We have now multiples sites for languages.

German, English, Japanese, French.

On our meta here, many questions are asked regarding the localisation problems, here is a list

From recent discussions in chat, it has been make clear that meta-tags for questions are not the best thing we can do, and I agree (see my statement here).

You can look at all these questions: there is no way to solve it in a nice and easy way at the moment. Some are purely development things like accents, or UI improvement. And some other are more meta-discussions like should we make tags in French AND in English, should we translate question in French AND English? How is the StackExchange team willing to support the development of language sites regarding the functionalities of SE? I read about Robert's answer here, where he is talking about localisation of SE, that gives a little insight of what is going on. But this is not really talking about the features.

Those questions are not specific to french.se and can be also on topic on other language sites. So my questions are :

  • Should those questions been solved globally (like on [MSO])?
  • Is there any ideas already ongoing on what will be available? or shall we propose interface tips like I did on my answer? (How is SE team working on this?)
  • How do we work around those problem before the arrival of localisation tools?

2 Answers 2


Should those questions been solved globally (like on [MSO])?

Actually, in many cases it helps a lot better to have the question here on your own Meta. It gives it a lot of better context as we can see the problem within the community that it primarily affects. It's similar with the other sites - the problems with the Japanese site are a lot more visible while you're on that site and have to deal with the issues of kanji and kana. We keep an eye on the individual metas as often as we do the main one.

And to that end, we always prefer to find solutions that can be applied to the Network as a whole, not for individual sites. Site-specific custom solutions have been done, but being able to implement things that can be done across multiple sites is always something we look at. We consider this even when looking at individual site Metas.

So in conclusion, keep asking them on your own site. Whether it needs to be globally performed or not, we'll figure it out and we can find it here. ♪

Is there any ideas already ongoing on what will be available? or shall we propose interface tips like I did on [my answer][propal]? (How is SE team working on this?)

We actually had a recent overview of language-site-related issues that we discussed, prompted by the recent volume. So I can say that we're looking into them.

One thing you can always do to help is provide usable tools and interfaces. If there exist third-party scripts or tools that can implement what is desired, then it often becomes a lot easier to integrate with our system than having to design from scratch. For example, that MathJax script we use on sites like Mathematics, that was supplied by one of the site's users. It goes a long way to helping get a solution quicker when there are tools we can integrate.

How do we work around those problem before the arrival of localisation tools?

It largely depends on the scenario. Excepting that you find usable tools and scripts as mentioned previously, a lot of it is just a matter of waiting. Which is not always comfortable, I agree, but in the absence of a solution there isn't generally much.

For example, with the space-before-punctuation, I'm afraid it's largely a case of "wait until it gets fixed", unless you find an invincible workaround. Comparatively, there are other cases where the problem can be ignored or endured (Japanese has an issue with non-alphanumeric titles that throws an error, but does not stop the post from going through), in which endurance can suffice.

  • "One thing you can always do to help is provide usable tools and interfaces", could you point to any documentation on how to make some? Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 14:58
  • @Unf I do not have any, sorry. It depends a lot on the system in question how easy those are to develop. Sometimes you can find these through searching online as well.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 15:01
  • 1
    @Unfrancophone, depending on how comfortable you are with coding in general, you could find quite a lot of inspiration for user scripts here: stackapps.com/?tab=scripts
    – Benjol
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 5:03
  • @Benjol, stakapps is the starting point I needed. I'll just have refresh my rusty javascript. Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 7:23

Some of these questions have already been (re)raised on MSO.

  • I think it is logical to try to find global solutions where appropriate (not sure that non-breaking spaces are a problem for any of the other languages).
  • I think if we propose solutions, that can only help, but there's no guarantee that we will get what we ask for, nor (at present) an expected time period in which we'll get it.
  • I'm not sure there is space to answer this part of the question here: each problem probably requires its own workaround, but briefly:

    • 'Real' non-breakable spaces can apparently be inserted from your OS. I'm not sure if those also get zapped in titles. If not I suspect the only other workaround is a hard  .
    • No accents in tags - not much we can do about that. When the time comes, will just have to get them edited.
    • (Facility to type accented characters) I'm afraid I don't take this one very seriously. I'm not sure how interested you can be in French Usage if you don't even use it enough to have worked out a way to type accented characters on your computer.

The other questions you cite don't appear to need any workaround, we just 'need' to find some consensus. I think we should take an interest in how preceding language sites have handled these issues, but not feel bound to follow them slavishly.

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