Rants 'n' Raves
NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOO......
If ever there was a case for changing the roman alphabet, those
three letters are it.
If you don't know what they mean, then you should consider
yourself blessed. ASL is a regularly asked question that, personally,
annoys the shit out of me. Standing for Age, Sex, Location,
it is also usually a pretty pointless question.
Most internet forums allow users to interact semi-anonymously,
and with good reasons too. However, you will usually find that
nicknames, handles, avatars, id's whatever fall into one of
two categories, and those are those that are fairly identifiable
as male or female, and those that are deliberately not. A lot
of places already also provide the opportunity to put up profiles
or personal information - if you really want to know - check,
dont ask, and if theres nothing there, consider for a second
the possibility that it may be blank because THEY DONT WANT
YOU TO KNOW!!!
Now take a moment to think about this.... If someone is using
a gender based ID, you already KNOW their sex... If they aren't
then maybe they don't want you to know....
As for location... the entire internet thrives on the fact
that location is largely immaterial. The ability to talk to
people all over the world, get information without worrying
about geographic or political boundaries, and all from the comfort
of your own home (office, car, bus stop - pretty much wherever
the hell you happen to be) is what holds the net together. If
you KNOW where someone is, what difference does it really make?
Sure, if you know someone already and are interested in finding
out a little more about them, then ask where they are, but should
it be the first thing you ask?
Can you imagine the look you would get if you walked into a
McDonalds, or a pub or bar, and said to the first stranger you
saw "Hi, how old are you, what sex are you, and where do
you live?" It simply wouldn't be done, and if it were,
it wouldn't be accepted as "normal" behaviour....
The final, and most compelling reason, in my personal experience,
not to ask this question is that it doesn't help.... the reasons
for this are twofold - the first is, well, people just don't
answer it, they're so sick of hearing it they just tune it out
completely and ignore it without even the slightest consideration....
the second is, well, if they do notice it at all, you are immediately
categorised as the sort of idiot who asks it and dismissed.
ASL wont make you a complete pariah, but it will sure help you
on the slippery slope....
Do yourself, and everyone else a favour - just don't ask it...