When you ask a new member for information, you're implying that information is important.
It makes sense for a dating site to ask for your age, sex, location, and pictures.
This is how they help members find potential matches.
But dating sites are one of the few rare exceptions.
For most communities, asking prospective members for their age, location, sex, ethnicity, and gender is a bad idea. It implies these things are important for participating in the community.
Will answers to these questions change anything in the community? (the answer to this question should be no).
It makes sense for a business community to ask about skills, expertise, experience, and resources. This helps validate the quality of information, helps members connect with the right people etc…
It might make sense for a hobbyist site to ask about your interest in the hobby, tools/equipment you use etc…
Only ask for information which is relevant to a member's participation in the topic.
Is someone's real name even important? Probably not.
What will change because of the information you're asking for? If you can't answer that question, don't ask for this information.
If you want to master the social science approach to building successful communities, sign up for our Professional Community Management course.
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