Could we add optional personal info to our profile pages? May 10, 2001 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Would it be a good idea to let members enter some optional personal information (age, sex, location, shoe size, etc.) on their profile page?
posted by Aaaugh! to Feature Requests at 2:07 PM (30 comments total)

Give me the list, in order of importance and I'll think about it. It goes without saying that everything would be optional.

Would zip code alone be good enough for location? would birthdate be too much to ask of people? What else would people want to share? Their IM contact addresses?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:16 PM on May 10, 2001

Let's see...

Location: I think people should enter what they want here. I could say Cleveland OH, or just Ohio - or even Alpha Centauri if I felt like it. The only time something else might be necessary would be if we want to map people, and in that case, zip code would be great.

Age: birth date would be perfect, since people wouldn't need to update their age. Plus, having member birthdays on the sideblog could be kinda cool.

Sex: probably just a drop-down menu or radio buttons here - people saying "yes" gets old pretty quickly.

IM contacts would be great, too. I like that one! Weren't you working on some IM integration a while back?
posted by Aaaugh! at 2:29 PM on May 10, 2001

There's an open text area where anyone can write whatever they want. Why is any change needed here?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:50 PM on May 10, 2001

SDB: I've never felt restricted from putting any information in my profile (within reason)... but having specific fields for optionally entered info would be great because it allows that information to be part of the MeFi experience. Member birthdays in the sideblog being a great example.
posted by silusGROK at 4:11 PM on May 10, 2001

Oh, and as for my list, in order of importance:

Where (US Zip and/or Country)
Gender (I hate it when people ask me my sex)

And, finally, just for fun:

A scale (I don't know, 1-10) of how conservative/liberal you consider yourself.

posted by silusGROK at 4:15 PM on May 10, 2001

Don't forget list ranking. I'm not sure how low it goes A to what?
posted by john at 4:36 PM on May 10, 2001

Gender (I hate it when people ask me my sex)
I am just the opposite. Gender has always seemed inaccurate to me. Why don't you like sex?
posted by thirteen at 4:45 PM on May 10, 2001

That did not sound right, you know what I mean.
posted by thirteen at 4:46 PM on May 10, 2001

That's exactly why, thirteen.
posted by silusGROK at 6:50 PM on May 10, 2001

The liberal/conservative scale would irritate the piss out of me. I identify with neither. In fact, I rather like the fact that you have to pay attention for a while before you can draw any lasting conclusions for what political persuasion people are.
posted by norm at 7:03 PM on May 10, 2001


go to your customize page if you want to add more info.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:03 PM on May 10, 2001

Got an error message, after filling in location and ICQ fields only:

Error Diagnostic Information
ODBC Error Code = 37000 (Syntax error or access violation)

[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Line 18: Incorrect syntax near ','.

The error occurred while processing an element with a general identifier of (CFQUERY), occupying document position (27:1) to (27:25).

Date/Time: 05/10/01 19:19:13
Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98)
Remote Address:
HTTP Referer:

posted by Aaaugh! at 7:23 PM on May 10, 2001

A linear scale for american politics?

I know both types of music. Country and western.
posted by holloway at 8:01 PM on May 10, 2001

It didn't like my zip code 02145 -- it got rid of the "0" at the front. Forget about gender/political orientation, the whole Northeast is being discriminated against. :)
posted by MarkAnd at 8:25 PM on May 10, 2001

stupid sql error. I fixed it (I think).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:11 PM on May 10, 2001

Sheesh, folks... the scale idea was just for fun; I wanted to add something to the discussion. Oy.

: )

Great work, again, Matt...
posted by silusGROK at 9:31 PM on May 10, 2001

Mine seemed to work just fine.

Two comments: no birthday? shucks... and I was hoping for gifts! And I _love_ the leading text for the AIM message. Subtle... Nice way to remind people that a lot of times, people are at work when they're accessible on AIM.

posted by silusGROK at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2001

Gender (I hate it when people ask me my sex)

People don't have gender. Words have gender. People have sex.
posted by kindall at 10:14 PM on May 10, 2001

matt -- the aim screen name is pointing at the mefi username

that is, my profile says that my aim-name is "rebekah dot org", but when i click it, it creates a message to "palegirl" with the clever message text.
posted by palegirl at 11:22 PM on May 10, 2001

Huh... I wonder why I get a syntax error. I mean I'm not using aim or icq, that could be a reason, trillian may not have incorporated link support stuff yet. Ohh well, I guess I can just copy and paste. :)

So many people to bother...
posted by tiaka at 5:00 AM on May 11, 2001

A scale (I don't know, 1-10) of how conservative/liberal you consider yourself.

AIEEE!!! Please, no!

The conversation is already overpoliticized without people formally lining up on sides. I don't think of this as a political weblog (even though it has so much political content), and doing this would just be letting some very bad cement start to harden. I agree with norm's point -- let people figure it out. Besides which, I know I don't come down squarely on one side or the other 100% of the time, and most people probably don't, either.

posted by briank at 8:37 AM on May 11, 2001

Brian... it was just having fun. Sheesh. : )
posted by silusGROK at 10:07 AM on May 11, 2001

Usage Note: Traditionally, gender has been used primarily to refer to the grammatical categories of “masculine,” “feminine,” and “neuter”; but in recent years the word has become well established in its use to refer to sex-based categories, as in phrases such as gender gap and the politics of gender. This usage is supported by the practice of many anthropologists, who reserve sex for reference to biological categories, while using gender to refer to social or cultural categories. According to this rule, one would say The effectiveness of the medication appears to depend on the sex (not gender) of the patient, but In peasant societies, gender (not sex) roles are likely to be more clearly defined. This distinction is useful in principle, but it is by no means widely observed, and considerable variation in usage occurs at all levels.

(From The American Heritage Dictionary)

Of course, we could always just ask people whether they have a Y chromosome.

posted by anapestic at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2001

Ahh, but what happens when Jamie Lee Curtis signs up on MeFi?
posted by zempf at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2001

What about my JID?

I do like the idea, though. I can't wait 'til our resident statistician gets ahold of this stuff.
posted by Lirp at 7:09 PM on May 11, 2001

Geez, I meant this resident statistician too.
posted by Lirp at 7:17 PM on May 11, 2001

Would zip code alone be good enough for location?

Of course not, more like latitude and longitude.
posted by lagado at 5:36 AM on May 12, 2001

Zip code will work fine as a proxy for lat and long for US members. It's not perfect, but people can be mapped to the centroid of each polygon. The regions are small enough to get a decent picture of where people live without asking anyone to divulge their address. For areas that have more than one member in a single zip code, graduated symbols can be used to show higher population concentrations.

I'm on the lookout for a map of Canadian postal codes, if anyone stumbles across one.
posted by Aaaugh! at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2001

I do like the idea, though. I can't wait 'til our resident statistician gets ahold of this stuff.

*blush* Unfortunately, I've no idea how to write scripts like waxpancake does . . . anyone want to teach me? Otherwise I'll have to just wait for waxpancake to snag the data before I bore the world with analyses.

*iceberg beings to feel lightheaded at the prospect of new MeFi data to analyze.* I like statistics.
posted by iceberg273 at 8:53 AM on May 14, 2001

A lot of us use Yahoo Messenger (and MSN IM as well, I imagine) -- why restrict the IM fields to AIM and ICQ?
posted by werty at 7:08 AM on May 15, 2001

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