There will be times it is useful to know if an answer has come from a native speaker or not. For instance I am English and could confidently give answers about the German language but if a German disagrees, he's probably going to be right.

Sometimes whether someone speaks British or American English could be significant too (especially as native English speakers often aren't aware of US-GB differences).

Is there a convention we could use to make this obvious rather than writing lengthy declarations on each answer? Is this desirable?

One thought is adding something like [de] or [en-gb] to answers, or to usernames.

  • A field in the profile would be a good solution.
    – Tim
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 23:20
  • 2
    On the other hand, many ESL learners have a better grasp of grammar than most native English speakers.
    – Tim
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 23:21
  • 2
    Both good points. A profile field would be most useful if displayed in the box with your username and points.
    – misterben
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 23:31
  • 1
    I kinda feel that this is unnecessary and would be best addressed in each individual answer when needed (e.g. "...but take this with a grain of salt as my grammar is shaky."). Can't really put my finger on it enough to write this up as an answer though. :)
    – deceze
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 1:33
  • 4
    -1 simply to express my disagreement for the suggestion, not for suggesting it.
    – Phira
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 5:38
  • 2
    No objection at all to your disagreement, as the question was intended as a discussion. However the up/downvotes on meta questions should be used to rate the usefulness and relevance of the question, not agreement of a proposal. Disagreement should be expressed by creating, or upvoting, an answer that disagrees with the suggestion. Using the votes on a meta question to express two unrelated metrics lessens the value of the voting system.
    – misterben
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 8:27
  • Please note that votes on the beta sites ( the exception is meta.stackoverflow.com ) do not modify the reputation. Therefore you can as well add a vote like answer, like the one below from Pekka and let others vote it up. Note that Pekka's reputation is not influenced by upvotes on this site. If you do not agree with Pekka, you can add an asnwer expressing that and others can vote up the one or the other. Note I'm not sure if it is here a question of reputation. When you click on a up/downvote Number it displays the numbers of upvotes and downvotes separated.
    – bernd_k
    Commented May 28, 2011 at 18:15
  • It is helpful, in many cases, though. In the recent v/w discussion it was quite important, for example.
    – ladybug
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 19:22
  • I did suggest something similar on the main meta, but the proposal got beaten down. Seems like the majority of people doesn't like the idea - I still think there can be valid cases for it, especially on language-related sites like this one.
    – takrl
    Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 9:56

3 Answers 3


I don't think it's necessary.

This information can be put into the user's profile text.

  • 2
    Agreed. I also think that one should be easily able to identify good answers (regardless of the primary language of the answering person) based on the arguments and overall quality. That applies to every answer, on any StackExchange site. If we were to add some identifiers here, we could as well add identifiers for the “primary language” on StackOverflow, or “primary OS” on SuperUser. And that just makes no real sense :)
    – poke
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 6:15
  • 3
    +1, see my answer to the same question on the English Language and Usage meta.
    – RegDwight
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 10:30
  • Accepted as consensus.
    – misterben
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 18:17

Here's a suggestion.

Over on Wikipedia, you can put "userboxes" on your user page; there are several of these indicating proficiency in various languages. Off the top of my head, these go roughly as follows:

  • [de-0]: This user does not speak German.
  • [de-1]: This user has a basic understanding of German.
  • [de-2]: This user has an intermediate understanding of German.
  • [de-3]: This user speaks fluent German as a second language.
  • [de-4]: This user is a native German speaker.

We could perhaps put something similar to that on our own profile pages. For me it would be [en-GB-4] and [de-1], for instance.


There are many native German speakers, which speak and write a terrible German. Flagging as native doesn't help. Going for up- and downvotes will be mostly more helpful.

Es gibt viele miserable Muttersprachler. Die Bewertungen sollten meistens ein besserer Wegweiser sein - wenn auch nicht immer.

  • 1
    Ich habe viele Upvotes, trotz meinem schlechten Deutsch :)
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 12:10
  • Hast Du die Upvotes oder Deine Antworten in schlechtem Deutsch? Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 14:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .