The question about keyboard layouts was closed, so was the question about switching to Russian in Windows. However, there were some nice answers to both of the questions, which probably indicates that people are ready to answer them.

Therefore, maybe we need to decide whether questions like following should be discouraged (these are examples, I'm not looking for an answer here):

  • I have problems with Russian encoding in my LaTeX document, what am I doing wrong?
  • What are some popular Russian fonts?
  • Is there any Russian text-to-speech software?
  • Does this program have Russian interface, and if yes, where can I get it?

and so on.

If we accept these questions, we may get more users who are interested in this site. On the other side, I am afraid, this site will slowly grow into Stack Overflow for Russian-related issues.

  • The question seems mostly about "using Russian on computer", maybe the title should not contain "learning". In any case, "should we allow questions about learning" is another question, interesting as well. – jrouquie Jul 8 '12 at 22:48
  • 2
    I think such questions should be welcome on this site: the usage of Russian includes working with it on a computer, and students of Russian naturally may want to know how to type Russian on their computers when they don't have dual keyboards (which will be the case for most students from outside of Russia). This type of information is not going to be in their textbooks and the experience of people here with different Cyrillic keyboards is something worth recording. I think it was a mistake to close the two questions linked to in the question above. – KCd Jul 9 '12 at 1:29
  • @jrouquie The question was actually proposed by Anna Lear as the question about Russian computer-related issues, I was just trying to make it clear where exactly these questions may come from. – Olga Jul 9 '12 at 5:25

I vote to consider them generally as off topic. This site is about the Russian language and about everything strictly related to the language. If we allow questions computer-related, we'd need to allow culture-related questions too, for example.

There could be some language question that slightly touches and is related to the culture, but certainly a question like "What is the X festival origin?" is off topic for us.

About the questions you proposed:

I have problems with Russian encoding in my LaTeX document, what am I doing wrong?

Off topic, migrate to Tex.SE

What are some popular Russian fonts?

Not constructive (it's asking for a list, a long list)

Is there any Russian text-to-speech software?

I'd be voting this as Not constructive or off-topic.

Does this program have Russian interface, and if yes, where can I get it?

Off topic.

Ok, there are two different points.

  1. This site is about Russian language, not about Russian keyboards, fonts, software and so on. Therefore, questions about software are off-topic, software is not language (at least, not the Russian language).
  2. The users of this site are people who most probably know the answer to these questions. So it makes sense to address these questions to them.

My suggestion: Let's find several users who are willing to answer these questions and write their names in faq. Let potential question-askers address these people directly on one of the other sites that are listed in their profiles, depending on what of the sites is most appropriate. They can use "@"-sign in their questions on other sites or we can have a special chat room where they post links to these questions and then the answering people will have to check this chat room regularly.

I think it's a good idea because it will not indispose potential users (after all, we give them contacts of people who are ready to help), but at the same time we do not divert from the primary topic.

As Olga says, welcoming people learning Russian will get more people interested in this language, and then contributing to the site when they are proficient enough.

So the criterion would rather be "is this question useful for someone learning Russian" and "is there already another StackExchange site better suited for this question?". I agree with Alenanno that LaTeX questions definitely belong to tex.SE.

Another criterion is "has the OP done enough research on his own (searched for other questions, googled...), or is he/she just lazy and wanting other people to work for him/her?".

For some questions, I think RLU is the SE site were there are the most chances of finding someone who already encountered the same problem and will happily answer the question. The proportion of people potentially able and willing to answer is much higher on RLU. So, if those questions receive answers, it's a sure sign users are OK with them.

We could be somewhat more lenient on topics useful for absolut beginners (like, "my book transcribes домой as ‘domoy’, but isn't it rather like ‘damoy’?"), to help them have a good start, instead of discouraging them right away.

Disclaimer: as the OP of one of those questions, I obviously think we should allow them ;-)

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