I happened to click on a user's MO profile. Under his clearly set-out name was the legend "Apparently, this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them". On the same page is his photograph and a link to his academic page detailing his affiliation and interests and a considerable list of publications and other professional achievements. What would he need to do to lose this "mysterious" appellation?

(I haven't done any research about who is or is not so described, beyond noting that I am spared the comment in my own profile even though I have been far less forthcoming than the said user.)

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I've answered factually below, but frankly I think this feature, even if not technically a bug, is misguided. I was one of those who were skeptical about the move to the separate profile/activity pages that was instituted by the SE network, and this is one instance of why I think the skepticism was justified: this sort of cutesy nudging to make the sites more social-media like. The criticisms mounted here meta.stackexchange.com/questions/251810/… express some of the problems well. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Nov 27, 2016 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, to everyone else you also appear to prefer to keep an air of mystery about you. Until SE actually stops "making speculative statements about its users" you can enter something like ​ (HTML code for a zero-width space) in your "about me" which the system will think is content, but will not render as anything visible. (Simply inserting nothing but spaces in your "about me" will not work.) $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Nov 27, 2016 at 9:30
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    $\begingroup$ Why not something accurate like 'this user has not entered any description of themselves'? A lot of users probably don't care that much about a fancy outward-facing user profile, rather than any sort of inferred preference (if the intended user-base is computer programmers (i.e. SO), perhaps they have a compulsive need to fill out such forms, in case someone wants to hire them) $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Dec 1, 2016 at 6:53

1 Answer 1


According to this meta stackexchange post, it just means that the "About me" section was left blank. (If you are looking at your own profile page and see the message "Your about me is currently blank", then it means that others looking at your profile get the air-of-mystery message.)


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