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Would it be a good idea to organize a new social network by age? This social network is intended to organize activities for people to go out home and meet new friends.

For example, ages would be classified from 10 to 10: 20-30, 30-40, 40-50 ...

The user could select a range from a combo box, but... what if you have 30? or 40? You could belong to two groups... that's a problem that I don't know to solve.

Maybe let users create new events and select the age range? How would you organize it?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Forget about age. It is an arbitrary number without real meaning.

Age groups are bad. It would mean that when I am 39 I would still fall in 30-40 and would be excluded from the 40-50 group that may be more appropriate for me by then.

Having users decide on an age range is much better, but still arbitrary.

More importantly: many people don't like to be excluded from stuff just because they happen to have strolled on this planet for longer or not as long as you someone else thinks is appropriate.

Go with tags for interests and hobbies and have activities use the same tags. Match and filter on those. After all, I may be interested in sky-diving at 69 and classical music at 15.

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I couldn't agree more - it's just a bad primary key by which to organize people and will put people off straight away. –  Roger Attrill Sep 13 '11 at 11:53
    
The case when someone is 39 would be fixed allowing groups to have 5 years less and more, so the 30-40 group would actually allow 25-45 aged-people. –  David Sep 13 '11 at 11:56
    
@Roger: I have seen people of 50 or more asking why there are activities allowing people of all ages. There are people uncomfortable going to a dinner with others 20 years younger, for example. –  David Sep 13 '11 at 11:59
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@David: so I get 5 years leeway? Still an arbitrary boundary and doesn't address the real problem of using age to categorize people. –  Marjan Venema Sep 13 '11 at 12:09
    
@David - I have no issue with people being able to specify an age range for specific events, but since you are asking whether to organize a new social network by age, that's the no-no. It's not a good primary focal point by which to divide a whole network. –  Roger Attrill Sep 13 '11 at 12:23
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Given that some users are uncomfortable with the idea of people of all ages being "allowed" to an event, I'd go for a combination of letting the creators of events being allowed to specify an age range, but make it clear that it's a suggested range. You could also perhaps have an indication of any legal/insurance requirements for activities (must be over 18/21 as there's alcohol involved, must be under 65 for insurance purposes).

This still allows people to sign up for something but would make it clear what the organiser is expecting.

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I think this is a good approach, as it is letting the creators of events specify a limit, and as others suggest, the categorization is more open. –  David Sep 13 '11 at 12:30
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