15 FAQ tagged with profile

Why are you asking for my email? How do I change my email address?

You need to have a working email address in your profile. Please use a real address that you check. We will not spam you, and we will never give out your address. We use your profile email address to send password reset emails, reply to messages you send through the Contact Us form, and to contact you directly about site/participation issues.

By default, your address is hidden from everyone else and not shown on your user-facing profile page. Only if you set your preferences to show it will your email address show up in your profile, and even then it only shows to logged-in members.

Many members use a semi-disposable address for MetaFilter only so that people can contact them. You can also use MeFi Mail for contacting other users and being contacted if you don't want to have a user-facing email address.

You can edit your email address and the rest of your profile details by clicking on the preferences link at the top or bottom of the page when you are logged in.
(tags: ) March 6, 2006 - permalink - back to questions

Who can see the information on my profile page? What's the "minimal" profile option?

Short answer: profiles are mostly visible to the public, but non-indexed (that is, not "visible" to search engines like Google). Your Full Name, Picture, Webpage, and Blurb are visible to the public, and by default the profile-page listings of your comments and posts and contacts are too.

Among the user-editable parts of the profile page (where you choose what information to enter), the visible-to-the-public items are those under "Personal Info":

  • Full Name
  • Picture
  • Homepage URL
  • and Blurb about you
  • and optionally, Social Apps

The visible-to-members-only items are:

  • Email (required; private by default, but you can choose to make it visible to members)
  • Location
  • Geographic Coordinates (members-only by default, but you can choose to make them private)
  • Occupation
  • Gender
  • Relationship Status
  • Birthday
  • IM
  • Social Apps (you can choose whether to make Social Apps visible to the public or members-only; older accounts default to 'public', new accounts default to 'members only')

The members-only fields have a dark background on the Preferences page to make it easier to remember which they are. Except for Email, all the user-editable fields are optional, so for maximum privacy you can simply leave them blank. For email, you must include a working email for moderators to reach you at, but it's only displayed on your profile page if you choose.

Among the site-generated parts of the profile page, everything is visible to the public by default:

  • Join date
  • Funding message (unless you choose to hide it)
  • Listings of your Contributions (posts and comments)
  • Favorites
  • Social connections (contacts)
  • Tags

With the "Minimal Profile" option, members can hide the profile-page listings of Contributions, Favorites, Social connections, Funding Message and Tags from logged-out readers. To do this, check the "Minimal profile for non-members?" option under "Contact / Privacy Preferences". Note: this doesn't hide your actual posts and comments themselves - those remain visible to anyone on the internet. It only hides the listings on your profile page, and only hides them from non-members.

To illustrate the difference between Standard and Minimal options, here's a standard MetaFilter profile page, as seen by a non-member (or logged-out user):

Here's the same profile, again as seen by a non-member (or logged-out user), but now with the "Minimal profile" option checked:

Regardless of what's visible to human readers, Metafilter profile pages are set to be "non-indexed", which means reputable search engines will not make their contents searchable. For this reason, please don't bring profile information over to the main part of the site, where it can be indexed by Google; doing so is potentially a bannable offense. This MeTa comment discusses a little more about the ins and outs about what you should and shouldn't do with information you get from people's profile pages.
(tags: ) December 15, 2010 - permalink - back to questions

Can I publicly mention details from someone else's profile page?

Generally, no, unless you've gotten their explicit permission to do so. User profile pages on MetaFilter are not indexed by Google. This means if someone's profile says that they live in a certain city or gives their real name, that information is not exposed to search engines and should not be considered "public" on the rest of the site which search engines are allowed to catalogue. For more info, see this FAQ entry on profile page etiquette.
(tags: ) December 10, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What should I know about privacy at Metafilter?

Please check our formal Privacy Policy which addresses points commonly raised in privacy laws.

And here is some more informal general info about social privacy expectations on our site. Moderators generally have access to identity info (your sign-up information, name, email, IP address, etc) that is used for site purposes such as preventing spam or other forms of account abuse. That info is kept private from other members and from the wider internet. We don't sell or rent or share user information to outside parties. If you choose not to display your real name, email address or location to other members, moderators will not reveal it. Mods also will not reveal the identity of second (sockpuppet) accounts as linked to your main account if you do not reveal this.

Members are also expected to respect each other's privacy in certain basic ways. Members' profile page information (such as location) is not visible to search engines and should not be brought over to the rest of MetaFilter. Similarly, copying and pasting Mefi Mail to any other part of the site without the writer's permission is a bannable offense.

On your own profile page, most information is optional to include, such as full name, email address, etc. Although it's not indexed by search engines, by default most of the information you share there is still publicly viewable, displayed to everyone including non-members. Links to your post and comment history, your contacts, and your favorites, are also displayed to everyone by default. You can choose not to share personal info on that page, and you can choose the "minimal profile" option to hide the links to your post and comment history, contacts, and favorites, from non-members. Much more detail on profile privacy settings.

On the site as a whole, your participation here is public. Your posts, questions, and comments are visible to the whole internet, and they will remain associated with your username permanently. Please think ahead about your own privacy needs, before posting personal information. If you need to ask about things that you want kept separate from your main username, you can get a second account that you use just for that. If you shared some privacy-sensitive info (such as your email address or location) in a comment in the past and now need that deleted, please contact us.

In emergencies--such as cases where someone has threatened to harm themselves, or if we are contacted by law enforcement--we cannot guarantee user privacy. Likewise, the Anonymous question function in Ask Metafilter is only intended to keep your details anonymous from the MeFi community, not to provide absolute anonymity--see here for details.

Metafilter occasionally allows use of public site data for academic study and there is an Infodump of public site data available for number crunchers. Members can download a copy of their comments on Metafilter, MetaTalk, and Ask Metafilter as a text file (see links at the bottom of your Preferences page).

As with anything here: if you have questions, just ask us.
(tags: ) December 12, 2012 - permalink - back to questions

What does "I help fund MetaFilter" on profile pages mean?

In 2014, site founder Matt Haughey posted a MetaTalk thread about MetaFilter's financial problems. In that thread, community members and casual readers began contributing to the site's PayPal account through one-time donations and recurring payments. This new source of revenue was a step toward being member-supported rather than advertising-supported. We wanted to acknowledge those members who are providing this additional help to keep this place running with a note on their profile page.

For those who don't want the note to appear on their page, there's an option in site preferences to make the note inactive. Uncheck the box next to "Display funding message?" under "Contact / Privacy" settings. If you donated but somehow didn't get the profile message, just let us know via the Contact Us form and we'll set it up manually.

If you'd like to contribute, you can Help Fund MetaFilter.
(tags: ) May 21, 2014 - permalink - back to questions

How do I view my own (or someone else's) previous posts, questions, and comments?

They are all viewable from your profile. Go to the My Profile link at the top of the page, or click your username anywhere it appears on the site. Your contributions are broken down by subsite, and by post/question and comment.

For an older alternative view of all your comments/answers, you can go to these URLs, replacing number 1 with your user number:
Mefi comments
AskMe answers

To see someone else's activity, go to their profile page, or substitute their user number in the above URLs.
(tags: ) June 11, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

Why are you asking for my pronouns?

The Profile page has a place to specify your pronouns. You can use this field (click here for the edit form) to let people know what pronouns to use for you on the site -- for example, "she", "he", "they" or other terms. It's freeform, but please only use it for real answers, not jokes. (Joking about pronouns, even if it's well-intended, can feel dismissive of other people. Please use the Contact Us form if you see a problematic entry in this field.)

Specifying your pronouns is optional and it’s ok to just leave this blank. The info you enter will be visible on your profile page to logged-in members only, but people may naturally use your pronouns in conversations on public parts of the site. You can check another member's profile (by clicking their username) to see if they've stated a pronoun preference.

Some history of this field: The Pronouns field is new in 2020. It replaces the old Gender/Pronouns field. Originally the field asked only for "Gender", then in 2017 "Pronouns" was added to the prompt. But many members don't update their profile, and might have made jokey answers in the Gender field originally. Over time, a lot of those answers aged badly or were out of place as an answer to the updated prompt. In 2020, we decided to eliminate that old field entirely and start over.
(tags: ) May 11, 2017 - permalink - back to questions

How do I find someone's profile page if I only know their username not their user number?

There are three ways:

1. You can search for their username in the search box, then click on the tab "Users" within the search results.

2. You can find a comment or post by them, and click on their username in the byline.

3. You can do it manually, by adding their username to the end of a string like this:


This will still work with usernames with spaces, and with some special/punctuation characters, and is not case sensitive.

http://www.metafilter.com/username/me & my monkey

Please note that this does not work with a small subset of usernames using special characters; for example c:\awesome would not work with the above URL format.
(tags: ) March 23, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

What is the etiquette concerning members' or non-members' personal details and profile information?

User profile pages on MetaFilter are not indexed by Google. This means if someone's profile says that they live in a certain city or gives their real name, that information is not considered "public" on the site. Bringing a user's personal details into an unrelated thread to hector or harass them (especially details from other websites that they participate in) is generally considered not okay. Use care when deciding to bring someone's personal information into a thread, and try to err on the side of mentioning without linking. Some profile page information is visible to humans on the wider internet, it's just not indexed by search engines. See here for details.

Bringing WHOIS and other personal information into a thread [i.e. "Here's this guy's phone number!"] is also not okay. We know it's still one click away, but bringing it into a thread can cause trouble for the site. When in doubt, please feel free to ask a mod.
(tags: ) August 20, 2009 - permalink - back to questions

Why doesn't the timestamp in live preview match the time in my actual timezone?

The live preview doesn't match the post time because when live preview was implemented it was too complex to make it work. Your comment will be posted with your the correct timestamp for your timezone. If your timezone is set incorrectly, you can change this in your profile.
(tags: ) March 14, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

How do I link to my other online communities/social sites in my profile?

If you contribute to other online communities, you can link to your profile at other sites from your MetaFilter profile page in two different ways.

The first way is using the link button in the "Blurb about you" box. Just click on "Preferences" or "Prefs" at the top of any page, and scroll down to the bottom of the "Personal Info" section. Click inside the "Blurb about you" box and follow these instructions on how to use the link button that appears at the bottom of the box.

The second way is by using the Social Apps widget. Note this widget will let you link to some of the major social media sites. Links posted via this second way will appear in the "Also On" section of your profile, with a clickable icon of the link.

To add a specific link that appears in the "Also On" section, click on "Preferences" or "Prefs" at the top of any page, and scroll down to the bottom of the "Customize Metafilter" page. Under the heading "Social Apps", choose a service name from the drop-down menu and then enter your username at that site. If you want to add another link, click "add another service" and you'll get another menu/name combo. When you're finished, click "Save your Preferences" to save everything.

If you want to remove a link to a site you've added, go back to editing your profile. Clear your username for the link you want to remove and click "Save your Preferences". The link won't show up on your profile anymore.

Adding a Flickr, Vimeo, or LibraryThing username to your profile will give you the option to add a widget with your recent activity from those sites to your profile page.

(The "Also On" feature was originally announced in this MetaTalk post.)

It's not always easy to figure out your username at other services, so here's a quick guide to finding your username/id at some of the more challenging sites:

Go to your airbnb user profile page. The URL should look like this:

https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/[some number]

Copy the number at the end of the URL and enter it as your airbnb ID in your MeFi profile.

Finding your Amazon profile ID is a little tricky. Go to amazon.com and click the "Your Account" link in the upper right corner. From there, look for the "Personalization" section at the bottom of the page. Under the "Community" column, click "Your Public Profile". Note the URL. It should look something like this:


The section you want to copy is everything after the final slash and before the question mark. In this case that's: A6N8HSYO8DN1R. Copy that ID and paste it into your MetaFilter profile.

Go to the blog you want to link and look at the URL. It should be in the form of [prefix].blogspot.com. Note that prefix and add that at your MetaFilter profile.

To add your Facebook account to your profile you'll need your Facebook URL Name. To find it, go to Facebook and click on your name in the upper-left corner of the page. On the following page note the URL in your browser's address bar, it should look something like this:

http://www.facebook.com/[url name]

Copy the entire url name and paste it here. Sometimes the URL Name contains periods, but keep in mind it will never contain a space.

Log into Fitbit and find your "view profile" link. Note the URL, and copy everything after user/. It's typically a short string of numbers and letters like this: 224MH2. That's what you want to copy and paste into your MetaFilter profile.

Your Flickr photostream URL does not necessarily contain your Flickr username, and your Yahoo! login is not necessarily your Flickr username. To find your Flickr username, sign into Flickr and take a look at the line at the top of the page that says, "Signed in as...". Whatever appears there as a link is your official Flickr username. Make sure your Flickr profile isn't set to hide your profile from searches.

You'll need to find your Glitch URL ID to add it. Visit your glitch profile and take a look at the URL in your browser address bar. Here's what it looks like:


Copy everything after /profiles/ and before the closing /. That long alphanumeric string is your Glitch URL ID. Copy that and paste it here.

Log in and click on "My Books" at the top of the page. You should be at a URL with a numeric ID:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/[some number]

Copy the number at the end of the URL and enter it as your Goodreads ID in your MeFi profile.

Go look at your public profile page (you'll have to log in if you haven't already). Your profile page will show you your public profile URL and whatever is at the end is what you need to enter. You'll need to customize your profile URL to be something memorable/personal on this page if you haven't already. When you're done, your profile URL should look like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/[some name]

Grab [some name] and enter it as your LinkedIn Name in your MeFi profile.

Log into SportsFilter and click on your profile page. You should see a URL like this:

http://www.sportsfilter.com/member/[some number]

Jot down the number, and enter it as your SportsFilter ID in your MeFi profile.

Log into the Steam website, and click the "View my SteamID" link toward the top of the page. You should see a URL in your browser address bar like this:

http://steamcommunity.com/id/[some name]

Use the name as your Steam Name in your MeFi profile. If you see a URL like this instead:

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/[some long number]

Go into your Steam profile settings and set up a "Custom URL". Note what you enter for that custom URL value and use that as your Steam Name in your MeFi profile.

Log in and click on "My Profile" in the nav at the top right of the page. You should be at a URL with a numeric ID:

http://app.strava.com/athletes/[some number]

Copy the number at the end of the URL and enter it as your Stava ID in your MeFi profile.

Go to the blog you want to link and look at the URL. It should be in the form of [prefix].tumblr.com. Note that prefix and add that at your MetaFilter profile.

Log in and click on your name at the top of the page. From there click 'public profile' on the left and note the URL:

http://userscripts.org/users/[some number]

Jot down the number, and enter it as your Userscripts ID in your MeFi profile.

World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft profiles are character and realm specific, so you'll need to specify the realm name and the character on that realm. To do that, find your character at World of Warcraft and note the URL. It should look like this:


Now that you have the URL, copy the realm and character name as it appears in the URL and paste it into your MetaFilter profile. You should have a something that looks like "realm/name". We need both pieces separated by a / to link to your WoW profile.

(tags: ) August 8, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

What is MeFi Mail?

MeFi Mail is a private messaging system for MetaFilter users which allows contact with users who may not have an email address in their profile. It is enabled by default but can be turned off in the profile editing area. Members can also opt to have these messages forward to their email address listed in their preferences. There is an envelope icon on the header bar of each page of MetaFilter, near your username. The envelope will show a red number (in the Modern them) or turn orange (in the Classic theme) when you have new unread messages. To check your MeFi Mail, click the envelope to visit your inbox.

To send someone MeFi Mail, go to their profile page by clicking their username. Members that have this option enabled will have a "send MeFi Mail" option visible on their profile page underneath their username which can be used to contact them.

Users can also opt to block MeFi Mail. Users who have blocked MeFi Mail cannot send or receive MeFi Mail and their profile page will say "MeFi Mail Disabled". To block all MeFi Mail in this way, go to your Profile editing page, and under Contact/Privacy Preferences, check "Opt-out of MeFi Mail". To block MeFi Mail only from a specific user, scroll to the bottom of a MeFi Mail from that user and click "Block this sender." If you have blocked a user and want to unblock them, you can do this from your contacts page at the bottom where it says "Manage blocked senders".

HTML cannot be used in MeFi Mail messages but URLs on a line by themselves will turn into hyperlinks. Banned or time-outed users cannot use or access MeFi Mail.

Unless you have specific permission, reposting someone's MeFi Mail is a violation of site guidelines. Do not use MeFi Mail to harass or stalk or spam other users. Abusing MeFi Mail in this way can result in your account being banned. Moderators can access MeFi Mail but will only do so in cases of harassment or spamming complains.

MeFi Mail is intended for basic conversation, not as a replacement for a full-fledged email system. For more extended or full-featured conversations, your best bet is to exchange email addresses with someone.
(tags: ) October 20, 2007 - permalink - back to questions

Why are you asking for my birthday?

This was a feature that some users had requested and it is totally optional. You can indicate your birthday [day/month/year or just year] and your age will appear on your profile to logged-in users. If you decide you no longer want to make your age/birthday visible you can revert to having no birthday showing. You can click on your birthday in your profile and see which members share your birthday.
(tags: ) April 10, 2008 - permalink - back to questions

How do I suggest a new online community/social site for the "also on" section of the profile page?

There is a page on the MetaFilter wiki called SocialStuffs which is where you can suggest a new social site. That page has additional information on the information that we need in order to add the site. We try to add a group of new sites every few months.
(tags: ) March 6, 2011 - permalink - back to questions

Why are you asking for my geographic coordinates?

It is entirely optional to give your geographic coordinates in your profile. If you give a longitude and latitude, you will be able to use certain features that are geolocation-based. These features include: seeing which other members live near you (you can specify a distance for "near"); getting a message if there is an In Real Life (IRL) meetup scheduled near you; seeing how far away from you each job posting is in Jobs. You can choose whether other members will also be able to see your location by selecting 'Available to Members' or 'Private' in the Geographic Coordinates section of your site preferences.
(tags: ) December 12, 2012 - permalink - back to questions