This debate has been started on the German and Japanese Language & Usage sites, but I'm not sure it's been fully resolved. Should we tag each question (a mod would be the one to do the tagging; I'd be quite happy to if I were in the position) to indicate which language it was asked in? This would result in each question having a tag like english-question / french-question, or qu-en / qu-fr.

It is argued by some that these would be 'meta tags' and that they're bad because they don't mean anything unless combined with other tags, but I think they do mean something on their own: which language the question is in. Is this not useful information on its own which would allow francophones who wanted to filter out English questions to do so, and anglophones likewise?

(En bref) Faut-il indiquer par une étiquette la langue dans laquelle une question est rédigée ? Ce sont des méta-étiquettes, qui ne peuvent pas suffire à étiqueter une question, mais elles apportent quand même de l'information. Cette information n'est-elle pas utile, en particulier pour permettre aux francophones d'ignorer les questions en anglais et réciproquement ?

  • 2
    (Deleted my question, didn't see yours at first) And should we tag (hypothetical) translation questions with en-fr and fr-en?
    – Benjol
    Aug 17, 2011 at 20:40
  • Possibly add a generic "translation/traduction" tag too?
    – Flexo
    Aug 17, 2011 at 21:13
  • Isn't it obvious, most of the time?
    – Joubarc
    Aug 18, 2011 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


No, I don't think that would be a good idea.

Tags are designed to tell you what a question is about. Tags are not designed to "label" certain classes of question or tell you how they are asked. Those are what we call "meta tags" and, as you said, they are explicitly discouraged.

The Death of Meta Tags

Tags are to describe what the question is about. You should not use tags to segregate the English from the French-language questions. If you cannot tell the difference by looking at the question, you probably do not belong here.

Tags are not designed to allow a segment of the community to simply ignore a large portion of the site. The members of the Cooking community once asked me to add mandatory [vegetarian][non-vegetarian] tags so they could simply ignore a large part of the site. It was a bad idea and, similarly, segregating the site between proficient French and English speakers like that is a poor use of tags. Don't do it.

As for translation questions raised by @Benjol—

A straight-forward, simple translation question should not be allowed on this site. It is the very definition of a gereral reference question which should be closed as off topic.

Jez pretty much nailed the issue in his suggested FAQ entry. If a translation question involves some subtlety of the language or a difficult-to-translate idiom, that would be acceptable. But the users of this site will be bored to tears by simple do-my-work-for-me questions.

This is not a free translation service. If the questions are not at least interesting, users will not continue to use this site. Don't drive your most-valued, hard-working users away like that.

  • 1
    The thing is, translation questions are almost always interesting, even for ostensibly 'simple' words (like worldly)
    – Benjol
    Aug 18, 2011 at 9:52

I've spotted a few questions already where the question is available in both languages. For those cases, you couldn't easily tag the question in one language even if we decided it was a good thing to do!


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