Optional location flag for AskMe? May 2, 2019 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I've seen this happen quite a bit, but for whatever reason the penny dropped reading this question posted today--has the idea ever been floated to add an optional location flag to AskMe questions?

We've all seem the "where are you located?" comments on AskMe posts, and in the specific example of the question linked above, apartment "viewing fees" (my god) are a classic housing scam in the States but appear to be increasingly legitimate and common in Ireland. It seems to me that an optional location would help the quality of answers and cut down on some back-and-forth.

I assume some people put their location in the tags, but that's not obviously visible and adding it as a discrete option might prompt some posters to think "oh yeah I should tell people this question applies to Jakarta".
posted by Automocar to Feature Requests at 3:23 PM (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

So, a funny wrinkle here is that we do include an optional "location" field, but only specifically for stuff in the Travel & Transportation category—if you're drafting a question and choose that category from the drop down, another field appears lower down on the posting form. That got added at some point years ago when Matt was messing around with the idea of a Travel subsite, which never ended up getting off the ground but was originally intended to pull in part from travel-related stuff posted on Ask.

We haven't revisited the location field idea in a while. I would estimate we have a metatalk discussion about Ask vs. location every few years because it's an idea folks have sometimes, and I'm willing to give it another round of discussion at this point to talk out pros and cons.

I don't have a strong objection off-hand to the idea of trying it out as an optional field for questions in general, but I'll say the fact that we haven't done so before may come down to one or another more significant roadblock that I haven't thought about in a while, so I'm gonna try to dig through past discussions.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think adding it as an optional field for all the questions would be a good idea.
posted by lazuli at 9:14 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes! I like that idea. Even if it's optional, it may help remind people that there really is a geographical component to their question. There almost always is.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:54 AM on May 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Another +1 in the optional to all. Most especially anonymous questions where location is important, and often patched in later via a mod comment.
posted by deezil at 5:28 AM on May 3, 2019

I wonder if a location field would help with all the non-U.S. askers getting US-specific answers.

Although I've seen a couple of questions where the original questions clearly stated a non-U.S. location and then people gave US-specific answers anyway, so maybe hard to say.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 5:59 AM on May 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

As a non-US-based mefite, I would love this. Generally I have to put a paragraph of boilerplate, particularly for medical questions, along the lines of "no I can't get a second opinion easily and no it's nothing to do with insurance, this is the UK and the NHS and if you don't have info relevant to that system or location then please walk on by." This would be faster than typing that out every time.

I think the location marker would need to be fairly visible and obvious enough across all themes if one of the goals of this is to genuinely improve the quality of answers that non-US-based folks receive.
posted by terretu at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2019 [8 favorites]

It would also be useful for natural history questions such as "what (weed, flower, tree, insect) is this?"
posted by Botanizer at 9:04 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

This doesn't seem to be getting a lot of traction. I'm going to assume most of the US American MeFites don't care all that much because everyone is just going to assume everyone else is in the USA anyway.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:56 AM on May 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm hoping it's because it's mostly generating a non-controversial "Sure, that sounds fine," response in most people and so doesn't seem like an interesting thread.

I know a lot of users in the US find it frustrating when US askers don't specify what state they're in because laws vary so much between states, so I don't think it's just a non-US issue.
posted by lazuli at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

I think it would be useful for non-USian peoples, of which I am one.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've got it in my profile, but who looks at that?

I do, but it's sure a lot easier when it's in the question and I don't have to. A location flag is a great idea.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:35 AM on May 5, 2019

As a USA MeFi user, another for vote for this. California is, for example, pretty different from Alabama when it comes to worker's rights or reproductive health options, and knowing where someone in the states is posting from makes a big difference.
posted by gryftir at 6:04 PM on May 12, 2019

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