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Required Contact Fields

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 01/21/10 11:03 AM Views: 1666 Replies: 6
Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 11:03 AM

We are running into a problem due to some people not realizing their address doesn't have to show. When a classmate registers, they see their street address, city, state, zip and erase that because they don't want it to show on their profile. No matter how many times we stress the importance of the security questions at the bottom of the form telling them it won't show if ...... The problem is when I download the list for the class secretary to send a snail mailing, those addresses are no longer there and it's frustrating. Is there a way to make the mailing address section required? I don't know if anyone else has this concern, but it would really help us. We have over 700 classmates - not all have found us yet, but you can see what a problem this could become.
Thanks for your help!

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM - Response #1

I just called a spontaneous meeting with the programmers to solve this problem. This has come up before and we never really did come up with a good solution. The problem is that requiring this information simply doesn't work. We know, because we tried that. What happens when somebody really doesn't want to give you that information is this:

1) They simply decide not to join your site at all
2) They'll just give you a fake street address

#2 is particularly bad, because now you've got an active member and you have no way of even knowing that the street address is bad.

Here's another thing that happened previously: We retained the original street address if it was blank upon the member joining, but the problem there was sometimes the person left the street address fields blank, but put in a current city and state. If that happens and we retain the original street address, what you wind up with is an old street address and a current city and state.

Anyway, long story short, here is the proposed fix:

If a Classmate is going through the member wizard and leaves their street address blank but fills in the city and/or state fields, we will require the street address to continue the wizard. If that occurs we will show the following message to the Classmate::

"You have entered city and/or state information without including a street address. Please include your street address in order to continue. Your street address is private, not seen by fellow members, and can only be viewed by the Site Administrator as a means of contacting you."

We still run a small risk here of having the individual provide fake street address info, but I suspect the statement above will convince most people to provide the information.

If all 4 of the fields are left blank in the Member Wizard then we'll allow the person to continue the wizard and simply use the original info provided by the Admin on the export and in the Admin's admin. I.E. if you personally entered the street address for a Classmate prior to the time of joining, this information will now be retained if the Classmate later joins and leaves the address info blank.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM - Response #2

I like your proposed fix and if classmates choose to put a bogus address in, then that's the chance we'll take. At least they'll be reminded it needs to be completed. Most forms I fill in online always let me know if a required field isn't completed and I don't think it's too much to ask people to properly complete the profile questions.
Thanks again for your help with this.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 3:07 PM - Response #3

Truth be told, there is no real solution for this. Classmates can go and get a free email address, fill in bogus information, and leave information blank (not realizing that they select whether their info is displayed or not.)

I came up with a process that has been pretty good so far to keep positive control of contact info.

1) I created a verification letter to help push them along as to why the information is important, why they should post photos of their kids. Etcetra.

“You are now verified and all pages are available to you. We would appreciate it if you would go back into your profile and fill in a lot of the blanks. Tell us more than yes, you have kids (I’m sure you’re proud of them!) Share your school experiences; share your photos of who you are! Your friends will use this info to break the ground and have something to talk about. The success of the web site is its ability to keep people connected; i.e. your address and phone number are never given out or displayed. I use the address to track you on the USA –World Map by a stick pin. In the event that your class has a Reunion, we need a way to contact you to mail out an invitation or contact you if you should change your email address. Placing photos, stories are just a way of expressing your time at MoVal and what you have done since.
Again, I welcome you to our website at, this site was set up for the Vikings and friends that grew up in the "Val," and attended MoVal High. It is specifically designed for the first 16-years (‘The Sweet Sixteen’) at MoVal. Update your profile will soon want to come back to see what is new and who has joined us. So when you have a chance stop back by and see how many more are already from your class. Enjoy the pages as they were designed for us the early "Vikings!" So now tell other classmates about the site and bring them, please keep your profile updated so we do not loose you (i.e. E-mail 1, Email 2, Address, and phone –not that I plan on calling you or using the mail – this is just in case we lose you and our only way of keeping up with you!) The success of this site is people really wanting to re-connect and that they have left the baggage behind of harsh days in HS for the good memories and friends they grew up through puberty.

2) I joined People Finders (nominal cost and this was provided by donations from the site.) I use this to track, locate and verify information. I post my information to my Outlook Address book including Senior Photo. Actually, I have a couple that were shocked that I had gone in and completed their b-day or added their ph #.

All is good at and since Christmas our numbers have tripled in usage and membership is up by a hundred since Christmas!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM - Response #4

That's a great idea! Do you email it to the classmates as soon as they've completed their profile? I can see where it would definitely work and will use your idea. Congratulations on your site's success.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 5:22 PM - Response #5

Yes, when I am notified that a new pewrson has joined the web site... three things happen.

1. I open up the webite and the individual and go to their details.
2. I then go to Outlook and open a a new conatct. I transfer all pertinent info and post their sr photo to the Outlook Contact. I place the class year as the first entry under notes
3. I copy my welcome letter to a blank email to them.

After reviewing, I save and send out email... I have received nothing but praise and hundreds of donations for the site. I use donations to ofset the initial setup fee and hosting charge (our site is paid for 5-years!0 I use additional funds that were donated for postage and postcards to mail out to nmaes I found with Peop;e finders.

Al-in-all, we are in the black several hundreds of dollars

Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:12 PM - Response #6

Excellent Idea!

I have about 2000 members across my 7 sites. I have used Business Contact Manager in Outlook which is GREAT!

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