Without mentioning names, some users seem to just post entire tweets looking for translations, and I think there are some issues here.

First, I am not against tweets as a source of study. It can be good source of natural, commonly occurring Japanese, which is exactly what we want.

However, if a tweet is to be posted, I think we should first insist that it be cleaned of all irrelevant emoticons and extraneous text to get at just the text needed for the question. Also, that it necessarily post a link to the original tweet for anyone who cares enough to try and get the context.

Is there a way we can make that requirement written into the wiki or a rule?

As a side issue, I think a lot of tweets represent highly personal communication within in-groups, and sometimes use terms that are almost entirely exclusive to that one interaction.

Having thought about it a lot, I don't think there's any good way to restrict what kinds of tweets get used for questions. However, I think it is fair to downvote a question if it contains such unique Japanese. My thinking is that understanding Japanese of that type is the result of having got to a certain level of Japanese, it's not the route to that level.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

4 Answers 4


i think that the emocons should be kept as they help with defining the tone of the sentence fragments.

I too am on the fence about whether we should ban tweets all together for the same exact reason you stated.

  • 1
    Note that I am not suggesting that emoticons be banned. Just that irrelevant emoticons be stripped out. With extreme prejudice. I just noticed my original phrasing of the question is unclear about that, so I will edit accordingly.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:02

With regards to the side issue, I feel that in addition to the problem of argot, the extreme lack of context and likelihood for unusual (and therefore not useful for most learners) abbreviations in tweets makes them inappropriate for this site. If the OP provides sufficient context (by explaining who is tweeting, to whom they are tweeting, and what sort of conversation produced the tweet), and if the OP makes an attempt to decode as much as possible on his/her own, and if the question is clearly defined, then I would (cautiously) allow tweets, but merely posting a tweet and asking for a translation poses little benefit to the majority of learners on this site.

  • Maybe vote to close as too localized?
    – Troyen
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 20:46
  • @Troyen: Can we do that? Forgive my ignorance about the system in place, but where and how do we make such a recommendation?
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:04
  • 1
    @Dave See the discussion at meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/400/… - basically, if a question is only about translating a specific tweet from a specific person that nobody other than the question author will care about ever, then the question is too localized.
    – Troyen
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:13
  • 1
    @Dave If you're asking how, click the close button under a question (on the main site, meta has different options). The last one should be "too localized". If four other people agree, the question is closed.
    – Troyen
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:14
  • 1
    @Troyen: Thank you for that. I think that the "too localized" option is actually exactly what is needed for this situation.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:18

I feel that this kind of restrictions should not be required as a site policy, but should emerge from users’ behavior such as which questions are up-voted and/or answered and which are down-voted and/or left unanswered.

For example, removing irrelevant part from the text is good, but I guess that a usual problem is that the asker does not know which part contributes to understanding the context. I would rather hope:
(1) An asker should not remove part of the text just because he/she cannot see its relevance.
(2) An asker should make clear which part he/she has a question about, and what the question is. (Needless to say, stating what the asker already knows also helps to define the question.)

Of course, if the text is too long, it is necessary to remove part to keep the question to a sane length. Failing to do so will at least result in driving people away from the question and the question being left unanswered. Finding the best way to state a question is the asker’s responsibility and for the asker’s benefit.


You know what, I propose we filter all tweets and reject them by default under the following reason "we have no idea who the writer is, what he means, and we'll never get enough context. Moreover, we don't care."

Maybe some day, some tweets will pass through the filter, but the trends show that it's not likely to happen soon.

  • I feel this comment is motivated by the frustration of language hacker's continued posting of tweets that are of little learning value to anyone (including language hacker). I sympathise, but I'm not sure banning tweets wholesale is the way to go. It punishes others who may have questions about tweets that are valid.
    – Questioner
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 5:16
  • @DaveMG: you're right. But I'd personally rather reopen a closed-by-default-but-interesting question, that let the trend go on. Also, I don't like at all the tone of the discussions/comments arising from those questions.
    – Axioplase
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 5:24
  • I feel your pain. No one has generated as much negativity and frustration on this site as language hacker. I would not be opposed if your suggestion were adopted, but I think it is unlikely to fit within the ethos of SE sites in general.
    – Questioner
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 5:31

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