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For the most part, the text of the help center is the same on every Stack Exchange site. This is unfortunate because some sites, including French Language, have specific requirements. In particular, all pages on French Language should be provided in French as well as in English, since our primary audience is people who can speak French.

Moderators can edit a couple of places in the help center: we can add text in the help center landing page and in the on-topic page. But there are other pages that should be edited, primarily to provide a French version but also to add information that's specifically relevant to French Language. For example, the page What types of questions should I avoid asking? focuses on “bad subjective” questions, which aren't much of a problem here, and doesn't mention common kinds of undesirable questions that we do get (translation and proofreading requests, dictionary lookup requests).

Please allow at least moderators to add text to all help center pages. This would allow us to provide relevant information where it belongs. Additionally, it would be a first step towards making this site really usable by French speakers.

This is a site-specific instance of a generic request on the main meta.


Résumé : les modérateurs peuvent éditer le point d'entrée du centre d'aide et la page « quelles questions puis-je poser ici ? », mais pas le reste. Laissez-nous éditer les autres pages, à la fois pour ajouter des traductions en français et du texte qui concerne spécifiquement notre site.

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  • So, there are a couple of ways to do this... The way it's done for On Topic essentially disconnects the page from the template, so changes elsewhere no longer propagate to this site. This could end up being troublesome for some pages. The way it's done for International versions of SO is that changes propagate and new translations are needed. This means you lose your translation every time anything changes. We might want to come up with a better solution. – Shog9 Jul 14 '16 at 14:39
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    @Shog9 The way it's done for on-topic would be good enough for now. It isn't ideal, but it's way better than the current situation and next to zero programming effort which would benefit all sites. Even the lengthy bit in /help/dont-ask isn't something I want to remove, as long as I can put more relevant stuff before it. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Jul 14 '16 at 14:44
  • Got any news? We do need to have something on the fact we are not a proofreading or translation service. We get quite a lot of those, which are easy to answer and so are quickly answered before they get a chance of getting closed. This should concern all SE language sites, shouldn't it? – None Aug 23 '16 at 14:22
  • @Laure No news but back then SE's reaction was rather cool, citing concerns about sites diverging. Oh, that reaction is on the main meta now. So the official position is, we should propose changes on meta and SE staff would carry them out. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 23 '16 at 19:26
  • @Laure This being said, I don't think changing the help center would significantly reduce the number of undesirable questions. Where it helps is that instead of digging for links to meta threads, we could link to a clear, synthetic, easy-to-find summary of our policies. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 23 '16 at 19:29
  • So write a clear, synthetic, summary of our policies, post it on (French Meta ?) and link to it from french.stackexchange.com/help ? – None Aug 24 '16 at 5:02
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Regarding the high number of newcomers arriving on the site and misusing the site it seems quite pressing to adapt our help pages to the specificity of the site.
We should rejoice of course to have newcomers to the site and most of them are really trying hard to read the rules and to fit in, not all. Old timers are obviously here to help and guide them with comments but more explicit rules would help a lot, saving time and avoiding some unpleasant comments from people who resent help and moderation by the community.

I have a couple of questions regarding OP's question.

  • Most language sites seem to have similar habits (I haven't visited them all though), like not accepting translation requests or requesting OPs to look up in a dictionary before asking for the meaning of a word on Stack Exchange, etc. Should all language sites adopt the same guidelines for their Help Centres ? Is it desirable? Is it feasible, both from the human point of view (every site agreeing to discuss it together), and technically?

  • Could we start a wiki post to suggest what particular items would be relevant to a language site and we'd like to see added?


Vu le nombre important de nouveaux inscrits sur le site et qui ne l'utilisent pas toujours à bon escient, il me semble urgent d'adapter le centre d'aide aux spécificités du site.
Bien entendu nous sommes contents de voir que le site prenne de l'envol et la grande majorité des nouveaux venus acceptent les règles, mais pas tous. Les anciens sont bien sûr là pour les guider avec les commentaires mais des règles explicites feraient gagner du temps et éviteraient les remarques désagréables de ceux qui n'acceptent pas la modération par la communauté des utilisateurs.

Concernant la question posée j'ai moi-même deux questions :

  • La plupart des sites de langues (mais je ne les connais pas tous) semblent avoir des règles communes, tel le rejet des demandes de traductions et de corrections ou le fait de demander à ce qu'on consulte un dictionnaire avant de demander « comment dit-on..? ». Tous les sites de langues de Stack Exchange doivent-ils adopter des règles communes ? Est-ce souhaitable ? Est-ce faisable, à la fois d'un point de vue humain (il faudrait que tous les sites soient d'accord) et technique ?
  • Pourrions d'ores et déjà commencer un wiki pour suggérer des points spécifiques que nous aimerions voir précisés sur le Centre d'aide de FL ou d'un site de langues de SE en général ?
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  • If you want to suggest a specific point that you think should be added to one of the existing help center pages, please start a dedicated meta thread. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 26 '16 at 20:22
  • We have a chat room for discussions among language sites, but it's pretty much deserted. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 26 '16 at 20:22

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