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What topics can I ask about here?

The Chinese Stack Exchange Site is for experts, language enthusiasts and people who have interest in the Chinese language. Whether you're a native speaker or not, this is the place for you. This site is about discussing about the finer points of the language, but also about less expert questions that might be encountered both when learning the language itself or when you're just interested in how it works.

If you want to see an additional list of what is Off Topic and On Topic, please click here.

Can I request a translation?

We are happy to assist with your translation questions if you are having a specific problem. Please show your attempt at translation in your question and state which area you are having difficulty with.

Open ended questions regarding the accuracy of a translation or asking for a translation of a word or passage without showing previous effort are not allowed.

Questions requesting the Chinese version of a word or phrase where there is only a passing interest and not asked by someone learning the language are also off topic. This includes asking for a Chinese name, a suitable tattoo or the meaning of a Chinese character seen in a movie etc.

Should I post in English or Chinese?

Questions and answers can be written both in Chinese and English on the Main Site only. The Meta site should be in English only, though. This is a request by the Stack Exchange team so they can communicate with us. So, on the Main site you can choose either language, but we suggest a guideline that has been used on other Stack Exchange sites as well:

  1. If the question is in English, please answer in English;
  2. If the question is in Chinese, please answer in Chinese.

In either case, if you're not as comfortable in the question's language, you can provide a brief but complete answer in the original language, and then a more detailed answer in your preferred language. Other users may help improve your translation. Translations are not mandatory, they are just helpful for users who are not fully bilingual. But keep in mind that if your answer is correct without providing a translation, the OP might not consider it as much as it deserves.

Can I ask for resources?

The short answer is: No, but it depends.

Subjective questions (lists, asking for opinions, polls), are off-topic on the main SE sites, because they do not fit the Q&A format in place. In the blog post Good subjective, bad subjective, some guidelines are shown to help with these questions:

  1. inspire answers that explain "why" and "how".
  2. tend to have long, not short, answers.
  3. have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  4. invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  5. insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  6. are more than just mindless social fun.

Check the blog post for more info.

There are already a few common resource questions collected under the resources tag that were asked in the early days of Beta. But most of these questions are locked, as they are not fit to the Q&A format. In any case, since they are highly requested, we set up a question that groups resources for learning or improving your Chinese. You're free to add more material to it, but make sure you read the instructions before posting.

So if you do ask for another list of resources, be very careful how you phrase your question. Open-ended, chatty questions are explicitly discouraged on the Stack Exchange network. The "Real Questions Have Answers" post gives this advice:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

We're not saying that you should never ask for a list of suggestions, but when you do, you should ask for something as specific as possible. Avoid vague questions like, "What are some good web sites for learning Chinese?" as they are going to be closed.

If you do have a chatty, open-ended question, visit our chat room.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Chinese Language & Usage Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"