Nowadays, I'm late-HSK5/early-HSK6 level (which is not that proficient) and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to ask questions here. Why? Because nowadays for most questions I would ordinarily ask here, I can figure out the answer myself.

We sometimes encourage asking questions in Chinese, but nobody ever does, and I feel this is a symptom: if your Chinese is at a level where you can reasonably ask questions in Chinese, your Chinese is at a level where you don't need to ask questions normally seen at this site. (It's also a bit worrying in terms of user attrition: where do you go once your level exceeds that of Chinese.SE?)

We are good at narrow, pinpointed questions, where we can identify a correct answer. "What's [foo] in Chinese?" "What's the difference between [foo] and [bar]?" "Where is the grammar error in this sentence?" But that's rather limiting.

Question: How can higher-level Chinese learners utilize Chinese.SE?

When learning English in primary school, we started writing book reports and other essays in primary school (maybe in grade 3 (?)). By high school, we discussed literature: metaphors and other imagery, character development, societal context, etc. Maybe our teachers would circle an important spelling or grammar error, but mostly they would give an overall critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the article. The focus is on the macro, not the micro.

  • In your opinion, what does this site excel at compared to other Chinese-learning sites, even if the sites are completely in Chinese? That would probably be the way to use Chinese.SE properly - generate more excellent content.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 17, 2020 at 13:24
  • It's certainly good at cutting out the noise: e.g. "I'm spending on month in Beijing, what advice do you have...", "Watch this YouTube video I made", "What's the best app for XYZ?".
    – Becky 李蓓 Mod
    Jun 17, 2020 at 22:08
  • Those are a testament to our self-moderation capabilities rather than anything language-specific. If there is nothing language-specific then I’m afraid that the answer is they can’t.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 18, 2020 at 0:23
  • A similar topic was raised here New tag for opening discussions although the approach wasn't great.
    – Becky 李蓓 Mod
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:00

3 Answers 3


Ask Anyway.

Just because you can get the answer by yourself doesn't mean you can't ask about it. A good question is still a good question and there is a high chance that future users will also have similar questions later. I have noticed that a large number of your questions also end up on the Hot Network Questions list. This is all great for archival purposes, gaining more foot traffic and a general boosting of activity on the site.

The biggest reason I can think of, though, is that oftentimes answers contain gems that you wouldn't have found on your own. I've asked many “throwaway” questions in the past, not expecting any kind of answer that I couldn't get myself, but in the end I came out pleasantly surprised by fascinating facts and figures or historical information in the answers that I just wouldn't have found on my own. Sometimes I even found my assumptions incorrect.

Our site, thankfully, isn't Chinese Language Learners but rather just Chinese Language. The more you delve into the language the more questions you will have.


I'll ask you another question:

How can native Chinese speakers utilize Chinese.SE?

By just asking. If you are curious and motivated enough there's virtually no limit to what you can learn.

Even simple beginner-level questions can benefit native speakers, as they may not know all the intricacies of grammar. Similarly, I find advanced topics very interesting: as complex constructions, chaining of subordinate clauses, verbization of nouns, stylistic choices, subtle terminology differences, etymology, classical chinese, chengyu, and the list goes on.

Of course advanced learners and native speakers need to be willing to ask. Especially natives need to overcome the pride, as sometimes asking is akin to admitting ignorance. But that is totally fine!

Then answering, which benefits the answerer too. In order to put together a coherent reply, the author is forced to organize and streamline their thoughts. Something that used to be a passive understanding of a concept, or an intuition, now has the chance to become active transferrable knowledge. This is invaluable, and one of the main drives inherent in a Q&A website like StackExchange.


You can type questions in Simplified Chinese on Zhihu or Traditional Chinese on the Taiwan/Hong Kong versions of Yahoo! Answers.

By the way, last time I tried to ask a question in Chinese rather than English here, it was automatically rejected. Supposedly, all questions and answers must be in English for the sake of beginners. The Stack Exchange about Spanish, on the other hand, has plenty of questions and answers in Spanish.

  • "automatically rejected" (?) That definitely shouldn't be happening: is this a bug?
    – Becky 李蓓 Mod
    Jun 24, 2020 at 12:46
  • @Becky李蓓 When I tried to post the question, I got an error message explaining that it needs to be written in English.
    – K Man
    Jun 24, 2020 at 18:01
  • I might try to reproduce this next time I have a question. For sure, Chinese-only questions are permitted here, so it sounds like it's a bug. (Maybe there's some automated message that shouldn't be there.)
    – Becky 李蓓 Mod
    Jun 25, 2020 at 0:23

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