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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Alphabetical Exceptions?

Usdropdown_3 I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on when it comes to country drop-down menus. I admit that I feel a tinge of relief and am slightly less inconvenienced when the United States gets placed at the top of these menus, regardless of its rightful place in the alphabetical country list (the bottom).

And I get why drop-down menus are designed this way - the company providing the software or service is American, and/or the company thinks that the majority of its users will be American and wants to simplify the sign-up process for as many people as possible.

But when all the other countries (often with the exception of the United Kingdom) are in alphabetical order, doesn't it look a little arrogant to have the U.S. put first on the list anyway? You can''t really argue with alphabetical.

I wonder I'd be more bothered by this if I lived in, say, Uganda? Or better yet, Venezuela?

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Comments

Clintus McGintus

Good point, but I'm with you. It's kinda nice having it at the top.

Paul

I wonder why it isn't standard to look at the country of origin the user's browser (or IP address) reports and make that the default option in the drop down?

edu

Yeah, I get it. What annoys me is when a service is available in Alaska and Hawaii and not Puerto Rico. But that has very little to do with this topic, huh? I like Paul's idea. I wonder if anybody does it and we just haven't noticed it.

Hillman

Uh Sara... the menu is written in ENGLISH? For example in Spanish we are Estados Unidos and abbreviated E.E.U.U.

sarah

@Hillman - But that isn't the issue. If it were, we'd still alphabetically fall under Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.

Text Pirate

It bothers me because I usually scroll toward the bottom looking for the "U" countries. Then I have to remind myself to be arrogant and/or lazy and look at the top. So, if the intent is to streamline the process it isn't working for me.

What a weird thing to discuss. Are we all autistic? Or do we not get that excuse for this strange interest in organization.

JC

If it were really to enhance user experience, why not promote to "non-alphabetical order", say, the 5 more populated countries in the world, or the 5 countries with more (estimated) people using the Web? ;)

Jim

Has everyone lost their keyboard?

The drop-downs should have the countries alphabetized based on the language used on the page.

Drop-downs like that do recognize at least one typed character with the better ones allowing you to type the whole thing. If a drop-down doesn't default to the country you want, then just start typing and you will find it pretty quickly.

Defaulting to the country that seems to be where the user is, is fine. But keep the list alphabetized.

Kevin Rose

I prefer when you write code that checks the users IP address. You can make a relatively accurate auto-guess then allow the user to change it if it is wrong.

Bassguy

I HATE picking through random countries to get to the US. How many people in Aruba use the internet as opposed to the number of people in the US? To be fair, if the website is Chinese, I'd fully expect "China" to be number one on the list.
Also, I hate it when I press "D" in the drop down list to get to "Delaware," and Washington D.C. shows up. They aren't even a state. Grr.

Anastasia

Maybe they should be backwards alphabetized -- starting with the "z's" -- then the US and UK would be at the top, but it wouldn't show preferential treatment :)

3Case

Why not just jumble 'em up? Then everybody could practice their reading. ;-)

GrandPoo

I too have had this same inner struggle. It's like you read my mind Sarah Lane. It's like you read my mind.

jeff

You don't have to scroll, just hit the box and type "U" until the US shows up.

John

Aamerica!

hannah

For the most part, Canada is under America on the drop-down lists but when it isn't, I get angry. I'm not sure if that's anger because you guys are always up there or anger because I have to scroll through all the B's.

fredo

they hate us for our placement on the drop down list.

Leaders of the Free World

When we're the one's doling out billions of dollars in humanitarian and other aid to all of those other countries, and sending out troops there to break up their little spats, and police things for them, the least we deserve is to be less inconvenienced by having to scroll to the bottom of a list. ;)

When they're giving us all their taxpayers money, and become super powers out of their own hard work, they can have their name at the top of the list.

sarah

"billions of dollars in humanitarian and other aid to all of those other countries"
All of them, huh? What else do you think the US "deserves", besides being at the top of lists?

jeff

Sarah, Get off your high horse. Out of ALL of the Aid given in the World, the US gives over 50% of the total.

sarah

@jeff- Am I on a high horse? I thought my post was suggesting the opposite.
The US is also the richest country in the world. So it makes sense that we'd also be giving the most in foreign aid, doesn't it?
Is your point that we deserve to be at the top of drop-down menus because we contribute more money toward foreign aid than other countries? I'm not arguing with you. I'm just curious.

YES

Sarah; I'm not sure exactly, where you think the money comes from that made the U.S. ONE(!) of the richest countries in the world (there is also Saudi Arabia, etc.) ...

It comes from the sweat and labor of the people in the country. I realize that you have had a semi-cushy, high paying desk/tv job, and even a job stocking shelves at a grocery store, so maybe that doesn't seem like such a big deal to you, to just give away free money to other people.

Just because we've made it, does that mean it's our responsibility to give it all away as well? No. We do it out of generosity for the most part, and for the rest, to attempt to maneuver ourselves into a higher position globally. As you can see, it still doesn't work because the world hates us anyway, even though we give away so much of our peoples money.

It takes a real bleeding heart to keep giving money to people who have their left hand out EXPECTING your money, and their right hand up saying they think you're "number 1" in their book *middle finger*. This happens daily.

But what about the people that really get out their and break their backs on a yearly basis, doing much harder, more dangerous work, earning (usually less) than you? For example: Firemen, Policemen, New Jersey longshoremen, people who work on tar roofs laying shingle on 120 degree days all summer, people who walk on girders building skyscrapers, 100 stories up, and so on and so on. They didn't get lucky making DiGG.

Instead Uncle Sam takes a very large chunk of their money and freely gives it away to other countries, all the while our own country often NEEDS that money itself. Do they have a choice where their money goes? Nope. It's food out of their children's mouths and into the mouths (and pockets) of ... well ... just about everyone else.

What about our soldiers constantly in other countries breaking up and dying for their little wars. Somalia anyone? Serbia? Kuwait?

I know you grew up in SF, the most left wing, peace loving hippie minded community you can ever expect to grow up in, and it shows, but c'mon already. Time to expect more for your own country, your own people, and a little bit less for others. Note: that I am not going to the extreme of saying completely screw them either. I'm saying, tip the scales more our direction.

It seems to ME that being at the top of a stupid drop down combo box, in the sake of convenience, for the country that happened to invent the internet (yes, the United States Military), is a VERY small price to ask in return?

And here is where I totally ruin any credibility I may of had in this post, by tossing in a bit of humor ...

"What else do you think the US "deserves", besides being at the top of lists?"

They should send us all of their womenz too.

*nerk nerk nerk*

YES YES

btw, to answer your question:

If the U.S. pays the lion's share of the total (money AND human life) aid. (How many U.S. Soldiers are in Iraq in comparison to other countries right now?), you don' think we "deserve" anything in return?

If for example, you and your husband went in on a brand new $60K Hummer 2, and you paid 55K of it, and he 5K. Would you expect to be able to drive it more often? What if he took it all day long every day, getting it all dirty, scratched up, and you only got about an hour a day to drive it when he was all done?

What if he just said "what makes you feel you deserve to drive it more than me?"

I think you'd plant yer Dolce & Gabbana high heel up his arse. =)

So, yes ... if we fork over more, we deserve more. Yet, I'm not seeing it happen. In fact ... look at how we're getting screwed on oil, and gas prices. It's 3.60 a gallon here!

sarah

"I realize that you have had a semi-cushy, high paying desk/tv job, and even a job stocking shelves at a grocery store, so maybe that doesn't seem like such a big deal to you, to just give away free money to other people."

Honestly, wtf are you talking about? I still don't understand why drop-down menus have anything to do with America's contributions in foreign aid. Do you think we're the only country that contributes? Do you not think it is at all relative to the size and GDP of the country? Do you think the US should host the Olympics more often? Because we're larger and contribute more money?

"I know you grew up in SF, the most left wing, peace loving hippie minded community you can ever expect to grow up in, and it shows, but c'mon already. Time to expect more for your own country, your own people, and a little bit less for others."

Like alphabetical country drop-down menus? I think you're over-emphasizing the relevance of my orginal post topic. I certainly did not intend to make it your forum for a political tirade.

By the way, I didn't grow up in San Francisco, I didn't start the company Digg, I don't own a pair of D&G shoes, and I would never buy a Hummer.

Hillman

I think that the order should reflect the number of users likely to be visiting the site. If I were a retailer, I would have the countries listed in order of my customers. Antarctica would not be on top for instance. Political Correctness can be taken too far, and this is a definite example of it. I think that the website has the right to list the countries in any order they want.

Touche =)

"Honestly, wtf are you talking about? I still don't understand why drop-down menus have anything to do with America's contributions in foreign aid. Do you think we're the only country that contributes? Do you not think it is at all relative to the size and GDP of the country? Do you think the US should host the Olympics more often? Because we're larger and contribute more money?"

Lol, no. But we both have said we are one of the BIGGEST contributors, as well as another astute poster. Size really makes no difference. Look at the size of Russia. We do have a choice in whether we contribute and how much. As for the Olympics? Meh ... I'd actually prefer it be hosted in other countries due to the hate everyone else has for the U.S., and the target it provides for terrorism. Besides, I personally find them rather ... blah.

"Like alphabetical country drop-down menus? I think you're over-emphasizing the relevance of my orginal post topic. I certainly did not intend to make it your forum for a political tirade."

Nice spin. =)

Your OP had political implications as well as your reply to my first post. You implied guilt and arrogance for being an American and having us placed up top in a list. And now after I "went there" with ya, you want to make me sound crazy for talking about a "stupid drop down menu". This is pretty common for forums/blogs and wasn't unexpected, but for the sake of discussion I did anyway. After all, it's what the topic was about. ;)

"By the way, I didn't grow up in San Francisco, I didn't start the company Digg, I don't own a pair of D&G shoes, and I would never buy a Hummer."

I know, I know. Sebastopol, but you spent a lot of time in SF (is there a difference anyway? Cali in general is known as a very liberal state ;).

The Digg reference was an obvious attempt at pointing out that hard physical workers in the country aren't getting nearly as much money say, swinging a pick axe in the dirt clearing a lot to build a house in the hot sun, as for example, your ex-bf who pecked some keys and came up with Digg, (actually I heard he rented a coder to make it, but not sure on that one) which will probably sell for millions at some point in the near future. The pay doesn't scale with the amount of work, and it's the people like that, for example, "politicians" who don't do much physical ball-breaking labor, yet freely spend our money on say ... soldiers, food and medical aid on Uganda? POINT IS, we do A LOT for this planet and it's people, so no need for the guilt in a "stupid little drop down menu".

btw, why wouldn't you buy a Hummer? (and you didn't get that comparison either?) I'd pay for a hummer. =D

oh btw

You may not exactly own a pair of D&G shoes, but I think you still got my point. If not, how many, for example,construction workers do you know that can freely take a year+ off of work to travel the planet dropping 25K in the process? I can honestly say I don't know any at all. They may get lucky and get a weekend off and go to Disney World for 3K-4K.

I think part of your guilt in little things like the menu, may stem from the fact that you have made big money relatively easy in comparison to most people. Not saying you haven't worked hard at all, because I'm sure you have. But television ... and we all saw you on your webcam everyday ... =)

sarah

"You may not exactly own a pair of D&G shoes, but I think you still got my point. If not, how many, for example,construction workers do you know that can freely take a year+ off of work to travel the planet dropping 25K in the process? I can honestly say I don't know any at all. They may get lucky and get a weekend off and go to Disney World for 3K-4K."

Sorry, but no. What exactly are your points? That construction workers in the US work harder than everyone else? That the US deserves to be put at the top of alphabetical drop-down menus becuase we contribute a lot in foreign aid? That I feel guilty because my career thus far has been in television? That because I grew up in California I can be written off as a "peace loving hippie"?

Read my post again. Go on, give it a read. Then ask yourself if all those off-topic responses of yours were really necessary. If you think they were, I suggest moving down the blososphere to a more politically inclined blog and spending some quality time there instead.

By the way, I've been saving up for a world trip since I was a kid. If your construction worker decided not to go to Disney World for three years in a row, he'd save upwards of about 9k-12k. Pair him up with another construction worker who did the same thing, and together they have 18-24k to go around the world for a year. And then they'd come back broke and unemployed, just like I did. Go ahead and pretend that I'm made of money, but it's just not true.

Speaking of politics, no, my intention was not to make you sound crazy, but I think you've succeeded on your own. You went off on some pretty deep tangents because I asked if it was arrogant to have one country above an alphabetical list of others.

Yes, construction workers work very hard. At no point have I suggested otherwise. Lots of people work their asses off in various jobs throughout the world. Why keep bringing up manual labor?

"I know, I know. Sebastopol, but you spent a lot of time in SF (is there a difference anyway? Cali in general is known as a very liberal state ;)."

If you knew you were wrong, why did you say it? Have you ever been to San Francisco, or to Sebastopol? Do you think that there's no difference between a major metropolitan city and a small town with less than 8,000 residents?

"btw, why wouldn't you buy a Hummer? (and you didn't get that comparison either?) I'd pay for a hummer. =D"

No, I have no idea what you're comparing a Hummer to. I wouldn't buy one because I think they're ugly, too large, and get low gas mileage.

Oh, and please do not misquote me. "Stupid little drop-down menu" is something you made up yourself. I never said that.

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