Lately there seems to be an influx of really poorly phrased questions that appear to be written by people for whom English is a second (or third, or fourth) language.

Obviously we don't want to penalise someone for not being a native English speaker but equally it's important to keep the standard of posts on the site at a high level. These questions are often vague at best and while it's possible to guess what is being asked they all seem to be very short - this could be a consequence of the language barrier though.

What's the best way to approach dealing with these questions/users?

I also wonder if perhaps some of the questions are a means to later come back and vandalise the question with spam (as is also happening a fair bit lately).

  • 2
    You spelt penalize and vandalize wrong. Why can you write in proper American?!? +1 for spam consideration, had not occurred to me, but makes sense considering that some questions are of such low quality.
    – AllInOne
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 21:17
  • 1
    I think you meant "can't" as opposed to "can" cough ;-)
    – foamcow
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


We've found in providing support for non-English speakers, that asking followup questions that conscientiously use simple words and grammar make it easier for them to know what to clarify. For example, that sentence itself would not be a good response to a non-English speaker. ;)

Some relevant StackExchange policy:

Non-English Question Policy
Do posts have to be in English?

tl;dr: "As long as the question is in salvageable English and makes some modicum of sense, it should be edited and improved like any other post."


I suggest flagging questions that are low quality for moderator's attention. We can push back to the post to add more detail.

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