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Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about writing, copywriting, publishing or editing.

Writer's beta is an English speaking site and every user should stick to it, but there are some non native speakers - like myself - who do not have a perfect domain of language and may commit some errors - what will give more work to reviewers - and also give some localized answers valid only for other countries than USA, England and related.

My point is, should such members consider to refrain their involvement because of that or they should contribute every time they think the answer may help? The site description is not specific about that.

Please notice that adding something like "not English point of view" to the answers seems too unpractical. Maybe a tag for that could be created, but it doesn't make sense to append such notices to every reply text and it's hard to know when an answer might not be advised outside English context.

migrated from writers.stackexchange.com Jun 25 '13 at 15:48

This question came from our site for the craft of professional writing, including fiction, non-fiction, technical, scholarly, and commercial writing.

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Non-native speakers are absolutely welcome, and have tons to add!

Review is what Stack Exchange does best - if somebody writes something helpful, but doesn't express himself perfectly, it's very easy to clean up the work a bit and let it shine.

And what you describe here as "giving localized answers," I see as a terrific contribution - so much of the easily-accessible information is heavily localized to the U.S.; expanding beyond that makes our site richer and less localized.

Obviously, the community will expect posts to be coherent; if somebody's English is poor enough that his posts are actually unclear, then that'd be a problem. A non-native speaker might also be somewhat frustrated if he's only able to communicate his experience some of the time, and might suffer somewhat in the voting. On top of all this, Stack Exchange encourages members to put effort and work into their posts - if you're a non-native speaker, that might mean putting a lot of effort into making sure your post is clear and well-written.

But IMHO, a good rule on Stack Overflow is: if you sincerely feel you have something to contribute, then do - and the community and the voting will sort out the rest.

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I would rather have an intelligent, thoughtful answer from a non-native speaker than a native speaker shooting off his/her mouth on a topic about which s/he knows nothing. Yes, please contribute. I have often found your posts to be worthwhile.

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In addition to what Lauren and Standback said, if a question applies to a particular location it should say so, and if it doesn't, then answers shouldn't be limited to the dominant population centers.

This should serve as a reminder: if you are asking something that relates to, say, US law, you should specify that.

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A "non-native speaker" may speak the language better than a native speaker. But assuming you mean someone who does not speak English that well, if there is a question about grammar or word choice, such a person may be less likely to be able to contribute something of value to the conversation. But if the question is about plotting, character development, etc, there's no reason why he shouldn't have as much to say as someone with very good English. If his English is limited enough that his comments are more difficult to understand, well, I think we can all make allowances.

The English of your question seems pretty good to me. While it had a few rough spots, I had no trouble understanding it.

  • No, not at all. I think somebody who don't have at least a good grasp of English shouldn't use at all English sites. But, good grasp is not excellent domain of the language. – Psicofrenia Jun 26 '13 at 13:27
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    @Psicofrenia An "excellent domain of the language" isn't necessary to answer some of the questions posted here. – Lauren Ipsum Jun 27 '13 at 17:02
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Localized answers valid for countries other than the U.S. and England may well be relevant and interesting and should not be discriminated against. Likewise, insightful answers by non-native speakers who do not have a perfect command of the language are useful.

Regarding whether to contribute every time you think your answer may help: Every time would be overdoing it. Unless your thoughts are backed by insight or expertise, “it might help” is not a strong enough reason for answering.

Errors in English are a problem in some questions. The person posting the question may ask about some subtle point, apparently without realizing that errors in English will interfere with readers caring about subtleties if they even notice them. I don't know of a stackexchange venue that will help much with this issue; both English Language Learners and English Language & Usage object to “proofreading” questions. However, one can ask questions there about use of particular words or phrases, or about grammar.

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