Do private profiles cancel any possibility of giving real advice on a site like this one?

People could already use a symbolic user icon, be anonymous on every single question and answer (and many, maybe a majority of users, are in that category.)

Now with private profiles, we know absolutely nothing about the people asking for advice. If they use a gender neutral user name and icon, and don't post a picture, we don't even know their sex unless they clue us in by what they say in a question or answer, themselves.

I don't think I have to footnote the fact that in dealng any really sensitive or personal question, not knowing the first thing about the person asking the question means no one can really give worthwhile advice.

And given the trends, soon the majority, probably a big majority, of users will have private profiles.

My two cents is that the whole purpose of an advice site is defeated by this state of affairs, except for a relative few who won't go anonymous and private all the time.

Updates:
Before private profiles, unless the person was always anony, we could read their question and answers and, even if their profile didn't give any information on them, we could have some idea of what kind of person they were.

Private profiles cancel even that limited way of finding out who were talking to.
OK, I stand corrected, color coding means we can still know the gender, and we can still know the approximate age, though I think 18-24 is a pretty big range..

But consider the other side of it. Will people listen to answers from people that are anonymous or those with private profiles, who really may as well abe anonymous since we don't know a single thing about them, OTHER than their gender and approximate age?

AND we know many people falsify their age, it's routine, and maybe their sex

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Frankly I think the Anonymous option cancels out that possibility well enough (far more than Private Profile does). There's to many cowardly losers out there that hide behind that check box. At some point people should realize that if you feel embarrassed to say something, then maybe you should be reevaluating why you're saying/thinking it.

    The only time I've ever used the Anonymous cover was to give specific examples from my private life in regards to relationship history & sex. I'm not here to get into a relationship and so I feel no need to give people specific information about mine.

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    • Private profiles make all your answers and questions pretty much anonymous, if you have a symbolic avatar and a general sort of user name.

    • To me private profiles function similarly to walking around in real life. You may see someone doing something, but not know their name/anything else about them. If it's something particularly positive or negative, you'll probably remember that about them. Then, when you see them again, you're likely to recall what they did last time and respond accordingly. They're not immune to the concept of reputation.

      Anonymous people are like telemarketers. They can get away with doing/saying anything over the phone, because they know for a fact that if they put you through the worst telephone experience of your life, then bumped into you on the street, you'd have no idea it was them. There are no repercussions for their actions.

What Girls Said 11

  • I don't think having a private profile has anything to do with the type of advice someone gives. People don't need to go through all of my questions and answers, if I answer someone's question, either I gave good advice to them or I didn't, it has nothing to do with whether or not they can stalk through everything on my profile. Lol

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    • Profiles aren't there for stalking, it's so people can know something about you and give more appropriate advice.

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    • At least 80% of the questons are anonymous, you know, and how do you communicate with people who are anonymous, or who have private profiles, which amounts to almost the same thing.

    • You answer their questions, whether or not they are anonymous is irrelevant. You're still communicating with someone. Lol

  • I've never had to look at anyone's profile to answer their question or give them advice which I have done many times. That's the purpose of the detail and why they inform us after the title of the question. We don't need to know what they look like or any previous answers that they have given.

    The only time when this information is needed is when people ask questions like can you rate me or what country are you from which honestly doesn't have much to do with an advice site.

    But I do understand where you're coming from it is nice to know things about your fellow GAG members and be able to check out their profile and see what they have to say.

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    • You don't HAVE to look at the profile, but if you don't you aren't doing much more than guessing, since most people rarely give any background info about themselves in a question.
      Nor should they, that's what PROFILES ARE FOR.. Or used to be befoe there were private profiles

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    • Okay fine we can agree to disagree. However when you said "and don't post a picture" I think you're being hypocritical.

      I say this because yes you obviously have a profile picture, but it doesn't really tell us anything important other you like kittens, if that. It's not like we can see you and were not getting to know you more. You might as well just have kept one of GAGs original profile pics.

      I'm just saying you're trying to convince me that the profiles should be public and should inform/show everyone who we really are.

      You're basically just keeping your physical appearance private.

    • Physical appearance is the least important thing about a profile. There's plenty of valuable information about me there.

      And it's sure better than NOTHNG, which is where we are headed, since it looks to me as if pretty much everyone will soon have private profiles!

  • People could easily have a public profile and lie.

    Put it this way. I have a private profile. Would you trust me less than someone who's photo is an epileptic dog and is apparently 114? Just because I'm private?

    I'm private because back in the day it meant I couldn't be messaged. Which meant I wasn't sexually harassed constantly.

    Now it just means these creeps can't stalk my answers and questions and spam the crap out of me.

    Why exactly do you need to know my precise location and age? It's my decision if I disclose that information.

    Being private has absolutely nothing to do with the merit of answers. If anything I trust private profiles more because they care about keeping information safe and secure, which means they are aware of data protection and therefore not an idiot.

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    • Someone can still spam you, although ti's more difficult with a private profile, unless you always answer anonymously.

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    • Somehow I had that impression... see what I mean? Without a profile, we're blundering about in the dark, when answering any halfway serious question.

    • Yes but why does my nationality matter? It should be based off the advice I give for that question.

      Eg. I can share good advice on matters of... I don't know divorce. But if you ask me for accounting advice, I'm rubbish. So would you look at both of those and decide I was overall crap? No you would look at the quality of advice that I gave for that question.

      It doesn't matter if I'm white, black, Asian, transexual, gay, half rhino, it's what I say that should be looked at, not how many times I share or where I live.

  • Does it matter who we get advice from though? As long as it's not maliciously given, I'm usually not curious as to this person's credentials. Even the most seemingly public profile can be deceiving. Would you willingly take advice from someone younger? Maybe you would but other people look down on it. people on here get sooo ignorant. They will bombard you with harassing messages/insults if you just so happen to ask a personal question yet THEY get offended. The rudeness has caused so much privacy in profiles or anon answers/questions.

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  • You can size a user up by the type of opninions they offer, the manner of writing, and age ( at times).
    What they say carries more weight than their profile

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    • How do you size up their opinions, etc. if they have a private profile? You can't hunt through all the messages to check them out, can you?

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    • That's exactly my point. With all the anons and then private profiles, there may as well not even BE a friend request option on Gag. You still can't follow anyone's questions and answers, unless, which is unusual, they also friend request YOU>

    • Yea, I see what you mean.. It has become a lot more impersonal.
      Back in the day, there was always a certain group of users who hung to gether. Wrote funny posts or ganged up in each other

  • If you put it this way, then yes, private profiles take you some assets in helping a person, so you have to give a generally answer, who is not too good in some cases. I think some are just paranoid and hide their profiles. You can lie about everything here, and even if you set your profile private you can still lie about your age and gender. No idea why some people do this, anyway.

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    • Yes, without a public profile, it's even easier to lie about age and gender, because we can't read questions and answers that might and often DO give away the real age and gender!!!

    • And I forgot to add that there may as well not be a follow feature on Gag any longer, once nearly everyone has a private profile. You can't really follow nayone's questions even if they accept your follow request.

    • Yeah, that's right..

  • I agree. There really isn't a reason for the private profiles. I don't like the anonymous thing either. You don't have to put your real name up and you don't have to post a pic of yourself so unless you tell someone who you are there is no way for them to know. If the question is awkward or embarrassing then don't put up your real name and information of that nature.

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    • Yes, and the way it looks, virtually everyone will soon have a private profile.

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    • What I don't get is when the person goes anon and it isn't even a awkward or embarrassing question. Like do you like cookies? Anonymous Yes. WHAT? The private profiles are just to much. Either take them away or take away the anonymous option

    • Yes, I agree, NO need for two ways to be anonymous! But i'm not holding my breath.

  • You only know what people tell you online anyway and a lot of people are liars, so why does it matter lol

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    • I don't think that many people falsify their whole profile, Their age, sure, but not the rest, usually their info checks out over time.

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    • Bottom line here, the site was more fun without private profiles. Just another way for trolls to hide their tracks.

    • That's not actually the bottom line, maybe for you but for some people this isn't even an issue.

  • When I answer people's questions on here I don't read their profile first. I just read the question and then answer the question. I've never felt the need to know everything about someone in order to give advice.

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  • Not really, the old site had it. It was something I missed from the update. I still give the same advice I just like being able to control who sees my profile/sends me messages.

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    • I don't remember private profiles from the old site, pretty sure they didn't have them back then.

    • Yes they did. My profile was private On the old site it only became public when GaG updaed.

    • I sure don't remember them, there sure won't many. Now there are tons, most of the recently arrived seem to have them.

  • I don't think so.

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What Guys Said 9

  • dude what's wrong with you? you complain about many opinions per day, youcomplain about short answers, and now you complain about private profiles? why don't you enjoy GAG as it is?

    basically th main reason people go private is, to avoid CREEP messages... especially girls do that, in order to avoid creepers.

    where's the bad thing here?

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    • No need to have a private profile, since you have the option to accept messages only from people you have followed.. lot of people did that even before there were private profiles.

      Geez, you are on here 22 hours a day, and don't know basic stuff like that?

      I'm afraid the private profiles and anonymous functions will make everyone except self absorbed teens lose interest in the site, and it will become a 'take a selfie' playpen, not an advice site.

      Once that happens, no one over 17 will pay attention to the site any longer (ok, a few people with a 17 year old mentality..) and that will be the end of it, sooner or later. Advertisers aren't going to support a site that is interesting ONLY to teens who are sexually active.

  • I suspect most people using private profiles are more doing it for anti-messaging from men they don't know than any other reason. Perhaps that could be split into two settings.

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    • Hey, even without private profiles, you can block all messages from anyone you haven't followed!!!

  • I hear you dude, that's why I didn't go private, I want people to know who's giving them advice and it's easier if they have a face to put with that advice.
    I do listen sometimes to the anonymous advice if they have a good point, but it's nicer to know their exact age and their experience so a public profile would be better.

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    • Plus I get why some people do it, some of them ask a lot of questions that they probably feel embarrassed to ask, and there are a lot of under 18's on here asking questions about sex, and probably don't want their parents/friends finding out. What you post on the Internet is there forever. So I see why some people choose the anonymous route.

  • Just because a person's profile can't be traced back, doesn't mean that said person can't give good advice!

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  • no but having a button where people can constantly complain about how offensive what everyone else says is definitely detrimental to any real answers.

    being anonymous when you answer question might actually be helpful to ensuring you feel comfortable disclosing the truth.
    its like this scene from rubicon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjmpkXbk-Rs

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  • I don't trust private profiles or Anons.

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    • Here, here. Another way for trolls to hide their tracks.. and it isolates everyone from each other, totally defeating the whole purpose of am advice site.

      I'm afraid it will wind up being a teen scream 'take a selfie' site.. already part way down that road.

  • The gender is color coded, and you can see the age.

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    • Ok, we can know the approximate age and gender, but that's it. Everything else I said still applies.

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    • Lots of other info on profiles, such as ethnic background, country of origin, relationship historyif any, and a lot of other things that help you understand the person you are talking to.

      IF their profile is public. I'm pretty sure almost everyone will have a private profile before long.

    • People can lie about all that stuff, too.

  • maybe they're not here to give advice?

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    • Exactly, they're only to play Facebook and take selfies. I'm afraid the site is losing its character as an advice site, and becoming Facebook Midwest.

    • and? how people choose to use this place is up to them.

  • I feel you man. I never have and never will go anonymous or private. I want the people that im helping to be able to trust me!

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    • Well, that too. Will people listen to someone that they know absolutely nothing about? Personally, I don't listen closely to what anonys say.

      Thanks, we can add that to my question!

    • Well ill put my Skype on my profile so if people have doubts then they can hear my voice if they want to. But knowing by the nature of this site i doubt anyone will add me. But the opportunity will be there at least.

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