I would like the Autobiographer badge, but I don't want to put my age on my profile. I think asking for your age is just a little too personal to have on a programming / IT / computer website. At least make it optional for the Autobiographer badge.

  • 32
    Put in any age, get the badge, remove the age. Profit. Jul 27, 2009 at 21:11
  • 13
    You forgot the ???? step.
    – DeadHead
    Jul 27, 2009 at 22:16
  • haha @DeadHead I was thinking the same :)
    – fretje
    Jul 28, 2009 at 10:12
  • I did what Ian describes when I first got on SO, but I eventually lost the badge. It may behave differently now, however.
    – raven
    Jul 30, 2009 at 20:43
  • 1
    @raven - I think you have to keep your fake age. :(
    – deleted
    Jul 30, 2009 at 21:16
  • 1
    Out of curiosity, is it possible to search for the oldest users? (Not as in meta.stackoverflow.com/users?tab=oldest ) Oct 23, 2009 at 7:52
  • 1
    I tried to enter "Information Age", but it wouldn't let me.
    – JohnFx
    Jul 27, 2010 at 22:05
  • Close voters: don't use "no repro" for a bug that can't be reproduced because of the way it got fixed. Jan 3, 2018 at 16:29

7 Answers 7


Two better options than simply requiring birthdate:

  • Accept month and day only. The sites can wish me a happy birthday on the appointed date but demographic stats aren't as complete. On the other hand the demographic stats would likely be more accurate given that users might otherwise enter a false birthdate
  • Offer option to hide age. I'm ok with including my information in aggregated calculations, but I don't feel that it's necessary to associate my age with my questions, answers, votes for the whole world to see.
  • 6
    Hiding the age would be optimal.
    – deleted
    Aug 19, 2009 at 18:07
  • 11
    Age discrimination is a reality in this field, and it's darn hard to prove. Allow the age to be hidden, or for that matter hide it by default. Aug 19, 2009 at 21:57

So yeah - asking for your age is creepy. If you want to share, the field is there - but we don't need to beg for it.

There are other good reasons not to badger folks into sharing a ton of personal details, so as of today we just ask that you write something - anything - that'll introduce you to the community... and ask for nothing more.


That badge exists so they can gather demographics. They are encouraging you to provide information they can use to tailor the site to the correct audience. If you refuse to give all that information (as is your right) then you are withholding what they need.

So, no, you can't (nor should you) get the badge for almost completing the task set out.

I don't have that badge, because I decided I'd rather not provide what they asked for, but I understand that if I don't fulfill the requirements, I therefore don't get the badge.


I don't know why it is needed in general for the profile... You could of course ignore the badge and not fill it in...


If you consider how many people are already entering wrong age information, maybe just to get this badge, we could need something to encurage them to correct their mistake.

Therefor I propose this:

  • age should still be a required value to earn the badge
  • There should be an option to make the age hidden to other users
  • someone who has once lied (provided a wrong age) and now provides the correct age, but hides it, should be awarded a new badge for being honest in the end. I leave it up to the native english speakers to think of a nice name for that badge.

(When the birthdate is changed, I know it is impossible to check programatically if this is a state change from wrong-to-right. It could also be right-to-wrong or wrong-to-wrong, but if the user hides his age, chances are good that it's wront-to-right-transition.)

  • 4
    Doesn't this generate a lot of people who enter incorrect ages, and then enter the correct one? Or just enter two incorrect ages? Now they are gaming for two badges.
    – devinb
    Aug 19, 2009 at 19:08
  • @devinb: Yeah, you're right. Didn't think about that, was too tired. Aug 20, 2009 at 9:31

You could always fib if uncomfortable. There are an amazing amount of 80+ programmers on this site, if we were all being truthful.

  • 1
    Isn't 30 actually 80 in programmer years?
    – random
    Jul 28, 2009 at 9:09
  • (-1) If you want the badge, be honest, if you don't want to be honest, just don't get the badge.
    – devinb
    Aug 19, 2009 at 17:45

You can also set your birth date to some dummy value e.g. 1920/01/01, then wait few minutes for the Autobiographer badge to arrive, and finally remove birth date.

This way you'll get the badge, and you don't have to set the birth date.

  • Wouldn't it be better to pick the epoch?
    – SamB
    Nov 28, 2010 at 21:47