Acceptable Languages?

I'm personally fine with responding in another language if:

  • You are certain that the OP has more fluency in that language. (I don't think that you can infer this from a code snippet, however--people copy code from all sorts of sources, especially small examples that get used in questions here. Ask if you need to.)
  • You provide a short summary in English for the rest of the thread participants.

This is really an issue for the core team to decide, however.

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I had no problem with the post in question, and I personally found @sveinhal's reply to it rude in context. If you wanted to propose a policy making these forums monolingual then you should have done that in a new thread.

I struggle to see any harm here at all, and if I wanted/needed to understand a post then I could politely ask for a translation or attempt machine translation. Everyone is already happy to ask for clarification when parts of English language posts aren't clear.

I also don't buy the slippery slope arguments where there is suddenly so much mixed language content on the forums that it becomes an issue to sort through, because there is no sign of this happening thus far. If it did become an issue in future then perhaps technical and policy solutions would be required, but I can't see how the current state of things requires any formal response or changes.

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I didn’t want to propose a new policy.

I also don’t think there was any harm. I speak German so I also didn’t need clarification.

However, as I said, I wanted to point out that the mid-thread language change could potentially be exclusionary to other people, and ask people to be wary of that. I think Jeremy was both polite and helpful, but I didn’t think he had thought about it that way.

I’m sorry if that came out rude.

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I'm one of those other people: I can't read German. The exclusion you talk about exists, but it is not as bad as you say it is. I'd even say that "moments of exclusion" should be expected, and even welcomed as a sign of a healthy and friendly community.

There are surely social situations where a private conversation held in a language that is not understood by all attendants can be considered better if avoided. As a French, I avoid talking a foreign language for too long during a dinner, for example.

But in a friendly environment, nobody would assume I'd have a semi-private short conversation for no good reason (whether it is pleasure, clarification, or any other friendly social interaction). And if a semi-private short conversation becomes long and I feel excluded, I can interpret this bending of the implicit social rule as an even stronger hint that this happens for a good reason. And if this good reason happens to become of general interest, I can expect people to come back to the common language eventually.

I'm assuming the same here: I'm not offended whenever a conversation breaks into a language I do not understand. And I would just move on, should the conversation turn into this language for good. I don't lack other topics to read: those forums are overwhelmingly written in English.

Furthermore, there are a lot of English conversations here I don't understand because the topic is too complex for me. Those are not very different from German to me. There are also conversations I'm not interested in. There are many review threads I can't, or won't, participate in. And there are many very important conversations that happen outside of these forums. I do not think a second about complaining because I'm "excluded" from those.

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Okay, well it's safe to say I don't know what you meant by “Please keep this forum monolingual”, then. Just further proof that writing the same language doesn't ensure mutual intelligibility.

I think it is not very controversial to say that the forums are de facto monolingual and in English. The same is true for swift.org, the Swift blog, the Swift twitter account and all the documentation. I think a lot of people would be surprised if there was a blog post announcing Swift 6.0 in vietnamese. Even if there is no explicit policy stating that blog posts should only be in english.

On a personal note, as a native speaker of a language with traditionally very poor support in everything (from fonts to keyboards, to translations), I get very annoyed with attempts of faux inclusivity (let's translate Swift keywords!). Let's not pretend that someone that doesn't speak english can survive anywhere around *.swift.org. How did they even manage to create a discourse account?

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You are quoting me out of context.

I'm not entirely sure it is productive, but in what way is that out of context?

I clarified my view in both the preceding, and the following sentence, which you didn’t quote. (As well as several times again in both threads)

I don't see how adding “or at least keep single threads in a single language” to the end changes the fundamental meaning of “Please keep this forum monolingual” (i.e. that you would prefer that everyone posts in English), but perhaps this is a language barrier.

This personal preference is actually irrelevant, and I'm not sure it is useful to discuss it. The personal opinion of @sveinhal (or mine, for that matter) has absolutely no influence on the languages used of these forums. Zéro, none, zilch. Most people don't read rules before posting, and they will sometimes use a non-English language, in good faith. The reasons for rules to exist is to fix abuses and conflicts, and also, unfortunately, to help tactless moods ruin fine conversations. I did not see any language abuse, we can avoid creating a conflict, and forgive a few temporary shortages of tact. This thread will die its normal death, and we'll continue the usual (99.9% English) conversations.

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I agree with Gwendal on most of this. But I like to add that the so called "personal preference" of mine, is merely Jawbroken's projection of me, and not actually my stated preference. However, I agree that it is irrelevant. I also like to repeat that I have not suggested any rules.

I don't understand the polarising tone in this thread. Why are people talking about "harm", or wether or not they're "offended"? I don't thing anyone is neither actively or implicitly doing "harm" by writing in a certain language, so there is no need to talk like that is the case (or like someone is suggesting that that is the case). The tone of this conversation is somewhat harsh.

I think Jeremy is asking the right question, as I understand the gist of OP, when he seeks to find a pragmatic solution to what boild down to a de-facto international audience participating in a de-facto English forum. This conversation should be about practical utility, challenges and solutions. The point of this conversation should be to make sure that the forum is as useful and welcoming as possible, to as many as possible. How can we achieve that goal?

I personally think it is hindering participation to switch language mid-thread without giving context, forking it into a new thread, or giving a short summary in English. I don't, however, think that we should impose rules on which languages are acceptable, and I don't think that anyone has caused harm, tried to exclude anyone, or be anything but helpful. In fact, I quite enjoy how much effort Jeremy put into his reply, and especially the effort he makes in formatting his replies in ways that makes it easy to read (given that you understand the language, that is)

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Indeed I do not thank you for indirectly creating yet-another combative thread. This tone is a direct reaction to your initial message, in which you ask people to change their behavior. Of course there is a push back.

Since you had good intentions, that you enjoyed displayed efforts, and agree that no harm was caused, you may think twice in the future before posting such a message.

Neither Jeremy nor I have accused anyone of wrong doing or ill-intent. We are simply having a conversation about how language can be inclusionary or exclusionary. A conversation I think is worth having.

It is a reasonable objection that this works even more poorly than normal when user content is mislabelled as the wrong language, which is the case here on Discourse (lang="en-US").

So this is just an experiment to see if <span lang="..."></span> is accepted by Discourse:

Was macht der Übersetzer von Google, wenn behauptet wird, dass der Text auf Englisch ist?
(What does Google translate do, when the text claims to be in English?)

Was macht der Übersetzer von Google, wenn ihm die Tatsache klar ist, dass der Text doch auf Deutsch ist?
(What does Google translate do, when it is made clear that the text is actually in German?)

Well that was pointless...

Discourse renders it okay, but it also seems that Discourse is blocking Google Translate or something. All I see when I activate it is a blank page...

Hi Jeremy,

I appreciate this important topic of community stewardship being brought up in this thread.

The Core team stands by the principles that we want the Swift community to be an open and inclusive community. That includes supporting users who may have different preferences in choice of language for discussion. As such, the Core team feels it is appropriate for users to be able to use whatever language they choose for discussion.

This comes with some considerations:

  • Members of the Core team will need to rely on community members to monitor and escalate cases of poor conduct on the forums, especially for posts written in a language members of the Core team lack fluency. Once such cases are brought to the attention of the Core team, there are various ways to translate posts and evaluate the concerns raised about a post, and if necessary, take action. This isn't really any different from the status quo today, as Core team members do not have the capacity to read every single post.

  • As a matter of courtesy, it feels reasonable that responses to a post should be in the same language as the original post, with the option of providing additional text in a different language. Changing the language in a response from that of the original post can become a form of exclusion in the discussion, particularly to the author of the original post.

I will update Swift.org with this clarification of policy.

Thank you for bringing up this topic!

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It definitely was your stated preference (“Please keep this forum monolingual” is not at all ambiguously worded), and I really don't appreciate being repeatedly accused of quoting you out of context in this thread, implying that I was deliberately misleading people. If you didn't mean what you wrote then you have misspoken.

I don't find it particularly useful to have a conversation unless the purpose is dialogue.

I understand that you misunderstood my views, and whether that's an encoding or decoding error, is besides the point. It's fine that misunderstandings happen. But unless the purpose is mutual understanding and dialogue, I don't think there's any reason to continue this conversation.

I feel that I have repeatedly stated my point of view, and it should be clear by now. It should be clear that I was speaking of the linked thread, and if it wasn't clear from the beginning, it ought to be clear by now. If not, there's not much more I can say.

Please just stop having this argument.

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