From a user viewpoint, the benefit would be that the user could quickly get an idea of location (and therefore timezone, language, and currency) with a single click on the user symbol. Our site pretty much spans the world, so this would save users asking.
Some of the other sites I use have user selectable flags, but on many of them the user can select any flag they wish. This may allow them to express some personal allegiance, but it kind of defeats the main benefit to be had from having this kind of information.
I would say detecting it from ip addy would be a bit too much overhead if you have to do a lookup at every user login (Which is pretty much what you would have to do to handle the case of a user who is travelling), so linking it to the user’s country as defined in their profile would be my choice.
Forgive my imprecise use of Discourse terminology, until a week ago I had never used Discourse. I’m not really quite as obtuse as I initially appear to be. (In fact, it’s a lot worse once you get to know me.)
Assign it based on IP on first login.
Make it configurable so that you can make it a mod_only, or User editable.
And since I’m in wish concert mode:
If a user wants to change it, and you’ve allowed “Country_Flag_may_mean_nothing”, then pop up a (stern) warning to the user if the flag doesn’t match with the ip addy.
Indeed. For us it’s not so much a question of identity or roots, as it is a question of current location for practical purposes.
For example, if a user posts “I get 20 mpg in my Jaguar XJ12”, and another user can’t get more 16 mpg in his identical car, it would help to know that the first poster is in the UK (1 gallon = 4.5 liters) and the second is in the US (1 gallon = 3.8 liters).
I like the idea of initially populating it from the IP address though. At least we’ll have something to go on, until the user updates it.
I believe OP was talking about a plugin for phpBB. I used the same plugin on my forum before we changed over to Discourse a couple of weeks back. A few of the members mentioned they missed the flags, so last Friday I decided to jump in and have a go at a plugin for Discourse.
In its current state, it’s fairy ‘hacky’ and there’s plenty of room for improvement. I’d appreciate some help with the code if anyone is willing to offer their assistance!
I’m sorry that I am unable to contribute any code, but I wonder whether it would be too much trouble to extend the functionality to allow users to add multiple flags. I guess the reasons are obvious but let me just give an example: I am about to build a website for a global community of people who are themselves often highly mobile internationally so that it makes little sense to them to select a single national identity, such as “I am German” or “I am from Germany”. What makes sense in this context (and I think increasingly for many people) is to say “I’m of German descent, born in Indonesia and living in the UK”. Putting three flags would nicely sum that up…