We've had requests in the past to include boxes on questions that indicate the user's geographic info. This helps in cases where the answer is tailored to their specific climate. Recently, StackExchange rolled out a new feature where if you hover over a user's gravatar, it expands into a pop-up showing the user's info and the text from their "About me" section.

While a lot of us have copied over our profiles from other sites or have some default random text, I think that it would be helpful if we all edited it to include some relevant geographic information in a neat and uniform manner. Here is what mine looks like right now:

enter image description here

At a glance, you can see where I am and what sort of climate I have and if you need more info, the two wiki links should suffice. I think this is a very neat way of displaying info useful for answering questions, yet is hidden away from view when not necessary.

There are certain word limits and paragraph limits to how much can be shown in the pop-up. Also, you'll need at least 1000 rep (which I'm trying to get lowered) for this to activate. While these are being tweaked by the dev team, I fiddled around a bit with different combinations and settled on this for tightly fitting in the box, yet packed with details. The space below my rep & badges is where the website info goes (if you have one) and the space below the last line is where your twitter/Facebook info goes (there used to be fields for it, but not anymore. It's still in testing and most likely, will be back).

Here's the text from my user info which you can copy paste to your profile and make the necessary changes.

Location: [San Diego](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Diego)

[Hardiness zone](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardiness_zone): USDA zone 10

Mean temperature (°F): 58-75, Highs: 80-90, Lows: 48-55

Rainfall: 2mm/month from Jan-Mar, 10mm/year

Frost/snow/ice: None

Again, this is completely voluntary and should not be forced upon anyone. However, if there's agreement that this is a good idea, I see no harm in pointing new users/users who don't know about it to this post.

Lastly, this should never replace the relevant info being present in the question. This merely serves as additional helpful info. For reasons pointed out in Robert Cartaino's answer to the question linked earlier, questions should always be self contained. This pop-up helps in cases where a user forgets to add info (will reduce comments requesting for geographic & weather info), or if you quickly want to see their info without leaving the page.

  • It would be wise to note that this card requires the user to have at least 1000 reputation to be seen. That aside, it's quite a creative solution to this issue.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 1, 2011 at 17:25
  • Ah yes, I meant to add that but wanted to check with Geoff to find out what the rep threshold is for beta. Thanks for reminding me, will edit it in a bit Sep 1, 2011 at 17:27
  • It's still 1000. You can check the Users page, they also activate there, and they stop at 1000.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 1, 2011 at 17:29
  • 1
    I've updated my info but probably needs some formatting. Luckily it is possible to update it without propagating the info to all stackexchange sites!
    – winwaed
    Sep 1, 2011 at 21:52
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    The issue of whether these provide relevant info to questions aside, I think this is a nice way to get to know the regulars and what kind of their local gardening situation is like. I've seen some of the <1k users have added this info -- I tend to click through to profiles when there's no popup to see the different areas everyone deals with. (And learn some stuff too, e.g. Eric Nitardy has interesting data points in his profile.)
    – bstpierre
    Sep 15, 2011 at 15:43

2 Answers 2

  1. Your residence is not always the zone you're asking about, so this information would be more appropriate per question rather than per user.

  2. What if I don't know my hardiness zone (I don't because there seems to be competing schemes to classify them). What I would like it to provide some geocoordinates and have all that information populated for me.

  3. Given that a lot of questions are from users with <1000 rep like myself, isn't it better to allow such information to be added as part of the question.

PROPOSAL: Prompt user to optionally enter geocoordinates as part of asking a question. I understand that this is asking for a divergence from the main SE software, but maybe it's not too difficult. For the user this is certainly more reliable. Even nicer would be if the user could automatically let their smartphone's GPS provide the coordinates to the SE API!

  • 1
    Let me repeat what I said in the post: this should never replace the relevant info being present in the question. This merely serves as additional helpful info This info should always be present in the question. If the poster forgets to add it, anyone can add this info in (editing is encouraged). It's merely a suggestion to enter what ever details that you know (or can readily research) so that it could be used. It needn't necessarily be the USDA zone (some countries don't have such classifications). Just add whatever you feel is useful. I merely provided a template that sets it neatly Sep 15, 2011 at 1:58
  • The reason I didn't include geocoordinates is that people might not want to give their location with that much accuracy for privacy reasons. Your points have merit, but we can't change the SE system. My suggestion was to work with what we have. Again, this is all optional and was merely a suggestion. No one is forced to do anything! Sep 15, 2011 at 2:00
  • Yes, no one is forced to do anything, because you will do it for them, right? When you've made some change for the user, there is no point saying "it is optional" anymore. Sep 15, 2011 at 2:45
  • What do you mean I'm making changes for them? This is the user making the change to their profile if they so wish. Please do not say arbitrary and incorrect stuff, especially if you do not know what you're talking about. Sep 15, 2011 at 3:44
  • Didn't you wrote "If the poster forgets to add it, anyone can add this info in (editing is encouraged)."? Didn't you mean anyone can edit the question based on the geographic information provided by the user? Sep 15, 2011 at 5:17
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    @gunbuster363 I think you've misunderstood me. Editing the question to improve it or add missing information is encouraged. However, what I meant when I said that it is optional is that you can add it to your user profile only if you wish. No one is going to edit any of your personal info. Note that you don't "own" any of your questions/answers here, because it is licensed to StackExchange, so any one can edit useful info in. I don't see anything wrong with this. Sep 15, 2011 at 5:24
  • I already said that, if our edits are based on some unaccurate information provided by the user profile, the answer could be misleading. That's all I would like to point out. How can you tolerant a habit like that? It's like gambling. The OP may want to plant in different location, or maybe he is asking for his/her friends! Who knows? Sep 15, 2011 at 5:36
  • You're talking of outliers. My primary point was that instead of blindly copying over programming profiles from Stack Overflow, make use of it in a meaningful way for Gardening & Landscaping. There are very few people who wouldn't notice that their question has been edited to add the location info in and fewer still who wouldn't notice that the edit is in fact, incorrect. So I don't see what group of people you're arguing for. Sep 15, 2011 at 6:00
  • @Lisa Just in case you're not aware: Plant Hardiness Zones for Australia
    – Mike Perry
    Sep 15, 2011 at 18:39
  • @yoda any ref to that argument? Sep 18, 2011 at 15:12
  • @gunbuster363 Reference to what? Sep 18, 2011 at 15:18

Suppose we will adopt this scheme:

What we do here when the user forgets to provide geographic information, is to ASSUME their address in the user flair is correct. The next thing we need to know is the correctness of their address. Let's say Mr.A moved from New York to Hong Kong and forgets to update his address, then the information is indeed wrong. He may update his address, but we can never know.

And by the way, I don't think there is so much user with 1k rep. This is a feature not being opened to all users, so how can most users find it useful?

There is little we can do if the whole SE share the same user interface which we cannot easily change.

  • As with everything else, if you're not up to speed with changing the information to make it current, then there's nothing much that can be done about it. You're right that it's only accessible to people with 1k rep, which I've tried to get lowered for us but most likely will not happen. Still, there's no harm in adding the info in the box and let the popup activate when you get 1k rep. Remember, all of this is voluntary and no one is being forced :) Sep 14, 2011 at 21:07
  • You never realize the point. The assumption could be wrong, and why would you try to make an assumption which could be wrong, and make an answer out of that assumption? Sep 15, 2011 at 1:15
  • Yes, in the scenario that the person moves from A to B to C, and forgets to update, it could be wrong. But I'm suggesting that we include this info so that it can be edited into the question every time if they forget (at least the most essential bits). In case they forget to change, they'll realize that they haven't changed it when you edit the old info into the question or can be pointed out to them if they give a different location in the question than what's in the infobox Sep 15, 2011 at 2:23
  • Now you assume the users are smart enough to notice someone edited his/her question and found out something is wrong. Doesn't it bring additional trouble? Sep 15, 2011 at 2:43
  • You needn't add anything to your profile if you do not think it is useful. It is that simple. You're free to choose whatever the heck you want too add. I'm sorry if you think so lowly of our users. I certainly do not share your concerns. Sep 15, 2011 at 4:02

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