I started watching PyCon’s videos.
One of the first ones I saw is Amber Brown’s “How we do identity wrong”.
I think she[1] is right in raising not only the notion of not assuming things
related to names, addresses and ID numbers,
but also that you shouldn’t be collecting information that you don’t need; at
some point, it becomes a liability.

In the same vein about assuming, I have more examples. One of them is deciding
what language you show your site depending on what country the client connects form. I’m
not a millennial (more like a transmillennial, if you push me to it), but I tend
to go places. Every time I go to a new place, I get sites in new languages, but
maps in US!

Today I wanted to book a hotel room. The hotel’s site asked me where do I live,
so I chose France. Fact is, for them country and language is the same thing (I
wonder what would happen if I answer Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera/Svizra), so I can’t
say that I live in France but prefer English, so I chose United Kingdom instead.
Of course, this also meant that I got prices in GBP, not EUR, so I had to
correct that one too. At least I could.

Later they asked me country of residence and nationality; when I chose italian,
the country was set to Italia, even when I chose France first!

I leave you all with an anecdote. As I said, I lake to go places, most of the
times with friends. Imagine the puzzled expression of the police officer that
stopped us to find a car licensed in France, driven by an italian, with an
argentinian, a spanish and a chilean passangers, crossing from Austria to Slovakia,
listening to US music. I only forgot to put the GPS in japanese or something.

So, don’t assume; if you assume, let the user change settings to their
preferences, and don’t ask for data you don’t actually need. And please use
the user’s Accept-Language header; they have it for a reason.


[1] I think that’s the pronoun she[1] said she[1] preferred. I’m sorry if I got
that wrong.


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