"wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?" December 12, 2007 12:01 PM   Subscribe

While you're cleaning up the profile pages, could we get rid of the redundant "About" text?

"What's the deal with your nickname? How did you get it? If your nickname is self-explanatory, then tell everyone when you first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?" Was it a website? Was it an email from a long-lost friend? Go on, spill it."

That copy reads more like something that should appear in the profile editor and not the final profile page. It's made more redundant by being in every single profile. The simple "About" suffices.
posted by eyeballkid to Feature Requests at 12:01 PM (85 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I disagree.
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I disagree.

Yeah? So you think that in 2007 it needs to be explained that an About section in a website user's profile will have information about said user? Not to mention that it's written as a directive to the user: "What's the deal with your nickname? How did you get it?" These aren't questions directed at the profile reader, but the creator.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:09 PM on December 12, 2007


We've had this very same discussion at least once before, and I think several times.
posted by grouse at 12:10 PM on December 12, 2007


But, eyeballkid, then we wouldn't know that your "about" section is meant to indicate that the first thing that made you say "wow, the internet isn't for freaks after all" was a bunch of assholes.
posted by koeselitz at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


About Everichon:

Everichon agrees with eyeballkid, but would add that this issue maybe has only one wrinkled pinky-toe over the line of postworthiness.
posted by everichon at 12:12 PM on December 12, 2007


I disagree.
posted by delmoi at 3:03 PM on December 12 [+] [!]


He disagrees.
posted by chlorus at 12:17 PM on December 12, 2007


I agree with eyeballkid. It's something that belongs in the profile editor, but not the profile.

also, I find delmoi's reasoning to be deeply flawed.
posted by shmegegge at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2007


also, I think we should add something to the profile editor that says:

Alternately, if you like, you can use this space to list the people on metafilter that you don't like and won't talk to again.
posted by shmegegge at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2007


I've rarely agreed with eyeballkid in the 60 some odd years I've been reading MetaFilter (most of those as a spectator). Kid likes to banhammer too fast.

But today, I agree. You hear that, kid? I agree. I've never liked it. It's too long and it's too weird. It's too Web 1.0.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


The first time I ever clicked on a MeFi profile, I remember thinking that a mod had somehow added that text to get this particular user to explain his/her name.

What I'm saying is, Matt needs to write us each individualized About Me prompts.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:23 PM on December 12, 2007


I think for our Canadian users we should change it to 'Aboot.'
posted by jonmc at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2007


If you were my kid, I'd tase you for this thread. In the eyeball.

// sarchasm



// you
posted by GuyZero at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2007


I think for our American users we should change it to 'Abaht'.
posted by GuyZero at 12:26 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Aight fuck that shit.
And Fuck that other shit, you know what I'm sayin?
- NAS
posted by chunking express at 12:27 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the logic behind the pro-"leaving it in" group is the idea that it's supposed to read like an interview.

Q: What is the deal with pancakes?
A: There's no deal with pancakes, Jerry.

I agree that it's better placed in the Profile Editor.

But God, we really gotta micromanage every particular aspect of the site, don't we?

Matt, I think that (HTML help) needs to be a lighter shade of yellow. And the B I and link buttons look like they're from Windows 98. And I think you really should adopt a fauxhawk hairstyle. You'll look ... awesome. And when are you and Jessamyn getting married, demmit? I'm not getting any younger, and I need some grandkids.

Sorry, got caught up in the moment there.
posted by WCityMike at 12:28 PM on December 12, 2007


I think for me it should be changed to "About Me"
posted by ardgedee at 12:28 PM on December 12, 2007


These people are right-thinking, and their idea should be implemented immediately:
eyeballkid, everichon, shmegegge, Avenger50, Meatbomb.1

These people are bad and wrong, and should be permanently banned from this website:
delmoi, roll truck roll, jonmc.

1I agree with the right-thinkers and include myself within their ranks.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:28 PM on December 12, 2007


This place is never going to be worth $200M if we can't even clean up the redundant text on the profile page.
posted by found missing at 12:29 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


We talked about this yesterday when we were working on profiles and felt that some people are answering this prompt, and without that explanatory text the About section could read like the user oddly talking to themselves.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:30 PM on December 12, 2007



I think for me it should be changed to "About Me"


In the spirit of the site, wouldn't that be AboutMe?
posted by klangklangston at 12:33 PM on December 12, 2007


I think for me it should be changed to "About Me"
posted by ardgedee at 3:28 PM on December 12


I agree, it should be changed to "About ardgedee."
posted by Chrysostom at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2007


in the civil war, I stand with eyeballkid.
posted by Stynxno at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can't anything just be left the way it is for the sake of it being the way it's always been? Can't it be overly long and Web 1.0 because it is part of Metafilter's charm? Or do we have to destroy it, like stucco-ing over the walls of an old building because it doesn't fit the modern sensibilities?

And yeah, I like the prompt. In case you couldn't tell.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2007


I like it. It's a little odd and eccentric, and certainly redundant. That's why it's cool.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2007


some people are answering this prompt, and without that explanatory text the About section could read like the user oddly talking to themselves.

that wouldn't be fixed just by leaving the About Me title to the section? It's not like it would just be floating out there in limbo.
posted by shmegegge at 12:39 PM on December 12, 2007


I disagree with eyeballkid and agree with pb, which, as usual, puts me in the sucking up to the admin toadie camp, but I'm used to that. I also agree with fiercecupcake -- I find the text kind of charming, and think that's reason enough to keep it even without the practical applications of 'if you removed it, my profile would make even less frigging sense than it does now'.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:39 PM on December 12, 2007


Can't anything just be left the way it is for the sake of it being the way it's always been?

Isn't that what Rome said before Rome crumbled? Isn't that what the mission commander of the last Apollo mission uttered before they became the last Apollo mission? Didn't Superman utter those famous last words before Doomsday crushed the comic life out of him? Isn't that what Charles in Charge said before he was put in the corner? Isn't that what Mr. Belvedere said before they hired a maid?

This may be the last line of code standing between us and internet celebrity status. Favorites? Ha! Our comments and quips and snarky one-liners will be the stuff of baby pajamas, Snog t-shirts, and BumperStickerMania.com. The stuff of dreams. Instead of wallowing in the archipelago of Almost There (alongside Orkut and MyDeathSpace.com) we could be ushered into the ranks of There (see Facebook Dot Com).

Yeah, I'm in favor of changing the prompt. In case you couldn't tell.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:42 PM on December 12, 2007


Possible edit:

"Okay, so just post a bunch of crap here or whatever. Fuck it. Go crazy, see if I care."

That way, the people who are answering the classic prompt in some way that directly depends on the prompt text to make sense will look like they just got demoralized and panicked; and everyone else will look like they're following instructions.

Or we could leave it alone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I agree with eyeballkid.
posted by sveskemus at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or do we have to destroy it, like stucco-ing over the walls of an old building because it doesn't fit the modern sensibilities?

As someone who lives in a Victorian apartment with 13 foot ceilings that were sprayed with asbestos containing cottage cheese by forward looking citizens in 1957, I say to hell with modern sensibilities.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2007


I just updated my profile to answer that question and hour ago, and now people want to change it? Keep it, so everyone has a couple of basic questions to answer and everyone knows why we're all talking about ourselves. (Basically, what pb said.)

Won't somebody think of the noobs?
posted by hydrophonic at 12:50 PM on December 12, 2007


I vote leave it alone. Consider it MeFi's version of Google's "I'm feelin lucky".

note: Everyone needs a prompt.
posted by cashman at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2007


I can see your point about people who have answered the question (and I'm not an ass-kissing brown-noser like jacquilynne), but imagine klangklangson's response with "About Me" above it. It works fine. (so does yours hydrophonic, btw)

I understand the whole "let's keep MeFi as-is" mentality, I'm a big practitioner. I really dig the new profile additions and think that the About text doesn't really fit anymore.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:56 PM on December 12, 2007


I agree.

with whom, I'm not sayin'.

note: Everyone needs a sandwich.
posted by davejay at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2007


How many pleb votes does it take to overrule pb and cortex? Or maybe we need to get matt and jessamyn onside.

We aren't done yet, you evil fuckers! The side of lightness and good shall triumph in the end! Hold firm men, God is with us!!
posted by Meatbomb at 1:08 PM on December 12, 2007


When I was in the fourth grade or so I was looking at the yearbook for a high school. The seniors were given special attention, with each student given half a page dedicated to them, instead of the usual one-inch square. There was an oversized head shot, a candid photo of them with their friends, or on the football field or what have you. The clubs and extracurriculars they were involved in were listed, as well as a section they filled in themselves that generally read like this:
Mr. Turtle ... the beach ... portobello mushrooms ... "Say wha?" ... no blue ink ... "That's NOT my job" ... plate of beans ... "study" hall ... Jim, Calvin, Zeke and the crew ... pantsfish ... the arboretum ... snark
It was clear that all of them were given instructions to fill that space and most provided in-jokes and friends' names and whatever else came into mind. And then there was this one student, a mousy little girl with thick glasses just peeking out from the curtain of bangs hanging over her forehead. Beneath her picture--that with the frumpy clothes and expressionless face--was the text she had provided.
"This one time during lunch my friend was drinking orange juice and someone made her laugh and my friend spit orange juice all over the table."
Reading that, you can almost see the yearbook committee's instructions. "Write something about yourself and your four years here: something fun, your favorite classes, any funny moments that you remember vividly." I didn't go to this high school so I have no idea if that's the language they used, but I can almost see it, thanks to the halting social ineptness of this poor, frumpy girl. Her friend with the orange juice was probably her only friend; the incident at lunch probably was the one moment she remembered vividly. Due to her stumbling, the framework, the behind-the-scenery was showing through. It's like seeing a boom mike lower into the shot, or watching a stage actor stumble into the cardboard background. Her response was so exact and humorless, you couldn't imagine the instructions reading any other way.

So when someone's "about" field reads something like:
"It's my initials, spelled phonetically, which I've been using since my BBS days."
it's clear they are responding to a specific question. If the prompted text weren't there, these people would look silly and I'd always think of that poor, lonely girl in the yearbook whenever I saw a profile like that.

On the other hand, it is clunky and redundant.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:12 PM on December 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


Can it be left in as a default but have it be editable?

Best of both worlds, no?
posted by Kattullus at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2007


I don't care, and neither should anyone else.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:19 PM on December 12, 2007


ebk is right.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:20 PM on December 12, 2007


kitchen tip

can't be bothered
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2007


It is, I gotta say, a long and kind of cheesy piece of text that I myself am tired of. You know how when someone doubleposts, you end up reading half the double instinctively, even if you know almost immediately that you just read it a second ago? And how annoying that is? This happens to me with that slab of colby every time I look at someone's profile. It gets old. I'm just sayin'. Could we maybe keep the prompt as visible to the person filling out their profile, only to have it actually appear in the profile as something like, I dunno, "about this user:"? I don't think this is a big deal either way, but if we're all spilling it here, I'll lend my own spillage to the "it sucks" camp.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:23 PM on December 12, 2007


I've been usually on the side of keeping it (even up until yesterday, which is why it is still there), but aside from a few weird profiles, I think it'd still make sense if we removed it. In all honesty, it's a very old question and we could just get rid of it, letting people put anything about themselves in that space going forward and still have it make sense.

So I guess I'd say I'm swayed by the requests to remove it, since it is redundant with the About header.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2007


Leave it be, consarn you. Also, my car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on December 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Terminal Verbosity, you sure just made me feel like a loser.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2007


EBK I WILL BURN YOU IN MY TANK or some such hand chopping etc AND THEN I WILL PUT THAT ON MY ABOUT PAGE!!!

Ok, so what are you guys talking about?
posted by Salmonberry at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2007


They are wavering, victory is at hand men! Into the breach!!
posted by Meatbomb at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I would like the profile preferences editor to stop mangling the greek characters every time I use it. Thank you.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:28 PM on December 12, 2007


A spanish cow. I was four years old and said "Look, a painted cow!" and decided that would be my new last name. I introduced myself that way to strangers.

Mom: "Introduce yourself, Ricardo!"
Me: "Hello. Pleased to meet you. My name is Ricardo Rivera Duarte Vacapinta."
Mom: "That's not your name!"
Me: "It is my name!"
Mom: "Ok, ok, it's your name"

The Internet is for freaks, still.
posted by vacapinta at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I disagree with that one guy, but I tend to agree with that other one, the one who said that one thing. I think there are flaws in that other guys argument, not fatal flaws but flaws nonetheless which sort of sways my opinion a little bit. Not enough to change my mind entirely, but enough to maybe move me into the camp of that one guy who said the thing about the "About" text. So, yes. No. I dunno.
Maybe.
I'm pretty adamant about this.
I hope that clears things up.
posted by Floydd at 1:34 PM on December 12, 2007


It's old-skool, yos! Gotta have a little tradition around here.
posted by jmd82 at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2007


Also, let me embed images and flash and other nefarious things that WILL FUCK YOU UP like a personalized last.fm/XBL gamertag FLA applet. It's more tragic to be "allowed" input fields for whatever was deemed appropriate at the time and watch them be slowly upgraded and improved than it is to be given a blank slate and an ounce of freedom, the guise of safety is not exactly redeeming in light of such "features".

FREE THE PROFILE

KILL THE CALL CENTER

While you are down there, scrub the tile as well, it needs some polish. Finish strong...

SOFTSCRUB
posted by prostyle at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Best cleanser ad ever, prostyle.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2007


It's only the 'If your nickname is self-explanatory, then tell everyone when you first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?"' bit that's strange - for anyone under, say, thirty, that text reads like the senile ramblings of a grandparent. The freaks are the folk who don't spend half their time online.
posted by jack_mo at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just give us IFrames.
posted by delmoi at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2007


*me gently prods mathowie about adding runnerplus.com to the list of other sites*

*is not passive-aggressive*
posted by middleclasstool at 2:11 PM on December 12, 2007


I MISS TAGLINES.
posted by Faux Real at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2007


Actually, I can see getting rid of the "tell everyone when you first started using the internet" bit. It really does sound like the senile ramblings of a grandparent. And I say this as an actual grandparent. [NOT SENILE]

MetaFilter: the senile ramblings of a grandparent.
posted by languagehat at 2:30 PM on December 12, 2007


I'm old enough to remember when senile just meant old, and you had to add "dementia" to it to indicate old-age-related cognitive degradation.
posted by found missing at 2:33 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I know, I know, we oughta get of your damn lawn and all that, but jack_mo is exactly right. Thinking the internet is for freaks is just not part of younger folks' experience. Next thing you know, it'll be rambling remarks about how you used to have to listen to your modem squeedeedle-deedle just to get online at half a byte per second or something, but you liked it better that way, and something about floppy disks, blah, blah, blah...
posted by ssg at 2:34 PM on December 12, 2007


People spend this much time reading the profile pages?
posted by JanetLand at 2:42 PM on December 12, 2007


People spend this much time reading the profile pages?

Does anybody read the posts down here?
posted by grouse at 2:45 PM on December 12, 2007


tell everyone when you first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?

What an old man type question! Hasn't the internet existed since you were born? You are like my grandmother babbling on about the early days of "The Marconi", black and white tv, the Brady Bunch in color, and pong. sheeesh.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:48 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bah... in other words, what jack_mo and languagehat said.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:49 PM on December 12, 2007


People spend this much time reading the profile pages?

If I'd known, I'd have kept the picture of my ass up.
posted by jonmc at 2:49 PM on December 12, 2007


Please leave your donkey out of this, jonmc.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2007


Does anybody read the posts down here?

homunculus does.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:55 PM on December 12, 2007


roll truck roll: What I'm saying is, Matt needs to write us each individualized About Me prompts.

About roll truck roll. What's the deal with your nickname? How did you get it? I mean, was there some kind of truck thing involved? Sounds like something out of a country song. Do you just happen to like country songs, or what? Go on, spill it.

About eyeballkid. What's the deal with your nickname? You like to think you're like the gunslinger of eyeballs or something? Or is it some kind of homage to thequidnunckid? If so, you should be called "theeyeballkid." But then people would probably get confused and pronounce it "theeee eh ballkid." Or not. Just, why? Go on, spill it. Or I'll hit you with a spatula.

About Ladies, I sure do love cunnilingus. What's the deal with your nickname? Did you really think that was funny, you sexist prick? Go on, spill the fucking beans, you moron.

About cortex. Oh, I get it. you're some kind of brain. Well, you'd better put something interesting in this 'about' section, or else I won't think you're smart, and I'll take away the little pewter replica of the banhammer I gave you. Go ahead. Make my day.

posted by koeselitz at 2:56 PM on December 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


I miss when MetaFilter... awww, fuck it.
posted by terrapin at 2:56 PM on December 12, 2007


I agree with ebk.

Not on this particular point (I really couldn't care less about it), but on the "I HATE YOU ALL" point.

Which he hasn't mentioned yet in this thread, so I'm happy to oblige.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2007


I agree with jeffp.
posted by netbros at 3:20 PM on December 12, 2007


I agree with mr_crash_davis.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:30 PM on December 12, 2007


If you're friends with jeffp
Well then you're friends with me
If you're down with jeffp
Well then you're down with me
Friends of jeffp
Friends of jeffp
Friends of jeffp
posted by eyeballkid at 3:55 PM on December 12, 2007


If I'd known, I'd have kept the picture of my ass up.

That's not your ass?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:27 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


you fuckers just wait until web 5.0 rolls around with it's holographic corners and rocket-car hyperlinks -- then you'll be fucking so sorry you ever let the purity, grace and endearing naiveté that was web 1.0 slip out of your grasp.

YOU THOUGHT IT WAS PROGRESS. WELL LOOK AT YOU NOW!
LOOOOOK AT YOOOU NOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!
The preceding dramatic re-enactment was made possible by the Web 1.0 Appreciation Society and viewers like you.

posted by fishfucker at 4:31 PM on December 12, 2007


Do people on other sites get this emotionally involved with the infrastructure? No wonder mathowie and pb think everyone needs a hug.
posted by Cranberry at 4:38 PM on December 12, 2007


I once drove my minivan down Lombard Street, after dark, with fishfucker in the co-pilot's seat, whilst the residents yelled at us for violating some sort of "don't drive down this street after dark" rule.

The preceding has nothing to do with this thread, but it is the best thing that ever happened to me in California.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:04 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I find it a little archaic and totally charming for that reason. If I had my druthers it would stay.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:10 PM on December 12, 2007


My brother was once driving me back from a nostalgic visit to my alma mater (Occidental College, in Eagle Rock, one of the tiny little minijurisdictions nestled within the vast blob that is Los Angeles) when he stopped the car at the top of the onramp to the freeway to point out the beautiful sunset ahead of us. I pointed out to him that if he didn't get the car moving pronto we were going to wind up on the 6:00 News, with copters circling and diving in to get the clearest possible shots of our bloodied and mangled bodies, and he obliged.

The preceding has nothing to do with this thread, but it is the most exciting thing that ever happened to me in California.
posted by languagehat at 5:18 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


*high-fives languagehat*

We should publish our California memoirs. Oprah would love them.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:36 PM on December 12, 2007


<cfif Randomize(0) GT 0.001>  <cfoutput>What's the deal with your nickname?</cfoutput><cfelse>  <cfoutput>Why are you such an asshole?</cfoutput></cfif>
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:14 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the biggest issue with changing this is a bunch of people will have responses to a question that is no longer present. I think a solution to this would be to change make the 'about' section hidden for everyone while at the same time changing the 'edit profile' page to something like has been suggested here. After the user edits their 'about' section it will again be displayed. Perhaps send mefi mail to everyone explaining this fact in case they don't otherwise notice.
posted by Green With You at 6:27 PM on December 12, 2007


Keep it. It's a reminder that this place came from somewhere, somewhere with more tables, fewer rounded corners, and no social networks. That the internet used to be more of a refuge than a party. And it's one of the few things that new users see that suggests any kind of foundational sensibility, that this isn't just another linkdump.
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:13 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd leave it with one of those "what's this" links you sometimes see after the RSS icon. You can have a little DHTML title tool tip something that pops up the old question that used to be there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 PM on December 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I AM GOING TO EAT YOUR ABOUT BLURB AND SHIT SOCIAL NETWORKING. [/quonsar]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:49 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm with you fellers.
posted by sciurus at 11:28 AM on December 13, 2007


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