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LJ Advisory Update inre GENDER - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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LJ Advisory Update inre GENDER [Dec. 15th, 2009|10:09 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Hey folks,
Yesterday I got an email from a user saying there was a rumor that LJ was intending to make specifying gender on one's profile mandatory. Obviously there are various reasons why people either might not want that information known, or don't fit into one of the two categories commonly seen in such questions.

I wrote to LJ immediately asking about the rumor and advising that this wasn't a good idea without user input.

This morning I heard back with the Official Word and I'd be happy if you'd repost this or link to it to spread the news:

1) There are NO plans to make users specify gender in their profiles. The current options are "male/female/unspecified", this will remain.

2) The rumor started because on the current LJ BETA version (being tested now by some users) a programming error made the field mandatory, the same programming also broke profile editing. Users reported the bug to LJ and they are fixing the code along with other bugs people are discovering.

3) There will be a note with more details from the Customer Care team in the future.

4) That's all.

Thanks to everyone who emailed to let me know about this. If there are other questions or comments, please feel free to add them here and I'll pass everything along. I'm still working with LJ on the big status report but they're busy with the final software rollout for 2009, we'll have a meeting after that.

Your LJ user rep,


[User Picture]From: i_love_tazzus
2009-12-15 03:21 pm (UTC)
That's good to know. Never realized that this was an issue.
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[User Picture]From: tiny_little_dot
2009-12-15 03:26 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-12-15 03:27 pm (UTC)
Props for staying vigilant and fulfilling your role as LJ User Rep.
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From: themaskmaker
2009-12-15 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Kyle.
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[User Picture]From: vichan
2009-12-15 03:42 pm (UTC)
*thumbs up*

Thanks. :)
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[User Picture]From: katbcoll
2009-12-15 04:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I also reposted as I'm sure there's one lost soul on my flist who doesn't know about you being our user rep.
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[User Picture]From: muzikmaker21
2009-12-15 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update
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[User Picture]From: saraphina_marie
2009-12-15 05:22 pm (UTC)
I appreciate all the work you are doing for us, the LJ users!
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[User Picture]From: alienchrist
2009-12-15 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! You rock. :)
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[User Picture]From: monkeedreamer
2009-12-15 06:12 pm (UTC)
It seems as though they did some backpedaling on the issue, and most people over at sf_d aren't convinced that this isn't going to pop back up at a later date. =/
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[User Picture]From: trixieleitz
2009-12-15 07:05 pm (UTC)
If there are "no plans" to require a gender to be specified, why was the code even written? Much less get as far as beta testing?
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-12-15 07:09 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that the code exists now and always has. In your profile there's an option for "gender" with the options "male/female/unspecified" but the error made the field manditory, and also broke the editing feature.
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[User Picture]From: trixieleitz
2009-12-15 07:38 pm (UTC)

That sounds like a pretty obvious error. I'm genuinely surprised that it got through code reviews and as far as beta testing.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-12-15 07:52 pm (UTC)
The code is up in the changelog. The programmer who did it also misspelled "sign up". It sounds like a beta error to me.
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[User Picture]From: elionwyr
2009-12-15 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kyle!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-12-15 09:19 pm (UTC)
no problemo.
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From: the_xtina
2009-12-15 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have a question:

If this was just a bug that went through, removing the Unspecified option by accident, whence these lines of code?

+widget.createaccount.error.nogender=Gender must be specified.

+ $from_post{errors}->{gender} = $class->ml('widget.createaccount.error.nogender')
unless $post->{gender} =~ /^M|F$/;

I mean, are we talking a mental bug, where a programmer misunderstood requirements, and couldn't see an issue with M/F only?  Or other?  (Heh.)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-12-15 09:41 pm (UTC)
i don't know -- that may come out in the notice from lj. but it doesn't stretch my head to imagine someone saying to a 25 year old programmer from the burbs outside Murminsk "add gender to the signup process" and the programmer saying "okay, gender is male or female, I'll add that." To me, at the moment, it sounds more reasonable than a conspiracy to piss off a sizeable portion of the user base.

But in any event, it's not part of the release, that's what beta testing is for.
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[User Picture]From: foxfirefey
2009-12-16 10:27 pm (UTC)
I get kind of confused with all of the official responses talking about adding gender to the sign up process, since gender was already part of the sign up flow on the second page, along with the other more optional information like journal name, location, interests, bio, and a limited style selection.

The code changes moved it to the first page into a section containing other mandatory information, such as username, email, password, and birthday (for COPPA) resides.

Additionally, the added profile edit code could cope with an unspecified option ("U"), as if the programmer was recognizing that unspecified was an option likely to be encountered with current users who have not filled it in yet, but would not allow the user to save edits to their profile without selecting a M/F option.

While I could still see wanting it moved to the first page for increasing the chances it got filled in, it still feels a little weird that the official responses have been talking about adding it when it was already there.
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[User Picture]From: sidewinder
2009-12-15 11:55 pm (UTC)
Signal-boosted, thanks. Though fwiw, there's been a LOT of ire raised about this in some pro-dreamwidth/anti-LJ circles (like here) that LJ may want to really take seriously so they don't look so much like they're just backpedaling on the issue, by their responses so far.
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From: herbmcsidhe
2009-12-16 12:33 am (UTC)
Thank you, Kyle; I began looking for some confirmation on this, and your post came up in the results, providing exactly the information I needed.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-12-16 01:33 am (UTC)
you're welcome. glad the lj rep thing seems to be working.
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[User Picture]From: jassanja
2009-12-16 07:33 am (UTC)
How does it feel to be under contract to lie for LJ to the people that elected you?
Or are you really naive enough to believe all that LJ spin?

Rhetorical questions of course, but I find out that I preferred a silent user rep over one that has no problems to send out all the spin RP from LJ/ does not really research the claims from troubled users who have years and years of history in coding/reviewing/volunteering for LJ, and therefore know when something is a "bug" or just claimed to be "a bug"
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[User Picture]From: jassanja
2009-12-16 10:52 pm (UTC)
that comment was insult to injury
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[User Picture]From: sassycashew
2009-12-16 09:02 pm (UTC)
not related at all really, but I just wanted to let you know something. "Cake Wrecks" is another blog I love to read and she's started a donation program where she's getting her readers to deposit $1 a day into a nominated charity. It's going really well so far, with lots of $ being raised. I was wondering if your peeps from city kitties would like to be part of it? All you'd have to do is drop her a line (the website has a link) and leave their details.

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