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.

  • 67
    How many 90yo grandmothers would love to contribute to Food and Cooking? :)
    – Gnome
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 0:13
  • 1
    I was about to complain about that. Commented Oct 2, 2010 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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 1:48
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    @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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:02
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    @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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:06
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    @Bruno So I don't exist? Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:14
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    @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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:17
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    @Bruno This is exactly what this feature request is about Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:23
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    @quantumSoup: I see so I might be wrong. But most of them seem to be "unset"/fake ages.
    – BrunoLM
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:26
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    @Bruno There are no "unset" ages. And claiming they are fake is an insult. Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:28
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    @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 Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 6:24
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    This question is 4 years old. Why hasn't anyone fixed this yet? Even if the original OP isn't over 90 he's clearly stated that his grandfather IS over 90 and do visit stackexchange sites
    – slebetman
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 6:38
  • 6
    Even if his grandpa doesn't post, is there really a need to prove that people older than 90 want to use SE? It's probably not that important to set an arbitrary age limit. They could simply make it 150 and move on, what wrong could it do?
    – laurent
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 19:36
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because since GDPR came into effect, SE has removed everything related to age and birth years from their system, and as such this question is no longer relevant. Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 18:44

10 Answers 10


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?

  • 4
    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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 2:14
  • 1
    I totally agree. My dad programmed in C and C++ his entire working career and never spent one minute on SO. He helped me pass my brutally hard C course so I could finally graduate. He's a wizard. Let the oldies do what they want!! Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 6:44
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    @Bruno: being able to sign up immediately and automatically is very different from having to find out how to contact support, make a feature request and then hope it gets acted upon. This is - unintentional, I'm sure - age discrimination. Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 19:22
  • I agree with this. If some site were to offer a profile that let you pick your ethnicity from a possible set of ["White", "Asian", "Native American"], or your sexuality from a set of ["Straight", "Gay"], many people from the groups I've conspicuously missed out would be irritated - even assuming that it was a good faith mistake - and most folk would deem this an understandable reaction. It's rude, in my opinion, to leave this restriction on the Birthday field. Not earth-shatteringly, outrage-inducingly rude. But still rude.
    – Mark Amery
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 22:27
  • +1 agree. Increase the limit to at least 1900 at the very least. There might be one user who utilises it but it's a birthday date, it's not changing the entire site/network functionality.
    – user354226
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 6:42

Oldest documented living person is 122. Therefore lets make the age limit 130 or so to leave room for improvement?

  • 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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 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
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 5:56

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.


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.

  • 2
    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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 1:01
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    @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 Commented Oct 2, 2010 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
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 1:13

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. Thats in the U.S. alone, and I'm fairly sure there are plenty more around the world.

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.

  • 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) Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 7:49
  • @ShadowWizard It takes quite a bit of time to load. Give it 10 minutes and it should load.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 11:59
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    Well, at least not 6-8 weeks Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 12:08
  • Also: Believe it or not, but there are people above 94 who live outside the U.S. We're not all running around with pitchforks and dying before 30. How many millions is that?
    – user233562
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 8:00
  • @Gareth I would invite you to add that up.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 15:55
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    You sure you want to break out the naughty list after how many successful B&Es? C'mon man, live and let live .. a really long time.
    – user50049
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 16:02

I've changed it to 1870 now, which should accommodate everyone.


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


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?


NOTE: It's max 94 now, with the birthday field start date remaining static and question being 4 years old.

This is completely trivial in one sense:

  • Very little demand as unlikely to be many users over 94 years old
  • In 6 years, the max age allowed will be 100 YO

In another sense it is important to provide this because:

  • Users who are over 94 YO should be catered for, regardless of if there are only a few of them, as we cater for 92, 93, 94 year olds etc, but not 95, 96. Seems illogical/unfair

In fact, in this particular scenario, I think it would be nice to cater for this. Ignoring the fakes, anyone genuinely over 94 years old actively on the WWW and participating on Stack is most welcomed by me.

Not in a patronising way at all (ie pat on the head nonsense), but the fact their generation had nothing at all in the way of tech, and to have embraced tech and the WWW to the point they are participating on Stack, then that's an achievement in itself and we should cater for that.

All that said, people in their 90s probably don't give a cabbage-fart about it all...


Old systems with very limited memory used only 2 digits to store the year. Therefore, you make an arbitrary decision which year belongs to which century. For example, any number bigger than 20 is in 20th century, and those lower in 21th century. By putting lower limit in 1920 you can accomodate people born between 1920 and 2019.

Quite a good compromise, only that, in the times SO was created, that memory saving was a song of the past, but the mental damages made by such suboptimisations are hard to heal...

The database should have no such limits, and the UI should accept any dates, that sound plausible.

  • 5
    This really got nothing to do with memory, I'm 1000% certain of that. It's just a poor decision made in the very early days of Stack Overflow that nobody bothered to fix yet. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 7:40
  • It's a poor design, but it's 'inspired' by the solutions that vere the result of the memory optimizations from the yearly years of computer science... Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 7:46
  • 2
    I really don't think so. More likely the developer just wanted a quick way to validate the given date so people won't send date like 1/1/1600 and decided "hey, no way people born before 1920 would actually join". I've left a comment for a VP of Stack Exchange hopefully he will take care of this once and for all. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 7:53
  • 2
    Stack Exchange runs on SQL Server, which provides three main data types useful for storing dates: DATE, DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME. SMALLDATETIME fits within two bytes, so space is not really an issue, and can encode dates going back to year 1753, and going forward to year 9999. For greater range, you can use DATE, which covers 0001 through 9999 and stores in three bytes. This has been the case at least since SQL Server 2000, and probably longer.
    – user
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 8:38