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Birthdate visible by default

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  • Birthdate visible by default

    Is it intentional that a user's full birthdate (month, date, year) is displayed on their profile unless they go to their settings and hide it? It's a required question on account creation and this information can easily be used to help locate people in real life or answer security questions on their financial accounts. Even my phone company doesn't know my birthday. Please consider whether it's appropriate to display this level of detail automatically, or to require more than a year (for age verification) at all, and let people enter their birthday themselves in the profile if they feel sociable about that information.

  • #2

    Can you see mine? It says 1 April 1902. You think that's real?
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    I run Deadlands Reloaded. One of my players writes an incharacter blog here --> http://ballgownsandbattleskirts.blog...deadlands.html

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    • #3
      Putting people in the position of having to choose to lie or having their personal information exposed isn't a great option, especially when it says in large letters that you can't change it after account creation.

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      • #4
        Anyone who puts their DoB in a public forum should be aware of what they are doing.
        Like what you have read in someone's post? Hit that like button and let everyone know.

        I run Deadlands Reloaded. One of my players writes an incharacter blog here --> http://ballgownsandbattleskirts.blog...deadlands.html

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        • #5
          I never even thought about it. Does anyone ever look at peoples profiles?

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          • #6
            "Does anyone ever look at people's profiles?"

            Two sets of people who might be very interested:
            1. Someone who scrapes public profiles or hacks loosely guarded databases to compile user information across sites where people use the same username/email address
            2. Someone who wants to harass a person they met in a public forum
            If I were either of those people, I would certainly check, at least to see if they provided a city name, and then I would be thrilled to find that info lying around... which the person probably wasn't aware had ever been exposed (and thus hadn't hidden it). The person who invited me to this forum has been on it for five years and never realized that information was public; they hid it as soon as I pointed it out.

            If it weren't a mandatory field, and it said "this information will be public by default, you can change that in settings," I would agree that people had been appropriately warned. But it is mandatory AND automatically exposed.

            Expecting people to lie means admitting there's no value in collecting the field; not collecting data that you won't use is digital privacy 101. I put my real info because once upon a time I gave fake info to Yahoo, and they then asked for it as part of a password recovery process. I had no idea what I had entered and had to use a much more difficult recovery method. And some people just don't like lying and find it intensely uncomfortable, or don't think about why it might be unsafe to share that info.

            I'm not saying there aren't workarounds. I'm saying it's bad site policy to rely on people to lie, or expect them to explore all their privacy settings immediately after account creation, or to assume the site database will never be hacked, when they could just not require the exact date in the first place and not display age information by default. It's an easy site setting change.

            (Edit: For a slightly deeper DB change, I would recommend doing a one-time pass of existing accounts and hide the information for anyone who has never changed the display permissions for their birthdate. The vast majority of those people will have never made a conscious decision about it. If only a tiny fraction of people ever chose to display their birthday sans year for social celebration purposes, I would consider throwing out the date completely and still hiding the year. I respect keeping the year for age verification reasons! That is a serious legal requirement for many purposes!)

            Yes, I work in a discipline (librarianship) that thinks a lot about protecting people's digital privacy, why do you ask?
            Last edited by Gement; 09-04-2022, 04:26 PM.

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            • #7
              Ok, I see your point of view.
              Tagging admin team PEGAdmin here so someone is more likely to see this thread.
              Like what you have read in someone's post? Hit that like button and let everyone know.

              I run Deadlands Reloaded. One of my players writes an incharacter blog here --> http://ballgownsandbattleskirts.blog...deadlands.html

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              • Gement
                Gement commented
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                Thank you!
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