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We are currently in the process of rethinking this page, and one of the goals is to make it much easier to do the first one or two most common actions on this page.

I've been doing quite a bit of research, so I have a decent idea of what these might be, but I would very much appreciate any ideas.

Please only answer if you visit the user profile page during a significant percent of your visits. If you visit once a month, you're not our target audience.

Also, please feel free to throw your random gripes in the comments.

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21  
You're changing the page again? But seriously, I like it as it is. –  slhck Jun 26 '13 at 20:46
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@slhck You don't think there's anything to improve? –  Jeremy T Jun 26 '13 at 20:48
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Why not rub a bit of love into the tag pages (tag synonyms esp.) instead? The profile page still seems fresh (and I like it too). –  Mat Jun 26 '13 at 20:48
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Related: New user profile - revert to simpler design in first tab (If I wrote it today, I'd put it differently though, like "can there be a separate, public profile page that looks nicer than the 'internal' one that I use for my own purposes?") –  Pëkka Jun 26 '13 at 20:49
15  
Mostly it's to check the user's skin color so I know how to vote on their posts –  Michael Mrozek Jun 26 '13 at 20:51
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Please make sure nobody messes with the profile home page link hidden feature. kthxbye –  Chris W. Rea Jun 26 '13 at 20:53
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I actually agree that it's pretty easy-to-use as it is. I'd be perfectly happy if it didn't change, but I trust you guys that whatever changes you make will only improve matters :) Would you mind elaborating on what specific elements made you think it needed a redesign? Or do you just not like it overall? –  WendiKidd Jun 26 '13 at 20:58
    
My own page or other users' pages? –  Josh Caswell Jun 26 '13 at 21:03
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Should answers here be CW? –  American Luke Jun 26 '13 at 21:20
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@Luke Why? They're not collaboratively edited. –  Anna Lear Jun 26 '13 at 21:41
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One thing to add... although meta is a good place to easily garner feedback the normal user is far more likely to be a high-volume user... not sure how you can get the opinions of the tens of thousands more with 500 but if someone from that rep bracket answers it might be worth paying more attention to them (they'll obviously get everything wrong as they won't want what I do but still...) –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 26 '13 at 21:47
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@AnnaLear Because it's a rather subjective what-do-you-think type question, almost a poll. –  American Luke Jun 26 '13 at 21:48
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@Luke That's not what community wiki is for. :) Also, welcome to meta where discussions are pretty common and not necessarily subject to the same standards as the main sites. –  Anna Lear Jun 26 '13 at 21:50
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This is all I really need. –  mmyers Jun 26 '13 at 22:03
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I agree with @slhck, I think I'd be most annoyed if anything changed drastically at this point, since I find the current layout pretty usable. The only weird thing about viewing your own profile is that the summary has a box for bounties (which no one really cares about), but nothing for activity/responses, which is far more useful. –  Tim Stone Jun 27 '13 at 2:52

21 Answers 21

On my own profile

  • Reputation (or to keep track of how my posts are being received)
  • Finding a recent post or comment of mine
  • Quickly getting to my account on another site (I have a script that adds the accounts tab back)
  • If not a moderator, I probably would be checking my flag history. Constantly.

As a moderator, on other profiles:

  • Looking at recent responses, comments, and/or posts (sometimes other activity, but these are the most common)
  • Flag history
  • Mod menu and all the magic it contains. Also the juicy private information (IPs, emails)

While stalking other profiles (non-moderation related):

  • Sometimes I need/want to get the account of user X on site Y, especially when I come from chat and the parent user is not on the site I want. (this can be in the context of moderation too)
  • Looking at rep, questions, answers, and the aboutme. Sometimes looking for good stuff, sometimes just bored.
  • If I find someone who writes good answers I tend to look for a blog

What would I like?

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4  
Oh, I forgot about getting to your account on another site! That's actually probably what I do most often, it's just so second-nature I didn't think to add it to my answer. +1 –  WendiKidd Jun 26 '13 at 20:56
    
@WendiKidd stackapps.com/questions/3303/bring-back-the-accounts-tab :) The tab is just a link, though. –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 20:59
    
This and I use my comment history to find boilerplate comments when I'm too lazy to write a unique comment. –  American Luke Jun 26 '13 at 21:25
    
@Luke I use mod>info>comments, because I get the plaintext directly from there :) [and there are more comments per page) –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 21:26
    
@Manishearth I do that where I'm a mod, but I'm not a mod everwhere :P –  American Luke Jun 26 '13 at 21:29
    
@Luke Well, the only place I use boilerplates is Phys and Chem :) –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 21:29
    
+1 for the "Link to chat profile" –  Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 26 '13 at 21:41
    
@Manishearth any reason you don't use the supercollider for switching between sites? –  Jeremy T Jun 26 '13 at 22:59
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@JeremyTunnell That's when I want to visit a site. (I even have a script that lets me filter the supercollider as I type) This is for visiting my profile on another site (to get to a recent question by me, etc). It takes about the same amount of time for me; less if I use middle-click and scroll-to-switch-tabs. –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 23:10
    
The supercollider takes time to load (not much though), and I personally the non-AJAX way :) –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 23:11
    
@JeremyTunnell There's so many sites in the supercollider, if I'm going to a site where I don't have an account, it's useless. I have too scroll through it several times before I find the site I'm looking for. I just go to stackexchange.com/sites and hit Ctrl + F. –  American Luke Jun 27 '13 at 0:41
    
@Luke Yep, that too. Though fortunately they're sorted by rep in the supercollider. Also, I use: stackapps.com/questions/3513/… –  Manishearth Jun 27 '13 at 5:19

I use my profile page to find posts:

  • Posts I've commented on as new users often don't @reply
  • Posts I've reviewed and decided I was harsh, or lenient, or had an idea that might help
  • Posts I've voted to close to see if the OP has changed anything
  • Posts I've downvoted to see if the OP has changed anything
  • Posts I've written so I can vote to close as a duplicate
  • Posts I've written so that I can provide some extra information in a comment or answer
  • Occasional tag badge progress checking :-).

The page I spend most time on is Activity -> Comments. I don't mind it. The best feature you could implement would be a way to search comments.

Please do not add a "recent activity" list, it couldn't be big enough to be of use to me. I'd prefer the activity tabs were extended to have more records so I don't have to flick through the pages so often. Maybe remove pagination entirely :-)?

P.S. If you can see your way to including comments/votes etc on deleted posts that would be fantastic.

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  1. Why did my reputation change by this number?
  2. Are my flags being seen as helpful?

A very distant third is can I find my way back to an old question/answer of mine.

Also, as part of my inner badge junkie bursting through:

  • To check consecutive days for fanatic
  • To see which posts are close to nice/good/great badges (and to stare at them in frustration and considering reading up on Jedi mind control to encourage further votes.)

And finally, thinking about why I look at other users pages

  • To wield the mod-hammer (though these workflows are quite simple and nice to use already, I wouldn't tinker with them too much)
  • To have a quick glance at the user's other posts, esp. for quality control (though occasionally for interest and to reward other good answers)
  • Very quick glances at IP addresses and emails to check for suspicious activity without going into the full details of the mod tools
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4  
Along with "Why did my reputation change by this number?", Freaking tell me when a mod decides to delete something of mine! Gah! –  Joe Frambach Jun 26 '13 at 21:33

I visit that page a lot - mine and other people's - so I'm gonna assume I'm in the target audience here...

...And my primary use is viewing recent questions and answers. Yeah, that's boring. But it's almost always where I go first, particularly on other people's profiles - even if that's not my primary reason for viewing the profile in the first place!

Second would probably be top-voted Q&A.

After that, it's a real mixed bag. I'm a native stack overflowian - I use all parts of the user.

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I use my own profile page on a regular basis for:

  • Changes: rep changes (which questions/answers generated them? how much?), responses, flags
  • Access: specific answers, maybe via the answer list or maybe via the tag link
  • Actvity: if I left a comment asking for more info, I'll use the link here to check (since people don't always ping)

I use others' profiles for:

  • Last seen: do I think I'll get a response if I ask him to improve something?
  • Getting a sense of the types of posts they make and how they're received
  • Sometimes ditto for comments; if a user stands out (in either direction) I may check out what else he's talking about
  • Links to their accounts on other sites (where else is this person active? how much?)

Things I would like to see:

  • Link to chat profile (for all users)
  • Ability to mark certain responses as unread so I can easily come back to them later
  • Some way to easily check what new flag responses I've gotten since last time, so I don't have to try to remember if the number changed (and even if it didn't, I don't know if that's "declined" or "not yet acted on" unless I click through)
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The new flag responses thing is something I forgot about, and quite important imo. Also the "mark unread" would be nice :) –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 21:29

My five top uses for my profile are:

  1. How has my rep changed since I was on last? Why? What did I say there?
  2. Where's that comment I made the other day?
    • I want to see if the Q/A got edited since I made the comment,
    • or check how the debate's going if it's meta.
  3. What's going on in my favourites?
    Irritatingly unhelpful: a number isn't very informative, the highlighting is too subtle, there's too much clicking to find out ans when I click through it's often not obvious what's changed.
  4. Did that flag get acted on?
    Irritating: I don't trust this to show me all my flags; it seems there's no flag if there's no news. I'd rather it listed the flag and labelled it "pending moderator review" or similar.
  5. (I can't be bothered to type user:me in the search box, so click in my profile first to find something I posted or a dupe I worked on to link to.)

My top uses for other people's profile are:

  1. Has this person been on since I @notified them?
  2. On meta, follow them to their other account to nosey at the questions they were complaining about treatment on.
  3. Find other good answers/questions by this person.
  4. Seeing what tags a user is active on.
  5. Verifying that the closevoter has no experience on the tag and just doesn't understand, or that they ought to know better.

I find the summary page very useful for that stuff.

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I'm kind of shocked that the Favorites tab isn't mentioned very often, because that's something that could use some love.

I use my profile page for the usual suspects - reputation, posts I've commented on, looking at badges, but I want to use the Favorites aspect more. Right now, it's a list of stuff that I have to ceaselessly click through in order to see anything useful or usable - it'd be nice if that had a search feature on it.

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I use my user profile page to check up on how I did, what I often do is:

  • Check if I have any new declined flags and why

  • Check out if I got any responses on my last comments, (especially those that did not ping me directly) and if they were upvoted

  • Check up on answers I gave to questions that were not accepted yet, but no other answer was accepted either to see if the question was updated.

These are all things that take too long right now at the moment, especially responses on comments which requires me to go to activity, select comments and check each question manually.

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These are things that bother me in my page by the way, in case that was not clear. –  Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 26 '13 at 20:52

I like the way the Stack Overflow Careers profile page lets one highlight one's own "Top Answers" from the various sites in the Stack Exchange network.

How about a similar area on the individual Stack Exchange site user profile page where we can feature or highlight a handful of our own top questions & answers right on that site? I know there's the "Favorites" section, but I use favorites for remembering other folks' questions I might want to visit again.

Anybody who visits my profile page today can see my hundreds of posts, sort them by votes, newest, etc. but I'd like a place where I could curate and say "These are the posts I'm particularly proud of."

Also, how about adding the "views" sort option to the answers tab? We can sort questions by # of views, but not answers. Would be nice to see which answers might get eyeballed the most. I'm aware the count might be off if only stored on the owning question (consider a recent/late answer on an older popular question), but it is still a useful metric to know which answers are most likely to be seen.

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A "click to call" button along with requiring all accounts with close privileges to have a working phone number attached to their profile.

Many times when you see that your question has been put on hold into close toward deletion you want to contact the close voters and tell them where they have erred.

Since private messaging is out and email is too open to abuse, it would be nice to have a direct line to their ear, or voicemail, so that we may more easily contact these wrongful users.

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Is this a reference to something? –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 26 '13 at 20:59
    
It is a reference to the question asking for primary use cases, yes –  random Jun 26 '13 at 21:01
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Integrating punch-a-user might be a good-enough substitute if this fails to get included. –  Mat Jun 26 '13 at 21:02
    
There would have to be a central, toll-free relay so everybody gets a chance to call. What about Skype? –  Pëkka Jun 26 '13 at 21:24
    
@Pekka웃 Or we can just rehire rchern –  Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 21:37
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How does this only have 3 upvotes? I thought it was funny. –  WendiKidd Jun 27 '13 at 1:27

I routinely look at my own profile upon logging in. I am looking for:

  • new up/down votes on my answers
  • comment replies
  • new posts to my favorite questions

In that order. I know that comment replies are shown as a notification, but I generally ignore that until after I've looked at my profile.

That said -- I am very satisfied with the way it looks & works right now. I both fear and loathe change.

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As a user, looking at my own profile:

  1. Check my reputation tab to see where recent rep changes came from.
  2. Find an old question/answer I'm looking for.
  3. Check how many consecutive days I have on a site (I'm always forgetting about the 100 days badge!)

As a moderator, looking at other users' profiles:

  1. Skim through questions and answers to see if there's consistent action or if the incident I'm investigating is a one-off.
  2. Check the activity tab (mostly for checking out recent edits).
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When you say "as a moderator", do you mean when you're inspecting other users' profiles? –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 26 '13 at 20:58
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn Yes--let me edit. –  WendiKidd Jun 26 '13 at 20:59

For my profile

  1. Too see an overview of all my accounts
  2. To look at my charming avatar
  3. To see reputation changes and updates from questions I had favored

For other peoples profiles

  1. Reading bios
  2. Looking at most upvoted questions/answers
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I second this. I visit user profiles very often, and I find that the user biography and the top questions/answers are very useful for identifying what skills a person has. –  Mysticial Jun 26 '13 at 22:20

I visit my own profile at least once (usually several times) every time I get on an SE site. This is almost always SO, but I'll check my profile on every site where I've an account when I visit. I'll check in at least four times a week, usually five or six. My most common actions, in descending order of frequency:

  • Check flagging results. By a vast margin, this is what I use my profile for most often.
  • Examine details of reputation changes. I would do this much more frequently if my reputation volatility were high.
  • Look up comments which have pinged me. This is often a result of seeing only a partial comment in the notification area.
  • Search for a particular question, edit, answer, or comment I've made.
  • Check suggested edit results, when I have < 2000 rep. This is generally used only if one is rejected, which is a rarity. If I had more rejected suggested edits, I would check it much more frequently.

On someone else's profile:

  • Examine their questions, answers, or activity history. This is usually done to check if they've posted duplicate questions, or to get a sense of their general writing style and asking/answering abilities.
  • Look up contact information.
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I never use my profile to investigate my recent rep changes. I use the dropdown that appears when I hover over my name. I also never click the "see your profile" links in the notification part of the super collider about new badges, though I may click the link on the question.

I use my own profile for "I think I asked/answered/commented on that recently" to get a link that I can then use in a comment or answer, or to close something as a dupe. I also use it to check up on a flag that I might remember casting (typically not on SO but on lower volume sites.)

I like the big graph-of-everything, so I often use my own profile on any random site as a way to get to my network profile and look at the graph.

I use other people's profiles most often from meta when they post a vague question complaining about what happened to one of their questions but without any links - meta profile, SO or whatever profile, look through questions and figure out what happened. I rarely use them for any other purpose. I try to interact with questions and answers as content and not too much as products of actual people. The exception is people who have built up a virtual profile in my head from their questions and answers - I rarely supplement that profile with looking at their online one. Occasionally I will check for a twitter handle or other contact method - but that's perhaps once a year.

I don't think of the current profile as broken and wouldn't want to see it change much. I think people vary so widely in what they want that the best approach is to provide lots of it and let us choose. The one exception would be the paging behaviour on the lists of questions and answers. If you page through to page 7, click a link because you think you've found what you want, then click back - you're on page 1 again. I dislike that.

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  • Reputation Details

  • Use Favorites to find post I need

  • Check on bounties I have out there

I use other features, but not so much.

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The only thing it's good for is finding my most recent questions/answers to see what's happened.

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Stuff I do on my profile, in order of how much I do it:

  1. Check rep changes
  2. See my questions and answers
  3. Review recent flags
  4. Find my Stack Exchange profile page or one of my accounts on another site
  5. See recent activity
  6. Find one of my favorites
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I use the profile page all the time, mostly as a navigation shortcut and 'aide memoire' to previous comments and answers. I would be lost without it. The more 'aide memoire' content you can add to the profile page, the better it will be for me.

Although it's not in keeping with the current regime, I'll fess up and confess that I will check an OP's acceptance history before I compose a lengthy response or to skip it and move on. Once I post an answer, I'll check their last active date to see if they got it.

A special case for Jon Skeet and Eric Lippert: I go to their profile pages every day to see what new goodies are available in their most recent answers. It's great for that purpose!

I would like the opportunity to 'disappear' the LEGO association on my page. That LEGO question had to do with my son's Christmas present and I worry that someone might think I'm a LEGO freak. So that's a change I would endorse immediately. A checkbox to share a particular association or not?

Overall, whatever you do is fine with me. I know lots of people on Facebook flip out when the page changes, but I like to think SO is a collection of adults who can brass it out and get on with it.

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Maybe a recent activity feed including questions answers comments, upvotes, accepted answers both from and for you. I know it sounds facebooky but I currently have trouble getting back to threads that I commented on.

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I'm suggesting putting that on the main profile page @benisuǝqbackwards –  Stephan Jun 26 '13 at 21:14
    
Oops, yes sorry... forget the point of the question. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 26 '13 at 21:19

The one suggestion I have is to add a single page to see new feedback from others.

Currently, you have to look for comments, edits and votes in different places.

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