BIRTHDAY PONY? April 7, 2008 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Birthday notification?

Hey, it's my birthday!! No, it really is. And several mefites who I'm connected to on Facebook, etc. sent me messages of support as I turned a grotesque 29.

I'd like to be able to do the same for them-- but I'm rarely logged in on any of those social networking sites. Wouldn't it be great if one of the profile information fields contained our birthdate (month and day, year optional)? Even if it wasn't necessarily made visible on our profiles, we could still enable an optional notification on the contacts sidebar: "Today is so-and-so's birthday."

I know that making MetaFilter too networky rubs people the wrong way, but something small (and optional) like this would provide a modest new outlet for friendly interactions (something metafilter could use more of lately).
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] to Feature Requests at 1:25 PM (94 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

If people really wanted this, sure we could add it. I guess I've kept a lot of the straight up demographics junk out of mefi profiles because I didn't want the preferences page to look like every other sketchy-profile-for-advertising-dollars thing that companies often ask for.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:28 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday, hermitosis!
posted by BeerFilter at 1:29 PM on April 7, 2008


Good idea! and happy birthday!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on April 7, 2008


I like this too!

Happy birthday....
posted by schyler523 at 1:39 PM on April 7, 2008


I concur and happy birthday! If I could email you $1 worth of dumplings, I would.
posted by annaramma at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2008


Um, no. Happy New Beer's Eve.
posted by grateful at 1:41 PM on April 7, 2008


Well, Happy Birthday, Hermitosis, but as for the idea - please, no.


Also, Bah! Humbug!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:44 PM on April 7, 2008


I'm fine with the idea as long as it is completely optional- optional to display your birthday, optional to see other peoples' birthdays.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:47 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


As much as I disapprove, in broad terms, of the ongoing facebookization of MetaFilter, I am also in favor of anything that increases the probability of my receiving unexpected cake1, even by a nearly-vanishing amount.

1 Or, for preference, pie. You'll need to add a profile setting for that.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:47 PM on April 7, 2008


My vote is for no.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:50 PM on April 7, 2008


If people disagree with the suggestion, I think it would be helpful to the mods for them to explain why, instead of just saying "no."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:51 PM on April 7, 2008


I only wanna hear about birthdays of people post 40. Those of us just waiting by the mailbox down the walk-way from the porch of Deaths Door. We're the ones that need "happy" birthdays.

The rest of you? Whipper-snappers. Of COURSE you're happy.

But okay, sine you literally begged for it. Happy Birthday.
posted by tkchrist at 1:52 PM on April 7, 2008


However, if you get 500 birthday messages, your account automatically deletes itself...
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 1:54 PM on April 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


Happy Birthday, and no thank you. Well, I suppose, if it was completely optional as TPS states, but why not just go full-bore and have every conceivable profile question in that case, if they're all optional? Eye color? Favorite seafood dish?
posted by desjardins at 1:54 PM on April 7, 2008


We should be able to have our favorite song play whenever anyone visits our page. LOL!
posted by ND¢ at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't mind a general sidebar saying happy birthday to (list of mefites w/ bdays that day), somewhere on the site. However, if people start using MetaTalk as a birthday greeting card (this includes posts of birthday greetings to the mods), then it would be annoying.
posted by necessitas at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2008


Unfortunately this suggestion doesn't take into account any eternal entities posting to MeFi.
posted by carsonb at 2:20 PM on April 7, 2008


Eazy-E's birthday is September 7. You are hereby notified.
posted by mattbucher at 2:28 PM on April 7, 2008


My 40th be less than a month away.

I'm fine with it. Really.
posted by dobbs at 2:30 PM on April 7, 2008


I would like to have the option of seeing the birthdays of people who are my contacts. Because I send cards. Real cards. Paper cards. In the mail.

I take the time because I love and care. Plus, I would totally like to get a shitload of birthday cards in the mail so that my wife will feel inferior because she has no imaginary internet friends. I'm a good friend, but a lousy husband--that's pretty much what I'm saying.
posted by ColdChef at 2:31 PM on April 7, 2008 [19 favorites]


Sounds like a good idea, and those who don't like it can easily opt out.
Using MeTa to wish someone a happy b-day, however, should be strongly discouraged.
posted by rocket88 at 2:35 PM on April 7, 2008


ColdChef, you've got the makings of a really deleteable AskMe there if you put your mind to it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:35 PM on April 7, 2008


I feel kinda good that you're actually older than I am. But I don't feel good that you look younger.
posted by Eideteker at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2008


I'm all for it. My birthday is this month too!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:41 PM on April 7, 2008


ColdChef, you've got the makings of a really deleteable AskMe there if you put your mind to it.

Awesome. I'll get to work on it. Get your itchy trigger finger ready.
(seriously, I've always wanted to bring in one of those big burlap bags of mail on my birthday and when my wife freaks out, I'll just roll my eyes and say, "Some of us have friends because some of us ARE friends.")
posted by ColdChef at 2:42 PM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm going to say my birthday is April 10, and revel in all the good wishes. Then I'm going to change it to May 3. Then May 20. Then June 1...

I really like birthday greetings.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:47 PM on April 7, 2008


I will support this if instead of "birthday notification" this feature is called "death countdown."
posted by Krrrlson at 2:47 PM on April 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


I don't care, as long as it's totally optional from both ends. I'm on a mailing list that sends out birthday reminders, and there's always a totally pointless happy birthday thread, which I neither read nor reply to.

But then I feel guilty about that.

Similarly, on Facebook, I get reminded of people's birthdays, and for a few of them, I pop over to their pages, and leave a message. For the rest, I ignore it entirely.

But then I feel guilty about that.

And I'd really like to not feel any more guilt about not caring about the birthdays of my social networking contacts.

Plus, I'd imagine whenever some much beloved member has a birthday, we're going to end up with a MetaTalk thread, because someone thinks that person really is speshul enough to deserve their own thread even though everyone else just gets a few MeMails. And I really don't need anymore reminders that I'm not speshul.

It's all about me, as you can see.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:49 PM on April 7, 2008


And I'd really like to not feel any more guilt about not caring about the birthdays of my social networking contacts.

Yes, that is exactly how I feel.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:55 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Naw, man, I come here for the links and conversations. I mean, I like you people, but even if we go by the 1% rule, that's 7,000 birthdays to worry about. It's too much mental overhead, and as others have pointed out, there's other places that do that already. If people really want everyone to know their birthday, they can put it in the comments.

/luddite

But happy birthday, anyway, you young thing! *mwah!*

/not happy-birthday-ist!

posted by lysdexic at 2:56 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Favorite seafood dish?

Oh man, I would totally be down with this as a required piece of information in every profile. Does "grilled tuna roll" count as a seafood dish? 'Cause I think I'm on the fence between that and this totally awesome scallop-and-walnut thing from this Chinese food place near me.

Oh, shit. But now deep-fried whole-belly clams just occurred to me, and those are fucking tight. This is a really hard question to answer.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:56 PM on April 7, 2008


I'm OK with people listing their birthdays as long as things are set up so I get their birthday dumplings and they get a card from ColdChef.

Because it's all about me. And dumplings.
posted by maudlin at 2:57 PM on April 7, 2008


Happy birthday to all in April.
Today is not my birthday, but it is my our wedding anniversary.
Offer of counseling to Cold Chef.
Whether to post birth dates on Profiles pages: an issue I am totally wishy washy about.
posted by Cranberry at 2:58 PM on April 7, 2008


doggonnit, I meant put your birthday in the comment section of your profile. Doh!
posted by lysdexic at 3:00 PM on April 7, 2008


But then I feel guilty about that.

I almost never contribute to the Happy Birthday threads over on Metachat. I don't begrudge the threads—it's very much in the Metachat spirit, and all in fun—but it just doesn't do it for me. I don't want to be that guy who is chiming in on the birthday thread because it's a birthday thread and you don't want to be the guy who isn't chiming in even though people know you're around that day and etc.

So insofar as I do participate in them, I try to do so kind of at random. That'll show 'em! I don't know, I'm a little mental about it.

I mean, I like you people, but even if we go by the 1% rule, that's 7,000 birthdays to worry about.

Deep breaths. It's only 700; we're at 70K. Although we're really at about 36K, and I'd bet that it'd be more like 5% of existing accounts + a higher percentage of new accounts (since folks are more likely as a group, I'd bet, to fill out a field that is present from the moment they create their account than they are to go back and fill out a field added after they joined).

So maybe like three or four thousand birthdays, by that reckoning. A dozen or two people every day, give or take.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on April 7, 2008


A gross of dumplings, every day? I could totally handle that. Let's do it!

Warm up your writing hand, ColdChef.
posted by maudlin at 3:04 PM on April 7, 2008


I'm so lucky that I have an unmonitored postage machine at my funeral home.
posted by ColdChef at 3:08 PM on April 7, 2008


I will also say that the filthiest birthday card I ever sent in my entire life--I sent to jonmc on his birthday last year.
posted by ColdChef at 3:11 PM on April 7, 2008


It would be sort of awesome if on your birthday, MeFi would redirect you to this.
posted by Skot at 3:20 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh. I figure either someone knows me well enough to know when it's my birthday and know how to react to that or they don't and therefore don't care. Why bug the ones who don't care?

As an example I would have sent Hermatosis a message saying "Happy 29th, congratulations!!" because 29 is that much closer to 30 and 30 is awesome. Which is apparently the exact opposite of what he wants to hear.

But then MetaFilter isn't some 'be my friend' notice board for me and I have no problems getting closer to the people I'm interested in. Finding out when my birthday is and what my attitude to it is happens pretty well as I get to know someone already.
posted by shelleycat at 3:22 PM on April 7, 2008


maudlin, it is all about you and dumplings.

It's also all about me and crab-filled wontons.
posted by annaramma at 3:28 PM on April 7, 2008


I'd imagine whenever some much beloved member has a birthday, we're going to end up with a MetaTalk thread

Yeah, I worry about this as well. Bad idea. Also, I hate seafood.
posted by languagehat at 3:29 PM on April 7, 2008


Birthday MetaThreads are indeed a bad idea. Unless they are for Matt. For he is wise and someone might give him another camera. (Am I remembering that correctly?)
posted by ColdChef at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2008


dobbs: "My 40th be less than a month away.

I'm fine with it. Really.
"

Well, I turn 37 on Friday and I think that effin' sucks

Also: I vote no on this idea because it brings us just that much closer to OOH! Happy Birthday!!!!1! {{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}
posted by SteveTheRed at 3:43 PM on April 7, 2008


I don't think we should listen to the ideas of anyone so callow that they still think 29 is "grotesque."
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


This pony must be left to die by the side of the road. No mercy bullet for this one.

I like the spirit behind it, but as others have said it leads to things best left untouched on the blue-grey-green-eyed monster. Next you'll be wanting birthday notifications of users who you link to. Outrageous! The MeFi Board of Standards and Ethics will never pass it.

We have an area where people can exercise the option to display their date of birth; it's the free-form area which people abuse to no end with great quotes about themselves and what a MeFi institution they are and last.fm widgets and turning it into MetaSpace. FaceMeta? Whatever.

And whether a particular members wanton loins are crab-filled or not is hardly of interest to me. What? Why would I want to read annaramma's comment again? Oh...

In short, this suggestion has made me [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST]-IST.
posted by cosmonik at 3:55 PM on April 7, 2008


Jeez, we're never going to get to 500 birthday messages at this rate.

Happy Birthday!
posted by JaredSeth at 4:10 PM on April 7, 2008


necessitas writes "I don't mind a general sidebar saying happy birthday to (list of mefites w/ bdays that day), somewhere on the site."

Can you imagine the size of that thing even if we take cortex's estimate of a couple dozen per day? Plus people not in PST would be complaining about the sidebar not being the correct day.

Then their would be the people who would feel bad because they do partake but no one notices.

Besides I think one of the things that helps make Metafilter great is we have to take people on their words rather than any accidents of their births.
posted by Mitheral at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2008


Great idea. Every day could be my birthday.
posted by tellurian at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2008


Besides I think one of the things that helps make Metafilter great is we have to take people on their words rather than any accidents of their births.

I see that you've been talking to my mom.
posted by ColdChef at 4:19 PM on April 7, 2008


Yes. "Talking to".
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:26 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I want a little cake icon next to our names on our birthdays. (Optionally, of course.)

(mockup)
posted by flatluigi at 4:49 PM on April 7, 2008 [10 favorites]


Next on Metafilter: graphical emoticons.

IT'S IN REVELATIONS, PEOPLE!
posted by cosmonik at 5:06 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


that is really cute, flatluigi.
posted by francesca too at 5:12 PM on April 7, 2008


Actually, flatluigi's idea might actually work in my universe. I feel jacquilynne's criticism is warranted, but hey, what's wrong with a cake icon? What at all?

Are you dead inside?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:13 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I turned 40 last year, and ColdChef send me an actual ...

Wait, he didn't send me anything.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:36 PM on April 7, 2008


I would write a script that made it my birthday everyday.
posted by popechunk at 5:56 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


hey, i like cake. this could work.
posted by xorry at 5:57 PM on April 7, 2008


I vote no. I don't want people to pigeonhole me based on my astrological sign.

OK FINE I'M A SCORPIO, WE'RE MYSTERIOUS AND LIKE TO FUCK.

Non-confidential to Maudlin: dude, Toronto dumpling meetup? I got the shaft on dumplings at the NYC meetup...Mothers Dumplings is calling your naaaaaaame!
posted by SassHat at 6:36 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Forget real world birthdays — I want acknowledgement of our MeFiDays!
posted by timeistight at 6:44 PM on April 7, 2008


Should be busy late November, then. And early April, too.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2008


Deep breaths. It's only 700;

Yeah, I was thinking about that at dinner. This is why I just stick to mispelling words - I play to my strenghts.
posted by lysdexic at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2008


I don't like this. The last thing I need to know is that the person I just told to go fuck themselves is a 72 year old.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would like to see this implemented on an opt-in basis. Those of us who want to be notified (and to notify) opt in, and the rest of you can opt-out.

Or you could also notify but not be notified, or vice versa.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2008



I don't like this. The last thing I need to know is that the person I just told to go fuck themselves is a 72 year old.

I'm only 68!!!

And if I could fuck myself I wouldn't be so bitter about it.
posted by tkchrist at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2008


Nice work, flatluigi!
posted by brundlefly at 7:20 PM on April 7, 2008


brundlefly: Nice work, flatluigi!

Thanks. I have to give some credit to this script for a game I used to play frequently, though, as it's what prompted me to suggest the above.
posted by flatluigi at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're only 40? And I'm 47?

How come I look so much better than you?
posted by yhbc at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mmm, no thanks. One more thing to feel guilty about, and a whole bunch of noise on the Gray.
posted by Quietgal at 7:43 PM on April 7, 2008


Ha. My birthday is listed in imdb.

Yes, that's the year. Yes, I'm that old and I don't even have a lawn to keep the kids off.
posted by wendell at 7:58 PM on April 7, 2008


but wendell, you can tell people you're James Dean reincarnated!
posted by flatluigi at 8:00 PM on April 7, 2008


Thank you all for the birthday greetings. If nothing comes of this request, why I suppose I'll just have to ask again on April 7th 2009.

Because it's all about the favorites birthdays.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:31 PM on April 7, 2008


Happy birthday, hermitosis! It's so easy to feel glad for you when your birthday follows close to mine, and you're further into the late twenties miasma than I. Oh well, 27 is the new 17!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2008


"You're only 40? And I'm 47?

How come I look so much better than you?"


I'm going to assume that was directed at me (because I'm so vain I think this thread is about me).

The answer is quite clear: You are a lawyer, which means you sold your soul to the devil.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:14 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


cortex: "I almost never contribute to the Happy Birthday threads over on Metachat. I don't begrudge the threads—it's very much in the Metachat spirit, and all in fun—but it just doesn't do it for me. I don't want to be that guy who is chiming in on the birthday thread because it's a birthday thread and you don't want to be the guy who isn't chiming in even though people know you're around that day and etc."
Yeah, me too. I feel guilty sometimes, but I have drifted away from doing it at all rather than having to decide whether I care enough about that particular person having a birthday to make a genuine comment.

Well, that and I'm an insensitive arsehole.

I would vote for this only if it includes how old the person is. At least then we would be able to discount some users from that date forward by dint of them being under 40 and, therefore, knowing nothing.
posted by dg at 9:21 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


We don't need no fancy programmers or tricked out features for this! DIY ponies, muthafuckers! Check it!

Oh, and feel free to favorite this post, you know, as a reminder to send me birthday wishes soon! I expect thirty, one for each year of my little ponyless life.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:30 PM on April 7, 2008


you don't want to be the guy who isn't chiming in even though people know you're around that day and etc.

They made you chip in for a cake at work, didn't they?

I don't like the idea - if you're really that tight, you shouldn't need MeFi. But then again, I couldn't tell you my parent's anniversary if you held a gun to my head and my dad may as well have been born on February 29th for all the times I've remembered to send him a card.

But on the other hand, if it was invisible to folks who didn't opt in, I wouldn't much care.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 PM on April 7, 2008


Happy Birthday to all of you, from here until whenever. I don't care one way or another about reminders. (Would have taken the spookiness out of finding out at a meetup that bondcliff and I were born in the same city, same day. (He's 8 hours older.))
posted by not_on_display at 10:42 PM on April 7, 2008


They say it's your birthday
(da na na na na na)
It's my birthday too, yeah!
(da na na na na na)


No, seriously, it really is. I'm 30 today!
Happy birthday to us!
posted by cilantro at 12:54 AM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


These kids today ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:53 AM on April 8, 2008


Happy Belated!


This is one of the highlights of Metachat, though and I think properly belongs over there.
posted by brujita at 7:25 AM on April 8, 2008


i like the idea. i want a cake icon by my name on my birthday. and i'd like to be able to memail a few of my friends on their birthdays. but yeah, whole threads wishing people happy birthday? meh.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:48 AM on April 8, 2008


I do not want cake for my birthday, and I do not want cake next to my name on my birthday, and I do not want to see cake next to your name on your birthday, either. At least not in threads. Nothing except random, "BTW, happy birthday hermitosis!" derails will come of that. We'd need a whole new "flagged for cake" flag.

However, if cake appeared in my profile on my birthday, and on the "Links to" and "Linked by" lines in my profile, that would possibly be ok. That's cake for people who are specifically interested in me, or who I have decided I am specifically interested in, instead of general cake broadcasting.

BTW, happy birthday hermitosis!

(Please flag this post for cake.)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:02 AM on April 8, 2008


I'm all for this kind of stuff as long as it remains opt-in. From a pure curiosity standpoint, it would be interesting to see the age range of Mefites who were willing to participate, and draw astrological anecdotes about people sharing the same sign/ birthstone/ Chinese year of...

"Oh, don't mind him, he's a Gemini born in the year of the Metal Pig. It's no wonder he is so full of impotent rage."
posted by quin at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2008


I like it. Implemented as per TPS, and flatluigi.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:18 AM on April 8, 2008


and, how about we start keeping track of our Metafilter birthdays? Based on our "joined" on date? And, put a little, uhm, computer! with a candle on it! next to our name on posts made on our Metafilter birthday! Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2008


I don't know why I typed quotation marks around "joined".
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:20 PM on April 8, 2008


And if you joined on your actual birthday, you get a special little icon that represents really not having exactly the best birthday you could have had.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I vote for cake.
posted by desuetude at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2008


and, how about we start keeping track of our Metafilter birthdays? Based on our "joined" on date?

That's such a great idea I wonder why no one thought of it before.
posted by timeistight at 3:51 PM on April 8, 2008


We don't need to automate birthday notifications. That's what MetaTalk is for.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:04 PM on April 8, 2008


Kill the heathen Fuzzy Skinner! Ban all birthday threads! (except the one I posted, of course.)
posted by Phire at 11:32 PM on April 8, 2008


Kill the heathen Fuzzy Skinner!

No! Then you'd have Zombie Fuzzy Skinner!

On second thought, yes!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2008


Whoops. Didn't see that timeistight.

Granted, "MeFiDays" could be anything!

Ok. Not really.
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2008


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