2

As a French native speaker (from France) I'm sometimes surprised to read answers that go against what seems right to me spontaneously.

Obviously the most frequent reason is that the answer comes from native speakers of different areas of the Francophonie, where different idiomatic turns of speech may appear.
In such cases, that's a pretty interesting occasion to learn more about the language, provided we are informed of the involved area.

More rarely answers may come from non-native speakers who have acquired extensive knowledge of French so they can give pertinent answers.
But, no offense, sometimes they however may be simply wrong, so it'd be important to know they're not native speakers.

From these two reasons I wonder if it wouldn'd be a good idea to make this information mandatory in the profile, and always displayed in the signature block of answers and comments?

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5

I don't think that is necessary. Consider the following points

  1. It is really intrusive to force users to divulge that kind of information. Which would be not only obnoxious, but would also probably lead to people lying, thus defeating the whole purpose.
  2. If an answer is relevant (an correct) for all varieties of French, then the tags you propose would add irrelevant noise, and may even make visitors think that it is only relevant for the tagged variety of French.
  3. If you feel that answers are incorrect, say so in comments to give its author a chance to clarify. If they are indeed native speakers from another area, that will give them the chance to clarify it in their answer (they may not have known anyway) and you can post your own answer with the answer that would be relative to your own area.

So such a measure would be: invasive, possibly mistake-inducing and unneeded.

What we could do, however would be to encourage the steps I suggested in 3.. We could also make it an official guideline that if you know that an answer is only relevant to a particular variety, you should mention it, in the answer if it is your own, in comments if it's someone else's.

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3

I do not think the area is truly informative. Indeed, I consider myself as a native speaker, born in France from parents of (from what I know) French origin. My germanic roots are a few centuries away. Though:

  • part of my family originates from Lorraine, with very particular speaking habits: they can meet between only one time moment ("on se donne rendez-vous entre midi ?"),
  • part of my family originates from Touraine, where some believe they speak "the purest French", the language of kings...
  • I have been living and travelling in different areas of the Francophonie: Québec, Sénégal, Amsterdam, Haute-Marne, Provence, Normandie, Alsace.

I have recently made a trip to Sénégal, where I spent part of my youth. I have discussed with natives, whose parents studied French from french school in Dakar. They spoke (the children) the more precise, accent-less and rigorous French I even heard. Much better than in others places in Touraine.

I believe that what is the most important is the care and culture people have dedicated to the skill, more than the area by itself. Care and culture are concepts I cannot imagine summarized in a couple of tags or in a profile.

However, I agree that the guidelines may suggests that the OP and the answers could give details about the cultural biases they are aware of.

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