I found Chinese Stackexchange not as vibrant or active as other Stackexchange communities e.g. tech-related ones. I don't know if it's because it might be blocked in China or another reason.


Which sites/platforms (besides this one, ie. Chinese Stackexchange) are a good source of Q&A on Mainland Mandarin?

Moreover,how can we bring those users on those other platforms/sites to Stackexchange?

  • try reddit.com/r/CantonesePlus – Tang Ho Apr 3 '20 at 23:44
  • I fear that you're mistaken, Chinese SE is not merely a "mainland Mandarin" Q&A site. Chinese SE is not blocked in China, and the activity here is comparable to other language sites. I feel that the problem is with the Chinese language itself, which has too many different writing and vocabulary standards, and doesn't offer a consistent learning experience on an international platform. – dROOOze Apr 4 '20 at 15:34
  • Thank you for your comment @dROOze. Of course thank you for highlighting that Chinese SE is not limited to mainland Mandarin. You're correct, and I am aware of that. I was looking for more mainland perspectives on Mandarin, especially since it represents a huge majority of the Chinese language. If you do know other websites/platforms please share...Attracting users of such sites onto here can can enrich the learning experience and make it a more vibrant and active community. – questioner56 Apr 5 '20 at 1:18
  • Sorry for nitpicking! But I must point out, mainland perspectives on Mandarin do not represent a huge majority of the Chinese language, they represent a huge majority of post-1949 Mandarin. Mainland Chinese perspectives on modern Mandarin is no doubt important, but Chinese has a written history of at least 3500 years, and Mainland Chinese (or indeed, any perspective, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao) on anything other than colloquial language is not important - a correct interpretation of Chinese language relies on linguistics, paleography, and history, not peoples' perspectives. – dROOOze Apr 5 '20 at 1:36
  • 1
    The reason I have to emphasise this is, Chinese SE has occasionally been sprinkled with (mainly) Mainland Chinese users who have a very wrong idea about how Chinese characters and the Chinese language works, and try to use Chinese SE as a platform for their distortions of Chinese language history. This is statistically unavoidable due to the much larger proportion of people from Mainland China, but I do want to emphasise the point that StackExchange networks in general prefer sourced arguments and not perspectives. – dROOOze Apr 5 '20 at 1:41
  • It's okay @dROOze. Thank you for your input. I agree that they represent a huge majority in this day and age and not throughout history :) Moreover, one's experience can also be a source for an argument and can be referred to as a perspective. I have updated the question to show I'm looking for Q&A related to mainland Mandarin. – questioner56 Apr 5 '20 at 10:40

I don't know if it's because it might be blocked in China or another reason.

It's not. But Imgur is blocked in China, which is inhibiting.

...how can we bring those users on those other platforms/sites to Stackexchange?

First, let's not spam sites---it's not a good look. Some posts here might be useful for answering questions at other sites (like Reddit's r/ChineseLanguage and Quora's Learning Chinese), and that might be a kind of "win-win". However, we also need to understand that other sites are probably run differently; questions that would be closed here might be fine there, and vice versa.

If we want to increase activity, the most important thing to do is create and curate meaningful content: Stack Exchange already has impressive SEO. If we make good content, it'll rise to the top of Google searches automatically. And beyond that, just be nice and welcoming.

In particular:

  1. It's important to ensure question titles are high quality---this is mostly what people see when Googling. They should contain key words that people might search for. Ideally they should be self-contained, and understandable by someone who has never heard of Stack Exchange.

  2. We need to be active. I particularly encourage more voting. E.g. the 10 Internet points for an upvote is not a big deal, but it's the Stack Exchange way of saying "thank you" to good content---it encourages people to continue participating, and makes the site enjoyable. We also need users to have reputation to self-moderate.

  3. We need to give better answers than other sites. I particularly discourage the one-sentence "someone on the Internet said so" unevidenced answers. It doesn't matter whether or not they're correct: the answer is unreliable.

    For example, suppose someone wants to figure out whether they should say 我有点儿胖 or 我一点儿胖. This answer is virtually useless:

    It's 我有点儿胖. I know because I'm a native Chinese speaker.

    (In fact, it's arguably worse than useless: it might discourage subsequent high-quality answers, and encourage future similarly useless answers. It also encourages voting based on who the user is, and not the answer's contents.)

    It's far better to go beyond the OP's original request (who is one person among potentially thousands of readers):

    In general, we use 有点儿 when [blah blah blah] and 一点儿 when [blah blah blah] (see e.g. [reference]). Some examples are:

    example 1 using 有点儿
    example 2 using 有点儿

    where it would be incorrect to use 一点儿, and

    example 1 using 一点儿
    example 2 using 一点儿

    where it would be incorrect to use 有点儿. In some cases, we can use both 有点儿 and 一点儿, such as [example].

    Thus we say 我有点儿胖 and not 我一点儿胖.

    For rather specific questions, there might not be a reference. However, there's almost always room for additional examples, making it useful for the 99% of readers who aren't the OP.


My experience is actually the other way around: This site lacks of non-Chinese speakers. Often I want to answer but I can't find an unanswered question. Bringing more Chinese speakers to this site may not increase its activity, since we shouldn't have any more problem with Chinese than we already have in real life. Even if we did, asking it here, on a site where English is the primary language, probably wouldn't be the first choice.

What you should really be asking about is how to bring non-Chinese speakers who's learning or interested in Chinese to this site.

I also want comment on your discussions a little bit, but this is too long to put in a comment. Whether you choose to accept perspectives as proper arguments mainly depends on what you are asking. If you want to learn the linguistics, etymology, etc., then a sourced argument is definitely better than perspectives. But if you are interested in sentences needed in daily communications, perspectives will be even better than literature. You may notice that every now and then a word/phrase/slang becomes popular, but it'll take maybe a few years before it is recorded in a dictionary. Also, if you want to tell the sentiment from a conversation (which is particularly hard for Chinese) , nine out of ten times you won't find the answer in a dictionary, and you have to consult a native speaker for their perspective. This is why you should place importance on perspectives, even if they may not be perfectly aligned with the linguitics, history, or any other serious aspect of the language. Just remember that you are talking to real people when you use it, and how the conversation goes will depend largely on their perspective.

  • Interesting response. To add to what you mentioned regarding the latter, in addition to slang there's also expression, logic, style, rhetoric and proabably many more. These can often be very distinctive (on a local or national level). They may originate from culture, education, upbringing, etc. Therefore, having native Chinese on here can help highlight or explain these elements. Although I agree that sometimes for natives, such elements that we foreigners find noticable in their speech or written text (formal/informal), may in fact be in the native person's blindspot/subconcious. – questioner56 Apr 27 '20 at 14:20

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