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January 2, 2012
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On my own website, I encourage people to be rather open with at least basic personal information. Age, sex, country, and even the 'temperaments' of their personality are shown on every comment, meaning you can get an idea of the 'sort of person' commenting at a glance without actually knowing them personally...

But it seems that this is rare, and most sites don't even list gender or age except perhaps on profile pages that you have to manually navigate to, and even then you can never be sure.

Coming to sites like this one after spending much of my time on my own makes me feel almost 'blind' or something, not being able to see that information without visiting profiles. Some people don't even have that information on their profiles.

I personally think that every community would be improved by making this kind of personal information open and clear and displaying it readily and frequently, such as on every comment.

Some might think that that would lead to shallow judgements... and yes, it most certainly would. It would also probably lead to people not listening to the words of others based on this data alone... 'I don't really care what an 11-year-old has to say' and so on.
In this modern, politically correct world where we're all to be seen as complete 'equals' in every conceivable way, to suggest that such knee-jerk judgements are anything other than evil would probably be heresy or something, but I think it's rather a *good* thing to be able to sort of filter people out... or to be able to give 'context' to the words that someone says.

'Age is just a number! People shouldn't judge me by it!' is something I hear from people who refuse to input any age at all on websites. It irritates me since it seems sort of... pretentious, or something; not accepting that they don't have full control over their place in the world, or something like that.
I'd not really want to interact with such a person since it seems like right from the start, they're being dishonest and paranoid, which says a lot about them... probably.
It also feels like how it might if you talked to someone in person who wore a mask and a burqa, and talked through a speech synthesiser, because you should 'only judge them on their words, not their physical attributes'. Wouldn't *that* be unsettling? o_O
We've evolved to assign great weight to certain characteristics such as age and sex though, for good reasons, and they play a big part in bonding and communication. They help immensely in knowing what to talk about and how to word things.

I can understand how girls online may tire of the constant attention from perverted, lonely males, so hiding their sex to prevent that isn't something that I see as a terrible thing... Still, though; I'd prefer it if we didn't have to keep any information secret.

Anyway, when reading comments on my own site, I do find the context of this information very important. I can forgive younger people for appearing naive, for example, or not knowing any better, or I can understand that someone could be saying what they're saying from years of experience if they're older, and would give it more weight as a result. I find it interesting to compare the outlooks of females and males, of the old and young, and people of different temperaments; extroverts and introverts often leave very different comments, and I can 'excuse' certain things from each of them because I know it's just how their personalities work (such as 'choleric' types being blunt and brash and using imperative language; normally it frustrates me, but knowing it's 'just how they work' helps to make me more 'understanding' instead).
They're not all equal; I'd not really want to read the words of a 10-year-old, for example, but I'd rather skim over it *knowing* it was a young child than get frustrated by the apparent stupidity of the person, *wondering* whether they're a child or just an idiot.

I'm interested in other peoples' thoughts on this, though.
Do you think that deviantART, for example, would be improved if your age and sex were displayed on every one of your comments? Would you like to see the age and sex of peoples' comments on your own stuff? Or maybe you feel it'd violate peoples' privacy and leave them wide open for criticism or dismissal or things like that?
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:icontsong-ming-yi:
As someone who tends to be very open with people I meet, I disagree with using things like age, gender, and location as 'filters' when looking for friends. I find that people often surprise me; many of my friends throughout my life I wouldn't have met at all if I had limited myself to certain rules, guidelines, and estimations. I like letting people *define themselves* for me. The things they put emphasis on, the discussions they choose, they way they talk with and react to me... all of these things matter far more to me than if they're a girl, or 47, or from Cornwall, or some such other category. Their *stats* are more vague and less definite than personality portrayed and actions taken.

Still.
You are not exactly known for being open and friendly with the people you meet. I can easily see how, when interactions can seem difficult, tedious, or uncomfortable, using filters to narrow down potential friends would not only be helpful, but, perhaps, rather necessary. Under normal situations I would see it as a tad bit rude or inconsiderate, to assume someone is limited to the construct of their *stats,* but really, in the case of those greatly troubled by social interaction, that small slight is easily excused. Similar to a younger lad being naive; you can't fault someone for their currently unavoidable nature. Keep in mind some people are still bothered by it, though. I know I don't appreciate people thinking that, as a woman, I must be *womany*.
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:iconusagiyoukai:
I don't think it's improve anything. If you'd like to get to know who someone is, I would suggest asking them personally. But usually it comes up in conversation if you talk to someone long enough. It really doesn't matter who the person is, what matters is what they say.
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:icondarkmatery:
DarkMatery Jan 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with EmotionalOne, there is a few young people here that has for some reason matured. And yet, if someone saw their age, they might not have been taken seriously.
Another thing is that people may think of others otherwise, just because of their gender.
If there were no people like that, this system would be flawless...Alas, there are.
Despite this though, the system you use is a rather useful, convenient and fun one.
If you believe using it here is a good idea, there is no reason NOT to use it.:)
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:iconmagistret:
I suppose yes, personal information are beneficial. Personally I think it would help break the age boundary around here ya know. I didn't put my all of my bio because I was quite paranoid of my homosexuality really. But now that I looked back, it's absolutely ridiculous. So I suppose I should update my bio now. Though I have to say you really put a lot of thought in this. And just so you know I'm a Plegmatic/Melancholic.
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:iconlastoftheannunaki:
I think that it would be a good thing for that data to be optional, like birthdays on this site - you can show nothing, just the day, or the day and year of your birthday. Those who wish to disclose those things would be able to do so, and those who do not would not have to. I am strongly in the second camp, as there are things on this account that I very much do not want leaking out into my real life, and my paranoia thus prevents me from giving out any information. Hell, if I could change my account name to something else, I would, just to remove the clue that I'm familiar with your work (and also because it's a stupid, unoriginal name). I'm certain I'm not the only one who wishes to keep things secret.

Still, as a fig hunter, I am well acquainted with your system, and I appreciate it. Over there, it works like you want it to, and gives the site a feeling of openness, helps people understand each other - I'm not going to regurgitate everything you said about it, I'll just say that I agree. But there is a problem: Fighunter has fewer members and stricter standards than dA. You'd run into the age-old problem of people lying. For example, I could be... oh... david s, Aiur, Orcris, freedomcaged, could be 10, 29, 17. You wouldn't really be able to trust it without interacting with them for a while, and that removes some of the utility of it.
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:iconcreatorsoul:
I personally would rather just stay as a faceless voice on a forum that I believe I will not stay too long on, or at least in the beginning of my stay there. It gives me a sense of security and privacy. Over time, if I feel more comfortable, I tend to drop the facelessness and be willing to reveal more about myself. But if your site requires those things, I don't see a problem with it. I may just wait a while before I feel comfortable enough to fill out that information and actually join.

I guess it really comes down to what you are comfortable with? Maybe I am just more comfortable with not matching a message to a voice or face, or maybe I intentionally look more to the benefits of it? *Shrugs*

Either way, it is your site, and as long as it is legal to ask for those information, sure why not?
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:iconsabamenides:
This is an interesting journal. Your overall point of view is very different from my own, almost completely so, but you raise good points and give what I feel are perfectly valid reasons for the way you think.

I feel you're right in many ways. Our age and gender is what we are biologically, and the different sets of hormones and neurotransmitters that flood the human body in each different case affect how we act in ways we can hardly fathom, but easily predict. With age also comes experience. The cultural environment influences the way our inner workings are shaped quite a bit as well. However, I've met a lot of different people and, in my experience, exception is the only norm.

None of the ones I know fit exactly in what would be expected of them according to their age, gender or where they live. Some of my workmates can't write a full sentence in their own native language without grammar or spelling mistakes. On the Internet, that would make them come across as "foreigners". Another person I used to know was a woman only biologically: her language and attitude were those of a boy. If you were to have a conversation to her, while being unable to hear her voice or see her face, you'd likely be fooled. I've also known middle-aged men and women who were too na´ve for their own good, and heard surprisingly deep thoughts from the mouth of a boy in his early teens.

I'm fully aware that these are exceptions. What I mean is, no one fits the mold perfectly. If you take a large enough group of people and say "the men aged between 20 and 25 will be most interested in X and Y", you will be fairly accurate. If you try to apply a generalization to an individual, you'll always be wrong in a couple of points. That been said, there's no actual reason not to care about the age, gender and place of birth of those you meet, either in real life or the Internet. However, I'd only take that as additional data, not as something that defines them. The main difference between your way of thinking and mine, as I see it, is that you try and predict what you don't know about others based on generalizations; nothing wrong about that. On the other hand, I prefer to assume as little as possible when it comes to people, and get to know them through the way they interact with the world and the people around them. Besides, I believe people are too complex for a regular mind to predict or comprehend fully, and there are so many parts of the psyche that are so well protected from our conscious self that it's even hard for us to know ourselves well. You'd need a lifetime to really understand someone to the point where you can predict them.

That's half of the reason I don't show my personal data: I don't deem it vital enough to others. Besides, people lie. It's easier to lie by saying "I'm 30", "I'm 40" or "I'm 15", than it is to tell everything I've just wrote without actually believing it to be true, or to go after women when it's men what you're actually attracted to. The other reason is, I believe most people are judgmental. They try to have a firm, safe grip on the world that surrounds them by categorizing everything in well-defined sets like man/woman, child/teen/adult/elder, expecting those inside their categories to always act accordingly, and that leads them to try and force others into their perceived place despite what actually happens around them. If a woman says "women have been opressed by men for centuries", many will say, "this one's a feminist dyke". If a man says the same phrase, the meaning will be completely different. Since I can't change the way others think, If I want people to judge me by my actual thoughts, words and actions, I'd better not give non-defining information about myself straight away. I don't actually hide it, though. I won't lie if you ask me.

All of what I've said comes from my experience. The years might very well prove me wrong, and if it comes to the point where I believe people are not as judgmental as I do now, I'll gladly make my information public.
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:icondrifting-leaf:
I think leaving out information like that does expose a lot of what people usually don't want to put out when they first go onto a site full of strangers, but at the same time, I think that it gives the site a sense that you're actually talking to people and not just, you know, a computer.

Sure, maybe you've got some mature ten year-olds out there, but in most cases, generalization is your friend. (I have to admit that I was an idiot as a ten year-old. I'm still sort of an idiot now, so it was much worse then.) Anyways, it helps to see ages, genders, and temperaments so that you know how to interact with different people.

And then, there's just something about putting information out there like that that just makes people seem a little more truthful... and believable. Assuming of course that people answer honestly, and for the most part (on Fig Hunter anyways) people do anyways.

... I sort of have to admit, though, that I'm glad that stuff like that isn't on THIS site. I'd be a little too embarrassed of what I've posted here to be able to go anywhere else if the information followed me. It feels a little more anonymous here... But at the same time, I don't talk to anybody at all.
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:iconbook-dragon211:
Sorry, I put some words in and forgot to delete them.
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:iconbook-dragon211:
I am thinking about safety.

If I get a job, my boss could see stuff that is legal, but a bias for firing orientation then.

I am in Ohio, where they legally allow firing for no reason.

If I get a job and my boss knew I was an athiest, I would probably get fired, I know my area and the people here are like this.
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