Thank you very much for your praise and taking the time to add your thoughts. However small / simplistic you perceived them to be, I believe they are valuable.
I strongly suspect that you are right about the "last profile change" fact. To test, I shall resist adding any more information to my own profile and (hopefully) continue to populate the branch of my tree that I'm working on at the moment. Then I, you, etc. can see exactly what the field means.
Looking at "Tom's 39 contributions | 11 thank-yous received | Last profile change on 18 November 2012" , it occurs to me that the "thank-yous" recieved is misleading and I wonder if it would be better to calculate the field as the sum of unique thank-yous per user per day. I rather suspect that I am over-praised at the moment.
I suspected that it is page views that are represented by fact displayed in the "x views" field (did 47 people really look at what I wrote...). To test this, I duplicated the page a few times in my current (Chrome) browser, opened an in-cognito browser page and viewed through that (i.e. not logged in) and I logged in via browser (IE10) which hadn't accessed the site before, went to the index (still 47) and then the thread. The count remains at 47 views . Thus I conclude that the views represent unique member views or unique member views per day - hopefully the latter).
Regarding the number of views (& #comments). I believe that it would be wonderful to have a way of quickly viewing those which are `very active` or `recently view active` as well as the current Questions / Unanswered / By Defined Tag / By Category functionality
Oh, my original intent on opening this thread (although by the time I did I became carried away with ideas and ran out of time) was to suggest that a finer grain of privacy control was preferable for ones own profile. My example being that I would like visitors to see that my preferred name is Tom although my given first name is Thomas...
It's odd that within the dialogue window, Google's spell check doesn't function (no red underline when I entered an "i" before "e" after a "c" ).
I guess those who read this can sense a strong IT / Analytical Business background - I hope that's not too stifling.