I would not *exactly* call public mails to a list
probably over 100 registered users, tracked by Google,
"semi-private exchanges" :-)
How many of our readers speak French? How about Chinese, or Croatian? The
smaller the number, the more private the conversation. With French, I'd
say it is at least semi-private.
First, unless that recently changed, this *public*
list is *multilingual. We do not need authorisation to
write another language than english here.
"Posting in languages other than English is allowed, but English is
preferred as it will reach the most diverse audience." This has always
been my understanding of the way we want things to be.
The purpose of making the list multilingual is not to give people a
loophole to have semi-private conversations, nor is it to somehow prove to
ourselves how multilingual we are, and we certainly don't need a "French/
Russian/Esperanto post of the week" to remind us. The purpose of making
the project-wide lists multilingual is to allow people to have discussions
who otherwise could not. Such discussions can remain semi-private, if
there is good reason for them to be so (e.g. people have difficulties
speaking English and the matter is primary of interest to a handful of
people), but in general, we should strive to either translate posts in
both directions and thereby allow *open* communication, or to move
discussions to e-mail or talk pages.
English is the most diversely spoken language in the world. It is the most
widely learned second language and the second most widely spoken first
language. Last but not least, it is the most widely spoken language on the
Internet. Schools, the diminishing role of nation-states (EU etc.) and
globalization further accelerate this development.
Using English is therefore the most friendly and internationalist approach
possible. Of course many people dislike English for one reason or another,
mainly because they associate it with a certain culture. But the best way
to dissociate English from one particular culture is to use it.