# Can my students ask questions in Chinese here, and can I write answers in Chinese?

I want to let my abstract algebra class of students through the Internet to be able to ask me questions, I can build a private community, and so that they can ask questions here in Chinese, and let me use Chinese to answer them?

Modified translation:

I want to let my students from the abstract algebra class ask me questions through the Internet. Can I can build a private community, so that they can ask questions and I can answer in Chinese?

• It's more convenient to use piazza.com for such purpose – d.k.o. Jun 20 '15 at 5:46
• @d.k.o. Thank you for your suggestion. – bfhaha Jun 20 '15 at 5:48
• My guess is that this isn't allowed. Unfortunately, Area 51 doesn't support Stack Exchanges in other languages unless is is a Stack Overflow, so you can't get a new site either. – wythagoras Jun 20 '15 at 5:49
• Sounds like a very reasonable request and very good idea, but somehow feels the answer should be no. Maybe StackExchange should expand to other other languages, especially Chinese, as it covers such a large user base. 貌似是个非常好的建议，但似乎又觉得不太合适。也许StackExchange应该开通非英语的版本，特别是中文，因为有那么多人说中文，特别是很多喜欢数学和技术的人。 – Indominus Jun 20 '15 at 5:50
• Nothing about StackExchange is private, so that looks like a deal breaker right there. Moving this to meta anyway. – Jyrki Lahtonen Jun 20 '15 at 6:01
• This suggestion seems somewhat related: "Make it possible for a teacher to register and monitor a class." From How to increase service/traffic, a set of suggestions – Martin Sleziak Jun 20 '15 at 7:14
• I don't think it's even possible for the software to make such private communities. But as you can see in the links that Gerry Myerson provided, asking questions in languages other than English is fine. I've seen enough users with "China" in their profile to make it viable to ask questions in Chinese, I think. – Najib Idrissi Jun 20 '15 at 7:16
• To complement @d.k.o.'s comment, I will add link to this post. It might be useful if you want to start your own site for this purpose. – Martin Sleziak Jun 20 '15 at 7:18
• I am a native Chinese speaker. I just voted "NO". Short answer to your question: why not let your students learn both abstract algebra and English at the same time? – scaaahu Jun 20 '15 at 7:29
• @scaaahu : It is perfectly fine that students learn maths (or anything) using the languages that they are familiar with. – user99914 Jun 20 '15 at 9:39
• @John There are many math terminologies that do not have standard Chinese translation. This has been a major problem reading and writing math books in Chinese. I guess the main reason the OP wants to use this site for discussion in Chinese is because of MathJax we are using. I may be wrong here. If I am right, this question is actually a boat programming question. Somebody, please fill the blank (boat programming) for me. The link to it is not handy for me right now. – scaaahu Jun 20 '15 at 9:50
• For "Abstract algebra" (or any undergraduate math level stuff), the math terminologies are all there. (Though as a Hongkonger I don't quite enjoy learning that, too used to the English one). But there are lots of good reasons that for the teachers to choose the suitable language for their students. @scaaahu – user99914 Jun 20 '15 at 10:00
• The problem is, those students would have serious problems when they graduate from college. They would have to read and write papers in English if they pursue graduate school in math. Like you, I don't enjoy reading math in Chinese. Why do we want the students do the thing we don't like? – scaaahu Jun 20 '15 at 10:56
• make a google group – Surb Jun 20 '15 at 17:02

In my opinion the main issue here is not the language. The possibility of asking in other languages than English was discussed before and several older discussions are linked in the comments. I will not repeat here what was said there.

What I see as the main problem is that you want to create private community on this site. This would probably mean that your students would ask questions based on the rules you agreed in class and not based on the rules of MSE. For example:

• There would probably questions which are duplicates. But you would probably be against closing them as duplicates. (No matter what your class is, it is very probable that some other students encountered similar problems before. I see that your course is abstract algebra. Many students take courses abstract algebra courses and many questions on this site were asked based on what they encountered in their study.)
• Many questions would probably lack context. You students would not have incentive to add context - for your community the context would be clear, as questions would be about stuff you discussed in class. However, for the rest of MSE community, such questions lack context and should be closed.

Encouraging your students contributing to the site by asking good questions is a perfectly good things to do. However, such question must adhere rules of this site. If you want something tailored to your needs, it is probably much better to create some kind of separate site. (There are many types of fora, wiki engines, learning management systems. Some of them are probably not very difficult to setup. And maybe you could get some IT support from your university for this - some institutions employ people who take care of the e-learning solutions used at the particular school.)

As I see that you have started a chatroom for this course, I will also remind you that a user need to get 20 reputation points on some of the SE sites before they can talk in chat. This is not very high threshold, but for a beginner it might be not too easy. So if your students are expected to come to that chat room, they would have to go through the hassle of gaining 20 reputation points in some or other way.

• Thank you. You are right. – bfhaha Jun 20 '15 at 8:36
• @bfhaha Adding on to what Martin said, chatrooms in general don't need to follow the same rules as the rest of the site, and function as private communities. – PyRulez Jul 2 '15 at 20:21
• @PyRulez But chatrooms can't compile the Latex code. =( Now, I use the moodle system which my school provided me. – bfhaha Jul 4 '15 at 7:17
• @bfhaha Since you have mentioned TeX /MathJaX in chat, I will add that most regular users of mathematics chatroom user the bookmarklets linked in this answer. (Although this is not relevant to the original discussion.) – Martin Sleziak Jul 6 '15 at 9:37
• @MartinSleziak Thanks. I will try it. – bfhaha Jul 7 '15 at 17:39

$$\Huge{\mathrm{No.}}$$

• Does upvote mean to agree with OP's proposal or disagree? – user103816 Jun 22 '15 at 8:30
• @user103816 If you upvote no, then you disagree, if you upvote yes, then you agree. – wythagoras Jun 22 '15 at 9:17
• As far as I remember, net score on the question itself is a measure of agreement/disagreement. I don't understand the need of another voting. – user103816 Jun 23 '15 at 6:25
• Actual score: 30, current number of downvotes: 3. – wythagoras Jun 23 '15 at 6:55
• @user103816 Yes, but these answers have been upvoted 37 times, while there is voted only 16 times on the question. These kinds of answers stimulate the voting. – wythagoras Jun 23 '15 at 6:56
• – user103816 Jun 23 '15 at 7:21
• @user103816 Since it was me who said that, I'll point out that it was in the context of a feature request, while the present is a policy discussion. Feature requests are implemented by SE, while policies are set by users themselves. That said, I don't care about this poll either. – user147263 Jun 23 '15 at 13:03

This is my solution. bfhaha.hostei.com/?p=5

Anyone can reply the question using Latex code. It use $$Latex Code$$ instead of the dollar sign \$.

But it has no live preview (preview the equation) like Math Stack Exchange :( It is the most important part...

• If you know some programming, you can use "latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?\\dpi{450} \\bg_white "+escape(str) where str is the LaTeX string. – user21820 Jun 24 '15 at 6:26
• Thanks @user21820 – bfhaha Jul 4 '15 at 5:23

I've noticed that some users post their questions in both their native Chinese language as well as attempt an English translation. I think that is the best option here, since not only can English readers try to read the question, the Chinese readers here can easily edit to improve the translation. Similarly for answers in Chinese. In history, language barriers have often been a major reason for duplicated work, and doing this should prevent the same thing from happening on Math SE.

• That also seems to be in accordance with the recommendation given here. (And discussed in several related questions.) – Martin Sleziak Jun 24 '15 at 9:04

$$\Huge{\mathrm{Yes.}}$$

• Actual score is +10, since this received 5 downvotes. – wythagoras Jun 23 '15 at 6:57

In response to the OP's and @Zach466920's answers.

I am glad to hear that the OP found a solution. I went to the OP's site. I found it's fine. It may not be perfect, but usable. There can be some improvements, though. In theory, you can do it in Chinese if Stack exchange sites can do it in English. Congratulations!

Now to Zach. I am a native Chinese speaker. I am supposed to vote "Yes" to the question. Instead, I voted "No". I have explained one of the reasons in my comment.

Another reason I did not mention is that: if we allow a sub-site of Math SE in Chinese, what do we say if people want to open sub-sites of Math SE in French, German, Japanese, Korean, ... etc. Obviously, there is no way for SE to handle all of them at the moment. I don't know if SE can do all of them in the future. I doubt it, though.

If anybody wants to learn Chinese, we do have Chinese Language SE as part of Stack Exchange networks. We have other stack exchange sites about other languages for anyone to ask and answer question.

• @scaahu I think you missed the point of my original post entirely. I didn't want to learn Chinese, I was making an argument for why the English speakers on this site might be bias. I've completely edited my post, so I'd appreciate it if you edited that part out... – Zach466920 Jun 22 '15 at 14:28
• @Zach466920 I redirected the last part of the answer to anyone who is interested in other language SE sites. – scaaahu Jun 23 '15 at 3:26
• @Zach466920 There is another point I'd like to address. I agree that it would be too much to ask non-native English speakers to ask low level Math questions (such as algebra/pre-calculus) in English here. The askers may be just high schoolers whose English is not good enough to formulate questions in English. However, the OP of this question wants to open a sub-site to discuss abstract algebra. That's different. It's very likely they will have to read and write math papers in English in the future. That's why I suggest that the students learn abstract algebra and English at the same time. – scaaahu Jun 23 '15 at 3:39
• But still SE allows sites like Stack Overflow em Português and Stack Overflow на русском. I guess, in principle, a different MSE in Chinese can work on SE platform. – user103816 Jun 24 '15 at 3:12

(This post has been edited to sound less accusatory as several users pointed out)

I am American and my native language is English.

You can't make a private community within Math Stack Exchange, and I'm sensing that the community is against including other languages in a private forum setting. Using another language can make it harder for many people to access your posts, in addition, your request for a private forum makes it seem like you'd want to operate it within the rules of your class. However, all posts on this site have to made within the rules of this site, not your class. So sadly, it seems you'll have to find another site, or you'll have to be accepting of the public nature of this site.

However, having said that, I find it odd that in the 5+ years this site has been active, we still don't have sites for people who speak other languages. I find it annoying that such a site can't be created, as pointed out in comments above, because sites can only be created in Area 51, and that site doesn't support other languages either.

I understand that English is the universal language of the sciences, and that we encourage people to communicate using it. But I hope that you'll be free to use other languages on this site. I hope the community isn't hostile to that reasonable request for accessibility.

I believe your next course of action is to go to Area 51 and ask for accommodation there as it looks like you'll unfortunately have to create a new site. Of course, you'd could always decide that having a public rather than private site would be best, in which case you might very well be able to use this site.

• There are several post containing some useful information about suggesting/creating language mutations. For example here and here. – Martin Sleziak Jun 21 '15 at 20:00
• Based on the responses to this question, I do not think that this community is "hostile towards including other languages". (If it is done occasionally.) – Martin Sleziak Jun 21 '15 at 20:01
• I have posted the same link twice by mistake. I meant this answer and this answer. – Martin Sleziak Jun 21 '15 at 20:29
• I am not sure which community you mean (SE? Math.SE?), but I posted those links mainly because they contain explanation why SE at the moment has no possibility to create language mutations of various sites. (In any case, you can see there links to several other discussions. As these things were discussed thousand times, I doubt that I have something useful to add. I did my best to direct you to some several older discussions about this issues.) – Martin Sleziak Jun 21 '15 at 20:42
• I must say that I need to restrain myself to not be offended by your judgmental words based on some presumptions regarding the motivation for denying such requests, which turn out to be wrong. I also would prefer you refrain from implying that all current users are native English speakers ("the privilege given to us"). We even have moderators whose first language is not English. As the links provided by Martin show, the requests simply cannot be taken as "reasonable" for the time being due to resource restrictions. Such is life. No need for this accusatory post. – Lord_Farin Jun 21 '15 at 22:28
• @Zach466920 Having seen your now-deleted meta question from earlier (to which I had been working on an answer), I've just got the impression that you're actively seeking out anything about MSE to criticize. You'll note that most comments to this question, and Martin's answer, consider language as a secondary issue (and even then, say "Chinese questions are fine"), focusing primarily on a request for a private niche on MSE. All the while genuinely trying to be helpful with comments like "A chatroom, but..." – pjs36 Jun 21 '15 at 23:52
• @Zach Evidently, you are mistaken. I actually can already use my native language to discuss my topics of interest, because I physically know the two dozen or so people who can have a coherent conversation about them in said language. No need for maths.SE to do that. The bottom line stays: maths.SE unfortunately cannot be the panacea you envisage, and I think it's better to accept this beforehand than to make a halfhearted inferior dash for every nicety we can imagine. That would just be a grotesque waste of both time and money. – Lord_Farin Jun 22 '15 at 7:46
• I've completely changed my post, so most of these comments are obsolete. – Zach466920 Jun 22 '15 at 14:26