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Having heard that the removal of links from the network profile page is by design, and that

I'm not even sure if se.com will continue to have "user profiles" the way it does now (although there are no changes formally planned).

I thought it might be useful to have some indication of how much interest there is in keeping the network profile page around.

Note that this isn't about the profile pages of individual Stack Exchange sites, but the central profile page that connects them all. Personally I like having it, but find it has lost some of it's usefulness now that I can't link anywhere from it. I still like being able to see my overall network stats.

Do you have a reason to keep this page around, would you like to see it gone, or are you indifferent? In particular, which aspects of this page are important to you?

This is discussion only - I just thought it might be good to have a guide to community interest in advance if changes are being half-considered.

3 Answers 3

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I find this page to be very useful - but not for the user-generated content on it. I don't generally pay much attention to the "profile" section, so having links not work isn't really a big deal to me. Additionally, because the profile doesn't update with the rest of the network, it gets out of date and I rarely remember to refresh it manually to match, making it more valuable to check a specific site user profile if that's what I'm actually interested in.

As a moderator

I regularly use the SE.com profile page to check which sites users are active on and get a quick overview of their activity on all sites at once. While I don't care about many of the tabs, I look at "Accounts" and "Activity" pretty regularly for moderation purposes.

As a user

I really like the "Reputation" tab because I like being able to see how my site reputation has changed over time and to see all of the sites on one graph. I also like the "Accounts" tab as a user as it's the only place I can see all of my accounts in one place. The per-site profiles only show the top five.

This is also where the "Inbox" is hosted, so if you want to see your inbox history past what's shown in the topbar dropdown, you need this page.


So, personally, not having links isn't a big deal to me. The other benefits of the page vastly outweigh this one, small thing. It'd be great if they got an upgrade at some point - I'd actually be really interested in seeing "Top Answers" as a subheading (like the "activity" tab) there rather than having to scroll down the page, where I forget it exists, for example - but removing them entirely is a bad idea.

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The phrase "user profiles" is in quotes there for a reason. We wouldn't ever get rid of the network profile completely. What we want to do is get rid of the concept of logging in or registering on stackexchange.com.

Most people don't realize that they actually have a separate profile there, or that the profile causes us a lot of headaches due to various oddities in our systems that don't work well with it. We just want to get rid of that piece of the puzzle, which would likely result in not having profile information like the bio there at all, and having the network profile as literally just an automated summary of your participation on the network.

At some point that change was planned, but it got put aside for more important projects.

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  • Thanks for the clarification, I was worried of the planned change as I find the "summary" pages of the network profile very interesting. The fact that there is a network profile here is probably not useful, but the content is. So if you remove the profile, I hope you keep the pages almost as they are today there. I use the "accounts" tab of my network profile almost as an homepage to track the sites I am most interested in. Jan 30, 2018 at 17:30
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It's worth remembering the current changes are somewhat reactive to current events.

tl;dr: Spammers ruin everythingthis is why we cannot have nice things

At a moderator/poweruser level, more than the profile, I sometimes find that it's a handy way to look up whether someone is someone you know (maybe under a different username - cough, one of my chat users used to change names a lot). Considering that the "network" profile essentially duplicates information on one (or more) site profile, it isn't going to be a massive hardship to look it up on a site anyway.

On the other hand, it's worth looking at the problem we're trying to at least temporarily deal with - we've had a massive tide of spammers abusing the network profile (by generating accounts on one or more sites) to try to take advantage of SE's pretty good search engine reputation. The recent changes you mention are almost certainly part of efforts to reduce our attractiveness to them.

I don't think it's a massive loss - practically my 'identity' and the 'recognition' I get is tied to the sites I'm on and active in, and while vaguely nice - I rarely, if ever, read anyone's profile there.

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