Two new profile pages options available January 25, 2016 1:23 PM   Subscribe

We’re rolling out a couple of new profile preferences options today: the ability to make the “Contributions” and “Social” segments of your profile page visible only to logged-in members, and the ability to enter your geographic coordinates but have them not be visible to anyone else. Come on in for some details!

These changes came out of some recent discussions about varying privacy preferences, with a proposal last week in this MetaTalk post. If you want more context on why we’re adding these options, give that a read.

These are both supplemental options, and will not change any current settings or defaults; if you’re not interested in these features, take no action and nothing will change with your account.

I’ll get to some details about the new stuff below, but first, a quick reminder/review on how profile pages on MetaFilter work. The key thing:

Profile pages are publicly viewable.

What this means is that (see this FAQ entry) all readers of the site, whether logged-in MetaFilter members, or lurkers, or first-time visitors, can see profile pages. How much of it they can see is significantly at the individual MeFite’s discretion—some fields are marked in your Preferences page as being optionally visible to only members, as noted at the top of the Prefs page—but at its core the profile page is a public-facing page, and the members-only fields are available to all logged-in members.

If you have any specific privacy concerns, take that into account. While we do keep profile pages non-indexed (so search engines will not list them in search results) and strongly discourage MeFites from sharing or reposting profile details on the search-indexed discussion threads on the site as a potentially-bannable offense, that’s not a foolproof or impermeable barrier.

If you are worried about the possibility of a given piece of private or sensitive info on your profile page becoming public, the best option is generally to elide that info from your profile page entirely.

---

About the new profile options:

1. "Minimal profile" option for Contributions/Social info

This is a new option, listed as "Minimal profile for non-members?" on the Preferences page. If you check that box, non-members will no longer see the index of Contributions (the number of posts and comments on each subsite, and the secondary pages those link to listing those contributions) and Social stats (which MeFites you are contacts with, which MeFites are nearby) on your profile page. If you’d prefer a small speedbump on browsing your posting history or site relationships for random passersby, this will provide that.

Note that this is only a speedbump and will not otherwise obscure your posting activity on the site: all posts and comments on MetaFilter are still publicly-viewable and indexed by search engines. If you have significant privacy concerns about something you are considering putting on the site, the safe move is, as always, to refrain from posting it in the first place. If you have any specific questions or concerns about privacy or safety on the site, feel free to reach out to the mods at any time via the contact form.

2. Private geographic coordinates

This is an new preferences option that adds a little more flexibility to our existing geographic coordinates feature. Previously, your choice was to either list coordinates that are visible to all members, or not list coordinates at all.

Now, you can also list geographic coordinates privately: other members won’t be able to see your listed coordinates, and you won’t have a “Nearby users” section in your Social segment, nor will you appear in other members’ Nearby lists. (We've also rearranged the Preferences page slightly to emphasize this chunk of stuff as its own thing.)

Why add this? Because geographic coordinates are helpful for some site features that don’t require them to be public, like IRL Alerts and the proximity of Jobs listings. Up to this point, the choice was either share your location or be excluded from those features, and we wanted to fix that.

So if you’ve been interested in getting alerts about meetups or seeing distance info about job availabilities, but listing explicit location info on your profile page was a dealbreaker, this may be a good solution.

Note that Geographic Coordinates are different from the entirely free-form “Location” text field; you can put whatever you like, or nothing at all, in the Location field and it’ll have no effect on server-side coordinate stuff like IRL Alerts. Think of the Location field as flavor text.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 1:23 PM (97 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

Yay, thank you!
posted by phunniemee at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


HALLU PONI
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:29 PM on January 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


If someone has BND'd, their old profile will still be publicly-viewable to nonmefites; could they contact you mods to toggle it over to the Minimal Profile View?
posted by Greg Nog at 1:30 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Absolutely, yes. Folks with non-active accounts, regardless of why that account isn't active, can contact us to have that flip switched if they like.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


How wonderful! You guys are so helpful and sweet!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:32 PM on January 25, 2016 [12 favorites]



How wonderful! You guys are so helpful and sweet!

I like how all the profile options are questions instead of statements like on most sites. It's like your kindly old relatives offering hospitality.

Opt out out of Mefi Mail?
Minimal profile for non-members?
Cookie?
Handmade scarf?

posted by sweetkid at 1:37 PM on January 25, 2016 [47 favorites]


Thanks, y'all! I'd also like to thank you guys for how accommodating you are (and have been in the past) with special privacy concerns. The moderation of this site is truly best of the web.
posted by thetortoise at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


I thought this was all a trick to make ThePinkSuperhero change her profile, but I see that's already happened... so I guess this is something you put time and energy into for the benefit of the users. Thanks.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:44 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


YAYYYYY
posted by wintersweet at 1:44 PM on January 25, 2016


I don't think TPS actually changed her profile; it just doesn't get that antediluvian custom styling in the Modern theme.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


antediluvian 4eva
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:47 PM on January 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


The moderation of this site is truly best of the web.

It's more than that - the moderation and site design go hand-in-hand, and design changes are discussed by users, which actually shapes how the site looks and behaves.

This is better than best of the web - this is a pinnacle of sympathetic design.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


Also, don't forget gator's user page, where the modern theme makes workings of the otherwise sneaky page design clear to see (and not work).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2016


Even knowing this is a special place I've been overwhelmed by the mod response to recent issues and how quickly y'all have produced working solutions as well as just your willingness to listen to the community. Thank you for your hard work and extra time these last few weeks - it's appreciated.
posted by barchan at 1:54 PM on January 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Thanks!
posted by pemberkins at 1:55 PM on January 25, 2016


Feels good, man! I'm impressed at how quickly this was rolled out. I didn't quite realize how stark my profile would be (that's a good thing, though.)
posted by naju at 2:00 PM on January 25, 2016


Thanks so much!
posted by bearwife at 2:19 PM on January 25, 2016


Thanks mods!
posted by a halcyon day at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2016


Nice work.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:32 PM on January 25, 2016


this is the bees knees!
posted by nadawi at 2:32 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much!
posted by kimberussell at 2:36 PM on January 25, 2016


This is a Good Thing.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:36 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is great, you guys navigated some tricky areas and came up with a solution that seems to address the majority of people's concerns.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:40 PM on January 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Three cheers for these features!
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:44 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had no idea how much I wanted this until it was made available.

Thank you!
posted by blurker at 2:59 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


The moderation of this site is truly best of the web.

It's more than that - the moderation and site design go hand-in-hand, and design changes are discussed by users, which actually shapes how the site looks and behaves.


I'd say it's even MORE than more than that!

For various reasons, I ended up yesterday in a couple of MetaTalk threads from 2004 and 2005. Holy god, were they awful. I won't go into details, but if any part of Metafilter was still like that, there's no way in hell I'd spend even a minute of my day here.

It's not just that the moderation here is dedicated, it's that the moderation continues to evolve with the site and with its users. As the site has become more conversant in feminist and trans issues (didn't say better, necessarily, just more conversant), the little bits we learn get folded up into the moderation. Here's an example from yesterday that I can point to off the top of my head. If anyone -- moderator or not -- had made that comment in some of the old MetaTalk threads I was reading yesterday, it would have put a target on their forehead and it would have opened the room up for rape jokes. Because back then, people made rape jokes, and they defended homophobic comments by saying "well, the word _____ isn't always homophobic, so I'm not going to listen to you saying that it hurt you and I'm going to keep using that word, la la la la la la la, not touching you, not touching you." And no one did anything about it.

As another example, emotional labor, in concept if not by title, comes up a lot now. That's great. These privacy issues -- the mods listened to them, and they responded not only with patience, and with words, but with action.

So yes, the moderation and the moderators are great. I'll keep saying that to and in the face of the people who always come in to these threads complain that the site is overmoderated. The mods don't get it right 100% of the time, but they learn from their mistakes, too. If you don't believe me about how much better it is now -- because of, and solely because of, the moderation -- go take a look at some of the dark, dank MetaTalk threads that got sealed off and boarded up long ago, like that room in a scary old mansion where murder took place. It was awful back then.

So thanks for being willing to grow with the site, mods, and thanks for these privacy features. You're the tops.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:04 PM on January 25, 2016 [19 favorites]


This is awesome.
posted by chococat at 3:09 PM on January 25, 2016


I can't say how grateful I am for this feature. Thanks for making this possible and for listening to the users about what we desired and coming up with a very workable and user-friendly design solution to meet our needs and also keep Metafilter Metafilter.
posted by sockermom at 3:09 PM on January 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


yeah, most of my contributions were made invisible shortly after posting.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 3:36 PM on January 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, this is awesome. Thanks for doing this so fast! Nicely done.
posted by zarq at 3:51 PM on January 25, 2016


Thank you for this. I feel infinitely safer here now that I can hide so much of my profile from non-users -- so much so that I would now be more comfortable attending an IRL event for the first time, something I've been wanting to do since I joined back in 2010.
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:38 PM on January 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm afraid to change any of the settings on my profile page because it'll force-reset my age to 99 years old. I want to forever be listed as the oldest person on MetaFilter. Even though I don't look a day over 100.
posted by not_on_display at 4:49 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


With the stuff on the settings page that has the dark background, per:
Items with a highlighted background are only shown to other logged-in members, and won't be seen by the general public or search engines
...it's the case that the "Social Apps" section, which has the highlighted background, has the radio box option: "Visibility : • members only • everyone". What's going on there? Doesn't that mean that this section shouldn't have the highlight?

Also, that quoted text about the highlighted stuff mentions that it's not indexed by search engines, but isn't that redundant because the entire profile page is marked to not be indexed?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:52 PM on January 25, 2016


Writing up all the documentation of the profile page parts and who can see what, and what's opt-in vs opt-out and so on actually turns out to be quite complex - tons of little exceptions and only-if-nots and so on. We're aiming for readability/straightforwardness with some of it, over precision. The Social Apps are set by default to be "members-only," and you can change that to "everyone" if you want. The redundancy isn't a problem, to me.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2016


The social apps thing isn't redundant, it's actually contradictory when someone has selected the "everyone" option.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:15 PM on January 25, 2016


Yay! Thanks!
posted by melissasaurus at 5:32 PM on January 25, 2016


We've got a bit of helper text there (about the highlighted backgrounds) that is a bit redundant (which I said seems ok to me) and isn't accurate in one specific circumstance. But, on an already-complicated Preferences page, that's a compromise rather than getting much more wordy in the helper text or splitting out another section on the page of "sometimes displays to members-only, sometimes not". This might be something we'll try to get more precise on in the future but for the rollout today we were trying to go with minimal changes while still trying to make things as clear as possible, and sometimes (paradoxically) too much accurate detail about exceptions can make things less clear.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:37 PM on January 25, 2016


To extend this control over location, could we get an option to make the locations of IRL posts viewable by membership-only? Right now organizing mefi meetups at private residences is tricky: I don't mind any random Mefite knowing my home address (although In Real Life that amounts to about two dozen people, tops) but I'm not happy about advertising it to the world at large.
posted by ardgedee at 5:55 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


We can think about it. For the moment, the workaround is to set the meetup location to some public landmark nearish your place and tell people to Mefimail you for the actual address.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:57 PM on January 25, 2016


Thank you!
posted by girlpublisher at 6:17 PM on January 25, 2016


Late-breaking clarification on "social apps" - for old accounts the default was set to "everybody," for new accounts (as of a few days ago) the default has changed and will be "members-only." So if you're a member of any longevity, your default will still be "everybody".
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:25 PM on January 25, 2016


I'm not sure that change is clear in the FAQ. I get why you made it, I just think it may need to be spelled out even more clearly unless I'm missing where it was mentioned in the FAQ.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:32 PM on January 25, 2016


It's not in the FAQ; I was just puzzling over that and decided to finesse it. What I put in the FAQ entry is that you can choose whether to set your social apps to be visible to members only or to everyone, and I didn't mention the question of what the default setting is, since it'll be different for different people.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:35 PM on January 25, 2016


Here's the FAQ entry on profile privacy settings, where I try to run down the essentials (of who will see what) in the least confusing way possible.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:37 PM on January 25, 2016


Yeah to me since we have so many members-helping-members it might be worthwhile indicating that a default setting has changed for new users. Also this language seems ... soft: "please be careful bringing profile information over to the main part of the site, where it can be indexed by Google." Instead of mentioning that bringing over profile info can be grounds for a banning depending on the severity of the issue. I know you're aiming for plain and friendly, but might be worth having those two things be more explicit, to my read.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:45 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm glad folks that want this pony can have it. Nice things, we can haz them.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:49 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought this was all a trick to make ThePinkSuperhero change her profile

NEVER! I'm staying pink until every damn fact about me in that profile is a lie.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:55 PM on January 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Ha, yes, the "please be careful" language was a holdover from the old version, I've updated that now. I've also added a parenthetical about the default changing for the social apps, but with some hesitation because I feel like these two paragraphs are already pretty darn information dense.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:05 PM on January 25, 2016


[Casts Detect Invisible code spell on Quonsar]

Smocbot, foon furrow, trousers thus CREASED....drats, 16th lvl.
posted by clavdivs at 7:47 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I checked the minimal page and it has Name and Joined and then a blue line only a pixel or so below that text, which doesn't look that great. How about adding a bit more padding?
posted by effbot at 7:51 PM on January 25, 2016


These seem like positive changes and I am especially welcoming the location improvements.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:47 PM on January 25, 2016


Thanks effbot, we'll get that fixed soon.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:52 PM on January 25, 2016


Thank you!!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:33 PM on January 25, 2016


This is wonderful - thank you!
posted by mochapickle at 10:05 PM on January 25, 2016


Thank you!
posted by moira at 10:30 PM on January 25, 2016


Minor note - although tags for a given user are hidden to nonmembers when this option is selected, it is still possible to access a members' tagged activity by URL. This is not the case (and shouldn't be the case) for searching for all posts/comments by a user. This seems like a bug if people are concerned about the visibility of all activity associated with sensitive subjects.
posted by saeculorum at 10:40 PM on January 25, 2016


Thanks for noticing that! pb will look at it when he's in. There may still be odd little cases like that, and folks should definitely let us know if they find one.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:50 PM on January 25, 2016


Also, without being specific, there are members I have noticed with minimal profiles but specific individual photos and website. This seems a bit odd to me, which makes me wander if those members think the minimal profile excludes the photo and/or website (both of which are included right now).
posted by saeculorum at 10:53 PM on January 25, 2016


If anyone is confused: the Minimal Profile option doesn't affect the display of your Full Name, Picture, Webpage, or Blurb. Those things will still be visible to the general public. Take a look at the examples of pb's profile page listed in the FAQ entry - his photo, name, website and blurb are all displayed on the one with the Minimal profile option.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:01 PM on January 25, 2016


Should we also be able to keep the “About” sections of the profile hidden from the public?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:39 PM on January 25, 2016


LobsterMitten: Suggestion for the FAQ entry:
Perhaps use a simple table instead listing the options and if they are visible, optional-visible or not visible depending which view is used and also if the visitor it logged in or not. This should make it easier to parse than the current wall of text.
E.g.:
Option | Standard Member | Standard Visitor | Minimal Member | Minimal Visitor
with "Visitor" being logged out or non-registered users, while "Members" are logged in users.

It should also be simple to describe any special cases within this construct.
posted by KMB at 1:28 AM on January 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Going To Maine: Should we also be able to keep the “About” sections of the profile hidden from the public?

Is that a moral 'should' or a technical 'should'?
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:43 AM on January 26, 2016


A nice-to-have addition to this might be the ability to preview the profile as it appears to the two user groups, ie logged in Mefites and non-Mefites. Just a static side-by-side preview of current settings at the press of a button.
posted by tavegyl at 2:51 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is what happens when the internet becomes an adult.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:55 AM on January 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We're aiming for readability/straightforwardness with some of it, over precision.
posted by Melismata at 5:34 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Perhaps use a simple table instead listing the options

I think this is a really good idea.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:36 AM on January 26, 2016


Yay mods!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:17 AM on January 26, 2016


So nice. Might actually encourage me to add more to the profiles
posted by infini at 8:08 AM on January 26, 2016


What if the "Minimal profile for non-members?" option had a preview link that just showed what your profile looked like in minimal mode? That might make things clearer than a wall of FAQ text.
posted by smackfu at 9:50 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, a preview is definitely something we're considering. In the meantime you can check out what your profile looks like to logged-out folks by opening an incognito window in Chrome or a private window in Firefox. That's definitely not as easy as a single button would be, but it's a bit quicker than logging out and back in (which is also an option).
posted by pb (staff) at 9:54 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is a really great change, and well-executed. Thanks, team!
posted by dryad at 10:25 AM on January 26, 2016


Going To Maine: Should we also be able to keep the “About” sections of the profile hidden from the public?

Is that a moral ‘should’ or a technical ‘should’?

I’m pretty certain that it’s technically feasible -though please correct me- so I suppose moral? It didn’t seem like it had come up before so I wanted to ask. That said, I might have missed it when skimming the previous thread, so please ignore if that’s already been hashed out.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2016


Yes, it came up right away in the previous thread. Here's cortex talking a bit about it and then a bit more.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:51 AM on January 26, 2016


Okay, cool. Never mind, then.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:53 AM on January 26, 2016


Thanks for the updates!

Am I the only one who had to look up "elide"?
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2016


I'm glad that the About section remains visible because it's really important to me that everyone, member and nonmember alike, get to hear the not-a-dick-joke from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
posted by phunniemee at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2016


Based on my earlier comment I quickly hacked together a simple HTML-table for a more concise view of the current display-options. There might still be some errors in there, because stuff is complicated! Earlier this day I actually thought that there was a Minimal-view for members...

Bugreport: If I hit Enter while editing my profile in a random text-field or checkbox input, it adds a lonely opening bracket < to the about blur, which is currently empty, and doesn't submit the form as expected. (Win/Chrome)
posted by KMB at 1:03 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Quick edit to that table - the first two items in the site-generated list (join date and funding message) aren't affected by the minimal profile option. Whatever option you pick for them for members and nonmembers alike.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:12 PM on January 26, 2016


Or rather - the join date is always visible, and whatever option you pick for the funding message holds the same across all three columns.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:14 PM on January 26, 2016


i suggest changing "standard view member" to "member" in the second column title.

also, could that column be emphasised in some way? entries made bold, for example? because it is the column that shows most information, and the column that a determined "attacker" will see.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2016


I quickly hacked together a simple HTML-table

That looks great! I'd concatenate stuff that you can group together...

name/photo/URL/blurb
occupation/relationship status/gender/birthday/IM
contributiosn/tags/social

That sort of thing. And maybe colors or icons instead of visible visible visible over and over?
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:34 PM on January 26, 2016


That Enter bug should be squashed, KMB. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:24 PM on January 26, 2016


I did some updates but I wanted to note that this was just a proof of concept. It's hosted on JSBin and can easily be changed from outside sources, so it's definitely not for the long run.

I wouldn't concatenate the rows because right now each option in the preference does have an individual row assigned to it (hopefully in the same order), so it's easier to parse. Also, as the new minimal view option is still work in progress some of those might still change.

Great, pb!
posted by KMB at 2:29 PM on January 26, 2016


Just as an update, I'm working on the FAQ issue and trying out approaches on my end; thanks for the mockup, KMB.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:30 PM on January 26, 2016


And I was wrong earlier about the funding message - the minimal profile option *does* hide it from non-members. Updated the FAQ to reflect that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2016


I'm glad you did this. Thank you.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:21 PM on January 26, 2016


Nice work. Big thanks!
posted by valetta at 6:06 PM on January 26, 2016


What’s the Cabal view look like? I wouldn’t know.
posted by bongo_x at 7:11 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Great work everyone!
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:13 PM on January 26, 2016


turbid dahlia: "Great work everyone!"

Good news, everyone!

(Yeah, you heard it in THAT voice...)

Now, if I could just fix Plutor's quote script for Fanfare, everything Meta would be awesome!
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 PM on January 26, 2016


Thanks to all mods involved in this effort. Especially to pb and to LobsterMitten (and jessamyn) for working so hard on the updates to the FAQ.
posted by kalessin at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2016


Preferences changed, thanks guys!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:36 PM on January 28, 2016


bongo_x: "What’s the Cabal view look like? I wouldn’t know."

The added more gold leaf... I mean. Damn!
posted by Splunge at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2016


Thank you for this.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:16 PM on January 28, 2016


I'm so grateful to the mods for helping this happen, and to the users who did the emotional labor of putting forth this. I haven't had the time or energy to sit down and formulate a request like this, which I've wanted to do since two years ago when I first joined the site. So I very appreciate y'all, thank you so much :)
posted by yueliang at 7:55 PM on January 28, 2016


Thank you to everyone who made this happen. I love it!
posted by stellathon at 4:51 AM on January 29, 2016


Well done, much appreciated.
posted by spitbull at 5:54 AM on February 1, 2016


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