general philosophy www

flickr form

I recently joined (finally) Flickr, and was curiously intrigued by the content of some of the personalisation options.

First of all, the entire ‘personal information’ section had the provisio: ‘all of the following information is optional’, which makes me wonder why they had ‘rather not say’ boxes for the ‘gender’ and ‘singleness’ categories?  Clearly, we’d already been informed that we didn’t have to answer any of the questions already?  So that’s two utterly un-neccesary boxes just there.

Then there was the ‘other’ option for gender.  Again, gender nowadays is apparently a psychological thing more than a biological one, and the biology, after all, can be adjusted to match the (current) psychology – and sometimes back – and sometimes a dual-gender biology option is opted for.  Indeed, registration forms the world ’round should apparently not only have male/female, but also bi-gendered, transgendered, pan-gendered, or even perhaps one could perhaps approximate a number for where on a spectrum of male-to-female-ness they felt at the moment?

Then there was the ‘single-ness’ category, which reflects a further stratification in commitment levels away from the more definitive (and no doubt ‘constricting’) either/or of single or married.  The provisional and temporary-ish sounding term ‘taken’ was opted for, to sum up presumably everything  from one-week-stands to lifelong partnerships.  And of course, what is more nauseating than the ‘open’ relationship label – why restrict yourself to one person – and how dare you want your partner all to yourself? That’s apparently selfish.  Better to leave it ‘open’ to more favourable people and opportunities which might come your way.


2 replies on “flickr form”

Dale, Dale, Dale. What would Jesus say to the 1 in 5000 people who are born neither male nor female? Would he blog a rant about it and make them feel even more apart from society? Or if he was designing a form would he include an option that they could select? What would a compassionate person do? WWACPD

Also, from an interface design perspective, the reason for the seemingly redundant ‘rather not say’ could be that, once you have selected a radio button in a web interface, you can’t unselect it again (unlike a checkbox). So if you accidentally checked ‘female’ but then decided that you really would rather not say you’d be left with no way of unselecting it.

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