(Note to mods: I have chosen to write this here as I haven't found and threads for how to make good profiles. If by any divine whim there is such an article, feel free to have your way with this thread.)
It has occurred to me ever since the system was introduced that many people aren't filling out their profiles "correctly". By this I mean that a lot of people are giving their life story in the "interests" or "occupation" bit for example.
This by itself is fine. However, some time ago (on TBDL even) Moo introduced a tag system for profiles (much like the thread tagging system) so people could easily search for others with similar interests, jobs, location, sexual orientation, etc.
A lot of people have been misusing the system. Now I want to make it absolutely clear, I do not mean people are abusing the system. I mean that when people go to fill out their profiles, they use uncommon phrases, and no tag system likes this.
Here's an example.
How the field should be filled out.
"Interests: Basketball, computers, sport, tennis, education" (Okay, I know nobody would ever use the last one, but that's just an example.)
How the field should not be filled out.
"Interests: I like basketball, I love using computers, I play tennis, I like to be a jerk"
So, you might be wondering, why do I have a bug up my ass about this harmless oversight, and why should I use basic terms for filling out my profile?
Well, I don't have a bug up my ass, because I try to keep that area free of obstructions. But, if somebody wants to easily find another member who has similar interests, this can be hard to do if one person has "I love computers" as a tag, and the other has "Oh, erm, gee. I don't know. I just like computers I guess" as the other tag.
Tags are supposed to be kept simple, because most of the time the system will assume that a comma separates a particular piece of information, and when that tag has millions of other words describing it, it can become unique. This isn't good for people who are searching for others with a particular interest or vice versa.
So, in short. Keep your tags short and sweet, and things are bound to go easier for member searches!