The use of foreign languages in posts (Not a Pitting)

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(In the interest of full disclosure, I’d just changed my outdated .sig file for something more timeless: a Latin translation of the old Monty Python line, “My hovercraft is full of eels.”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.)

Given that this isn’t Usenet, there isn’t actually a .sig file. They’re just called “sigs”.

My sig, which I never use — I don’t even enable the viewing of sigs — is (one version of) Ockham’s Razor in Latin. Forbidding its use would seem ill-conceived. But since I don’t use it anyway, that’s moot. I guess I think it’s different if it’s something that people should know. For me, Ockham’s Razor in its original Latin would qualify. A political bumper sticker translated into Hungarian would not.

Does anyone know how to say “We must stay the course.” in Hungarian?


I think Lynn is making a problem out of something that isn’t one. Since each poster can enable sigs or not, at will, what does it matter if they are in Latin, Bantu or Norwegian?

Mindvégig kitartjunk

Mindvégig = until all is finished
kitartjunk = we should endure

sztaki szótár

It just occurred to me that there’s a Doper whose username is Tanstaafl, and that’s not English, either. Is there a rule for usernames?

Yes, it is. It’s an acronym coined by author Robert A. Heinlein and stands for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” For an actual example of a foreign-language username, you need only look one post above yours.

Or one post below mine.

just fucking chopped liver, I suppose…

For the person’s interested the use of foreign language in posts was discussed almost a year ago in the Comment on new summary of rules thread, when input was solicited. I’m not telling you you missed your chance, I’m saying you should read the discussion.

Start at post #10.

Woo! I’m being mentioned in the Pit! Woo! Continue. Also, the Spanish in my sig was a direct translation from English.

I actually remember when the no-foreign-language rule came out. There had been a rash of posts, and entire threads, IIRC, in other languages that prompted some complaints. So they banned it. There you go.

I would say c’est la vie, but I don’t want to get banned.

Man! You just totally blew my mind. That is scary.

I think it is a good rule. There are a lot of sniggering teens out there who would looooove to slip a bad word into their “foreign language sig”. But read Harmonious Discord’s link dudes. The staff clarifies the rule there.

And so what if they do? Is the board going to collapse? Will multitudes of offended posters refuse to resubscribe? Please. I agree with the rules regarding foreign language posts, but to apply that to sigs is stupid.

In case you’re being serious, he edited one minute after the person following him posted.

“had been fluent in French”?

Shush, you! I’m trying to cultivate a godlike air of superiority.

I had five years of French in school, and was reading Camus, Satre and Beckett in the original language with no difficulty.

But it’s been almost fifteen years since I’ve used that knowledge, and it’s so ossified and neglected, it takes me five minutes, or more, to read simple several paragraph articles these days.
Harmonious Discord, thanks for the link - off to read it, now.

How weird. I read the book, remembered the word, but didn’t realize/remember it was an acronym.
Anyway, there’s also DiosaBellisima.