📊 Language Tags - "Final" Vote

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.


Personally I don’t have any issues with using (regional) flags as language symbol, but maybe I’m not representative.
My main criteria for marking threads in certain languages:

  • They should be easily to spot (visually), that’s one argument for a symbol or a short character combination (like ISO language codes in brackets, e.g. [EN] as beginning of the title.
  • All marked threads should be marked consistently, so they can be filtered or sorted automatically.
  • The language tag therefore needs to be consistent, which is probably no problem for English posts; but for all others quite probably multiple forms could come up (e.g. “Spanish” and “Español” or “German”, “Deutsch” or “deutsch”).
  • Users (especially new or sporadic ones) should be able to enter the tag easily; from that pov the best option might again be the ISO code (so easier / better than a flag).

TL;DR: I vote to either continue using flags or 2-digit ISO language codes.


First of all, thank you all for your positive attitude, diverse opinions and constructive ideas. I absolutely love the spirit of this community, :love_letter:

Secondly, :burrito:s are Mexican :mexico:, not Spanish :es:! But again (this is serious, I promise), stereotypes are more commonly linked to regional cultures than to languages.

I also consider the visual “feature” of flags a negative UI design — they attract my attention between other equally-important content or topics (in titles, not so much in tags). So I’d consider it a controversial feature.

On the contrary, the option of ISO icons proposed by @Stefan is different because it’s monochrome, like letters. They would assemble :copyright: and :registered: icons. They are region neutral, visual (although it doesn’t catch your attention badly like colorful emojis) and compact. But they can’t be used in tags.

A nice option for tags could be then using localized names for languages, as @_Chris proposed and Wikimedia uses. Wikimedia is an organization known for its multicultural efforts and positive attitude to diversity. But I’ll probably add a lang: prefix, as in #lang:español, or #lang:dutch or, #lang:euskara, which fit with #dic entries (e.g. #dic:floss) format and make the format mutually coherent, IMO.
This option has a plus too, because with a single CSS rule (a[href^="/tags/lang:"]) the style can be customized for e.g. to change the color of the lang tags or underline them at once.

TL;DR: My preference will be using ISO icons as title prefixes and “#lang:language” as a tags:

(:lang_en:) This is a topic title written in English

lang:english, those, words, are, tags

(:lang_es:) Este es el título de un hilo escrito en español

lang:español, estas, palabras, son, etiquetas


Well I think that is a premise, but:

Without tags you can’t automatically filter topics. And if we use the brackets in the topic title again you can’t even search for topics of a certain language anymore. And even if you include the brackets in the search terms (so it’s 4 “letters”) searching for “[IT]” will still yield no results because the word it is filtered as a common term.

Well for tags the Capitalization won’t be a problem. If a tag exists called “Deutsch” than “deutsch” will automatically be corrected.

This is indeed a downside of the flag tags the way they are now. My preferred solution for this is using language name or iso code in combination with the flag. “Italian :it:” or “IT :it:”. If such a tag exists you’ll only have to enter “it” and it will be suggested.

The current combined use of tags and flags in the topic title is due to the fact that some devices don’t render the flag-tags and I’d consider it an ugly workaround.
Only using tags would be preferable to me as tags can be bulk-changed easily, while topic titles have to be changed manually one by one if you want to change the system (e.g. if discourse introduces ISO icons themselves).

Do you think it could be possible to offer different styles that every user can change in their settings page?
So you could actually choose that lang:english is replaced by whatever option you prefer from the list above? (english, en, :gb:, cheers, :hamburger:, …)?

PS: Actually I found a workaround which works really well: FoxReplace. I’m guessing there are similar addons for other browsers. With this everybody can replace lang:language with whatever they want, be it a combination of letters a symbol or even a blank space so you don’t see language tags at all.
I tested it with tags in the Playground.

PPS: I think since this is the most flexible solution we might not need the poll after all if we get a majority for this right away.

Do you agree with changing the language tags to lang:language (so e.g. lang:italian, lang:english, lang:german) which everyone can change to look however they want with browser addons like FoxReplace?

  • Yes, this is great!
  • No, I prefer another option.
  • I’m not convinced yet. Let’s discuss further.

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I would still prefer the localized name of the language (lang:deutsch) or the ISO code (lang:DE) instead of lang:german.


What would be the default display for those who do not install the add-on? Just the code?

You could change that too.

Well yes. lang:language is a string of letters that doesn’t come up randomly, so you won’t accidentally replace something else. If e.g. the default would just be the language, then if someone talked about french fries that would be replaced too.

PS: Whether we use lang:German or lang:Deutsch as the standard we can vote on afterwards still.