In Captain Sock’s Chick tract thread in IMHO Lynn Bodoni just posted a mod note criticizing Sock’s .sig file.
The criticism was two part, but I’m only looking to open up discussion on one of those parts. I’m not arguing the right of the Reader and the SDMB mods to make that decision, just looking to see what others might think.
Lynn made the express point that posts and .sig files should only be in English, since the mods can only be assumed to be fluent in English. Which is, I believe, entirely reasonable, with certain exceptions. Especially in the body of a substantive post, using untranslated non-English would be both hugely annoying to most posters, and of limited use for an open exchange of ideas.
However, while I’m not fluent in Spanish, I had been fluent in French and have some experience with Latin. Reading Captain Sock’s .sig file it seemed obvious that the Spanish lines are simply a translation into Spanish of the English already shown. I don’t know how much my personal knowledge is working to make that obvious to me, where it wouldn’t be to a monolingual English speaker - but it does seem a fairly clear repetition.
Additionally, .sig files are different from a regular post. There are several other .sig files I think I’ve seen on the Dope that are in languages other than English. So long as they are associated with a translation I have trouble seeing the need to eliminate them. For that matter, with a .sig file, I’m not entirely sure that a translation is necessary - though I’ll admit Lynn does have a point about mods being able to do their jobs.
I know that there are jerks and trolls who could find some kind of entertainment in slipping crudities into the Dope via foreign languages, and would provide false translations to support that effort. But the prime rule of this board is “Don’t be a jerk.” I think that it’s unreasonable to assume that people will be jerks unless the Mods can critique the exact nature of every word posted - and I can’t recall a single forum jerk who was only a jerk in one small way - usually they seem to be rather flamboyant.
Anyway, to get back to the main point of this post - I’d like to suggest that foreign language .sig files should be acceptable when they are accompanied by a translation - provided the .sig file is otherwise suitable and acceptable to the Mods.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I’d just changed my outdated .sig file for something more timeless: a Latin translation of the old Monty Python line, “My hovercraft is full of eels.” So, now I have to change it. Again. Rats.)