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I am not sure if I am supposed to write this question in English or in Spanish or both. I will start in English and translate if required.

I was encouraged by @Diego to post this question, from a comment I made when I was looking at ¿Cómo se llama (por regiones) a las notas que se llevan escondidas para copiar en los exámenes?. I was confused by the request made by user @ aparente001 to add a word in English so "so that Spanish learners can find" it.

In principle StackExchange sites, I asume, are English-based, or so is my understanding. That is why I always have a tendency to write in English. However in the "Spanish Language" site I am always unsure of what is the correct approach.

In the English Language Learners site, people that are learning English as second language are encouraged to ask their doubts, while in the "English Language & Usage" you don't have to be learning English as a second Language, it could be your only language and if you have a doubt, you can ask there (although I feel you could ask it too in the "English Language Learners" site).

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Basically in the Learners site, people that come from another language, with a different mind-framework are encouraged to ask to clarify their English questions. While in the English Usage site questions are supposed to increase your understanding of English, basically are questions from English to English while in the other site are from "XLanguage" to English. Although in both sites everything is supposed to be writen in English.

I always felt the "Spanish Language" site was supposed to be like the "English Language & Usage" site, so basically you don't need to know English to ask something to help you understand/learn more about Spanish. If Spanish is your native Language, I felt, you should be able to ask a question here about Spanish. As you can see the intent of the site declared here seems to agree with me. enter image description here

And you can see Diesgo's question is totally in Spanish, someone that had that doubt in Spanish could perfectly understand it and wouldn't need an English word for reference.

A Spanish Linguist doesn't need to know English to study Spanish. However I realize people using this site need some basic knowledge of English. Also the request of adding an "English term" to the question seems to discard people whose primary language is not English. Technically a Japanese with basic English knowledge could ask questions here about Spanish, without ever using any English/Japanese. Just the basic English to understand the buttons and read the FAQ, etc.

What's more in many Language Teaching methods students are encouraged to only use the foreign language and not the native, so if you were English Speaker you wouldn't necesarily need an English word to ask a question here. You could, and probaly would be encouraged by your teacher, to fully ask in Spanish.

So I ask:

Is this site exclusively a site for English speakers learning Spanish? Are we supposed to always write everything in English even if we are asking about Spanish? (I feel the later will limit a lot the benefits the site could provide to people interested in understanding better Spanish but without such a deep understanding of English)

If this is not a site for English speakers learning Spanish, then, should we expect everyone here to have a deep understanding of English? Are we supposed to write both in English and Spanish? Only in Spanish? Clearly Diego understands English and he had no issues adding a word in English, however what if he didn't. What if he is a native Spanish speaker that is Learning English and doesn't know said word? Are we supposed to edit the question and add it ourserlves? If we see a question fully in Spanish are we supposed to Translate it? And if it is fully in English (like this one) Are we supposed to translate it to Spanish?

PS: I am a Native Spanish Speaker.

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  • Aparte de la pregunta de si debemos escribir en español o en inglés, está la pregunta de si este sitio es como "English Language & Usage" o "English Language Learners". A mi me parece un punto interesante de partida sobre una discusión/revisión sobre quién es el target de este sitio. – Diego Sep 12 '19 at 20:07
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    @Diego: Añado mi opinión a esto en mi respuesta, que me lo había comido – user20093 Sep 12 '19 at 20:56
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En https://spanish.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic se indica claramente (negritas mías):

¿Debería escribir en español o en inglés?

Se prefiere el español, pero los dos idiomas son aceptados. Si estás aprendiendo español, te sugerimos que practiques y preguntes en español, que no es obligatorio. Los mensajes en inglés puede ser traducidos al español. Cuando respondas a una pregunta, te animamos a que respondas en el idioma de la pregunta, si eres capaz. No te preocupes si cometes algunos pequeños errores, otros miembros de la comunidad te pueden ayudar con correcciones si no dominas tanto ese idioma.

Por otro lado esta esta interesante pregunta: Has anything changed in our policy regarding the language of answers here? - especialmente la respuesta de @walen, sobre todo, en mi opinión, estos dos párrafos:

Spanish.SE is one of those sites where a different language, besides English, is allowed; namely, Spanish. Being a site about the Spanish language, and with over half a billion potential Spanish-speaking users, it is very convenient for us to allow questions and answers to be made in Spanish, especially the most technical ones which tend to be written by people for whom Spanish is already their native language, but also in general to avoid cluttered posts with lots of quotes and italics and such.

However, that doesn't and mustn't mean that English questions or answers should be frowned upon. Good questions and answers written in English are one of the best ways we have to share our love for Spanish with other users in the network and make them join our community.

En cuanto a la otra parte de la pregunta, si este sitio es como "English Language & Usage" o como "English Language Learners", creo que la presentación de Spanish Language Stack Exchange en el tour deja claro que es la suma de ambas variantes: es tanto para estudiantes de español como para interesados en lingüística, etimología, curiosidades, palabras raras, etc.

Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for linguists, teachers, students and Spanish language enthusiasts in general wanting to discuss the finer points of the language.

Y creo que las preguntas que se hacen lo demuestran, dado que hay de todo, como en botica.

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    Totalmente de acuerdo. En pocas palabras, el sitio de español es la suma de ambos, sirve tanto para hablantes de otros idiomas que aprenden español como para los propios españoles que quieran profundizar. Ojalá recibiéramos tantas preguntas al día en el sitio como para plantearnos dividir el sitio en dos. – Charlie Sep 12 '19 at 21:19
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    Well I like the idea that this Q&A allows everything, and it kinda makes sense. I think it also means that requesting a word English to be added to a question, is a "nice" addition, but not mandatory, because the asker not necesarilly needs to know said English word, and so, that kind of request should be phrased carefully, not to make the OP feel forced to comply. Where from did you get the quote saying it is a bilingual site? – Dzyann Sep 13 '19 at 1:52
  • @Dyzan: De spanish.stackexchange.com/tour - lo añado a la respuesta – user20093 Sep 13 '19 at 4:49
  • @Dzyann - Not all questions written in Spanish would be interesting for Spanish learners, but I thought that one might be. // Since community editing is encouraged here, anyone can edit to improve a question. The post author can roll it back if desired. If I had thought that the question author had had limited English then I suppose I would have made a suggested edit with a corresponding comment. But I have noticed that Diego is completely bilingual with English so I didn't see a need. – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 3:49
  • @aparente001 well, I was just confused about the focus of the site. For me it was clear that Diego was trying to gather words from different regions, for that objective the English word was not necesarily relevant. But when you said to "add a word in English so it could be useful for an English Speaker". It made me think that maybe the target audience of the site was actually English Speakers. Which seemed at odds with the stated "mission" of the site (for linguists, etc). So I asked you on the comments and Diego suggested to open a question here. – Dzyann Sep 18 '19 at 14:11
  • @Dzyann - Great question. In terms of our target participants, it's a broad spectrum which includes Spanish learners of all levels of understanding of Spanish (and all levels of understanding of English), native speakers residing in a Spanish speaking country, expat native speakers, "heritage" speakers residing in a non-Spanish speaking country. Also variation across different regions add more heterogeneity. – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 15:46
  • Please refrain from commenting with tangential debates or accusations of things that are not under debate in here. Such comments will be (and have been) deleted. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Sep 20 '19 at 7:26
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Is this site like “English Language & Usage” or like the “English Language Learners?”

This site is like both. The Stack Exchange network works by creating communities that are needed. Once a current site starts getting a big volume of specific questions, a specific one may be suggested in Area 51. For this, we now have sites like Vi, Emacs and many more whose questions were part of Stack Overflow in the early days.

With language sites it is the same: once a big set of questions may be an important subcategory, a specific site may be created. And this is what happened with English Learners, which launched 4 years ago now, after being proposed 7 years ago as a subpart of English Language & Usage.

I do think we need quite a lot of time in Spanish.SE to get there: currently we have less than 5 questions per day, while each one of the English sites have more than 30 (see stats).

So our site now has both native speakers and learners.

Is this site exclusively a site for English speakers learning Spanish? Are we supposed to always write everything in English even if we are asking about Spanish? (I feel the later will limit a lot the benefits the site could provide to people interested in understanding better Spanish but without such a deep understanding of English)

No. Over time we have shifted from mainly in English to whatever-you-want (you can find interesting debates here in Meta.)

If this is not a site for English speakers learning Spanish, then, should we expect everyone here to have a deep understanding of English? Are we supposed to write both in English and Spanish? Only in Spanish? Clearly Diego understands English and he had no issues adding a word in English, however what if he didn't.

Since the platform is in English, every user must have a decent grasp in this language to go through it. Until we have an option to set the interface in Spanish, it will be difficult to have a significant increase of Spanish speakers here. It has been asked and asked again for a while, but it is not in the roadmap of the company, since they stopped admitting international sites on 2015.

What if he is a native Spanish speaker that is Learning English and doesn't know said word? Are we supposed to edit the question and add it ourserlves? If we see a question fully in Spanish are we supposed to Translate it? And if it is fully in English (like this one) Are we supposed to translate it to Spanish?

In ¿Qué respuestas canónicas tenemos? What are the canonical answers we've discovered over the years? we have a set of canonical answers. We try to keep them in both languages. The rest of the posts may be in one or the other language, since it is a bit tiring to post in both. If you ever find a good post you want to translate, please do so!

In general, questions in English are good to get people from the network through the Hot Network Questions. However, once some time has passed, I see more visits com to the questions in Spanish. I tend to keep in mind What about adding general questions for reference?, so we "catch" users, either from Google or from the network. All in all, just post the way that is easier for you.

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I agree with the answers by @rotten and @fedorqui, and would express it this way: our site has all the types of questions found at both ELU and ELL.

There's a fair amount of discussion at ELU Meta about when to migrate questions to ELL. This shows that the line between the two is somewhat fuzzy. Some key differences I've noticed between ELU and ELL are:

  • ELL is less stringent about the requirement to show research (show effort).

  • At ELL there's more focus on the learning and understanding process.

  • Very basic questions are encouraged more at ELL than ELU.

I've noticed that Spanish Language allows a wider variety of questions than ELU. In terms of the expectation that the question show what the OP has tried and where they got stuck, I think Spanish Language is a bit more rigorous than ELL.

Other differences I've noticed between ELU and ELL:

  • There's more closure of questions due to duplication at ELU than at ELL.

  • ELU has a higher expectation that an author proofread their question carefully than at ELL.

  • ELU has a bit of a reputation as being a cutthroat environment. ELL doesn't.

I think the short answer to your question is that here we have the best of both worlds.

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  • How does ELL combine the fact of creating canonical questions with less closure due to duplication? For learners it is normally complicated to find existing resources, since they normally don't know how to express the topic they have problems with. At the same time, closing as a dupe of a canonical may help, but can also discourage. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Sep 18 '19 at 7:26
  • @fedorqui - I guess some would say that ELL is a bit of a mess. (I wouldn't.) Questions do get closed there, certainly, for lots of good reasons, but the site is just not as strict or rigorous about questions being correctly posed, well proofread, etc. The emphasis is more on How can I help this struggling English learner than on How can we maintain our standards. Sometimes I glance at other SE sites to see how they approach canonical questions (not just ELL). I found that canonical questions are a really good idea, but hard to implement in practice. I think the best approach would... – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 15:29
  • ... be to atomize, that is, to break the big topics down into subtopics, so that each canonical answer can fit on one reasonably large computer screen. This would help ensure that people read the canonical answers. But it's so hard to do this. When an expert understands a topic inside and out, it's really hard not to share a lot of fine points. // I take back the comparison I made. I just tried to look at some actual canonical pages on the two sites, to check my memory, and found two at ELL and none at ELU (although I did find some ... – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 16:02
  • ... tantalizing discussions ELU that suggest that they do exist). Here are the two I found at ELL: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/canonical-post. The first is readable, the second is -- well, just glance at it. // I remember finding some scientific or technical site that did have a great list of canonical questions but I haven't been able to find it again. – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 17:59
  • I think I found something really useful: cs.meta.stackexchange.com/q/599 -- I think this is the one I found on my previous search. // Well, math is pretty impressive too: math.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/faq, math.meta.stackexchange.com/q/107/373402 – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 18:47
  • Wow your last comment. It seems to me that every site tries its best to find a way to canonise information. It is an imperfect system that led Stack Overflow develop Documentation (that was sunsetted later on). In general, with basic questions I agree that it is good to have specific canonicals that do not overwhelm the newbies. That would be the ELL part of Spanish. The ELU part can have good, dense canonicals because people reading them will know enough of the language to cope with the amount of info. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Sep 18 '19 at 19:37
  • @fedorqui - wow good or wow bad? How so? // I've started cataloguing various sites' guidance and the variety of names used in the different sites is impressive. // But isn't it funny that ELL has the overwhelmingly dense canonical post about perfect tenses -- not ELU? – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 19:55
  • Wow good, lots of good links! And yes, to me those canonicals in ELL are too much, I am extremely thankful for the user who did it but at the same time it looks a bit too much to me as an English learner. Some basic explanations (or a TL;DR) would probably help. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Sep 18 '19 at 19:57
  • @fedorqui - Here's what I've come up with so far: meta.stackexchange.com/q/333544/287826 – aparente001 Sep 18 '19 at 20:18

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