Are these questions acceptable ?

When people ask for some phases used in travel and also have problem with china culture, how we deal with them ?

  • can you give some examples, please?
    – magnetar
    Jan 9, 2012 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


My opinion is that questions about travelling shouldn't be on topic... This is not a travelling service... I mean, this site is about the Chinese language, and there are better places to find that kind of info.

Questions about culture are on topic, but I'd suggest to narrow them to the ones that are related to the chinese language, something like "why do we say X IDIOM in this situation?" is a question about culture and about the chinese language.

  • +1 The site's name is Chinese Language & Usage, so these questions aren't on topic. Soon people will want to include Chinese politics. And then everything blows up. So, no.
    – Orion
    Dec 17, 2011 at 0:31
  • 1
    I find it difficult to accept the implied separation of language and culture. Societal mores and phrases develop specific to different cultures. It would probably be better to note that politics is not a useful topic. Culture however pervades language and cannot be separate from the discussion. In fact one thing I find interesting is the idea that there is one Chinese language when having been there I know that over 50 distinct variants exist. And while Beijing Mandarin is the national standard there are many language features that exist outside of Beijing Mandarin Standard.
    – Tommie C.
    Mar 20, 2014 at 22:24
  • 1
    I agree with @Tommie C. that language and culture/thinking can't be separated (I recommend reading about the Spir-Whorf theory about that). Lately I have been seeing too much topics being closed simply because they are culture related. If someone is studying Chinese and willing to 入乡随俗, he/she HAS TO learn the culture. You have to understand the role of modesty in Chinese society in order to SAY 哪里 properly instead of 谢谢 after receiving a compliment. You have to understand how 面子 works in order to know how to SAY an excuse instead of SAYING no to an invitation. Jun 7, 2015 at 20:21
  • @Alenanno This is contradictory to your own post a year later (see answer below). I suggest that you edit/close this to make the rule clear and precise.
    – zypA13510
    Mar 30, 2018 at 6:00
  • @zypA13510 Why are they contradictory? This site is, like its sisters, about the language. If the question touches on culture or any other topic, it's fine as long as the question is also about the language. A question about Chinese culture can be interesting, like for example "What is the Festival X about?", but it's not about the language or it doesn't even touch upon it. I guess we can agree that such a question would be off topic for this site. That's what I meant in the post, maybe I wasn't being clear enough with the wording for everybody though.
    – Alenanno
    Mar 30, 2018 at 17:43
  • I'd like to stress that this was not my decision, and yes - language and culture are certainly intertwined, but rather a natural consequence of this site's name, since a question about culture only is not what this site's focus is about (even though I might personally like them).
    – Alenanno
    Mar 30, 2018 at 17:45
  • @Alenanno I would suggest changing Questions about culture are on topic, but I'd suggest to narrow them to the ones that are related to the chinese language to Questions about culture are on topic, (only) if they are related to the Chinese languages. The latter makes it clear that questions like "What is the Festival X about?" is off-topic, while the former one is a little bit vague when you say I'd suggest. Just my opinion though.
    – zypA13510
    Mar 31, 2018 at 7:33

Taken from https://chinese.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

If you want to see an additional list of what is Off Topic and On Topic, please click here.

Off Topic questions

  1. Culture: This site is about the Chinese language, not its culture. Questions about culture will be closed as Off Topic.

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