I've just realised that, since we mainly correspond in English, sometimes topics covered never get properly mentioned in Russian. This makes them non-findable for search engines based on the specific terms, and thus decreases usefulness of the site. Can we improve this?

For example, the question on vocative ( Миш, Кать, Ань, пап, мам — what is it in an address?) was very nicely answered but the term звательный падеж was barely mentioned (in the comment by Armen and the answer by Aleks G), in both cases not in the nominative case (so not findable with the SE search).

What could the options be? Moderator-added tags in Russian? (Should we at all add tags to categorize the original question after it's answered?) A short answer in Russian including the main terms covered in the thread?

2 Answers 2


Yeah... Our ability to search posts in Russian is basically broken. It's at least in part a side-effect of our limited support of non-English interfaces, encodings, etc. We're working on improving our support for localized sites, but it's still gonna take a while.

Unfortunately, neither of the solutions proposed here are going to work.

Consider tags:

  1. You can only have 5 tags per question. Make them count. Each tag is supposed to help categorize that question and help others find it later. Even if there wasn't a limit on how many tags you could add, adding tags that aren't actually tags would go against the philosophy behind the entire system.
  2. Tags apply to questions, not answers. Adding tags to a question based on something that is actually an answer can be confusing.
  3. Right now we lack support for non-English tags. It's a work in progress...
  4. How would this work, anyway? Would you attempt adding a tag for every possible form of every possible related term?

The list of problems with posting a separate answer is shorter: it's not an answer. Therefore it doesn't belong on the page as one. Doing otherwise would be basically misusing the platform.

Neither of these proposed solutions also solve the basic problem of "who will be maintaining these?". Neither solution will scale with an increasing volume of questions. Your new users will not know they're supposed to tag things a certain way, for example, so someone will have to police this constantly and update tags/answers whenever something changes. This is not sustainable. At best, you will just end up with a bunch of broken windows all over - posts that were partially processed and updated to follow a particular format.

We at Stack Exchange are working on the localization and search issues. Hopefully we'll be able to update the "related questions" and "possible duplicate" checks to work with the cyrillic alphabet.

In the meantime, I suggest you guys rely on Google searches to do the right thing. Most of your traffic will (or should) be from Google anyway, and they're the search experts. They got the whole nominative vs every other case thing figured out.

I also like Alenanno's suggestion of offering translations in the answer where possible. In the long run, though, I think search tools will catch up.


Moderator-added tags in Russian?

Tags are added by everyone so we must come to a consensus, mods won't decide but rather enforce that decision.

Should we at all add tags to categorize the original question after it's answered?

No, tags are about the question, not the answers. So tag the question keeping in mind what it's about.

EDIT: Let me expand on this...

It doesn't matter if the tags you apply, also "feature" the answers, but this is OK as long as the tags also feature the question.

In order to make sure you understand this, forget about the answers, don't consider them. Just the question, what is it about? Cases? Verbs? What the answers will say is not important for the tagging.


OP: "What cases could I use after this verb?"
First answer: "The accusative..."
Second answer: "The instrumental..."
Editor adds the tags and ... Wrong.

The editor should add the tags and , plus other tags if needed.

A short answer in Russian including the main terms covered in the thread?

Rather than this, I'd suggest including a translation in the answers. But don't edit many at once, because editing bumps the question.

  • Well, I am not sure about the tags. Coming back to my question about the vocative case, I couldn't tag it with vocative-case because I was exactly asking what case it was. However, if someone else is interested, say, in examples of the vocative case use, this would be an appropriate thread for him. However it's not tagged like that, so only full search works. And full search would fail for the word звательный in this particular example. So the thread would not be found at all. Ok, let's see what others say.
    – texnic
    Jun 19, 2012 at 14:12
  • @texnic Not to be a pain but what others say is kind of irrelevant, and not because I am being "superior" but because in my experience as a moderator, I've seen this discussed already and the answer is "no" for that. You could tag your question "cases" (the tag already exists). I'm sorry but it's not up to me, I'm just reporting my knowledge. :) I'll ask some Team member to come here and confirm what I said.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 19, 2012 at 14:14
  • My understanding is that tags cover the "topic" or "QA" so apply to the whole page. If the OP didn't know that some tag would cover it but it did come up in one of the answers then absolutely add the tag. Stack Exchange questions are supposed to stand the test of time, not just answer the original person's question - that's the whole point of the site. Tags make topics more findable, browsable, watchable, favouritable, etc. There's probably a canonical question about this on meta.SO though I bet. As for questions asking about some grammatical or linguistic term, tag them with terminology Jun 19, 2012 at 15:29
  • @hippietrail But tags aren't applied if something new comes up in the answers. Tags are about the question, not the answers, even if the OP discovers it applied to its question.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 19, 2012 at 15:30
  • @Alenanno: Why? Who says? If the something new that comes up in the answer is what the whole question was about but the OP didn't know either that it was the name for the topic or know that there was a tag for it then why not add it? Most of the questions I learned from on Stack Exchange were not ones I asked. I found them because I had a similar question and the searching and tagging systems made it possible for me to find them. Jun 19, 2012 at 15:39
  • @hippietrail It's the same reason why you don't fix a typo in a language question, if the question is exactly about that word/typo. If you fix it, the question becomes useless. Again, you're not tagging the answers, you're tagging the question.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 19, 2012 at 15:40
  • @Alenanno: I don't see any similarities at all in the two situations. If somebody is asking what you call it when you add -s to a noun and the answer they didn't know is "plural" I would definitely tag that question with both "terminology" and "plural". Jun 19, 2012 at 15:43
  • @hippietrail That would be wrong I think. I'll invite some Team member to give the last word on this (I'm interested in it as well).
    – Alenanno
    Jun 19, 2012 at 15:44
  • Yep definitely one to find the official stance on (-: Jun 19, 2012 at 15:46
  • To be honest, I don't see why we cannot decide ourselves. My question was to the community of this site, not someone else. I don't believe there is a correct answer here. We can tag whatever we like, and it's up to us to decide what's better. We are creating this site and should make it as useful as possible. There is also a significant difference between this site and all SE sites in English: SE built-in search cannot cope with inclined words.
    – texnic
    Jun 19, 2012 at 21:18
  • 1
    @texnic You can certainly make a whole bunch of decisions as a community, but some things are potentially non-negotiable. Misusing the tag system could be one of those. We currently have limited support for non-English alphabets, and if we need to extend that, that might be a better way to go than trying to fix existing systems to a workflow they aren't designed for. I've been thinking about this on and off today... I should have some coherent thoughts in an answer by tomorrow.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 20, 2012 at 0:15

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