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There is a restriction on setting your birthday:

Oops! There was a problem updating your profile:
- Birthday must be after 1920/01/01

I realize the number of 90 year old users is small, but shouldn't the restriction be a bit more relaxed, such as larger than any known living person? Either 120 or 150 seems appropriate.

For example, my grandfather turns 90 next year (and just barely misses the current cutoff), but I can't imagine he's the only one around that age who is computer literate and still active enough to be interested in (the increasingly broad range of) SE sites. I don't think he has contributed yet (mostly because of the comment restriction, I'd see him commenting before asking or answering), but I have emailed him with links that I know he's read.

Incidentally, the error message is wrong: birthday must be after 1919/12/31 and using the next day is accepted.

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How many 90yo grandmothers would love to contribute to Food and Cooking? :) –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 0:13
+1, I just noticed this this week when I changed my SE age to a wildly incorrect value. –  Pops Oct 2 '10 at 0:52
I was about to complain about that. –  quantumSoup Oct 2 '10 at 1:06
I don't think there are anyone at 90's. And if there are, there is a link on the bottom of the site feedback always welcome where those users could ask for it. I just don't think there are people of this age. There will no harm in increasing this to 100 or a bit more, but it sounds pointless. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 1:48
@Bruno: Nope, once you hit 90 you die. No one lives past that age. I myself run a store that requires the elderly to request special permission (and I always welcome feedback!), and so far haven't had any complaints. –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 1:54
Do you know what context means? I'm not joking. They can just check the database the ages of everyone. I bet there might be almost none, or none above 80 or 70. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:02
@Bruno: There is no one in the database with an age over 90: it's not allowed! No, I do not know why you used code markup for "context." –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 2:06
Can't you read? I said 80 or 70. Not 90. By context I mean that I'm talking about the site, no real life. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:09
@Bruno So I don't exist? –  quantumSoup Oct 2 '10 at 2:14
@quantum: Again, I'm talking about SO. If you are really over 90 you should be the one to make this feature request. The OP is just complaining on something that might not exist since there isn't a feature request from someone over 90. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:17
@BrunoLM See this : odata.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/s/558/the-elders There is clearly a sizeable amount of seniors on this site –  quantumSoup Oct 2 '10 at 2:21
If by any reason you don't feel comfortable in telling your age you can email the team team@stackoverflow.com (email available on contact us) explaining whats going on and asking for this feature. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:22
@Bruno This is exactly what this feature request is about –  quantumSoup Oct 2 '10 at 2:23
@quantumSoup: I see so I might be wrong. But most of them seem to be "unset"/fake ages. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:26
@Holy If I recall correctly, there was a time in the past where there was no age restrictions, and as you can see from his low user number, he's been here practically since the beginning –  Jared Harley Oct 2 '10 at 6:24
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8 Answers 8

Not only the limit is too strict but it's also very insulting to the more elderly people.

Who are you to say that a 90 year old man or woman is too old to use the internet?

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I don't think they meant to say that and I don't think they are saying that. There is a open feedback (here) where if anyone is over 90 they could just ask this feature request. The OP doesn't seem to be over 90, he is just complaining of something that has no demand at all. –  BrunoLM Oct 2 '10 at 2:14
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Oldest documented living person is 122. Therefore lets make the age limit 130 or so to leave room for improvement?

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I don't know if the date is hardcoded (e.g. 90 today, 91 next year, ...) or rolling. In the latter case, using 130 would be more significant. –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 0:46
The oldest currently living people are much younger, at 116, according to the same article you cited, so 120 will be a good cut-off age for at least another 3-4 years. –  trysis 12 hours ago
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I agree.

I don't see any benefit of this restriction and I presume that it would be trivial to change.

It just seems like causual ageism from young programmers that cannot possibly countenance that anyone of advanced years might be a productive user of the internet.

Googling "Oldest Twitter User" finds an article about a 104 year old user for example.

Whilst perhaps StackOverflow would be unlikely to attract many of this older demographic there are many other StackExchange sites now than when this was first instituted.

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It should be at least 180 to accommodate Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth. Huzzah!

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Yup, this is why my profile says I am 9 -- because on the day I registered, I picked the latest birthday the system would let me pick (which was 8 years after that date). I'd rather the system accept any date between 1850 and today -- why be so artificially strict?

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Why set a restriction at all?

The only restriction that makes sense to me is the "over 13" rule, for the reasons cited in this question.

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Though I agree in principle, there's a chance of catching typos (and thus improving user experience) by rejecting impossible answers. Even so, I'd rather have no limit and lose that minor improvement than exclude real users. –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 1:01
@Roger I could understand catching typos if there was some reason for needing my age, but it's not a required field, and the only thing it does is provide a statistical point for people playing with Data Explorer –  Jared Harley Oct 2 '10 at 1:09
The purpose is in being information I choose to share with others on the site. If it's wrong and the site can tell me that, I'd like to know about it. It's hard to quantify this purpose (of sharing the information with the community), but I'd like to think it's more important than those playing with SEDE. –  Gnome Oct 2 '10 at 1:13
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According to recent population estimates by the U.S Census Bureau, there were 510,773 people above the age of 94 living in the U.S in 2013.

So it seems that Stack Exchange may have missed a key demographic when they set the birthdate limitation. It feels wrong to deny our elders the ability to ask questions, just like the rest of us.

I'm Santa, so I'm pretty old (1,744 years to be exact), but I still have questions. I feel like a liar not being able to put my correct birthdate of 244 AD into my Stack Overflow profile.

I'd hate to have to put any Stack Exchange associates on my naughty list, but I'll do what I have to do.

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Have I missed a fun tag here? (and the first link is kind of broken, the page just show this and never show any real content) –  Shadow Wizard 10 hours ago
@ShadowWizard It takes quite a bit of time to load. Give it 10 minutes and it should load. –  Santa Claus 6 hours ago
Well, at least not 6-8 weeks –  Shadow Wizard 5 hours ago
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I agree. I just don't think there is real demand. Even if there is it doesn't matter. IMO this could be changed to allow real demand and to avoid further complains.

Checking the average age on SO I got 29. Being the youngest 2 years old and the oldest 257 years old.

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