I would like to get community opinion on the possibility of "self-assigned badges"1 that would serve to distinguish for example

  • native vs. non-native English speakers
  • American vs. British vs. other dialects

Currently, it is possible to write this and other information on the profile page, however this could be available immediately along with the badges and user's reputation on each question directly accessible (as tip text or icons).

Could you please start your replies with short answers to following questions:
1. Would you like to see such or similar feature implemented?
2. If yes, what would you use it for (what do you think it would be effective and useful for)?

1 The actual mechanism does not need to be determined before the assessment of benefits.

Related: Stack sites should support primary and secondary language when defining user profile

3 Answers 3


If you hover your mouse over a post's author's gravatar, you may now see a user card popup. The user card shows information from the author's profile, including the beginning of the “about me” section. There are a few restrictions:

  • All profile fields must be filled in, including the age.
  • The “about me” section must be long enough.
  • Only users with at least 1000 reputation points get a user card.

If you want to show different text in the user card and on your profile page, make the very first thing in your “about me” section a comment:

<!-- summary: This is my user card text. -->

The your user card will contain only “This is my user card text.”, and the comment is invisible on the profile page.


I don't think that knowing if who answers is a native English speaker is useful, nor is it more useful that knowing what who answers studied. What is really important is that the answer is correct, and that doesn't depend from the fact the answerer is a native speaker or not.

Then, the answerer is just one of the users involved. Many times the accepted answer is chosen basing on the score associated with the answers: The answer with a higher score is accepted. That is one of the criteria that who ask questions have to select an accepted question, and it is plausible if it is so, as the OP is asking something that s/he doesn't know, or for which s/he is unsure. In this case, you should also be interested to the native language of who voted the answers.


Yes, it is very welcome when someone specifies which dialect they use and how fluent they are (if it is a language first learned at home or in school and if the latter at what age and how much everyday experience).

It would be helpful to use this information to judge questions and answers (e.g. is it an ESL question, is the answer informed by native intuition (or possibly blinded by native intuition, etc).

But as relevant as would be to this site, it's also be nice to know the age, profession, hobbies, and other credentials, and these are already voluntary info on the profile.

Currently the culture is, when it is relevant, to mention something like 'as a native BrE speaker from Edinburgh,...', or 'even though I'm not a native speaker, I am a translator...', etc.... This is not very common though. Maybe it should be encouraged?

As to a particular design and implementation, I have a feeling it would be quite a bit more work than worth it the intended benefit unless it could be a more multi-site solution.

Rereading this later I realize that what I wrote is not exactly my main point (I was thinking it but not writing it). - There already is a place to do this self-reporting, the 'about' box on your user profile. That is there is already a voluntary place to do this. - forcing people to fill out language info (and the accompanying extra software: implementing extra fields or tags for users) will be very annoying.

So fill it out yourself and maybe others will do so too.

  • Thanks for your opinion, I do know of the current culture and so on. As for the implementation - it is a bit too early for evaluating that (unless you have coded much of SE or otherwise have a good knowledge of the system). I would be surprised that if implemented as a tooltip it would require much work (I would guesstimate that this would non trivially use resources; but as I said implementation details should come later - it might be as simple as having a specific part of the profile where you can enter up to n chars - ideally for each SE site).
    – Unreason
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 14:54
  • @Unreason: Self-assigned tags might be the easier thing to implement (these are more open-ended than badges, which seem to be spelled out by the system rather than tags which anybody can create (but with encouragement to use previously created ones).
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 15:03
  • @Jasper Loy, for now assume people would provide it.
    – Unreason
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 15:17
  • @Jasper: about compulsory, that's why I brought up that it is already voluntary (and definitely not compulsory) to provide similar things in the user profile.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 17:17

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