Is there a plan to spin off Ask Ubuntu into (community driven) localized versions?

What I mean is something like:

This has already happened for forums:

  • StackApplet is being translated, so that's a good thing. Commented Nov 15, 2010 at 23:13
  • Was going to ask the same question. Just adding that if it will be possible for points to be shared between the languages. For example i speak and read english and spanish (And learning french). So i could help in those languages but will feel weird to have the points divided instead of together for the same person. Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 23:26

5 Answers 5


The results of the UDS session will help answer your question. (Short story: yes, the SO team is aware of our needs for multi-language support)


I think people are more frustrated by having problems they can't solve.

When the asker speaks Danish and the guy who could write the best answer to that question speaks Turk, everybody loses. Having everybody use English instead, even if it's poor English, is far better.

It's not a matter of technology. It's a matter of audience.

See, if a Q&A site can't get you answers for your questions it has failed. To do so, the Q&A site must connect the asker to as many potential answerers as possible. If there are not enough of those, not enough questions get answered and users won't come back.

The site quickly becomes a ghost town, population: zero. Game over.

If it was merely a technological challenge, StackExchange 1.0 would have worked. And so would ubuntu.shapado.com and ask.debian.net (also running Shapado) have -- instead, they sport respectively a whopping 11 and 21 users who ever gave any answer. I'm not picking on Shapado, mind you -- other platforms, like cnprog, also have this problem.

Compare with Area51, which considers a Q&A site healthy when it has at least 90% answered questions, 1.5k hits per day and 150 avid users (200+ rep).

Disclaimer: I'm a native Italian speaker.

  • In some countries Ubuntu Loco Teams have local forums in which Ubuntu users speak in their native languages about their problems. For example in Romania we have forum.ubuntu.ro, and there are quite a few posts that address issues found by Romanian users that don't know how to express their problem well in English. And many of those problems have been solved by other users. Commented Nov 15, 2010 at 14:15
  • 3
    @Lucian I'm not saying LoCo teams have no chance of being helpful. However, the context is quite different. An IRC channel with, say, twenty active users is a busy channel. A forum with twenty active users is an average forum. A Q&A site with twenty active users is a dead city. The SE team, more specifically, determined 300 committed users and 150 active users is the bare minimum required for a healthy Q&A site.
    – badp
    Commented Nov 15, 2010 at 14:26
  • Hey badp, what is your username on ubuntu.shapado.com ? I usually contribute there too, I'll gladly answer any questions.
    – MagicFab
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 21:39
  • @MagicFab I don't have an account on Ubuntu Shapado. (Yet?)
    – badp
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 21:44
  • BTW, the troubleshooter badge in Shapado is only for users who had their first answered accepted as solution. So the numbers are really different :) Speaking of audience, you can't really compare when Shapado still has only a tiny community pushing it when Ask Ubuntu has been made the default destination. Frankly I am happy to have both resources and participate in both, but Shapado may be best for language-specific questions.
    – MagicFab
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 22:05
  • Forgot to add the proper link for people that have asked Debian questions on Shapado: ask.debian.net/users
    – MagicFab
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 22:16
  • I'm italian too and I would surely support an Italian askubuntu!!!
    – OpenNingia
    Commented Nov 26, 2010 at 9:01
  • 2
    I really think we should keep it in a single language. Fracturing the user base between several languages will just cause 2 problems (posting everywhere several times with poorly translated versions,smaller groups of people that can help) Fractured English is better then 20 askubuntu's where no one gets their answer.
    – coteyr
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 3:53

As an alternative you can try Shapado: http://ubuntu.shapado.com/

The community there is small but growing. Many languages are available, they just don't have many users yet but anyone is welcome to make it their Ubuntu questions destination. It's also free, open source software so you can contribute there in other ways too. I don't personally participate there as a developer, BTW.


Even though I'd not participate in those sites as I'm no where near fluent in anything but English, I think after a period of time — another 6-8 weeks months? — to let Ask Ubuntu establish itself, those could be tried and might be successful.

However, I hesitate to fracture the community. It's been pointed out here (comments on another answer) and elsewhere (including meta.SO; don't ask me where, but please comment with links), it can be better to have more people communicate, sometimes poorly, in English rather than never get an answer because it's on a separate site.


What about giving Questions a language tag? For example, tag it with "en" if it is English, "fr" for French or "de" for German. The only thing to do is generating language based rss-feeds.

  • 3
    They would still show up on the front page, frustrating most of the users, so I don't think this would be a good idea. Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 11:41
  • 1
    This depends on the point of view. People only speaking German are frustrated seeing a page in English language.
    – ddeimeke
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 11:53
  • 2
    @ddeimeke I think people are more frustrated by having problems they can't solve. When the asker speaks Danish and the guy who could write the best answer to that question speaks Turk, everybody loses. Having English instead, even if it's poor English, is far better. I don't know about other countries, but people in Italy are taught English for 8 years and they really have no excuse :)
    – badp
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 12:04
  • In Germany it depends. All people are learning English at school, but those educated in the former GDR learned Russian language instead of English. Elder people even did not have any English at school. I agree for people currently being educated. But elder people are as well part of the community ...
    – ddeimeke
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 12:31
  • I don't support ddeimeke's proposal for Ask Ubuntu but his concern is valid. In Turkey, we have a Ubuntu Türkiye= Ubuntu Turkey and a Forum under it. Many countries/languages have such areas. For Germay I see this site, with a Forum, a Wiki, Ikhaya and Planet. In my opinion, at the moment it might be better to focus on local sites and forums. Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 8:37
  • I do not agree. There are as well English based forums and wikis and planets. With the same arguments you could recommend not to use Stack Exchange, but this is an additional offer.
    – ddeimeke
    Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 9:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .