Stack Overflow has an English-only rule. Given Raspberry Pi is such a well-defined subject area, with such a diverse user-base, are we going to stick to English-only or allow questions in other languages too?

  • 4
    The Raspberry Pi has a diverse user-base but StackOverflow doesn't?
    – Jivings
    Aug 4, 2012 at 19:47
  • It's not as focused though, and I think that's the difference here which makes me sway into allowing other languages and tagging them appropriately. I'd be very interested in Jeff's view of this actually. Aug 4, 2012 at 19:50
  • I'm certainly not swayed. What about Islam or Russian Language?
    – Jivings
    Aug 4, 2012 at 19:52
  • @Jivings Have they had similar questions? Ultimately, it's up to the community, right? Aug 4, 2012 at 19:56
  • 1
    @Jivings Of course Russian Language and Usage is going to have some Russian. It's a community about the Russian language.
    – user46
    Aug 4, 2012 at 20:11
  • 2
    I think you misunderstood. I was saying that they are clearly focussed but set in English.
    – Jivings
    Aug 4, 2012 at 21:15
  • 2
    Sorry, Alex -- For the time being, SE is English-only. We're considering launching localized verticals, but that is a medium to long term goal. RPi.SE will be English only.
    – Aarthi
    Aug 10, 2012 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


Yes, English is required.

Jeff Atwood explained the reasoning in his blog post, "Non-English Question Policy". In the blog post Jeff uses programming because Stack Overflow is the biggest site in the network, but he mentions that even though he uses programming it is the same across all sites.

It is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to be the one place in the world for all programming information in every possible human language.

Our goal isn't to provide information in all possible languages, it's to provide good information in English. Whether anybody likes it or not, English is the lingua franca of the Internet. Most of the Internet is in English and English contains a lot of technical terms not found in other languages, making English the ideal language to communicate these ideas with.

How do we help non-English speakers?

Now the question is, how do we help non-English answers? The answer is via editing as explained in this meta discussion.

If you spend the time to reformat the question, even if it is still vague, at that point it is back on the OP to clarify those parts, but you have ELIMINATED the language barrier, and this allows the question to be helpful to the site, rather than just dismissing everyone who doesn't speak English.

That means you should edit, edit, edit. They don't have to speak perfect English. Heck, not even a lot of native speakers can speak English perfectly. We just have to edit it until it is helpful. This way we aren't dismissing non-English speakers.

  • 3
    +1 -- This is the correct answer. Note: chat is any language you want it to be. The main and meta should be English.
    – Aarthi
    Aug 10, 2012 at 2:53
  • Accepted as per @Aarthi comments. Aug 10, 2012 at 8:08

No, English shouldn't be required

The Raspberry Pi is a very specific subject with knowledge and users spread all over the world. With effective moderation, we can effectively answer people's questions in multiple languages.

It should be noted that Jeff Atwood's blog post was written before the network expanded to include more specific subjects, such as the Raspberry Pi.

How do we manage questions in multiple languages?

We would be one of the first SE subsites that accept questions in multiple languages. I suggest that questions in another language should be tagged with the appropriate language, such as , and the OP should be encouraged to translate it into English, especially if it hasn't been answered in their native language.

Software Improvements

If we found that the community could support multiple languages, possible new features could include:

  • Support for translations side by side, rather than stacked.

Meta Questions

Meta questions should stay English-only, as it is the only way that the community can effectively discuss them.

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