Mass update of public facing info August 11, 2007 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I had this idea when encountering the problem of wanting to contact a metafilter member of their public facing email address not being filled in... How about doing what PayPal, banks and universities do - they present a user on login with a page which they click 'confirm' on to get to the usual start page. On the confirm page would be form fields with the information metafilter currently has for them: lat, lon flickr ID email address URL etc it would give them a chance to update it (and the email address field would have some *decent* obfuscation, either images ala Facebook or the current SOTA JavaScript). I think often the reason this isn't filled in isn't out of choice it's because the user in question simply hasn't got around to it, doesn't know he/she has a profile or hasn't changed it since they first enrolled. What say you? I don't think doing this would cheese people off and I think it would really be a boon for the site.
posted by dance to Feature Requests at 11:48 AM (62 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The user was required to provide an email address when they signed up. They were asked whether this should be displayed to others and they chose "no." I think it would cheese most of them off if it was displayed to others in any format.
posted by winston at 11:52 AM on August 11, 2007


Except for those sites use SSL and several more layers of code to log you in than the cookie metafilter users.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:52 AM on August 11, 2007


@winston I'm not suggesting that email address be used, if you read the post.
posted by dance at 11:53 AM on August 11, 2007


@Burhananistan are you suggesting there is a danger of somebody else answering the survey with erroneous details 'as' the logged in user?
posted by dance at 11:54 AM on August 11, 2007


You have a growth on your comments there.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:55 AM on August 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


winston, I think people could still choose to not make their email address public, it would just be a reminder to people that in many cases we have some random email address for them and it may be one that is long since retired.

Additionally there are people who have included an email address like jessamynNOSPAM@gmail.com or something and those addresses are manipulable by humans but break the little "email me my password" widget. I think a lot of people gave a semi-throwaway email address when they first signed up because they didn't know how it might be used or didn't trust that they wouldn't get spammed. Maybe now that they've been on the site longer, they might be more comfortable changing it if given a very obvious chance to do that.

I think some users pay a lot more attention to their profiles than others, this might be a little reminder to have that info be current.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:57 AM on August 11, 2007


jessamyn, thank you, hopefully that makes things a bit clearer to people!
posted by dance at 11:58 AM on August 11, 2007


I'll definitely be moving to email addresses printed out as images, which should cure any spam problem, and they'll remain members-only for optional viewing.

But yeah, once every three months, we should probably do a "update your profile" after logins. It'd help to keep the data up to date.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:00 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does this mean I will be expected to check the gmail account I opened just for Metafilter? Will checking it every three months suffice?
posted by Cranberry at 12:05 PM on August 11, 2007


they present a user on login with a page
...you folks log out?
posted by juv3nal at 12:29 PM on August 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cranberry: No. I also have a gmail account just for askmefi. It forward to my regular email. Why not just do that (especially since you use this address only here)? So far no spam in my inbox.
posted by special-k at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2007


Will checking it every three months suffice?

Nobody cares if you check your email account. If you don't want to check it, that's between you and your own personal god. Again, members can set how much or how little personal information they make available to other users. The basic point here is that a lot of people have a sort of "set it and forget it" approach to their registration details and a ping once in a while to give them a chance to update their name or location might be helpful.

Additionally, since we're talking about this, every now and again a user will ask us to pass on a message to another user who hasn't made their contact information available (since we can see pretty much everyone's email address if you've ever provided one). Unless it's a real serious emergency -- or in some cases if I know the people personally and can ask them or know they won't mind -- this isn't something we normally do.

I personally feel like it's a good idea for members to be reachable in some way -- I think it facilitates some low level of honesty and site harmony -- but I know that many people have good reasons to not want to be contacted or contactable. However just because you may not want to be contacted, doesn't mean other people share your feelings about this. There are even rare instances where people don't even want to be contacted by the admins and in those cases we pretty much honor their wishes but also let them know that they won't get any warning or explanation from us if their comments are removed or their account has been banned.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does this mean I will be expected to check the gmail account I opened just for Metafilter?

If your regular email addy is on gmail too, there's a way you can use your main account to operate both. Mail incoming to the MeFi-facing account gets delivered to your "real" inbox, and you can respond to it from there too as the MeFi account. My email's in my profile if you want more details. =D
posted by carsonb at 1:22 PM on August 11, 2007


I am completely against this, but I can't think of a reason why!
posted by shmegegge at 1:22 PM on August 11, 2007


How about doing what PayPal, banks and universities do..

Take your money and treat you like shit in return? No coding necessary. Send me a Hamilton, and I'll snark in every MeTa thread you post.
posted by Plutor at 1:26 PM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


@dance @stop @with @the @fucking @@ @please.
posted by quonsar at 2:17 PM on August 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


Relax quonsar. The @ does no harm.
Even if it offenses your sensibilities.
posted by jouke at 2:26 PM on August 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pretend the @ is a delicious cinnabun. Yum.

@quonsar: I made you a cinnabun, but I eated it.
posted by adipocere at 2:35 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a great idea.

It works really well on the social networking sites I use and has dramatically increased the contactibility of my various peeps.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:50 PM on August 11, 2007


The one thing that I notice when looking at people's profiles is that 90% of mefites cannot resist the temptation to try and make a witty comment in the "gender" line. (not snarkin, just something I noticed)
posted by vronsky at 3:15 PM on August 11, 2007


heh - carsonb wins:)
posted by vronsky at 3:18 PM on August 11, 2007


Mm hm. Every time I see that I think I should take it down and put "It says Salesman, duh" instead. Or just M, you know.
posted by carsonb at 3:45 PM on August 11, 2007


I think the admins should have all our home phone numbers and next of kin information, incase of a flameout that gets out of control. And for birthday cards.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:53 PM on August 11, 2007


nah, its cool carsonb! Don't change a thing.

Someone should find about 50 of the best ones and then cortex can put them in a song. call it "The travelling mefi gender-bender blues"
posted by vronsky at 4:03 PM on August 11, 2007


The @ does vague but potent psychic harm. Drives a body crazy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on August 11, 2007


@ @ @
posted by jouke at 4:24 PM on August 11, 2007


here's the tune cortex.
posted by vronsky at 4:25 PM on August 11, 2007


Relax quonsar. The @ does no harm.

@jouke: okay.

Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
Todd Lokken
posted by quonsar at 4:50 PM on August 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


"I don't think doing this would cheese people off"

It would cheese me off. It would also encourage me to leave a crap email address, when I really didn't want to leave one at all.
posted by 517 at 5:15 PM on August 11, 2007


How about once a year or so, you could just put a big intrusive sign on the MeFi front page or side bar saying "hey people, why not spend a few seconds checking that your profile is up to date"? That would seem to achieve the goal with the least possible fuss, and would allow the admin staff to spend their time petting kittens instead of programming.
posted by nowonmai at 6:09 PM on August 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


IAW nowonmai's C
posted by Phire at 7:13 PM on August 11, 2007


There's also the idea of doing local MeFi-messaging...

It doesn't take much to code a little "send user a message" thing and it's local only to mefi.. not an actual email, so they see they have messages waiting when they arrive...

To keep the database small and manageable, just have 'em expire out of the database if they go unread for more than 4 weeks...

If you're feeling extra generous, have 'em send an email to the registered mefi account first [just saying they have an unread mefi-message] if they go unread for 1 week, then expire after 4...
posted by twiggy at 8:45 PM on August 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


we may not want to talk to you, did you even consider that
posted by caddis at 12:33 AM on August 12, 2007


Unfair! Why does dance get a pony mathowie?

I want one too! :(
posted by ranglin at 1:52 AM on August 12, 2007


Well in amongst all the rude remarks and the supportive ones there's a really good idea from twiggy.
posted by dance at 2:38 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a private message system?
posted by delmoi at 5:31 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a private massage system?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:42 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a private passage system?
posted by grouse at 5:49 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a public frottage'n'kissin'?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:59 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a privy message system?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:59 AM on August 12, 2007


What about a privates actuation system?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:05 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a privy message system?

I don't like being bothered while on the toilet.
posted by terrapin at 6:10 AM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, what about a corporal message system?
posted by phoque at 6:42 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a more-professional-looking white background?
posted by fandango_matt at 7:22 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually, what about a literal viking system?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 AM on August 12, 2007


In your dreams, buddy.
posted by carsonb at 8:10 AM on August 12, 2007


The above eleven comments make me happy.
posted by Kwine at 8:21 AM on August 12, 2007


Actually, what about a private message system?

There is one. But it's private.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:39 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Does this mean I will be expected to check the gmail account I opened just for Metafilter? Will checking it every three months suffice?
posted by Cranberry at 3:05 PM on August 11 [+] [!]


I check mine about every few weeks. BTW, I sent you an email less than three months ago.
posted by caddis at 9:56 AM on August 12, 2007


I saw it caddis, thank you. I do check the account now and then if only to delete the spam that accumulates in gmail.
I guess in my original comment I should have used amberglow's patented :-> to denote that it was not serious.
posted by Cranberry at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2007


Are there sufficient numbers of people who actually ever log out that this would even work? My impression is that, except for those accessing the site via shared or public machines (or those with sock puppets), people remain logged in as long as their cookie remains current (which is effectively forever).

If people never log out, this will be worse than useless to the extent that it will add more complexity and cruft with no discernible benefit.

I thought our e-mail addresses were hidden from non-members? If so, why would there be a need for addresses-as-images at all? Would it be just to avoid members scraping the database for lists of addresses? My understanding is that e-mail scraping thingies (to use the technical term) can read pretty much anything that humans can, anyway, but I could be wrong.
posted by dg at 2:15 PM on August 12, 2007


dg: You don't have to "log out".. your session just has to expire (i.e. you have to have not visited the site for the last X minutes.. where X is whatever the site administrator sets...)
posted by twiggy at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2007


Oh god, that would drive me bananas - I use three different computers to access MeFi pretty much every day - I would get reminded at each one of them.

Honestly, I think people don't fill the fields out because they don't want to share - annoying them isn't going to make them more likely to do so. Those who fill the fields out will generally keep them up-to-date (more or less), so this proposal just annoys people who are doing what you want them to do anyway and makes people who aren't doing it no more likely to do so. Lose-lose.
posted by dg at 5:52 PM on August 12, 2007


The "every three months" idea sounds a lot better than the "on login" idea. I also use mefi on several computers every day, and I'd probably go nuts.
posted by tehloki at 7:36 PM on August 12, 2007


Ask me about my privates massage system.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2007


Could you tell me more about your privates massage system, mr_crash_davis?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:52 PM on August 12, 2007


Probably got a monkey in there that he bribes with M&M's.
posted by tehloki at 10:00 PM on August 12, 2007


I am completely against this.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:50 PM on August 12, 2007


Guys, guys guys...the idea was never to ask for an update 'each time' the user logs in, my thought was once a year, matthowie's every three months. Each time a user logs in would be ridiculous Should have made this clearer.

But perhaps private massages negates the 'need' for this. Those of you who want to be forever uncontactable could perhaps turn off private messaging with the default being 'on'?
posted by dance at 3:19 AM on August 13, 2007


MetaFilter could add yet another unnecessary half-assed system to replace e-mail. Or it could just stick to doing what it does best: serving as a community weblog.
posted by grouse at 3:55 AM on August 13, 2007


Actually, what about a more-professional-looking white background?

If everyone started viewing white MetaFilter we'd waste 48,239,211.93 jigawatts of electricity every year.
posted by fusinski at 1:25 PM on August 13, 2007


MetaFilter could add yet another unnecessary half-assed system to replace e-mail.

I think the attraction here is that it's a half-assed email system; as in, it's a way of communicating with people here that's completely isolated from email.
posted by spiderskull at 1:10 AM on August 14, 2007


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