Should Topix Change 'Sign Up' Require...

Should Topix Change 'Sign Up' Requirements?

Posted in the Topix Forum

Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#1 Mar 21, 2013
To register for a Topix account and get a green profile, a user must give:

* Username
* Email Address
* Password
* Birthdate
* Gender
* Zip Code

And in Sign Up, a user is also given the option to have ads from "Topix Top Picks" sent directly to the email inbox.

BUT ...

Birthdate, Gender, and Zip Code seem to be there for marketing ads to users through "Topix Top Picks" and on-screen based on age, sex (male or female), and location. Topix already detects a user's ISP (Internet Service Provider) location regardless of being registered or not, and this is used for on-screen local ads unless the user is coming on to Topix via a proxy. In that case, it would be the locality of the proxy being used for said ads. Furthermore, if a user gives false information regarding those 3 items or uses a proxy during Sign Up, then it would seem that marketing those ads based on those 3 false items or a fake location detection hurts the businesses involved and they would therefore be wasting their advertising dollars.

Birthdate is required for COPPA verification that the user is at least 13 years old. But there are other websites that do not require it for such verification in their Sign Up. Furthermore, Topix only has a checkbox to confirm that users are over age 18 before allowing them to enter their mature adult Human Sexuality Forum. And users can enter a false Birthdate in Sign Up anyway.

SO ...

Should Birthdate, Gender, and Zip Code be made optional or perhaps not even included at all on the Sign Up page?

And here is a link to the Sign Up page:

http://www.topix.com/member/register

“In God we trust”

Level 7

Since: Dec 12

Cape Town, South Africa

#3 Mar 21, 2013
Unsigned Potential wrote:
To register for a Topix account and get a green profile, a user must give:
* Username
* Email Address
* Password
* Birthdate
* Gender
* Zip Code
And in Sign Up, a user is also given the option to have ads from "Topix Top Picks" sent directly to the email inbox.
BUT ...
Birthdate, Gender, and Zip Code seem to be there for marketing ads to users through "Topix Top Picks" and on-screen based on age, sex (male or female), and location. Topix already detects a user's ISP (Internet Service Provider) location regardless of being registered or not, and this is used for on-screen local ads unless the user is coming on to Topix via a proxy. In that case, it would be the locality of the proxy being used for said ads. Furthermore, if a user gives false information regarding those 3 items or uses a proxy during Sign Up, then it would seem that marketing those ads based on those 3 false items or a fake location detection hurts the businesses involved and they would therefore be wasting their advertising dollars.
Birthdate is required for COPPA verification that the user is at least 13 years old. But there are other websites that do not require it for such verification in their Sign Up. Furthermore, Topix only has a checkbox to confirm that users are over age 18 before allowing them to enter their mature adult Human Sexuality Forum. And users can enter a false Birthdate in Sign Up anyway.
SO ...
Should Birthdate, Gender, and Zip Code be made optional or perhaps not even included at all on the Sign Up page?
And here is a link to the Sign Up page:
http://www.topix.com/member/register
Topix doesn't realise that not everyone has a Zip code. Zip codes shouldn't be included.
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#4 Mar 22, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
NO.
When you enter another country you are liable for prosecution under the laws of that country.
There are many discussion forums. When you enter Topix you should either abide by Topix rules or at least learn what rules are to be followed and which ones to ignore - and conduct yourself accordingly.
Topix is not perfect. Ain't that the truth! But once you understand how it works you can either "fit in" or find somewhere else.
LOL!!! I've been thinking we greys are like undocumented residents on Topix and the greens are the citizens. Kind of like illegal aliens? Well, not illegal just by being grey. The illegals would be those hideous proxy trolls!

I think I went a little too in-depth with some of what I said. I might be off on the way Topix goes about doing the ads.

But Birthdate, Gender, and Zip Code seems irrelevant and useless data since not all people are probaly truthful on it. For example, the user who has many registered profiles probaly wouldn't keep giving the same info. That is, if the user didn't want Topix to put one and one together by grouping all profiles that match same Birthdate, Zip, Gender, and then realize (maybe based on posting habits) that one user has like 50+ of those things. But of course, Topix is probaly way too busy to worry about who is who on here unless they are going after bad trolls. Plus, I think Topix maybe can detect our Zip area by picking up on actual IP. And why would they care to know if I'm a girl or a boy?

And the COPPA Birthdate age verification thing. I recently looked at a Sign Up page for another website. It appears they only require a Username, Email, and Password. And use just those 3 items as user verification that they are at least 13 years of age. How can Topix or COPPA know if a user is giving the true Birthdate?

But it all comes down to honesty. For me, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't give my true info in Sign Up. Even if I wanted more than one registered profile. My conscience would eat at me. You know?

Topix rules. Do you mean the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and TOS (Terms Of Service)?
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#5 Mar 22, 2013
Carchar king wrote:
<quoted text>
Topix doesn't realise that not everyone has a Zip code. Zip codes shouldn't be included.
Are you saying some countries don't use Zip Codes? I did not know that.

I think it should just be Username, Email Address, and Password. That's enough right there.

The other stuff (Birthdate, Gender, Zip Code) can be optional for those who want "Topix Top Picks" ads.

You're registered. Can you please tell us how Topix uses a user's Email Address given in Sign Up? Do they send a verification of registration to it? If not, and if it is only for those who choose to receive "Topix Top Pick" ads, then maybe it should also be optional as well.

“In God we trust”

Level 7

Since: Dec 12

Cape Town, South Africa

#6 Mar 22, 2013
Unsigned Potential wrote:
<quoted text>
Are you saying some countries don't use Zip Codes? I did not know that.
I think it should just be Username, Email Address, and Password. That's enough right there.
The other stuff (Birthdate, Gender, Zip Code) can be optional for those who want "Topix Top Picks" ads.
You're registered. Can you please tell us how Topix uses a user's Email Address given in Sign Up? Do they send a verification of registration to it? If not, and if it is only for those who choose to receive "Topix Top Pick" ads, then maybe it should also be optional as well.
I don't have zips in my country, I have codes, which has less numbers than a Zip. But I know you don't have accept Topix top picks.
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#7 Mar 22, 2013
Carchar king wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't have zips in my country, I have codes, which has less numbers than a Zip. But I know you don't have accept Topix top picks.
Interesting.

So, when you signed up, did you leave the Zip field blank or did you put your code into it?
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#10 Mar 22, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
We don't have "zip codes" either. We have 5-number postal codes but they only apply to Sweden. We used to use an "S" (Sweden) prefix for international post but we don't do it any more. I don't remember what I wrote in the "zip field" or if I wrote anything at all.
Okay. So, you are also a green. I know in the U.S.A. they call it Zip or Zip Code. But it's 5-number postal codes as well. I never have registered. So, I don't know if every field is required. Perhaps, Gender and Zip maybe are not. But I'd say Birthdate probaly is because of the COPPA age thing. And Username and Password would have to be a requirement. But maybe Email Address is not if it is not used to send a welcome verification that the registeration has gone through. Do the Swiss Alps look lovely at this time of year? Or is that Switzerland? Sorry. I'm thinking it's Sweden. I still see no reason why they have to ask for Birthdate, Gender, and Zip. Seems to me they could just trust that the user is at least 13. Or put in a check box saying click here if you are at least 13 like they do on their Human Sexuality Forum to verify age 18. But rules are rules, as you say. They are nice not to get too personal. If they wanted, they could ask for full name and home address.
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#12 Mar 25, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
My advice is if you don't want to answer certain questions, then don't. If it's a "must answer" question then try lying. I don't think that you can lie about your e-post address however because it is normal for such internet member sites to send your membership request to the address you submit and you will not be allowed membership if you do not reply to that request notification. Naturally, if they send it to a phoney address .... then you'll never even see it.
I don't know how much the Topix administration can be trusted but they claim that your personal info is confidential - as far as other members having access to it. I think you're given a choice if you want your info to be secret or not. Note that if you engage in criminal activities then you can expect NOTHING to be "secret".
People from Switzerland are "Swiss", that includes the part of the Alps that are in Switzerland.
We in Sweden are "Swedish". We are a long distance from Switzerland. Try a map.
I DON'T MIND GIVING THE INFO OUT. I'VE GOT NOTHING TO HIDE. I WANT TO BE HONEST AND PLAY BY THE RULES.

It just doesn't make sense to me that these kind of questions are there on any website's sign up page in the first place. By signing up, we are not filling out birth certificates or applying for citizenship or any serious stuff like that. So why ask for Birthdate, Gender, and Zip? Gosh!

If Birthdate is there to prevent Topix from getting into any trouble with the danger of allowing any registered user under 13 to make a post, then why allow any unregistered user to make a post without first verifying age?

And does asking whether your a male or a female serve any real purpose?

And Zip or postal. Why not just ask for Country?

I believe all this info (Birthdate, Gender, ZIp) serves simply only to market ads at the user. Hence, "Topix Top Picks" for LOCAL sales ads.

Try a map. LOL!! Good one. I want to learn Google Earth so I can zoom down on worldwide locations.

Level 9

Since: Jan 08

Location hidden

#14 Mar 25, 2013
no gray boxers
How About

San Jose, CA

#16 Mar 26, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
no hidden locations
Hidden locations aren't so much an issue. SOCKS and PROXIES are a problem. It's a skill a minority have out here to work around all the things the majority of folks know nothing of.

Since we can't count on the integrity of all people, Topix seriously needs to act in our behalf and HIRE MORE EMPLOYEES to help monitor these sites and implement changes that will benefit all. Sure it will affect their bottom dollar for a bit, but in the long run it will no longer be a factor.
How About

San Jose, CA

#18 Mar 26, 2013
Force I should not have made that post in reply to you, but instead made it stand on it's own. I appreciate and agree with your feedback though.
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#24 Mar 27, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with that.
<quoted text>
Good question. A very good question.
<quoted text>
Uhhhhhh .......... see your next statement.
<quoted text>
I'm sure of it. But this is a "free" discussion forum so I guess we can accept it, no?
<quoted text>
Those satellite maps can be fun. Many years ago I lived in the U.S. I found a satellite map once and started to play around with it ....... I actually zoomed in on the very house I lived in!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. I could see the house from 3 different angles!
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with that.
<quoted text>
Good question. A very good question.
<quoted text>
Uhhhhhh .......... see your next statement.
<quoted text>
I'm sure of it. But this is a "free" discussion forum so I guess we can accept it, no?
<quoted text>
Those satellite maps can be fun. Many years ago I lived in the U.S. I found a satellite map once and started to play around with it ....... I actually zoomed in on the very house I lived in!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. I could see the house from 3 different angles!
Topix deserves some sort of recognition or an award for being the one social site that allows anyone and everyone to post. Whether unregistered or not. And all for free. Thanks to the ones who started it all, the ones who run the site, and to all the employees. Especially the moderators. I don't know of all the other social sites that provide a forum. There is Facebook, of course. But they obvioulsly don't allow unregistered postings. Topix is probaly #1 in regard to this. Giving honor where honor is due.

I really don't mind if they use Birthdate, Gender, and Zip to advertize based on age, sex (male or female), and location. If that was the only reason. And of course another good reason would be to require it to discourage people from stalking and harassing others. But would you agree that the more all websites -- e-mail providers, social sites, whatever -- get more personal, it almost seems like we are being grouped together and branded like cattle?

Or maybe Topix requires full Birthdate because they want it to be beyond a doubt that they tried their very best to ascertain the user's age should any unforseen incident happen -- like, for example, if a 12 year old kid got trolled by a bully adult. That would make sense. Maybe that's it. And Topix probaly wouldn't care if the same user had however many profiles all registered under the same Birthdate, Gender, and Zip. At least they would be dealing with an honest user.

Yeah. They could just ask for country in the sign up. Especially since they obviously have something in place that lets them detect ISP whereabouts regardless. The place we automatically show up when "first" coming to the Topix site. The forum for our Local News. I guess that a proxy or software or whatever other ways to mask and hide location would send someone to a different one. I don't know.

And on the location that shows in posts. I seem to recall reading on another thread where a user commented that Topix may do this for the local ads. So advertisers could get a look and a feel for where posts are coming from and then send on-screen ads. Maybe it's not so much to make bad trolls afraid to post their location.

I think Google Earth is free. Something that could let me go in close like you described would be nice. It would give me a chance to see the world. I would love zoom in and see the beautiful sites of Europe and other places. The Coliseum of Rome. The Eiffel Tower of Paris. The Swiss Alps. And so much more. Seeing how I may never actually get to go to those places.
Unsigned Potential

Columbus, OH

#26 Apr 1, 2013
Force Majeure wrote:
<quoted text>
I am not completely satisfied with Topix' unwillingness to control certain aspects of "bullying" and "personal insults/slander". I have gotten warnings and have become grey-boxed for a trivial thing yet other posters are still here "registered" after calling my wife a whore ..... and worse. Not fair. But Topix is a private thing and I guess the moderators have their favourite "buddies" (probably themselves) who can get away with almost anything. Topix ought to display a flashing notice: SENSITIVE PERSONS BE WARNED! However, being now grey-boxed I can say what I like without the same restraint as I had before. It's not an ideal situation ..... but it's free!
I just went into Google maps .....
https://maps.google.se/
..... to look at my wife's home town in Slovakia. Wow! It has been updated since the last time I looked! I can see her flat from many different angles and "close ups"! Simpy amazing!
Thanks for the link.

So, you're green profile was banned. Why not just sign up again under a different user name?

Yeah. When I first came to Topix I noticed what seemed to be the harmless posts being removed and what you call the "bullying" and "personal insults/slander" being left on. Sorry to hear that about your wife. Hopefully, those posters involved will feel convicted and apologize. I once posted that my baby infant cousin died and got treated horrible. I don't know if the posters thought I was lying or just after attention or what. But it really hurt. It was the truth. Some comments were kind though. Looking back, I guess I should've been careful about posting something so personal and sensitive like that. And then there are posters who are so trusting that they post their real full names. That seems dangerous, based on the way people have claimed to have been awfully trolled on this site.

BUT I was not completely innocent in my behavior when I first came to Topix. I made some childish posts on some silly threads. Who hasn't? They were just funny things (maybe what you call trivial), in my opinion. Not personal attacks. I also got into heated arguments on some subjects. But I did apologize and hopefully have been forgiven.

PERHAPS this could be why I am reluctant to sign up and give that personal info of Birthdate, Gender, and Zip (Postal). I have read that just by giving E-mail Address, there are websites people can use if they want to identify that email account's registered user full name. The big E-mail account providers (Yahoo!, AOL, Gmail for example) all do require a Full Name, Birthdate, and Gender. There would be matching info eith Topix registeration fields. I highly doubt it if Topix even cares about silly posts of my past and they were probaly never even taken seriously by the Topix Moderators. That is, even if the Mods noticed them at all. And I highly doubt it if Topix would take it upon themselves to waste the time to identify me for real. I think they only go that far and seek to identify and locate a poster involved in very serious threatening stuff involving stalking and harrassing. I just kind of let the possibility get the best of me. I know I'm probaly being stupid and missing out on the whole registered experience. Can you provide any guidance on this?

I do think that maybe, other than ads based on age, Topix probaly requires the complete Birthdate for COPPA so that Topix can say they really tried to go the extra mile in making sure a user is the appropriate age to register. Probaly a good thing. But it does feel somewhat personally intrusive.

Today is April 1st. April Fool's Day. Is it recognized in Sweden?
yeaah

United States

#27 Jun 8, 2013
ahaha

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