This site’s categorization by language doesn’t seem to be useful

Take a look at this:

I understand why it would preferable to have members of the local community as mods.

On the other hand, making speakers of certain languages feel excluded or unsupported to enable that preference seems to be going too far.

Of course everyone won’t use translation tools. But we don’t need everyone to do so. We just need a subset of the population to do so.

Conversely, what happens when the two people who do speak that language don’t have the answer to the technical question being asked? We all have things we know about and things we don’t.

To be honest, we can’t guarantee a question will get answered no matter what language it is posted in.

I don’t use google translate either. But there are lots of translation services. That being said, we don’t need everyone to do so. If someone isn’t comfortable, there is no requirement for it to happen.

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Unfortunately I’m not able to load this page. Unsure if the link is wrong or perhaps I don’t have the requisite Trust Level.

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this is the response I get on that link

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That post is in the “lounge”, the special area for trust level 3 site members.

I don’t see anything restricted about it, though, so I’ve moved it to this category so everyone can see what’s referenced (it belongs here anyway). Should be visible to all now.

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Ah, yeh, it’s in the “Lounge”. It was a query about organising the forum by software or desktop environment and so on, and this is what we’d said then:

The breakdown into more specific categories was discussed at length during the planning phase:

The idea initially was to group by desktop environment which was the broadest and yet most specific category system—especially one that end users will quickly be able to relate to. However, further discussion led to us changing this in favour of more vaguely defined categories. With “software”, there’s no way to really define what tool gets its own category and what doesn’t. Additionally, it requires more work from the staff (admins—since only they can create categories) who will have to constantly monitor posts, create categories (and sync all languages?)

You can read more on how the current categories came about here:

and recently:


Here’s another thing to throw into the mix:

This plugin isn’t available on our current hosting plan, but there’s a chance it might be in the future once it gets more stable – and it’s possible we’ll upgrade our plan in the future.


However, imho, the point is not the number of moderators for each language category. Even if we have enough moderators (the process requires at least two people willing and capable to follow the new category). The point is the number of people willing to use their native language on this forum.
We can have dozen of moderators for a specific language, but if people still prefer to use English (maybe for better chances to get an answer), we can’t do too much in order to increase traffic in such category. On the other hand, as said, if someone ask a question in a language category, and nobody speaking such language is able to help, again, honestly I have no time to use any kind of auto-translation system in order to help people speaking a language that I don’t understand (it’s already a lot if I understand English :sweat_smile:).
So. If people want to open a new language category, we should not discourage them. If people are not using a category, it doesn’t depend on us.


Could we have some data about language category utilization?

For instance. Tastiera non funziona per alcuni secondi dopo la sospensione del computer
Here someone translated to English the original post. Commendable initiative. But :thinking: why translating to English a post in the specific language category? Again. It’s clear that a post in English has more chances to get an answer. So, again, maybe language categories don’t work here. Then, do we have some data?

However. It is also clear that language categorization prevent us to create other categories. And even if I don’t see hypercategorized forums as useful, I can admit that we have a little issue.


Well, you can see the counts on the category page here:


I guess I can ask discourse if they can provide per-category view statistics. Is there anything else you’d be interested in?

I guess another metric might be: number of views for the top post in each language. Those are, right now:

  • Spanish: 1.8k
  • Italian: 892
  • Traditional Chinese: 656
  • Simplified Chinese: 2.1k
  • Persian: 1.6k
  • English: 80.6k

I still think Language specific categories is not efficient use of the resources, and it limits the exposure of topics.

Computer Generated Translation is fairly usable. So for members having specific domain knowledge still can offer help to foreign language posts.
(To avoid potential fall outs, sometime myself will clear state I am using Translate Tools in the replies, etc )

If we put Language as a tag, ASK should still be able to provide predefined views, so that only specific language posts are shown, just like viewing a Category.

That’s what the Multilingual Plugin does — but that’s not currently available to us. (If we did that, it’d also be nice to use the Translation Plugin, including Language detection.

Of course, one can look at things by tag now — like Topics tagged firefox (or just #firefox, which takes you to the same place) — but that doesn’t AFAIK let you then filter by other tags, which is limiting.

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I guess it’s time for a straw-poll. This is non-binding (that is, the result will inform our collective decision, not dictate it). But I’d like to get a read on what people are thinking overall. I’m making this a three-week poll because it’s a big deal. Note that these responses are not anonymous.

I am okay with any of these (multiple choice)
  • Keep language categories as we have them
  • Drop language categories, introduce others (explain below)
  • Combine all non-English categories into “Ask in Any Language”
  • Drop language categories, make site English-only
  • Drop language categories, make one “Ask Fedora” category and accept occasional non-English posts.
  • Other (explain below)

0 voters

I think the best option is:
  • Keep language categories as we have them
  • Drop language categories, introduce others (explain below)
  • Combine non-english categories into one “Ask in Any Language” category
  • Drop language categories, make site English-only
  • Drop language categories, make one “Ask Fedora” category and accept occasional non-English
  • I do not have a strong preference.
  • Other (explain below)

0 voters

My usual note: with any of these that allow other languages, we’ll still need to have mods for non-English languages (until automatic translation etc. are possible to make it possible for everyone to interact with all languages)

Combine non-english categories into one “Ask in Any Language” category will be dificult to moderate.

Can we contact Discourse to make a exeption with us? and install the plug-in GitHub - paviliondev/discourse-multilingual: A Discourse Plugin that makes it easier to administer a Multilingual Forum.


Also I should note: I have an opinion, but this is one of those things where my opinion counts as “regular user”. So please take my opinion with that weight.

I want this site (and Fedora in general) to be welcoming to all, and that includes people for whom English is a challenge — or just plain not their first language. But I worry that having prominent categories which are almost ghost-towns actually is actually worse.

That’s why — although it’s not my preference — I’d be okay with “just drop them”. We might actually be better serving people by referring them to external local communities.

My thinking is that one combined category would

  • make it clear that we do have a place beyond English
  • spread things out less so at least there’s activity
  • possibly invite folks who want to use a language we don’t currently have represented.

… and if in the future one of those languages does become active to the point where it’s thriving (perhaps: at least half as active as Ask in English?) we could “graduate” it to its own level.

On moderation, I’m at least somewhat persuaded by @sampsonf’s note that we can use translation sites to at least see if something is spam, off-topic, or out-of-line in tone. It definitely would be nice to have moderators fluent in the most common languages, though.

@hhlp, I don’t think we can get an exception. Particularly, I think that plugin is pretty heavyweight and would likely be ongoing work to make sure stays working rather than just a one-time “hey, install this please.” (I think this same logic would apply if we were self-hosting, too — it’s the kind of thing I’d be wary of committing us to.)

But we are actively looking at upgrading the subscription — it’s just at the level where it’s a big request, and needs to go through a lot of compliance checking and so on, and I need to really sell it to higher-level budget deciders. This seems reasonable to me, but it is also slow and a lot of work.


I am in favor of being inclusive. So although I think we should replace the language categorization, I would prefer that we make it “Ask in Any Language”, rather than just “Ask in English”. I agree with @mattdm that having the current categorization may actually be hindering inclusiveness, though I understand how it came to be this way through the wish to make it inclusive. I agree the strongest with his point #3:

  • possibly invite folks who want to use a language we don’t currently have represented

Because right now there is no place for people with a language preference other than the 6 languages that are currently categorized.

I understand that there is a concern about moderation of foreign languages, but I am not convinced that this is a real issue. If the concern is that there is a possibility that a spammer could possibly post inappropriate content in a foreign language, I would say that this could already happen today. Is there any mechanism that prevents a user from posting a Russian spam message in the “Ask in English” category? Has that been an issue?

In addition, I think there is a pretty broad user base already present on the forum that could quickly identify “bad” posts in many languages. I, myself, can read multiple languages but I don’t have the time nor inclination to become a moderator for an entire language category. However, it wouldn’t be much trouble at all for me to flag a post as “spam” if I come across it in a language I can read. I imagine there are many people on this forum who can say the same.


Yes, switch to “Ask in Any Language” do not make moderations harder then the current arrangement.

Having said that, I think it is still good for ASK to have Moderators covering as many languages as possible - such that when there are language specific issues, we know who we can speak to when needed.

Mmh, if you can post in any language in the same category, the concern is all about aesthetic. It could look ugly to see a list of titles in different languages all in the same place.
It could be like (well, not really) a mailing list where everyone write in their language.
Now we have 5 “allowed” languages. If your language is not here, you are “forced” to use English. But after, when you are allowed to use any language? But this is only a concern. Let’s see how it goes.

In any case, I think that it would be nice to inform people about local community channels, when they exist, would they be forums or chats (Telegram/Matrix/IRC), like the ones listed here (yes, this site should be eventually updated to the current status), but this is another story.

I agree with this 100%.

In addition to everything pointed out by @guiltydoggy, there are many other Linux forums that successfully help people in other languages without dedicated native language speakers or moderators signed up to help.

I personally have helped many people solve problems in languages I can’t read.

While it is true that many people won’t break out a translation app to participate, we don’t need everyone to be willing to do it. It only takes a handful of people who can communicate natively or are willing to use a translator.