Meta Question

Kardamom's avatar

Are some foreign words allowed?

Asked by Kardamom (33251points) June 29th, 2014

This is a serious question, that is why I put it in General.

As most of you know, I ask and answer a lot of food related questions. Until today, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I often have to use foreign words.

Today, I used two foreign words, one was food related, “sautéed” and the other word was used in reference to my fear of flying, “terra firma.”

Then my thoughts turned, as they oft do, to cheese. I do not wish to open up another can of worms, but since the Mods were (and I’m grateful to them for that) willing to discuss the “other situation” and come up with some pretty concise answers, maybe they like to take on the subject of foreign words too.

With regards to cheeses, some of the words are not only contextual, but there are no other alternatives, at least not that I know of. A few examples are “Gruyère” and “Queso Fresco” and This Long List of French Cheeses.

I listen to a cooking show on the radio called Food Talk with Melinda Lee. I’ve learned quite a bit of interesting information from her. One of the terms that she uses a lot, “mise en place” means, literally, to put in place. It is a term used on the cooking shows with regards to setting out your pre-measured ingredients in the order in which they will be used, so that you can proceed smoothly, without having to go back and forth to the cupboard while you are attempting to follow a recipe. I’m pretty sure I’ve used that word multiple times on Fluther.

Ms. Lee also introduced me to” “Plugrá” which is a European type of butter that is un-salted and has a lower moisture content, and don’t even get me started on “risotto” or “frappé”.

Here are some words that I’m pretty sure I’ve used on Fluther: taco, pad thai, aloo gobi, miso, gyoza, pierogies, borscht, tagine, paella, kugel, tamago, cassoulet, pajeon, tom kha gai, Æbleskiver, orecchiette, radiatore, poi, lutefisk and bon appétit

Is there a current list of foreign words that can and cannot be used? Can any of these foreign words be used in a question title?

Thanks, in advance to the Mod team.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

99 Answers

cookieman's avatar

To continue the thought…

I, and other Jellies, use a fair amount if Yiddish. Words such as schmuck, yutz, schmoe, bubbe, chutzpah, glitch, klutz, kosher, maven, Mazel Tov, and more.

Are these still allowed as well?

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Si senorita bonita!

JLeslie's avatar

Sautéed is an English word. Queso Fresco is queso fresco, there is no English equivalent, that is the name for it in English.

hearkat's avatar

The Mod Team discussion is ongoing; and we will inform everyone once we reach a conclusion. As noted in another Meta post, we are trying to determine the fine line between what is acceptable and what is inappropriate, which sure isn’t easy. Generally, the name of food items and ingredients will likely be acceptable – especially if there isn’t an English name for the item.

Using a foreign phrase when there is an English equivalent isn’t really necessary, though, but we understand that it is part of common usage for some – but not all – of our members, or even all members of the Mod Team. We need to be sure that we are able to know the meaning of what members are saying, and also that the content on the site is understandable by English-speaking people from around the globe.

We appreciate your patience.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I would like a quesadilla with a side of quiche, por favor!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Párate, or you are going to get in trouble.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Another example of why context is essential and a hard and fast rule will never work.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie sautéed is a French Word.

Oh, I forgot about apéritif and bon voyage and my favorite, bon mot.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Did you mean quiete @JLeslie

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m still very curious as to how the server can’t “physically” handle the words.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Not trying to be pedantic @JLeslie but I think sauté is of French origin. English language words don’t (to my knowledge but I’ll stand corrected if they do) have accents.

From the

Early 19th century: French, literally ‘jumped’, past participle of sauter.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Dutchess_III that does sound very odd. Is it more that moderators can’t understand foreign language and so can’t moderate insults etc? That would make sense but it would mean words such as sauté should be perfectly fine to use. English is peppered with words from other languages.

Kardamom's avatar

And here’s a bunch of stuff about Pasta

And what about mentioning dishes that were eaten in an “ethnic” restaurant such as This One or This One.

And let’s not forget about chalupas and pu-pu platters

livelaughlove21's avatar

On sauté: It’s in the American English dictionary and therefore is an English word. “No” is a word in multiple languages, so it’s not as if you can say it’s not an English word because it originated elsewhere. A lot of English words have French roots. It doesn’t mean they’re not English words. “Sauté” is probably in every English cookbook on the shelves – I’m not sure why anyone would consider it a “foreign word.” And, like “taco” and “quesadilla,” that’s what it is – there’s no English equivalent.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

apéritif – cocktail
au contraire – on the contrary
au pair – nanny
avant-garde – state-of-the-art
bon voyage – happy travels.

All these words are in the Oxford English Dictionary, but they’re not English words.

Sauté means pan fried. Pan fried would be the English equivalent.

Taco and Quesadilla are names of foods.

This is why it’s a nightmare to create a hard and fast rule. How do you police it? Are foreign words in common usage okay? Are foreign words that are names of foods okay?

Where is the line? As soon as you make a rule rather than a guideline, you need defining boundaries.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@cookieman Please don’t use the word “schmuck” unless you know the translation and really mean it!

hearkat's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit mentions another part of our dilemma. How do you define “common use”?
What constitutes common use in Crown Heights, Brooklyn isn’t the same as what’s common use in Chinatown, San Francisco, or in El Paso, TX, or in Toronto, or London, or Sydney. To whose “common use” do we cater and still be called fair and consistent?

What’s an acceptable context? Two words in a sentence – but not three; or one sentence in a paragraph as long as the paragraph has more than four sentences?

As written in the other Meta thread:
… we weren’t given the specifics – just that it’s “not supported”. We use the tilde for our sarcasm commentary, so that’s not the issue, and I use the accent over the e in fiancé all the time. I suspect the problem is with languages that have a completely different alphabet, like Japanese, Greek, or Hebrew. BUT the problem is how can we say it’s cool to use French and Spanish, but not Korean, Russian, or Hindi?

Do people understand how difficult it is to craft clear rules to meet the needs of a website that has members from all over the world, so that we won’t have to hear complaints about favoring one member or group or demographic over another?

cookieman's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul: I know what it references, but it is a common example. I wasn’t directing it at anyone.

@hearkat: Can you explain why now there is a need for these language-specific rules? We all know Fluther is an English-based site and therefore converse in English. But words or phrases that are of foreign (non-English) origin are commonly used in English (see examples above) and have been therefore commonly used on Fluther for as long as I’ve been here (2008). Why the need to regulate this now?

I appreciate the explanation.

ibstubro's avatar

Google Chrome claims to have an automatic translation device. Perhaps the mods could try that, set to English, and moderate the content that is untranslatable?

Just a thought.

@hearkat Personally, I don’t think it’s possible or desirable to try to write a rule for every situation. The mods need to come to a consensus as the what’s allowable, then circle the wagons. We, the users, are going to trash and praise at will. What’s more important than a mile of rules is a semi-consistent policy and a united mod front.

Gourdman, this all makes me tired.

tinyfaery's avatar

So it’s come to this? Nitpicking?
Is this the pressing issue fluther is having?

GET OVER IT! Fuck. I don’t want fluther to go down because of juvenile behavior and minuscule issues.

Fluther should go down swinging. I’ll be here when ya’ll can decide the difference between coffee and cafè.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Totally agree @ibstubro and with @cookieman‘s questions. Surely if the mods apply the existing guidelines fairly, consistently and with common sense there shouldn’t be a problem (should there?). I think that does mean the mod team watching out for their own over-zealousness too of course. The ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ rule seems to apply here. Just to throw in a rule. If members on mass whinge, the mod team evaluate and consider if they were over-the-top. If one member whinges, deal with appropriately, and move on.

Mods would seem to have a hard enough job without all these rules and boundaries and such argy-bargy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@cookieman That’s really my problem with this whole thing as well. I rarely if ever use words of a different language myself, though sometimes the ones mentioned above, definitely the cooking ones, but I’ve never seen a problem with foreign language posts. I’ve been on fluther for just short of 7 years now, I can’t recall seeing any posts that were completely in another language (maybe a few between blondesjon and gail, but small on the side comments) .I honestly can’t understand where this whole issue came from.

dappled_leaves's avatar

It sounds to me as if the mods want to be able to understand what the foreign words or phrases are, so that they can judge whether they should stand or be removed. In other words, how can they know if a post has gone off-topic if it’s in a different language? How can they know if a word in a different language has been misspelled?

I think there is little enough of this occurring that the mods could quite comfortably ignore it, and let us discuss for ourselves. Those of us who like a little foreign language banter also tend to keep each other on our toes with style and content (because, you know… it’s fun). I feel that it would be sufficient for the mods to assume that we are being responsible and let well enough alone, unless someone flags inappropriate content. Because, believe me, someone would.

funkdaddy's avatar

@kardamom – please stop, really

I’m still very curious as to how the server can’t “physically” handle the words

The problem with foreign languages is most likely either

1) full non-ascii/double-byte/whatever you want to call it character sets aren’t supported fully, I’d guess either the database, or some cleaning function along the way in Python/django doesn’t support some set of characters without changes being made – here’s some documentation to get all the willing volunteers started
2) It may be that some fonts don’t support all the characters, but I think the site has fallbacks on everything for the front end
3) they just don’t want to implement, test, and troubleshoot the whole thing again… development is done and it might not be something immediately obvious that is changed

Why does it matter so much, are people really feeling stifled by this? Or just still raising a stink as payback?

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps it is time to give the mods a little vacation from all this; maybe a week when they do not have to compose thoughtful time-consuming mini-essays triggered by over-zealous members. To what end escapes me…just to make the mods even more exhausted and exasperated? If so, they are succeeding. Find another hobby this week, please.

hearkat's avatar

Regarding @cookieman and @ibstubro‘s questions: As has been expressed numerous times elsewhere, we’ve been called out for being inconsistent and not transparent so we’ve gone through the existing rules and guidelines and are coming to a consensus for consistency and are trying to be transparent about it.

I have no more time or energy to debate this now, and having to deal with these posts prevents us from having the time to progress in our team conversations on these issues. I’ve got a paying job which requires me to get up early in the morning and be responsible for people’s health care. Good night.

Seaofclouds's avatar

[Mod says]: Question moved to meta with OPs permission as it is a discussion about Fluther.

jonsblond's avatar

Please let the mods do what they said they are going to do. They’ve mentioned numerous times on multiple questions that they are working together to come up with an answer that will hopefully make things clear for everyone. How can they work together when users are continuing to complain and ask questions? They are spending all of their time (away from their families) to repeat themselves over and over for people who just won’t listen. @gailcalled is right. If you live in the U.S., go light some sparklers or something.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Had a feeling it was gonna get moved to Meta!

Kardamom's avatar

@funkdaddy Why? What is your problem with me and my question??? I just want/need to know what terms/words are acceptable.

There’s a lot ol of us who use terms and words that were once acceptable, that are no longer acceptable.

I would just like to have a definitive list of what’s acceptable and why.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ How about cooling it for a while? You’re exhausting not only the mods.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m with Gail.

At least calm the fuck down for a few weeks so the mods can talk policy instead of babysitting.

10% of the users create 90% of the problems. Just ban them if needed.

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled I could “cool it” for awhile or “fuck down” ( is that a usable terminology?) @johnpowell has suggested for@for a few weeks) or I could just leave, forever,which is what a few, or a lot of you, or a lot of y’all or you guys, or folks,or people, would prefer I’d do, yeah? Any suggestions?

If I was a Mod., which I am not (/Even though I was asked to become one, by Auggie) because I don’t have the amount of time in which a Mod SHOULD spend time on this site (probably 7 or 8 hours a day ) I too have familial and work obligations I would not consider doing so, at this time, as the moderation and familial contacts to this site are so close, and do not consider outside opinions.

I was asked to become a part of Fluther through a cooking site. I had no idea what Fluther was. I had never heard of Q&A sites before. I finally got used to the A part of the site, but it took me several years to dare to ask a Q, because I was afraid that I would be ridiculed, or worse, be subjected to ridiculous and petty questions about the nature of my
Q’s. Turns out that my fears were real. I should have kept my mouth closed.

I will not have any involvement with demise of Fluther.

Do any of you think that tits and boobies took down this site??? If you do, I fear for all of you,

Kardamom's avatar

Tits and boobies, for you all that don’t know the back ground of this Q, are birds,
not female tiities or breasts. “Tits”: are birds and so are boobies

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
JLeslie's avatar

I stopped reading after two people tried to tell me saute is not English. Of course I know it is from the French, it doesn’t change that it is in the English dictionary. It is now also English. I hope someone else pointed this out above and I am not the only one who knows this. If I am repeating someone else I apologize. Not to mention I doubt adding ed, as in sauteed, is French, that sounds very English to me, but I dont know French. we’ll forget that suffix is practically a French word, because we did slightly change the spelling for English.

We have tons of words from other languages that now are also English. Angst, attaché, poncho, cilantro, macho, fiancé, rendezvous, brunette, cafe, deja vu, faux, Kindergarten, demi, ballet, burro, plaza, melange, and that is just off the top of my head. I assume if we google the lists are incredibly long. Are we going to dump those words too? Come on.

Fluther’s ivory tower is not going mod words that are commonly used in English and are in the English dictionary. If someone who is English speaking doesn’t know what sauté means, that is not because they don’t know French, it is because they have a limited vocabulary in English English, and now they just learned a new word if they look it up in the Merriam Webster dictionary.

ragingloli's avatar

I do not care.
I will continue to use “foreign” words as I see fit.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I forgot to respond to you. No. Para means stop. So I told you to stop it. Joking around of course.

Also, I just noticed when I went back to see who had spoken the Spanish that @livelaughlove21 basically said the same thing I did so I wanted to acknowledge that.

This Q completely baffles me.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
longgone's avatar

@Kardamom The bird question was meant as a joke. We all know that. This question is unnecessary, because the mods have stated (numerous times), that they will let us know when they’ve reached an agreement. Did you not know that, or did you not believe them? They followed through with that on the other issue (tits). Why doubt them now?

I really don’t think anyone wants you to leave. I certainly don’t…but please, do give the mods some time.

JLeslie's avatar

And, I know I will get shot down for multiple posts, but anyone who is exhausted, ignore the question. Don’t spend your time or energy answering. A lot of people seem to be spending a lot of energy answering Q’s and telling people what to do and then complaining about having to type out a response. Just don’t answer.

If the mod here, it happens to be @hearkat, actually thinks sauté is in question and similar words, she can just say we are figuring it out, and leave it at that, and get back to everyone, she does not have to write a long answer. Honestly, if a word like sauté is outlawed I might just quit, because to me it will be lowering the level of this site. So many people here have broadened my vocabulary. @hearkat just used supine on another Q. I just had to look it up to be sure. Do most people know that word? Or, just medical people primarily?

I should say that if @Kardamom felt confused and wanted to ask a question about it, she should go right ahead. No question is stupid. What baffles me is that so many jellies don’t know that foreign words have been adopted into the English dictionary. I certainly don’t know everything, and never expect anyone else to know everything either. There are plenty of things I don’t know that are common knowledge to many other people, but this is confusing to me. To have so many jellies feel there is debate about using a word like sauté?

I don’t think @Kardamom was trying to rush anyone, or not be understanding of what the mods are trying to accomplish. I think she was wanting to be compliant with the rules, but maybe I am naive (oops, there I go again with the French. I am actually not sure if it is spelled exactly the same in French) about her intent.

longgone's avatar

Also…trolls want attention. If @Kardamom was trolling, the best response to her question would have been: “Not sure yet, we’ll let you know.”

Coincidentally, that would have been the best answer to a serious question, too.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@JLeslie, perhaps you should read the rest of the thread (you admitted you didn’t) and not get upset because someone contradicted a comment you made. You said “Sautéed is an English word”. It is not an English word. However, if you had read on, you would see that I for one went on to say that to outlaw words that are not English but are in common usage would be ridiculous and nigh on impossible.

Really I don’t know what decisions the moderation team are trying to reach. I also don’t know whether the ongoing angst and confusion is being generated by the moderation team or the members. People seem to be getting their undies in a complete knot about nothing.
However, @Kardamom is obviously stressed by decisions being made about the moderation process. If the moderators think she’s going too far, perhaps they can take it up with her personally and privately. I certainly don’t think other members should be attacking her and silencing her.

ucme's avatar

Je ne sais pas

dappled_leaves's avatar

@longgone Right on the money.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Then we agree no one should be attacking her and silencing her.

Don’t you think words in the English dictionary should be ok? Sauté is in there. I bet half of America doesn’t even know Kindergarten is a German word. What does it matter where it came from if it is common in usage, and for that matter not only common, it isnt like it is in the urban dictionary, but not in Merriam Webster, it is part of the “official” English language. I know it is taken from French, I am sure you saw me list a bunch of foreign words we now utilize in English in our dictionary. How can sauté be in question by the mods? Or, cilantro, or Brie, or burrito. Think about it. I really don’t understand why it would take any time for the mod team to figure that out to be honest. If they come back and say all those words are illegal on the site I will be happy to admit I was wrong, but I will think it is ridiculous. I rarely use that word ridiculous, because I think it can be very condescending, but I can’t think of another word.

How many Americans know Cilantro is Coriander? If @Kardamom changes that in a recipe people will go to the supermarket and not find the herb they need. I never see it listed as coriander in the markets anymore. Just coriander seed in the spice area. What are you going to call queso fresco? That is what it is. What about Ricotta? Pepperoni? Mozzerella? Frankfurter? Pasta? Pizza? Linguine? Fettuccine? Latte? Tortilla? Jalepeño? Habanero? Sauerkraut? What? People only think French sounds foreign, but Italian, German, and Spanish don’t?

I did go back and read the answers and it doesn’t really change any of my answers.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie “How can sauté be in question by the mods?”

I doubt it will be a problem.
Let’s wait and see.

@dappled_leaves Thanks!

syz's avatar

Passive-aggressive behavior :the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, sarcasm, hostile jokes, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

For research purposes, the DSM-IV describes passive-aggressive personality disorder as a “pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in social and occupational situations”.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone Still, isn’t it surprising to you that it would even be considered unnacceptable? Or, any other word used in English in the English dictionary? Hell, sometimes we help translate British ingredients for Americans and vice a versa. My first answer was simple. I didn’t start getting all worked up until people actually started attacking @Kardamom and actually agreeing maybe the answer is not obvious about food items and cooking techniques? @Kardamom asked about very specific foreign words that we use every day. Another jelly asked about Yiddish words, I can see why that might be in question. Some are common usage and some are even in the English dictionary, but plenty are not.

In my opinion, when it comes to food, if someone doesn’t know what a particular food is then ask within the thread or google it. What a waste of mod time for mods to pick out foreign foods. You can’t write linguine, you have to write a noodle that is 2 milimeters by 10 centimeters, or whatever linguine is, I made the measurement up. Who is going to understand that? Of course mods won’t be looking for anything like that. Why was there not a simple answer to her very specific question. She is a foodie, so she is concerned with food specifically it seems to me.

How about foreign names? Degas? Seurat? Picasso? Da Vinci? Romeo? Cartier? Einstein? Tchaikovsky? Boucheron? Should we Americanize them like we did Christopher Columbus? We changed his name. That’s ridiculous to me too.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie “Still, isn’t it surprising to you that it would even be considered unnacceptable?”

No. I commend the mods for thinking this through. If they don’t find ways to somehow put into words the fine line they mentioned, believe me… in less than a week, we’ll have someone saying, “Yeah…I’m not allowed to mention ‘Kartoffelsalat’, but @JLeslie can talk about cilantro, huh?!”

That’s the hard part. Of course it takes time.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone That is a waste of time for mods to worry about an ingredient in an English recipe. They should not even be considering it. I commend them for trying to get the modding back on track, because it loosened up for a while, but thinking about words in the English language? It’s in the English language. Kartoffielslat isn’t, cilantro is.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@JLeslie I said up there “This is why it’s a nightmare to create a hard and fast rule. How do you police it? Are foreign words in common usage okay? Are foreign words that are names of foods okay? Where is the line? As soon as you make a rule rather than a guideline, you need defining boundaries.” In other words, I do not think for one second words such as sauté should be a problem for the moderators and if they made it so, they would make a rod for their own backs. To censor foreign words and phrases, would be an impossible task. Do people here really write often write posts that include extensive content in another language? Why is this even being discussed?

I don’t know why there are so many questions about moderation or about how people should behave on this site. As to the use of foreign language, I also don’t understand why the moderators can’t just say words and phrases in common usage will be perfectly acceptable. What is it they’re trying to work out? Has moderation been such a major problem previously? I’m bamboozled by the number of posts about the minutiae of moderating.

canidmajor's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit: “If the moderators think she’s going too far, perhaps they can take it up with her personally and privately. I certainly don’t think other members should be attacking her and silencing her.
We don’t know that the mods are not discussing it with her “personally and privately”. It is @Kardamom that makes all this public, again and again.

No one is “attacking” her, we are expressing annoyance at her continual flogging of this horse. And obviously, no one is “silencing” her.

ragingloli's avatar

Right, telling her that she “should be banned” is not attacking her.
You are so f

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor I have known @Kardamom too long to think that she is asking those questions just to get a rise out of the mods. i think it is more likely she wants to help them define parameters, and she wants to be compliant. However, I will say this, as much as I think she has good intentions, some of the modding and enforcement of guidelines recently has gone a little too far in my opinion. The mods are stirring the pot if they cannot figure out in one second that words in the English dictionary should be acceptable. It should be an easy answer. Food we see every day all across America, England, Australia, and other English speaking countries in our supermarkets? If you are saying Kardamom is stirring the pit, why are you not critical of hearkat saying she doesn’t know the answer to food commonly consumed in America?

I just wrote to a jelly this: It’s like porn, you know it when you see it. We know when people are using foreign phrases that are not common knowledge among Americans. We know if a sentence might not be ok for work. Once in a while something might be borderline, then fine, the mods should err on the side of caution for those. It doesn’t seem that tricky to me.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie You are not really understanding me. I’m saying that it’s hard to draft a guideline to exempt the “foreign” words in everyday use. Not because it is tricky in itself, but because jellies are tricky. I think the mods are trying to avoid unnecessary squabbles later on. Perhaps I wasn’t being clear.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone A generic guideline of English only is sufficient, isn’t it? We use foreign words in English. Those foreign words are part of English. Some of them become part of our dictionary eventually. It’s really not confusing. It isn’t a fine line, it is a big fat wide grey line. That’s how English is. Whenever a jelly writes something that is borderline or confusing, another jelly can ask what it means. If it is obviously a conversation in a foreign language, the mods can delete it, or ask for it not to continue. Pretty much we know when we are using words that are common knowledge in a language we are fluent in. The mods are making unnecessary work for themselves if they think this is difficult. I personally don’t believe the mods are making this difficult, I really doubt it isn’t obvious to them, except that the mod on here seemed annoyed with the question and also thinks it needs mod discussion behind the scenes. I hope that discussion is not more than two minutes.

Berserker's avatar

If the demise of Fluther is imminent, Kardamom most certainly isn’t the only one contributing to it.

JLeslie's avatar

I assume mostl of you do realize it started with this Q. I don’t even think the author of that Q, which happens to be the mod on here I referred to earlier, thinks the foreign language thing is actually complicated, in fact from the way she wrote it on the linked Q it sounds to me like she felt it was fairly obvious and easy to know what is acceptable.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@Symbeline Agreed
>this thread gets 60 something replies and everyone is bickering back and forth
>this thread only gets 16 replies and positive vibes all around

cookieman's avatar

Gotta say, as I continued the thought of the OP into Yiddish phrases, I did not know the mods were “working on” a solution to the foreign language problem. Hell, I didn’t even know it was a “problem” (as I alluded to in my second post). I, frankly, don’t pay that much attention to Fluther drama. Just thought this was an interesting question.

Now that I’ve read through the recent meta-section-mod-Fluther-drama-threads (so I can be informed) — I get it. I still think it’s all a bit unnecessary, but what do I know?

Not to Monday-morning quarterback, but if I were the mods, and were accused of inconsistent modding (which is apparently what prompted the mods, with Ben’s blessing to take a closer look at the guidelines and their enforcement), I would have simply said, “Yes, we are sometimes inconsistent. This is an perfect system being provided to you for free. We are doing our best with the time we have. We appreciate your assistance via flagging and PMs. Let’s all continue to be good, helpful Jellies and embrace the imperfections about this place we love.”

“What’s that? You don’t love Fluther? Oh, then in that case, feel free to take a long walk off a short pier.”

gailcalled's avatar

And boo to the belaborers, a word I just invented and already used twice here. One of the miracles of the computer to me is the instant accessibity of, for both definitions and correct spelling.

JLeslie's avatar

I am going to reverse myself on one point, because a quick PM to @syz made me remember something. This Q gave me a little eye roll too, like @hearkat was trying to teach us something about what social and general should be used for, and I guess @Kardamom is maybe trying to teach @hearkat a lesson with writing “this is a serious question, so I put it in general.” Or, she really liked when @hearkat did it and copied the idea. My advice is mods should just lay off the lecture a little, but go ahead and keep modding, everyone wants some standards here.

I have no idea what the fuck to think now regarding the tone of the questions. All I know is sauté is ok, you have it officially from me LOL.

Of course there are inconsistencies, these are not paid full time positions. If someone feels they are being modded a lot, that might be because the mods follow you a lot, which usually means they are interested in what you write in a positive way or like the same subjects. Cal it out to a mod if you feel it is very extreme and they can see if a particular mod is harping on you.

bossob's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit wrote, ‘I don’t know why there are so many questions about moderation or about how people should behave on this site.’

I think it’s merely a symptom of a more serious problem. In the world of sports, a commonly heard adage is, ‘winning fixes all problems’. It means that when a team is on a losing streak and nothing is going right, there often is abundant sniping, complaining, whining, finger-pointing, and bitching going on in the locker room, on the field, and in public. But as soon as the team starts winning again, everyone mellows, smiles, hugs, cheers, and enjoys the game even though none of the ‘problems’ were fixed. It’s fun to be on a winning team, and pesky details just don’t matter.

Fluther is no longer a winning team, and the current fixation on moderation is a reflection of that. Membership is down; posting is down; development is nil. The mods are doing their best to maintain the status quo (am I allowed to use that Latin phrase?!), but there is no leadership. No one has a vision of where Fluther is headed or improvements that could be made. We’re on cruise control, and some jellies are getting bored.

The world of social media has changed a lot since Fluther started. Now-a-days, when I ask Google a question, it has an answer for me before I even finish the question. There is competition for my attention from a plethora of various sites. They offer the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement that once was the norm here, but has faded away. Fluther isn’t adapting to a changing world.

I’m watching a similar decline on another forum that is in it’s fifth year. The original founder and mods have left or no longer have time for the forum. The current mods are doing a good job maintaining a pleasant environment, but they have no leader. There’s nobody who is willing to say that the ‘buck stops here’, or is willing to try new ideas that will stimulate the members and generate more participation and enthusiasm. That forum has become monotonous, and long-term members are drifting away.

I believe that that forum and Fluther are at similar crossroads. The gravy train is over. Management is easy when growth and enthusiasm are the norm. But when they plateau and then begin to decline, members become critical or bored or just leave, and it becomes a challenge for management to turn the environment around. Perhaps we’re seeing that there is a natural half-life to a forum such that that without continual upgrades, improvements, or orchestrated changes by management, participation will peak and then decline to a minimal level maintained by the die-hards.

I suggest that we would be better served by taking the energy that is being put into discussing moderation, and using it to discuss the real problem: Fluther is ailing, if not failing. If that’s not addressed, there won’t be a need for moderation.

thorninmud's avatar

Here is the outcome of the mods’ discussion on this issue:

It’s not practical to try to establish criteria for what words or phrases can be considered English (or “English enough”) and which are foreign. English is already a hodgepodge of borrowed words, with more being adopted all the time. Even if we take a current dictionary as the standard, too many useful words and phrases would be excluded. Our goal isn’t to enforce linguistic purity here, but to avoid some practical problems that could potentially arise.

If a post can’t be understood by the mods without running it through a translator, it’s subject to removal. This is necessary because we have to monitor the content of posts, and this makes that job unnecessarily difficult.

Using languages other than English to carry on private conversations with another member within a thread is grounds for removal, both for the reason mentioned above, and also because it shuts everyone else out. The threads are public; private conversations are what PMs are for.

We recognized that there are lots of existing posts out there on Fluther that wouldn’t pass muster under this interpretation, but we will not be removing anything already posted, so please hold the flags.

Hope this sounds reasonable. Any questions?

syz's avatar

^I think that’s an excellent point that the English language is made up of so many ‘stolen’ words. And there are plenty of foreign language words that are common in our daily conversations.

If users want to have conversations in another language, they always have the option of PMs.

Berserker's avatar

Works for me. I kind of figured that as long as one doesn’t write entire sentences in another language, it should be okay. For example Gail and I often talk about French, and if I want to tell her what a word is, I’ll say it in French, with its English equivalent. Also that way, anybody else reading will know what’s going on.

thorninmud's avatar

I should have added that questions having to do with foreign languages (such as asking for translations or grammar advice) are a special case. Obviously, on-topic comments in that language would be accepted.

JLeslie's avatar

And, there it is. Just what I said. Of course the mods have a reasonable logical answer. I never doubted it for a second.

Kardamom's avatar

@thorninmud , Thank you so much!

For you, Sir, I shall whip up some delicious Sautéed Mushrooms with Bourbon and for everyone, please enjoy this lovely Indonesian Satay

I think we are all satisfactorily sated.

thorninmud's avatar

Yes, please!

longgone's avatar

That seems simple enough. We won’t be able to learn as much, which is disappointing…but I understand the problem. Good work finding a clear-cut answer.

cookieman's avatar

Sounds like a plan.

And can I just say about all the recent drama… Oy Vey.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone What do you mean we won’t be able to learn as much?

As far as I can see the rules for foreign language have not really changed at all since I have been here and are not changing going forward even with this clarification.

longgone's avatar

@thorninmud stated, “We recognized that there are lots of existing posts out there on Fluther that wouldn’t pass muster under this interpretation.”

The rules haven’t changed – but the enforcement of these rules will likely be different.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie “What do you mean we won’t be able to learn as much?”

This is what I lament as well, because foreign language banter on Fluther tends to go on until one party learns a new word or phrase. It is something that happens organically, and that I wouldn’t pursue in PM, partly because I’m less comfortable in PM, but also because a PM is a conversation between only two people. So although I always appreciate a clarification of the mods’ intentions, I’m disappointed by their decision. And I still think it constitutes a “dumbing down” of the site – trying to meet a common denominator.

For those who have difficulty parsing these kinds of comments, this is not the same as “rebelling”. We can disagree without being disagreeable, as @Auggie always says.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@dappled_leaves Can you believe what we started here?! All we did was send a few cordial, friendly messages back-and-forth.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul Would that I could answer as my instinct would prefer. :(

dappled_leaves's avatar

@kevbo In any way, shape, or form they see fit.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Maybe you can link an example? Or, explain to me better what exactly you mean, because I don’t know what type of foreign words or phrases you are specifically missing out on. People are still probably going to throw in some commonly used foreign phrases here and there, you might learn a new one, I might learn a new one. Someone wrote me a Spanish sentence on a Q the other day, I answered in a way in English that anyone reading it would be able to figure out what was asked by the other jelly. I think it was fine. I assume that would not be modded in that specific instance, because it was natural within the thread.

I live in a very multilingual community and a bilingual family. The general rule is you use the common language at “the table” with everyone, so no one is left out. Speaking in another language is the same as whispering. Even with that understanding other languages stilll happens at times. My husband and his sister are fluent in English, but when they go into a childhood memory, they often fall back to Spanish, but if I get lost in the story, I expect them to translate, even though it takes twice as long in the end. A simple foreign word in the middle of an English sentence is not the same. Many regions of the US commonly use foreign words. NYC uses a lot of Yiddish, especially in the garment industry. They don’t even think of it as foreign, it is just in their stream of vocabulary. My mom threw certain French phrases out at us all the time growing up. My dad used German, Yiddish and Italian at times. Not sentences, just a word or two in a sentence. Words most people in our circles would know, but if he was writing here he probably would refrain more from using them.

When I worked at Bloomingdale’s in FL our rule on the selling floor was staff must speak English to each other, but could use a different language with their customers.

If @longgone was going to give us her Oma’s Kartafalsalat (If memory serves that is grandma’s potato salad, or what I would call German potato salad) she certainly can use the German term and then explain what it is. I had girlfriends growing up who called their Grandma Oma. There is probably some Polish-Americans on here who get Paczkis for the holidays, and don’t even think about translating it to Polish donut. In the markets where they sell Paczkis they are called Paczkis, not donuts. These things will still come up and not be modded. A conversation in a mother language, going back and forth several times is a different thing and should be modded in my opinion. If not modded, then stopped by aski the participants to go back to English. In my opinion. Not that I am any sort of authority.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie I couldn’t find such a thread for you, any more than you would be able to find the question you referenced (which included some Spanish) a month from now. I would if I could.

After reading your comments about what’s acceptable “at the table”, I wonder if this whole language issue sparked this question. It hadn’t occurred to me before that these things were related. But you will notice that there is a spectrum of opinions on the matter.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves You know what is funny, just a couple minutes ago a jelly told me on a Q I should have my husband reconsider putting his tchotchkes in the man cave. I had to giggle when I saw it.

As to your link, it all really depends on the situation. When I am with my husbands family his parents sit quietly at the table when we are using English, and my parents would sit quietly when Spanish is being spoken. Sometimes it is worth translating, because the conversation actually has involved everyone, or sometimes the conversation isn’t worth translating. In that situation there is not one common language at the table. On fluther, we all speak English. Maybe there is a site out there that has Q and A’s in any old language? When I go to a store it doesn’t matter to me what language an employee is speaking, I assume they also speak English and will switch for me. If I owned a store and customers voiced frustration with a foreign language constantly being spoken I would require they speak English on the sales floor. They speak English if they work there, they can do it.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie‘s earlier statement that the mods “can just say we are figuring it out, and leave it at that, and get back to everyone…” later without posting a long answer.

If the members think they have a chance to influence the outcome, some will stay in the discussion endlessly. I tend to be one of those. It’s just different styles. What one member considers passionate, another member sees as blatantly argumentative. If we’re not influencing the behind-the-scenes decision making, there’s no need for the mods to make long posts (if any post at all), until a decision has been reached.

Different moderator viewpoints have been more evident lately than I’ve ever noticed before, and that weakens the whole site. It seems to me that transitioning from having certain mods specialize to even-steven moderation has unbalanced the ebb and flow of the tidepool. This too, I suppose, will pass, but the current process does not seem healthy for the site or the moderators. IMO.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Response moderated (Writing Standards)
rojo's avatar

See, told you so.

Berserker's avatar

I really don’t appreciate being accused of destroying Fluther, but it really isn’t helping when people do it on purpose to break rules.

ucme's avatar

Hmm, so @Symbeline accused of destroying Fluther & me of being the “cancer of the site”
My, my, well aren’t we the clever ones then :D

cookieman's avatar

^^ Whoa, whoa! Where did that happen??

Clearly, I missed it.

ucme's avatar

Some alleged “new user” came outta nowhere & yelled that crap about me, soon got modded off & I received a lecture from a mod right after.
You really couldn’t make this shit up.

cookieman's avatar

Always a couple of bad apples to spoil the soup.
Ooh, I mixed a metaphor.

ucme's avatar

Yeah well, I just laughed it off & moved on, like you do.

Seaofclouds's avatar

[Mod says]: This question has been answered. As the discussion has come to a close, so will this question. We thank you for the discussion regarding this issue and your patience while we came to a conclusion. If anyone has any further questions regarding foreign languages, please feel free to use the Contact the Mods button and we will be happy to answer them for you. Thank you!

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