1

Topic: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

We're a global community, please use English to communicate.

...which works as long as you speak English (which is true of most people). If not, I guess you can use Google Translate...

Here are all of my level contributions. Please test and give constructive criticism.

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Re: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

We're a global community, please use English to communicate.

This makes me uneasy.

Cheese
==========
cheesetalks.net

3 (edited by dtb 2013-11-28 00:07:09)

Re: Language intolerance

ed49 wrote:

...which works as long as you speak English (which is true of most people). If not, I guess you can use Google Translate...


...who ought to use Google Translate - the one not speaking English (to help him/her composing a message in English) or the one not understanding the other language that's been used?

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Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:

This makes me uneasy.

Your replies are getting more and more cryptic.

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Re: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

Your replies are getting more and more cryptic.

The notion that a "global community" should be anything less than tolerant of languages beyond whatever primary one the community uses to interact makes me uncomfortable. Nothing cryptic.

Cheese
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cheesetalks.net

6

Re: Language intolerance

Was I being intolerant? I don't think so.

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Re: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

Was I being intolerant? I don't think so.

You seemed to be asking people to not converse in languages other than English. That's not quite tolerance.

Edit: But this is getting a bit off topic. Perhaps it's a discussion for elsewhere.

Cheese
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cheesetalks.net

8

Re: Language intolerance

That seems like a reasonable request to me. Multiple languages on a common forum create unnecessary knowledge fragmentation. NeverHacker somehow got here and is replying to topics, so I assume she/he knows some English.

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Re: Language intolerance

...now this is getting controversial:

If we really expect people to use "English only" this would also mean that we have to implement a board rule saying to do so. Otherwise (if we don't tell them to do so IN ADVANCE) people should feel free to use any language they want to.

As long as the majority round here uses English to communicate I can see no real problem of "knowledge fragmentation" and I'm sure that our versed Mods and Admins can deal with it as long as it's only one or two non-English requests every month. (Btw. I guess it's only seldom seen having two Developers thoughtfully discussing such a point)

If you (parasti) quote this a "Global community" this kind of board rule would turn us into a "Global, English-speaking community". I'm aware that English is the world's dominant language and widely considered to be the world's only true universal language but nevertheless TO SOME (even if just a few in number) this slight change perhaps would make a big difference. Other forums (https://www.phpbb.com/rules/) have such rules - or couldn't one also call it limitations (to/for the community)?

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Re: Language intolerance

Also sometimes google translate is so bad it is easier to leave it in the original and use a dictionary. http://multidict.net/

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Re: Language intolerance

dtb wrote:

If we really expect people to use "English only" this would also mean that we have to implement a board rule saying to do so. Otherwise (if we don't tell them to do so IN ADVANCE) people should feel free to use any language they want to.

My only two options are these two?

1) Official rule
2) STFU

I guess prepare to have your mind blown.

3) Make a polite request. If she/he is able to use English, they will do so. If not, guess what, nothing happens! Nobody gets banned. People keep conversing.

Does this seem like an impossibly rude, ridiculous scenario? Apparently it does, I guess.

Political correctness would make sense had I discriminated against someone or offended someone or a group of people. It is not a game that you can play whenever someone makes known their preference for something. My request discriminated and/or offended which person or group? Cheeseness and dtb? Please.

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Re: Language intolerance

Discrimination, offending groups & political correctness - why you want to take it to this level?
I thought this is about language acceptance/language barriers/forum rules, etc.

"STFU" is not an option I offered at any time, it's only your interpretation of what I was trying to point out. Perhaps you got me wrong somehow or I wasn't able to get my point across clearly. Anyway, if making polite requests (every time English is not being used) is an option for you, then this certainly is the best way. Politeness in general is.

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Re: Language intolerance

dtb wrote:

I thought this is about language acceptance/language barriers/forum rules

I have no idea what this was about. I didn't start the discussion, I only split it off after it went off topic.

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Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:

Perhaps it's a discussion for elsewhere.

I wanted to give some time to frame my thoughts and give others an opportunity to express their opinions before I elaborated on why this situation made me uncomfortable.

Apologies for what might seem like a long winded post. I love this community and want to be sure that others can find it as welcoming as I have, regardless of their background or their ability to speak English <3 (this is pretty much the tl;dr)

dtb wrote:

I'm aware that English is the world's dominant language and widely considered to be the world's only true universal language

Where do people get this idea from? English is only the third most widely spread native language, and doesn't exactly have a big lead on that front.

parasti wrote:

That seems like a reasonable request to me. Multiple languages on a common forum create unnecessary knowledge fragmentation.

There is most definitely value in having regular contributors and community members all conversing for the most part in the same language. I think there's a big difference between being having a welcoming attitude towards newcomers with questions in other languages and inviting the kind of fragmentation you speak of.

In the same way that the move to GitHub has removed some hurdles to contributing and bug reporting, welcoming non-English discussion from newcomers can ease the process of becoming a part of the community. An attitude of "If you don't speak English, you're not welcome here," on the other hand is super offputting (and IMO, quite rude).

parasti wrote:

3) Make a polite request. If she/he is able to use English, they will do so. If not, guess what, nothing happens! Nobody gets banned. People keep conversing.

What this outlook misses is that people beyond the person commenting will see it (especially since non-English posts are going to be more visible in search results for people looking for Neverball related information in that language). The original poster may not understand your request and continue on without concern, but another person who's less comfortable interacting in English may feel that they're not welcome here.

If I came across NeverHacker's thread without knowing anything about the community, I would definitely get the impression that Portuguese was expressly unwelcome, which leads onto another point.

We have plenty of people from different backgrounds who aren't native English speakers and have wildly varying levels of proficiency. This leads to people making statements which are difficult to understand or are unintentionally rude. I see this pretty often here ("We're a global community, please use English to communicate." being the obvious example right now), but as someone who is a part of the community, I can see past that - newcomers however do not have that perspective, justifying a much more permissive and diplomatic approach when it comes to language barriers.

Encouraging people to fall back on native language to support/convey their true meaning seems awfully worthwhile to me.

Above all else, we're a community that publishes a game that supports many languages. My mind boggles at the notion that that shouldn't carry across into our community, especially when we have people who speak additional languages and can help bridge language barriers (as tones did).

parasti wrote:

It is not a game that you can play whenever someone makes known their preference for something. My request discriminated and/or offended which person or group?

Your statement was not presented as a personal preference, it was delivered in a way that appears to be an authoritative instruction and something which speaks on behalf of the rest of the community. I am personally offended to be represented in this way.


Edit: I want to highlight that I am totally aware that interacting with people in multiple languages isn't easy. Trying to keep SteamLUG multilingual has been a huge challenge, and one that I fear I am failing at. It is, however, worthwhile.

Cheese
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cheesetalks.net

15 (edited by dtb 2013-11-29 09:27:25)

Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:
dtb wrote:

I'm aware that English is the world's dominant language and widely considered to be the world's only true universal language

Where do people get this idea from? English is only the third most widely spread native language, and doesn't exactly have a big lead on that front.

I know that English isn't the most "widely spread native language".  (This got to be Mandarin/Standard Chinese as we got huge Chinese communities all over the world. And I'm sure that Arabic, Hindustani, Spanish and Russian are also very big.) But I wasn't exactly talking about the spread of native languages, rather I was calling English "the world's true universal language" (i.e. "world language" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_language) - which also makes it the world's most dominating language. I mean it's primarily English - and not any other foreign language - being taught in almost every school (as far as there's school) let's say from Albania to Zimbabwe.

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Re: Language intolerance

dtb wrote:

I was calling English "the world's true universal language"

I don't know if I can agree that English deserves such a title (but that's me getting sidetracked big_smile )

I think proficiency is more important than the numbers of people who can claim to be able to speak some level of English, and the bulk of that is in native speakers (even if you include second language figures, English still doesn't sit on top). Someone can claim to "speak English" without being able to communicate very effectively in it, so even if we have people conversing in English, it's still important (IMO) that anybody who needs to should feel comfortable using something that they know doesn't misrepresent their thoughts to help support what they're trying to convey.

Cheese
==========
cheesetalks.net

17

Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:
dtb wrote:

I was calling English "the world's true universal language"

I don't know if I can agree that English deserves such a title

...if that title doesn't go to English - what other language could it be?

Last year I've been to Paris and English helped me through everywhere. About 15 years ago I've been to Indonesia - same here (or there?) - English "accepted" everywhere. The hordes of tourists from all over the world coming to visit Vienna every year - it's only 1 out of 10 not using English to ask the way. So when considering whether a language is "universal" or not then IMO it's not about the level of proficiency or whether people can communicate very effectively using the specific language, it's rather about the question if it can be used  in almost every country/part of the world nowadays. (Talking about basic communication like ordering a drink).

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Re: Language intolerance

Are you seriously arguing the status of English as a global language?

You can literally go to any European country, which is like 50 countries and at least 30 languages, and get by using English. This is true for most countries in the world that are tied to the western world and/or connected to the internet. The internet is mostly in English. For a non-native speaker it is hard to go a day without encountering a website in English, be it Facebook, Google, Youtube or dozens of other websites.

When people visit Australia, they don't just use English because they're in Australia. English is used everywhere. No other language has the same status. I didn't realize it was possible to be on the internet and not be aware of this.

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Re: Language intolerance

I'm sorry for mentioning it... it's true that most people speak English.

Here are all of my level contributions. Please test and give constructive criticism.

20

Re: Language intolerance

dtb wrote:

So when considering whether a language is "universal" or not then IMO it's not about the level of proficiency or whether people can communicate very effectively using the specific language, it's rather about the question if it can be used  in almost every country/part of the world nowadays. (Talking about basic communication like ordering a drink).

Right, sorry. I was saying that proficiency is what matters to the topic at hand rather than any definition for "universal language".

parasti wrote:

This is true for most countries in the world that are tied to the western world and/or connected to the internet.

Sorry, the Western world doesn't seem as dominant from here as it must in Europe. Either way, this doesn't undermine what I've already said.

parasti wrote:

I didn't realize it was possible to be on the internet and not be aware of this.

Now now, there's no need for that. We're getting a bit off topic.

Cheese
==========
cheesetalks.net

21

Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:

Either way, this doesn't undermine what I've already said.

That was literally the only thing that I could respond to. It doesn't seem fruitful to participate in a discussion where the topic at hand is that me saying "please use English" is very rude, misrepresents the Neverball community, offends you and makes the world a worse place in general. It blows my mind how much you have read into it.

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Re: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

It blows my mind how much you have read into it.

It blew my mind that you didn't realise that that was how it would come across.

The issue at hand is not whether or not you've been rude, but that there's a decision to be made here about what is and what isn't appropriate moving forward. I recommend being open (if not encouraging) toward newcomers communicating in other languages.

I'd even go so far as to suggest that we add a stickied "Welcome" thread translated into every language that Neverball offers support for supports which says that whilst people are welcome to post in whatever language they like, but that the bulk of interaction takes place in English and that that is preferred.

Edit: And by "appropriate", I mean "appropriate stance for the community" rather than anybody's individual opinions.

Cheese
==========
cheesetalks.net

23

Re: Language intolerance

You know, some part of me agrees with you wholeheartedly. Perhaps I should stop trying to communicate in English, as it seems to be constantly coming across the wrong way to you. Think I'll encourage myself to use Latvian from now on and save you the embarrassment.

Or maybe I'll just make a sarcastic joke about it.

The issue here isn't a decision that needs to be made. It's that you're holding non-native speakers up to your own standard of communication and reading into their words. If you would focus on the content of what people are saying instead of the form of it, you'd save yourself and everyone else a lot of time.

But I guess that's a lot easier when the form is provided by Google Translate and is so bad that it's easy to overlook.

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Re: Language intolerance

parasti wrote:

The issue here isn't a decision that needs to be made. It's that you're holding non-native speakers up to your own standard of communication and reading into their words.

It's super sad that you feel the need to lash out at somebody who's trying to help.

For what it's worth, I got 5 or 6 people outside the Neverball community to give me feedback on what I was posting before I did so, and without exception, they all were startled by your initial comment which sparked this. I may know that you weren't intending to come across the way you had, but that's only because I've interacted with you for years, I consider you a friend, and I know that these sorts of things are something that you tend to have trouble with. I'm not bothered when I have to deal with it, but I am totally bothered by the thought of people who don't have that familiarity seemingly being told what languages they can and can't use.

There is no "reading into". It is a fact that your phrasing doesn't state a personal outlook ("we are a global community") nor a preference ("please use English to communicate"). Those words are irrefutably a direct instruction on behalf of others - if you meant something else, then please correct yourself (and view it as a learning opportunity rather than an attack instead of claiming that others should know what it is you mean).

All that is an aside though (which I wouldn't have even touched on if you hadn't demanded to know who you'd discriminated against or offended).

I've tried to lay out some fairly simple reasoning why being friendly towards non-English posts from newcomers is worthwhile and important, and I'd rather focus on that (preferably without defensive sarcasm).

Cheese
==========
cheesetalks.net

25

Re: Language intolerance

Cheeseness wrote:

It is a fact that your phrasing doesn't state a personal outlook ("we are a global community") nor a preference ("please use English to communicate"). Those words are irrefutably a direct instruction on behalf of others - if you meant something else, then please correct yourself (and view it as a learning opportunity rather than an attack instead of claiming that others should know what it is you mean).

I am stating my rationale and making a request. I don't see anything that would indicate that it is a "direct instruction on behalf of others", or that I am in any position to be giving out such instructions, or that there would be consequences for doing otherwise. Where is that coming from?

I don't see how you can call an incident "an aside" when you're trying to establish some sort of policy and/or community statement based on that incident. Are we being unfriendly towards non-English posters, other than supposedly in the incident in question? Not that I know of.