📊 Language Tags - "Final" Vote

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


What about Latin or Ancient Greek? :wink:

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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: )

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@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!

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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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I collected the options in the first post including pros and cons of each option.

I now think it’s best to combine symbols and words.

Either name of language + flag (which was head to head with the current way in the old poll). So:

  • Italian :it: (or it :it:)
  • French :fr: (or fr :fr:)

Or stereotypical words with stereotypical symbols, so e.g.:

  • Vergangenheitsbewältigung :beer:
  • Oh là là! :champagne:
  • Mamma mia! :pizza:
  • Corazón :burrito:
  • Isn’t it? :custard:

I prefer the first of those two options.

Thanks for the good summary in the first post!
Symbols + words is a good option, I think. And I find language + flags less bad than only flags.
I would propose a mix of your propositions: language + stereotypical symbol:

  • German :beer:
  • French :champagne: (is this one better :wine_glass: ?)
  • Italian :pizza:
  • Spanish :burrito: (this one is not very obvious)
  • English :hamburger:
  • Dutch :tulip:

If people choose the option stereotypical words and/or stereotypical symbols, we can do another poll afterwards to select the symbols/words

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What about having icons like these, simply with the ISO 639-1 code of the language (basque = eu, galician = gl, etc.):

Source: https://cdn2.iconfinder.com/data/icons/browser-user-interface/154/en-english-language-browser-function-512.png

We can simply add any symbol as an emoji if we have svg-files.


I think that all these alternatives make the forum more challenging to use and raise the threshold for participation. More people will be turned off. If there is a vote, please include the option to just keep the symbols as they are.


I’m not sure this would work.

You mean to the forum? Yeah but than you could use it in the topic title and not in the tag, right?

Yeah of course. :slight_smile:

Also I think I’ll make two polls. One where you can only choose one (your favorite) option and one with multiple selection so you can choose any option you find suitable.

@urs_lesse Thanks for this statement, I second this 100%!

Imho in this case - a forum where members want to help other members efficiently - easy = good (or at least not easy = not good) in regards to forum handling.
I’d also just keep the flags.

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Honestly, you really think that writing German or Dutch in words (as it is with all the other tags) would make it more difficult for users than a flag?
I really think that the question is about the looks. I agree with @paulakreuzer that we should keep a system where all the tag-fonctions work, but if it could work without flags, it would be nicer.
I just wanted to support @Irina_Spitznagel and @Roboe because I think that they are right. Linking languages to countries is really not a good idea because it results in much more problems than you can think (not on this forum, but in general, regarding identities, education, the economy, etc.).
Anyway, I think that we have several options now and people will be able to choose the one that suits them. We may be only 3 to see a problem, but discussion is always good!


First of all, thank you for keeping the tone civil (I am serious) :slight_smile:

Indeed, writing out the languages is just as easy to grasp, but the written word would not stand out as much and would not be spotted as easily/quickly as the flag icons. So yes, for me the visibility thing weighs most here (to be honest, I was never a friend of having flags as tags in the subtitle line as well, I’d be happy if those were replaced by the written out words or the ISO codes that Stefan mentioned above).

I for my part also prefer to keep as much space reserved for the actual topic title than for additions in order to avoid or at least reduce the frequency of two-line titles (I keep running into that issue with my Aachen topic).


Yep, we would have to come up with an emoji shortcode like lang_eu. The tags could be simply the ISO codes.

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The current solution with the flags is ok for me, but I also understand the reasons against it.

So for an alternative solution I would prefer something that is easy to understand for someone who is new to the forum.

The name of the language as tag would be fine IMO, but it should be written in the language it represents (so that it is easy to find your language even if you don’t speak English), e.g.

  • English
  • Español
  • Nederlands
  • Deutsch

I would prefer the name of the language over the ISO code, because it is easier to understand.