📊 Language Tags - "Final" Vote

#Please vote in the post marked as “solution”.

Original Post

We are using flag tags now. Let me show you how they work.

So far we have threads in 10 different languages represented by these flags 🇨🇳🇳🇴🇸🇪🇳🇱🇨🇿🇮🇹🇫🇷🇪🇸🇩🇪🇬🇧 here on the forum (do these symbols not show as flags for you? see below how to change that).

Before we used emojis in the topic title to indicate non-english or multilingual threads, now we use those flags as tags.
This has a lot of benefits. How to enjoy them will be explained below.

##First: How can I see these flags?

Not all operating systems support flag emojis out of the box. A system update can fix this. If it doesn’t or you don’t want to update you can install an emoji font.

####On your Fairphone

The FP2 supports flag emojis. Just update your OS and browser to make sure it works well.
If you have an FP1 or if your FP2 still doesn’t display all flag emojis install EmojiOne.

####On your computer

If updating your OS and browser doesn’t help download and install the EmojiOne Color SVGinOT Font and set it as your default font to display emojis.
In browsers other than Firefox or other Gecko-based browsers the emojis will unfortunately be black and white. :frowning:

##Why do I see all flags twice?

For now we use both flags as tags and in the topic title, because not everybody can see the flag tags. That will hopefully change soon as Discourse (forum software) will include flag-tags as a core feature.

##How can I see all threads of the same language?

Just find one topic in that language and tap on the flag-tag to get to the tag-view displaying all topics with that tag.
Or go to the list of all tags and find your flag there:

##How can I get or stop notifications for threads in a certain language?

Simply go to a tag view as explained above, (e.g. here are all the german topics) and in the top right corner you can set the notification level.

##How can I tag a new topic?

This is a bit more complicated than it seems it has to be, as flag-emojis can’t simply be created by entering letters and symbols on your keyboard. These emojis have to be copy-pasted.
Three ways to do it are:

  • Simply copy the flags I posted above.
  • Get the EmojiOne Keyboard Panel addon for Firefox, Chrome or Opera. :warning: But be sure to disable the “auto replace option” to avoid severe performance issues.
  • Just have me or another moderator tag your post.

##Can I use other languages?

All country-flags are supported - so if you want to write in esperanto or other languages that don’t have their own country, there won’t be a flag-tag for you.
Also the more rare your language is the less likely it is you’ll get a lot of help here.
If you are comfortable with english it’s always best to stick with that.

##Why are most english Topics not marked?

English is the main language of the forum and english-only topics are not supposed to be marked. The 🇬🇧 tag is only supposed to be used for multilingual topics where english is used among other languages.
If you muted other languages it may be useful to track or watch the 🇬🇧 tag so you don’t miss out on those topics.

##How can I mention flag-tags?

Mentioning tags is a quite a cool feature, but unfortunately is not supported for emoji-tags yet, so it has to be done manually.

You can e.g. copy-paste them from here:


##Is it possible to do a search within one language?

This is not implemented yet. You can’t e.g. search for “apn tags::netherlands:”.

But you can go to the tags view and do a site-search there. Simply hit the search-keyboard-shotcut twice.
This will only search in the topic titles, searching for more than one word will only yield results of that exact phrase and for languages with many topics you’ll have to scroll to the end of the list before searching to include old topics.

##When will flag-tags be fully supported?

You can follow the discussion on meta.discourse and pitch in after creating an account.


Recent Edit

Recently a discussion came up about the flag tags again. Flags are not really good at representing a language, so we are currently searching for alternatives.
If you have an idea please post it below. I’l gather them here and add them to a poll later.


  • Current state: Use flag tags + flags in the topic title
  • :thumbsup: Using a tag makes it easy to see all topics in the same language as well as to watch or mute a language.
    Also tags can be renamed quickly so if we want to change the system that can be done fast and easily.
  • The flags in the title are there for devices that don’t render the emojis in the tags as flags but as letters, so everybody sees the flag right away.
  • :thumbsup: Flags are easily recognizable and usually it’s clear which language they are supposed to represent
  • :thumbsdown: Flags are not ideal for representing languages and when it comes to regional languages or dialects it will be hard to represent them with flags, especially those that don’t have an emoji yet see list.
  • Going back to old state: [ES], [IT], [EN] and so on in the topic title.
  • :thumbsdown: Not using tags
  • :thumbsdown: Symbols are recognized faster and are more pleasing to the eye than letters in brackets
  • Simply using the name of the language as a tag (english, italian, french), the iso abbreviations (en, it, fr) or “lang:language”.
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsup: Everybody on every device will be able to see the tag so there is no need for an additional hint in the title.
  • :thumbsdown: Not using symbols
  • Using symbols of the abbreviations of the language’s names as tags
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • (:thumbsup:) Kind of using symbols (probably easier to recognize than just the word or abbreviation
  • Not sure if this actually works.
  • Combining flags with name of language (so e.g. italian :it:, spanish :es: or it :it:, es :es:)
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Combining symbols and words actually eliminates some of the downsides of using emoji-tags.
  • :thumbsup: Flags will indicate the language of the topic at first glance and the additional word will make clear that the tag indicates the language and not a country or region.
  • (:thumbsdown:) Still using flags which was criticized and the reason we have this discussion.
  • Using stereotypical symbols as tags to represent languages
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsup: :thumbsdown: Using symbols, but ones that are harder to recognize than flags.
  • :thumbsup: :thumbsdown: Like the flags these symbols won’t represent everyone who speaks a language, but according to @chrisse that’s intentional and a fun play on stereotypes.
  • Using stereotypical words or each language’s word for “Cheers!” as tags
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsdown: Not using symbols
  • :thumbsup: These words actually represent a language instead of a country or region.
  • :thumbsdown: If you don’t know what these tags are used for you’ll just be confused and probably not realize they are supposed to indicate the language of the thread.
  • Combining stereotypical symbols and words
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Combining symbols and words actually eliminates some of the downsides of using emoji-tags.
  • (:thumbsup:) (Guesswork) Combining words and symbols will probably make clear that this is supposed to represent something and it might be easier to realize what they represent than just the word or just the symbol
  • Combining name of the language and stereotypical symbols as tags
  • :thumbsup: Using tags
  • :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Combining symbols and words
  • :thumbsup: Quite eye-caching, clear and unambiguous.

There is also an option to include a written version in the tag. I tested it with Norwegian and it solves 2 out of 4 issues:

  • Everybody can see what the tags mean even if they don’t see the flags.
  • Everybody can easily tag a topic with an existing language flag
  • Searches including such tags are still not possible
  • Mentioning such tags still doesn’t work: #norwegian-:norway:::tag

So should we:

  • Stay with flags in the topic title in addition to the tag so everybody can see the flag
  • Use just the flag-tag and hope Discourse will offer support for this feature soon so the remaining issues are solved.
  • Use tags like “norwegian-:norway:” and drop the flag in the title.

0 voters

This time I will not vote, as I have no preference for one of the options.


Because you like the all or because you hate them all? :wink:

1 Like

I like the flags, in that way I like option 3 a little bit less.


Hmm, I’ll revive this topic because I think there’s something probably wrong with all this flag-as-language-symbol thingy, specially future-wise.

I am an Spanish-speaking person living in Madrid, which is the capital of Spain. It’s true that all people in Spain speak in Castilian Spanish (es_ES). So, in my mind of monolingual person* educated in a monolingual environment, the flag of my country could be used as the symbol of my language. But I think that is a falacy. Why? Becase Spanish is not only spoken in Spain (a big portion of America was once under the crown of Castile until they fought for their independence), and inside Spain there are a lot more languages spoken, four of those are cooficial languages (Catalonian/Valencian/Balearic, Basque, Galician, Aranese).

Flags symbolize countries, not languages. I don’t know what is the flag of Colombia, or Peru, or Bolivia. But they need to know what is the flag of my country to look for our mutual language? Not fair.
Futhermore, Euskara (Basque) and Catalonian are spoken in the internet (I don’t know about Galician), but there aren’t emoji flags for Catalonian or Basque Country (which is not a country, despite its name). What would we do if @iratxe or @laurent_guerguy wanted to open topics in Euskara or Catalonian for their respective local fairphoners?
Also, there are countries without a clear single official language, like Switzerland, which joins four monolingual regions. What language their flag should symbolize?

While writting this reply I’ve found some useful links:

*= Well, I speak Spanish, English and some Catalonian plus I can read French and Galician without much trouble, so I’m not strictly a monolingual person, but I’ve been educated in a monolingual educational environment that only promotes English as a second language, probably because of the cultural globalization process (although in some contexts like some specific work environments it crazily seems that our own language has no value).


Memories from the past are haunting me: :sweat_smile:

Mind the dates!

I would love to have language indicators that are not the flag of any country.


We would have to make these up… :woot: Unfortunately languages are always connected to a countries flag.

Which doesn’t reflect reality at all…


we should promote esperanto as the main forum language… :wink:


What about Latin or Ancient Greek? :wink:

1 Like

I wanted to revive the topic instead of making a new one because it has some rationale inside. But you can move it to a new one if you want to sleep comfortably, :slight_smile:

We can talk here, I have no problem with that. :slight_smile: The posts above are from a private moderator discussion we had in March '16. :wink: (They are top-secret papers that had never been published before, so to say. :joy: )

1 Like

@Roboe I see your point, but I’m not sure we’ll be the inventors of better alternatives here.
I think the same symbols can mean different things, just look at the white flag.
I also think it should be possible for a person to identify as part of more than one group. I’m from Austria and we don’t have the best history with Germany, but still I don’t have a problem with using the german flag to indicate my mother tongue - just like I don’t mind seeing swastikas in Hindu or Buddhist temples.

Flags are far from perfect for representing languages, but they worked quite well so far.

Well there may not be emojis for them yet, but both regions have their own flags that could be used to represent the language too.
When it comes to help topics at least it’s always best to use a language many forum members use, to increase the chances for helpful replies. Topics in languages that are not widely spoken are probably only a good idea for local communities.
Maybe we should simply drop the language-indication for local community topics and use another icon for those, like: :busts_in_silhouette:.

I just don’t want to go back to topic titles starting with [EN], [ES], [DE], not being able to see all topics of the same language at once and not being able to “mute” or “watch” a language.

If anyone ever finds a suitable (at least equally beautiful and straight forward) alternative for the flags I’m willing to change it. Actually renaming/“resymbolizing” the tags would take only a few seconds - the topic titles would have to be changed manually though.



I understand @paulakreuzer’s arguments about efficiency but I also think that flags do not represent languages. It is a shortcut: useful, but wrong in many ways.

So my proposition would be: why so serious?
:beer: German
:champagne: French
:sushi: Japanese
:spaghetti:/:pizza: Italian
:burrito: Spanish
:custard:/:hamburger: English
:tulip: Dutch

These are also shortcuts, stereotypes, but they would spice up the forum!

1 Like

I had a similar idea, but to be honest some of these symbols are hard to understand or even recognize. E.g. without moving my cursor above the symbol to reveal the code I’d have never guessed that that symbol you used for french is a champaign bottle.
Also taking a national treasure is again more about a country than about a language.
It will be hard to find stereotypes that apply to most people that use the same language and that have clear symbols.


I agree, but my idea is to show that those symbols are stereotypes and that they don’t apply to everyone. It should be fun and ironic. The flags, on the other hand, tend to look neutral for many people although they are not.
With flags, you forget that the symbol isn’t a good one. With the other emojis, people would notice that we play along with stereotypes.

Flags are easier to use, I agree, but sometimes you have to go for good, not for easy. That’s why you own a Fairphone :wink:
Flags would be the easy way to go even if it is not conceptually satisfying. Other emojis are not the perfect solution, but they question the categories we use.
My first choice would be letters ([EN], [ES], [DE], …) if they could make the job the flags do (i.e. if they would be clickable icons).

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Well then I’d probably prefer stereotypical words representing the languages, e.g.:

French: Oh là là!
Italian: Mamma mia! (Though a emoji representing this gesture would fit great too)
Spanish: Corazón (Show me any Spanish song that doesn’t have this word in the lyrics).
English: Isn’t it?
German: Fremdschämen or Vergangenheitsbewältigung

But I do believe that the confusion this or your symbols above would cause outweigh the benefits.

PS: I think it’s time for another poll. Let’s collect some more ideas and in a week or so we’ll vote on it.


Oh, I thought that words/letters didn’t work the same way as flags?
If letters work and you think that [EN], [ES], [DE], … don’t suit, then why not
Cheers / Prost / Santé / Salute / Skål / Salud / Proost?
Well we would have a problem for Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, but they can share the same threads, they understand each other!

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