We hide our personal information for our own protection. As you imply, there are people on the internet who abuse the power it possesses. That is why I think is not necessary to share personal information like one's gender.
Better safe than sorry. ;)
There was a lot of serious discussion on this general topic back in the early 90s, before the 'net became commercial and mass market. The high level bits are:
1) 'nyms' are important, they are psydonyms, or real names, or nicknames or whatever
2) a reputation has to be kept for the nym
3) tools should allow people to set noise thresh holds, where you don't listen to postings by folks with 'low' reputations.
4) all nyms and reputations are local to a community.
Of course, 'local' and "community' can vary, it might be folks posting to java-forums.org, or folks posting to all java related forums, or all programming forums, or the whole net.
I agreed with you. Those things should be optional. In may sites/forums/etc used them as optional data. Because it's all about the privacy.
Originally Posted by fishtoprecords
I don't see a problem with it, as you all have stated in one form or another - that being that it is optional. Hide it by default and show it if the user has given any input on it.