Language policy for Forum and GitHub

What is our policy regarding posts in languages other than English in the Community Forum and GitHub issues? I couldn’t find anything about it in the FAQ or TOS.

Generally speaking I would probably advise to anyone posting in another language that we are unlikely to be able to help them.

In reality on the forum we’ve only had a couple non-english posts and they have all been spam (a quick google translate made that obvious) and hence were removed.

If we were to have a policy I would say that we allow them but advise the author that we are unlikely to be able to help - I think we should avoid closing / removing non-english content as that would IMO be discriminatory - especially as we are an open community and someone may come along who can help in other languages.

It would be interesting to know how sites like Stack Overflow handle it.

In my view, the Parse Community has no obligation to provide a forum in all languages. With the same logic it could be considered discriminatory to offer Parse Server docs only in English.

The Parse Community is formed around an (native or non-native) English speaking community. Posting a non-English question in an English speaking forum is like saying “do the work for me”, because we would have to translate the question (and the whole thread) to

  • evaluate for potential moderation / identify spam
  • classify and apply a label on GitHub
  • continuously translate new comments in the thread to screen for critical issues, exposed vulnerabilities and incorrect information

I think it is also fair to assume that a programmer can communicate at least at a basic level of English as it is the dominant language in programming, as well as for Parse Server commands / methods / parameters.

Allowing non-English threads without a number of team members who can communicate in that language basically creates a parallel forum where rules are hard to enforce. IANAL, but since we administer these sites we may even have a legal responsibility for the content we host / allow / bring into circulation. Besides that, if an author does not understand English, they can also not read / accept the forum TOS.

SE sites in general politely redirect the author to their language specific site (e.g. there is a SO español and a bunch of other languages) and close vote the question. According to their official blog, they do not allow any random human language on their English sites.

Here is a SE Meta article that describes it quite well:

What should I do if someone else makes a post that is not in English?
(…) If it’s not spam, vote or flag to close it as “Needs detail or clarity” if it’s a question, or flag as “very low quality” if it’s an answer.

Should I translate wrong-language posts?
No, it is not necessary to translate wrong-language posts. Machine translations (e.g. Google Translate) can be inaccurate, and even human translations risk distorting the intended meaning of the post. It’s up to the author to make sure that their post fits the quality standards of the site; if they don’t, it reduces their chance of getting a good answer (in the case of a question) or that their post will be well-received.

For the reasons above, I think as long as there are not enough potential community members (incl. Parse team members for moderation) to form a non-English Parse Community, we should restrict to English.

Should we add a note to our TOS?

I would disagree as personally I’m very open to hosting the docs in other languages, granted there was someone committed to translation, I personally just don’t have the ability to translate.

Fair points (I hadn’t considered the aspect of moderation and sensitive content) although historically speaking all non-english content on this forum has been spam and I don’t think a language policy in the TOS would have stopped them!

I just don’t think these are relevant concerns given our scale and complete lack of historical problems (to my knowledge).

I’m convinced by your arguments about moderation and I think we shouldn’t promote non-english (unless circumstances change). However, I don’t see the benefit or importance of adding anything to the TOS. Is there a specific reason as to why you brought this up?

I agree with you and that is exactly my point. We do not have the resources / ability to translate and maintain docs. I would love to see and help build a Parse Community in another language, but we would need enough Parse team members to build and maintain such a community.

Yes, there was a legitimate question posted on GitHub issues I believe where the title was in English but the question itself was in Mandarin. That made me thinking how we officially deal with it (translate it and answer in English, translate the answer back to Mandarin, ask to post the question in English, not do anything and wait for someone to answer in Mandarin, etc.) Unfortunately I can’t remember which repo and can’t find the post anymore.

That’s maybe off-topic, but I think the online climate is shifting and I have seen instances where legal action was taken against forums. The Parse Community is accumulating funds through donations and the amount of these funds is publicly visible. The more they grow, the more likely it could become a target of legal action (even if not justified), but as a way to get to that money, especially when if we give the impression of not being legally prepared to fend off claims. It’s a form of legal trolling. Anyway, that’s a topic for a whole other tread I guess.

That’s fine with me, the outcome I was hoping to get from this thread was a common understanding what our policy should be regarding this.