from America and Europe, along with folks from the rest of the world (according to locations people revealed in their settings and data shown on a Perlmonks stat page).

      For Europeans, it's pretty natural for people to communicate in multiple languages.

      It's up to the author's discretion to write an "effective" post, including what language he wants to write it in. (Well, after all, the periodic table was invented by a Russian. We'd miss out a lot if we ignored something unless it's in English.)


      __________________________
      Update: Here's the aforementioned Perlmonks stat page. Could be slow at times.
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by wufnik (Friar) on Jul 10, 2003 at 14:52 UTC
      hmmm, Vennis, though i applaud the other posts for the ability to post in different native languages so passionately, I basically with your sentiments.

      whenever one makes a statement regarding which language it is best to use, the accusation of cultural bias will surface; sometimes rightly, here, i think, wrongly:

      the problem is not so much with using other languages to discuss perl, which they may do with greater clarity/brevity/accuracy than english, it is to do it within the confines of the monastery itself.

      with a common language, whether it be latin, esperanto or fenugreek, the community has one medium in which to discuss and resolve its problems. with multiple languages, the discussion - and the community - could become divided along national lines, and it would be particularly nasty to see perl monks extraordinary & valuable collective fracture this way, for the sake of, well, vanity. gaelic is not as widely spoken as i would like on the net. is perl monks the place to start righting this wrong? No.

      that said: does it need legislation at this stage? probably not; my eyes, accustomed to seeing only english print, have neglected to pick up the faintest trace of portugese, in my cloister, anyway (except, maybe, hola? ;-))

      ...wufnik

      --in the world of the mules there are no rules

        Hello, wufnik.
        Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm the author of the most of the portuguese posts at PerlMonks, AFAIK.

        I started to translate some sections of PerlMonks to allow some fellows less skilled on english to join this community. My initial intentions was not to translate the entire website, nor divide this community. I just tought that we could have more well educated and active members if the main documentation was accessible in his/her native language.

        If this makes the monks unhappy, I shall stop this a.s.a.p.. But if this is good and pleases the gods, please help me pointing what nodes you think I shall translate first so the novice's startup time decreases the maximum possible.

        Ah! Just one more thing: "hola" is not portuguese!!!

        =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
        Yet Another Perl Monk

          hello monsieur champs

          sorry about the hola was attempting lamely to appear more cosmopolitan than i am...

          i congratulate and applaud your translation work, not that my opinion should matter. it certainly does not make me unhappy. for me the problem is mainly to do with addition of new information, which, to use an unpleasant analogy, would be less digested. less monks to 'chew it over',if frequent new postings happened in different languages. and i certainly would not do anything but recommend that these *new* postings should be in english.

          mass indigestion => less world peace

          regards & best wishes,

          wufnik

          ... in the world of the mules there are no rules.
        We share a common language, it is called Perl.

        --
        I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

          We share a common language, it is called Perl.

          I assume this is a joke, but just in case it isn't I'll point out that yes, an if statement is an if statement, but code with comments, identifiers, etc written in a language you don't know create a large obstacle to understanding the code.

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by allolex (Curate) on Jul 10, 2003 at 19:16 UTC

      You're committing a logical error based on a presumption that the community will diminish by adding members who would not otherwise participate in the community. It's not the people who can write English well that this would benefit. Are the people now posting in English all going to post in some other language? Is this going to cause massive deletion of the current and future databases? If people want to post in some other language, let them.

      --
      Allolex

    A multilingual PM is a GOOD thing
    by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Jul 10, 2003 at 17:00 UTC
      Why not add a checkbox that allows you to specify the language(s) of the post? Then, you can specify in your profile that you only wish to see posts in a specific language(s) and that you will be posting in specific language(s). Super-search would be expanded to allow you to search in different languages.

      I can only see this as a win for PM. Multiple languages can only grow the monastery. Anything else is chauvinism.

      ------
      We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

      Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

      Please remember that I'm crufty and crochety. All opinions are purely mine and all code is untested, unless otherwise specified.

        ...anything else is chauvinism

        to quote from an unlikely source, Abigail-II; point 19 of Abigail's coding guidelines post:

        "Comments, POD and variable names MUST use English. English is the current Lingua Franca. "

        is this chauvinism too? is it chauvinistic to even discuss a lingua franca, or is it a thing that has its place where knowledge is traded?

        chauvinism is a charge too easily bandied about; what is desired is merely more clarity, and less noise. The best place to look in perl monks for code is an already an issue: with separate languages for each subsection, the problem would multiply. if it is chauvinism to oppose babel - shoot me.

        ...wufnik

        ...in the world of the mules there are no rules
          to quote from an unlikely source, Abigail-II; point 19 of Abigail's coding guidelines post:

          Those are A) Abigail's and B) guidelines.

          -sauoq
          "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
          
          A lingua franca is a good recommendation when dealing with something like CPAN, which is a repository for common-use items.

          Posts on PM are not common-use items - they are questions that need answers. If I cannot clearly communicate the question I have, then I am locked out. If I cannot clearly communicate the answer I can give you, then I am locked out. That is chauvinism.

          ------
          We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

          Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

          Please remember that I'm crufty and crochety. All opinions are purely mine and all code is untested, unless otherwise specified.

          Those are my guidelines, for my code. Guidelines I enforce on myself, not on anyone else. Having comments, POD or variable names in more than one language isn't worthwhile, and if a language has to be picked, English it is. And while I don't mind posts in non-English languages, I've serious doubts about the usefulness of postings that use a different language in each sentence (other than translations, quotes, or making a point).

          The main reason I published the guideline was not to have others copy my guidelines, and use my coding style. The guidelines raises a number of points, which I recommend everyone to think about.

          Abigail

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by LazerRed (Pilgrim) on Jul 10, 2003 at 17:37 UTC
      If you can't read/understand a question, there are plenty of other people seeking "wisdom" in English, help them.

      If I can help someone who posts in "Insert Lang here" I will, If I cannot understand the node, I'll move along and hope someone else can help.

      I see this as a non-issue. LR
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by tos (Deacon) on Jul 11, 2003 at 11:54 UTC
      Dear Monks,

      as a non-native english-speaker it's sometimes rather enervating to compose my hopefully fairly understandable posts to the PMs. Occasionally i am almost desparate while i'm assembling sentences like this one with the aid of my destop-dictionary. What a luck that i haven't to build them in realtime.

      Even so there are two reasons for me to use english for my postings.

      • PerlMonks give me the opportunity the strengthen not only my perl- but also my english-skills.
      • The chance for a helpful answer is much more bigger if i don't restrict the crowd that is able to understand my question.
      So i have to struggle with english in the future... :-)

      greetings, tos

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by hossman (Prior) on Jul 11, 2003 at 01:37 UTC

      Let's set aside for a moment, all of the various comments that have been made for/against the ability/value of having non-english posts on PerlMonks.

      Instead, let's consider three possibilities...

      1. There is a strong concensus that non-english posts are bad, and shouldn't be allowed.
      2. There is a strong concensus that non-english posts are good, and should be allowed.
      3. There is no strong concensus about non-english posts.

      ...

      1) Bad

      In the first scenerio, there isn't much that can be done to prevent non-english posts that isn't allready possible. We could add an "All Posts Must Be In English" disclaimer, but that's about it -- you can allready recommend any node you think is "bad" for consideration, and if enough people agree it will get reaped. Short of writting an AI to analyze posts for non english words (which would be harder then hell since it would have to recognize perl as well) there's not a lot that can be done.

      2) Good

      Here's were i can see some potentially code changes being made to Perlmonks ... if all posts had a "language" pull down you could select from, such that all nodes were labeled with their langauge, and User Prefrences could be added such that you could say "only show me nodes in these languages" or "list nodes in other langauges, but don't bother showing me the body" then there could in fact be lots of overlapping Perlmonks communities with everybody being able to seek/give help in languages they wre comfortable in, and no one being bconfused by languages they didn't understand.

      Short of making a change like that, i don't see anything else that can really be done ... people can post whatever they want right now ... so they could still keep on doing that.

      3) "Eh"

      This is what i consider the most likely scenerio ... in general, I don't think people feel strongly enough either way -- don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there aren't some passionate people on this issue, I'm just saying that I don't expect you to find enough critical mass to go about advocating a ban on all non-english posts, nor do i expect to see a lot of patches submitted to support language preferences on posts.

      I expect that most people are happy to just let others post in whatever language they want. and if you do't understand a particular post ... just ignore it, and maybe someone else will post a translation later (hell -- there are a lot of posts in english that i don't udnerstand, usually because the problem/code is so compltely outside the scope of what i deal with on a day to day basis)

      However -- there's nothing to stop you from "Considering" a non-english node if you feel that it's non-englishness makes it work being removed ... if enough people agree with you it will happen.

      What more could you ask for?

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by tmiklas (Hermit) on Jul 13, 2003 at 21:07 UTC
      Hello Monks

      WARNING: This reply can be undersood as malicious

      I decided to write this in english... why? Maybe becouse i know this language 'a bit' (unlike Vennis does) - in fact it doesn't matter why, so don't ask.
      I'm from Poland, so of course i would prefer to write in my native language (PL: i kto wie, czy tak nie zaczne robic - chocby ze zlosliwosci), but i use english, becouse most of people here use and understand it. I want to say, that i feel disgusted reading some replies and i also feel gracefull for the others. We speak many languages (as a community) and so let it be like that!
      To learn english, is not a solution! English is not the best language ever seen... neither is any other language. Usually i just skim the newest nodes and read only some of them... And it's not becouse i don't understand the language - i don't understand their content.

      Anyway - as a community IMvHO we should be tolerant for people asking for help in language other than english. We meet here becouse of Perl, so let's focus on Perl. Of course it would be much easier for most of people here to answer questions written in english, but for sure we should not make it a rule!

      Greetz, Tom.
    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by nega (Scribe) on Jul 14, 2003 at 12:55 UTC
      From the Perl Monks guide to the Monastery:

      What Perl Monks is:

    • Our attempt to make learning Perl as nonintimidating and easy to use as possible
    • A place for you and others to polish, improve, and showcase your Perl skills
    • A community which allows everyone to grow and learn from each other.
    • That being said, I'd much rather a poster submit their question the most effective way that they can, in order to recieve the best answer that they can. If that means that "you" or "I" or "we" can't understand it beacuse it's in a different language, so be it. Yes, "you" or "I" or "we" will miss something... maybe something earth-shatteringly-astounding. But, that post will be answered, and answer will be the answer to the question, or a translation of the question, or both.

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by Vennis (Pilgrim) on Jul 11, 2003 at 13:20 UTC
      I rest this topic personally. too many people see my statements as if i want to push english forward or put other cultures backward.

      I'm dutch, my native language is dutch. I have no specific relation to english.

      All i was trying to point out, what is understood by many in this topic, that it's useful to use a standard method of communication.

      It's like using XML to share data... It has nothing to do with uncles in Mexico.

      Q: Why did the Perlmonk cross the road?
      A: He wanted to escape the match.

    reality check
    by Anonymous Monk on Jul 10, 2003 at 21:28 UTC

      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.

        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

        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.

        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

        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

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by wufnik (Friar) on Jul 11, 2003 at 08:49 UTC
      the thread is interesting and dismaying to me too, BrowserUK

      i am appalled by the idea that people have been reprimanded for speaking languages other than english in the cb. the kind of 'censorship' that i feel appropriate, if it can go by such a name, is merely to *recommend* that english be the language for posting - to prefer it, nothing more.

      regarding the main point of the proposition being 'i might miss something' - i feel the fundamental misconception is here. it is not 'i might miss something', it is 'we' might miss something. when a posting is made that is not in english, the accessibility of that posting to the community is diminished. it is all very well to assert, as a statement of faith in the efficiency of monastery knowledge transfer, that this node will be translated because of its intrinsic worth. some are, thanks to the good efforts of Monsieur Champs and others. what is at risk more are postings on niche subjects, and their informational content: untranslated, they become invisible to super search, they remain uncategorized. and so the value of the monastery to its community becomes diluted.

      i don't want to labour the point. the advantages of a lingua franca are subtle, less emotive than the blunt, arrogant assertion that 'posting in language x is verboten.'. this does not mean they are less important to the community, it's evolution or devolution.

      wufnik

      in the world of the mules there are no rules

        I really don't think it's going to be a problem (speaking a a mono-linqual English user).

        1. If you only know English you are going to post in English. Situation normal. No harm done.
        2. If you have English as a second language you are still going to post in English because it's the language understood by most monks... and you want most monks to read your posts (because that's the way to get your question answered, or your point made, our your XP enhanced ;-) No harm done.
        3. If you don't have English as a second language (at least, not enough to write questions with) then you wouldn't be contributing to the English site anyway. Posting in another language isn't going to lose the site useful information because the author cannot post in English. So no harm done.

        I really think people are making a big fuss over a non-problem ;-)

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by David Caughell (Monk) on Jul 12, 2003 at 23:53 UTC
      Hi there.

      I think that it's good to allow people to make their posts in their native language.

      However, for archiving purposes, it would be good if the posts are retitled in english (though the contents kept in their original language).

      An alternative to this is setting up areas for different languages.

      Perlmonks is an international community, so we should make as much of an effort as possible to allow people using other languages to get involved.

      --Dave.

      "For fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship among the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship among the good." - Plato / Socrates

      Update: removed inappropriate comment
        However, for archiving purposes, it would be good if the posts are retitled in english (though the contents kept in their original language).

        Wouldn't this create confusion as to the language used in the post? English-only speakers may view the post expecting english, and non-english speakers might pass it over assuming it's in english. Am I missing something here?

        The only conceivable problem I see with native language postings is moderation. What if something that appears to be another language is really just semi-randomly generate strings? Or something offensive (or in violation of copyright laws, etc) is posted and nobody else hear speaks that language? This definately shouldn't discourage native-language postings all together, but it might be best to, at first, stick to ones where there's an obvious level of visitors knowing them (german, french to name two).

          The only conceivable problem I see with native language postings is moderation. What if something that appears to be another language is really just semi-randomly generate strings? Or something offensive (or in violation of copyright laws, etc) is posted and nobody else hear speaks that language?

          There are three different issues. First, what happens if someone posts something offensive, and there's noone here that understands the language? Let me answer that with an old riddle If a tree falls in a forest, and there is noone to hear it, does it make a sound? Can something be insulting if there's noone insulted? Does it matter?

          The second issue is, what if someone posts something that's a copyright violation. Well, what happens if someone posts something in English that is a copyright violation? My bet is that nothing happens, until someone notices and informs the right people. My bet is, the same happens if someone posts a copyright violation in a language other than English.

          As for the third issue, it's far from trivial to generate random strings that look like a language but isn't. And suppose among the thousands of monthly posts here, one or two are a clever spoof. I don't think that's a problem. It hasn't been a problem in all the years this site existed, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

          Abigail

    In reply to many of these posts
    by cLive ;-) (Prior) on Jul 11, 2003 at 09:07 UTC
      My instinct on seeing the portugese was to run it through the babelfish.

      It took a while for me to realise it was just translations of existing content.

      My opinion is that monsieur_champs would do better to provide the portugese on his(?) own site and link to it from his home node.

      Yes, English is not everyone's first language, but if you can provide at least a babelfish translation (assuming your language is covered), or an English note saying which language the question is in (took me a couple of guesses :), it would help English speakers who want to help have at least a starting point.

      Of course, if your intent is not to target the english speakers (as in this case), making that clear in English in your post would help :)

      Of course, if the gods decide on translations, I'm sure it would be a lot better to do it in an orderly way rather than posting them haphazardly in 'tutorials'. This would be something good to aim for, but I think it needs to be well organized.

      just my .02

      cLive ;-)

        I whish just to clarify two points:

        1. If you go to the nodelet you've mentioned, you will see that I posted a "This is a translation..." warning at the top of it. I'm sorry you didn't noted this warning and posted a english translation of my portuguese translation. With some luck, the Node Reaper will take care of it soon.
        2. I've posted it following instructions from the editors. I consulted two of them before posting translations, and received instructions to post the translations at the Tutorials section and warning the editors using the Editor Requests section so they could move the nodelets to the proper place.

        I'm sorry about the mess, but I was trying to help other fellows that aren't well skilled in english. I think that this is what means being part of a community.

        =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
        Yet Another Perl Monk

    Re: Non-English posts on Perlmonks
    by Courage (Parson) on Jul 11, 2003 at 06:33 UTC
      Perl monk community is too big today.
      Just because questions in SOPW usually exist on first page even less than for a day, and then they scrolled.

      I think perlmonks should be divided into some parts, and dividing by different languages seems to be practical, yet such division will help people who are not English native speakers.

      The only problem here is -- it's a lot of efforts, and no one will do it for free.

      Courage, the Cowardly Dog

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