Lots of regular contributors have provided very little or no information about themselves. It is helpful to know a questioner's first language, as often a language group will make consistently similar mistakes when speaking English. It would also help one address people better if one knew their level of competence and where they came from.

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    Of a regular contributor, one would think the quality of the user's answers would speak volumes, whereas qualifications can be fabricated. I've seen very poor answers from users whose profiles would suggest it should be otherwise. Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 13:01
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    I suppose this is similar to, if not an outright duplicate of, Stack sites should support primary and secondary language when defining user profile. The first half of my answer there is sort of outdated (the question is from our early days of beta), but the second half still applies. We can't force people to fill out fields, and we can't force them to fill them out truthfully. We also can't blame them for changing their profiles every so often. (Come to think of it, my own profile used to have more useful information than it does now.)
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 13:26
  • Yes, that's an old difficulty. Users are encouraged to fill out info by a badge for filling out everything. So this question will help remind people to be aware of that. But most people aren't that into it. So ask, as deftly as you can, if you really feel it helps. But note, some ELLs are embarrassed, and some people don't want to give out personal identifying information.
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 16:34
  • @Susan: Large-scale regional variations (AmE, BrE, Indian English, etc.) are often unrecognised by many otherwise competent speakers. Consequently it would be helpful to at least know what continent a user comes from, and I can't really see why anyone would think that was a major infringement of privacy. In the early days of Internet chat it was always A/S/L, and I personally could rarely be bothered to interact with anyone who didn't at least appear to provide that info (and if it was lies, you'd usually suss this out fairly quickly! :) Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 4:48
  • If I believed the continent one exists on was a major infringement on one's privacy, I would not have it on my profile. I don't object to any information a user chooses to share. I believe the need to share is largely one of opinion, not fact. I have added my orientation (and have seen others do so) ("AmE here") when I thought it might matter. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 20:15


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