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WebmasterWorld Feedback Days Forum

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >   posting off  
Allow Picture in Profile
Might appear small but its very warm

 5:56 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Show Faces of Members!

Allow members to have a small picture of them in their profile which shows (if they want) when they post a message. It might not appear to be something big but it really really gives a feeling of more closely knit community. For example i love to interact with many old members here i even like to visit their sites but i never get to see how they look. If you know whom you are talking to, its much more comforting. I dont mean to say it will bring more users or it helps our "webmaster" theme, but yes it does help community alot. Take "Face" out of "FaceBook" and see what happens. Give Face to WebMasterWorld and again see what happens.


For example, few weeks ago Brett Replied to one of my threads for the first time ever. I have seen his pic it was so so nice to read that message even though it was just about a feature of the forum, But it really makes you want to interact on the forum more when you know the other person a little bit. I would love to see jatar_k, coopster, hawk_girl, Engine, Mack, many more and i am sure it would make me interact on the forum more and more. Maybe i cant put it in proper words but i feel it will have a huge impact on how this "World" develops now on.

[Another Edit]

Afterall we are all social animals, give a little bit "social" touch to this community. Birds will fly in, and Stay.



 6:07 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

This would be (I believe) an avatar and I'm NOT for those. Slows things down, leads to personalities rather than content, and have to be moderated at a visual level, as if text level is not difficult enough.

That said I do operate "current trendy" forums and allow avatars on three of five. The three don't do as well as far as content, but do beat up my bandwidth!


 6:35 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Work Yes it will increase, your points are valid. But then nothing grows without more and more work, "More Work" is the price we have to pay for any growth.


 8:31 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Who pays the price? Mods here work sans remuneration. How long can that proceed? Less "work" and more "content" is the way to go. I know, I am a mod in other places, and have been for many years...


 9:22 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Strong Point


 11:51 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with tangor - I do not like forums with avatars next to the posts. You never know if the picture shows the member, or the members friend or girlfriend, or if it's some actress or actor.

I would not object however if members could add a picture to their profile, as long as it does not show next to their posts.


 5:35 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Don't disagree with photo for profile, but to what purpose, other than personal vanity? Not sure how that advances things for this site, but on other forums I mod it has been necessary (topic and the kiddies), so I have to say "maybe." I just don't want avatars next to posts, that's SO web 2.0 bs and social media and "hey, look at me!" that, IMHO, just isn't Webmasterworld.


 5:50 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not so worried about bandwidth...50Mbps down/20Mbps up at work and 10Mbps down/1.5Mbps up at home.

My main argument against avatars is Brett has to pay for the increased server bandwidth each month.

Another argument against avatars is that they would detract from the primary purpose of WebmasterWorld...content.

Perhaps a private chat program could be installed in the control panel...and users could interact on a "social" level...and then see their avatars there.
This would satisfy some of those chatty folks who have desires for social networking, or whatever.
And, it would keep that junk out of the forums.


 6:05 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oddly enough, that's not a bad suggestion. I don't see it going to extreme since in the few years I've been here I haven't done a lot of PM/STICKY which would keep the bandwidth down. :) I don't see a benefit other than personal vanity. I have no desire to see folks in bathrobes, wearing funny hats, or Armani suits. None of them will appeal to my whiskered Texican sensibilities, but I digress... :)

What I DO agree is that pics on profiles might work as that's an OPT-IN by the member and is not a requirement, and can be ignored by those sadly shorted on any psychological need to blatantly display themselves in public (like me).


 11:48 am on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Avatars don't distract from text, they simply add context and a human face.

I can't see any objection to avatars; the bandwidth thing is not going to cost a million, avatars don't really need active moderation - the report function will work, and they do lighten up the page.

I've been in and out of forums since whenever, and the only problem I ever saw was an idiot using a 350x400 avatar in a forum where I couldn't find the control to limit size. Once I concentrated, it was fixed in moments. Never had a problem since.

And for the tired old guys who can't face visual decoration of the site, there'd be a switch. Turn em off!

And you needn't display one - there could be a default avatar, perhaps featuring the word 'saddo' ;)


 1:02 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would not object to an avatar in a member's profile - I never look at profiles anyway.

But it is wildly optimistic to assume that everyone would upload a bona fide photograph of themselves, or that the overworked moderators would not be called upon to arbitrate on whether any particular image is acceptable - and we are talking about images here, not photographs.

An image can be anything - not least an advertisement - and different people find all sorts of images inappropriate or offensive. Complaints and disputes would begin on day one.

Even if there was a policy that insisted on a genuine personal mugshot there is no way to validate identity or enforce the rule. And nothing useful would be added to the site.

With respect to my WebmasterWorld colleagues, I have no interest whatsoever in what you look like.

I am only interested in what you write, all else is trivia.



 6:34 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that most of the objection to avatars is anti-social in nature, or at least suggesting that they don't add anything. What they add is that a real human being is behind what they typed. There is something powerful in that. We're not robots speaking to each other -- we're real people. And avatars lend to this social aspect. I'm not talking about socializing as much as I'm speaking natural human social interaction.

As for the technical side of it, I've found that most people don't even bother uploading avatars. And for those who do, you can enforce maximum dimensions and file size. It's not a huge bandwidth increase -- it's manageable. As for the moderation aspect of that, I think that's overblown. I've never seen anyone upload an avatar that was objectionable. I'm not saying that would never happen, but I don't think it's something to worry about.


 11:05 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

An avatar need not be a photo; it can be a trade mark or whatever.

And there has to be a way NOT to see them, and a choice not to use them.

Thus the lovers and haters can continue in ignorance of each other.

technically simple to set up, I've never seen a problem with it (except as I said above) and I've never seen moderators have to worry. If someone can get a URL or telephone number in a 50x50, good luck to them. How long before it gets reported?

The objections are all so easy to deal with (even I could do it!), that this whole discussion is silly. If WebmasterWorld won't change on avatars, then it surely won't change on things that matter.


 11:47 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

What they add is that a real human being is behind what they typed

I have never doubted that real human beings are behind the thousands of posts on WebmasterWorld.

And I have never considered it remotely relevant (or interesting) what any of them looked like.

It is clear from the many avatar-toting services I am familiar with that some people like to upload a genuine photo of themselves while many others prefer to use a photo of a celebrity, a cartoon, a graphic, an abstract, or any other image they consider amusing (but which others may not find at all funny).

Short of enforcing a policy involving certified passport photographs (possibly updated every few years) the idea that an avatar would identify the author as "a real human being" is somewhat far-fetched.

I do not intend to be anti-social in pointing this out.

I've found that most people don't even bother uploading avatars

With respect, that is not a particularly compelling argument in their favour.



 12:52 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you guys really think that an avatar detracts from content? REALLY? That's like saying fancy rims make a driver a worse driver.

Yes it's vanity, but why do you care about what image I use for my avatar? Create a custom style sheet for the site and add a display: none attribute to that style for avatars. Problem solved.

The Wordpress suppport forums are a GREAT resource and have avatars. I have never once said, "wow, this thread really loses credibility because the OP has a Soprano's avatar."

I don't know any of you or remember any of your posts. Given some time and an avatar to tie to your nickname? I am more likely to feel like I know you and feel like this place is a bit more social. You make a place feel like home and you will increase the community activity IMO.

On twitter, where we almost all have some sort of avatar uploaded... and for those that I'm following for WW, I now can recognize your avatar "signature" if we had one here. Simply extending the social community even further.


 2:48 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you guys really think that an avatar detracts from content?

I would say "distracts" from content, in direct relation to how eyecatching it is.

why do you care about what image I use for my avatar?

I don't, but I don't want to be forced to look at it.

There have been reasonable suggestions posted above to make viewing avatars optional, and I wouldn't argue against them (off by default, naturally).

But it is not me that has to do the work involved, or to be convinced it is a worthwhile idea.

Soprano's avatar

That might seem a little incongruous in a discussion about copyright.

And apparently some might believe it was an actual photograph of you, which may not be desirable.

Seriously, I am well aware that such images are in use as avatars all over the web, but it is ethically dubious and the moderators here will have to make value judgements about acceptability - how many Tony Sopranos equal one Adolf Hitler? How about Charlie Chaplin as The Great Dictator?

WebmasterWorld would need a written policy for the moderators, but I have yet to see a draft.

Yes it's vanity

Commendable honesty, and it may be that pandering to such vanity would bring an increase in active members and be deemed a wise business move.

Those in favour might want to push that argument (I have yet to see another good one, and the onus is on those who want to change the status quo).

My own view is that there are enough vain members already, but my interest is academic, not financial.



 4:12 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

My final thought on this subject of avatars is a reminder to all that there are privacy concerns, potential for identity theft (posting someone else's pic as the poster's... and to what purposes that could be turned!). What's in a profile, if allowed, is one thing, but for Webmasterworld to assume additional liability beyond what it already faces regarding user generated content, one has to ask if "pretty pics" is a reasonable tradeoff.


 1:14 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

So you're saying WW would be responsible for a user who uses another's image without their permission? I cannot remember ever an instance where a forum was sued over an avatar.

When you upload a photo to facebook, they cover their rear like this:

I certify that I have the right to distribute these photos and that they do not violate the Terms of Use.
You can upload up to 200 photos per album.

I figure if Facebook can get away by simply having that on their upload page, WW could do the same.

And for those of you who are offended by the thought that this site would consider avatars, do you simply not use forums that have avatars? Do you not use the Wordpress forums? Do you not use digg?

Buzz killingtons.


 2:35 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Because something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't/won't. This isn't a caution over copyright, it is also a caution regarding identity theft (a completely different kettle of fish!).


 8:22 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hundreds of thousands of web sites use avatars on a daily basis; cite one example of a legal problem - this is another sad, desperate attempt to cling to the past.

If you don't like avatars, don't use them; choose not to see them.

But please don't make them out to be evil, because they ain't. They are simply monsters under the bed, creatures of your worst nightmares. And the solution? Ignore them, and suddenly they're harmless. Honest!


 9:07 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also, the idea was "to be able to" see pictures if a member decides to add his picture, and not "must see it in any case".
Also, Everyone is saying this a community of select inviduals who are responsible, who write good, who help people, then i dont think when it comes to letting them add a picture it will create many issues of them faking something here. I dont foresee a senior member faking something or doing something that will need very strict moderation in terms of visual appearance, do u ?
Then what you can do is, allow this feature to only those member levels above "Junior Member".
I might be wrong but i dont foresee how can it create so many problems being mentioned.

If only the "content" is important as many people say, then imho why isnt wikipedia better, why isnt searching on google/bing/yahoo better and getting the answers we need.
Its not the content that keeps me here, its the feeling of being part of a community of seasoned professionals. Personaly i dont stay here just to search for solutions to problems uncaring of who wrote what.

When i joined WW there was 1 post by "Mack" that got me so so hooked to the idea of being in company of such individuals who are willing to do so much out of the way to go help people learn things better, trust me i dont remember 1 word of the post but i remember his name i remember his effort.

Thats what keeps me here, i am still in strong support of having the ability of knowing "whom i am talking to" if they decide to share that. Ofcourse we can sticky them we can mail them but then, who has so much time? Niether me, nor them.


 12:31 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Okay by me... no skin off my nose. I'm not arguing, just cautioning. Meanwhile, I will turn avatars off, if option is allowed should it be implemented. Just suggesting there's no need for them in the first place. What is special here is not pics, it is the content.


 2:15 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hundreds of thousands of web sites use avatars on a daily basis

A large proportion of the images used infringe copyright and have been taken from other websites.

I concede that implementation here would probably prompt extra discussion on these two issues.

It would seem sensible to address those issues before implementation, though.

this is another sad, desperate attempt to cling to the past... don't make them out to be evil

I invite you to accept that an aesthetic preference is not necessarily sad, desperate or clinging.

I have not seen anyone suggest that avatars are evil either.

The suggestion to make viewing avatars optional was well made and nobody has argued against it - I don't even care if you see a generic icon next to my posts with the word "Saddo" emblazoned on it (though some might take the view that putting it in a speech bubble might be more apt).

But the arguments in favour of implementing avatars seem so far to have been "because it is possible", "because I want it" and "because I want to see what other members look like" (meanwhile those pointing out possible drawbacks have been denigrated as "anti-social", "sad", "desperate" and "buzz killingtons").

This is a feedback thread and a good chance to influence the powers-that-be on WebmasterWorld. You need to convince them that there will be positive benefits from a policy change, and you need to address the potential drawbacks that have been raised.


In the absence of other data I just looked at a random thread on the very busy avatar-toting forum of a popular quality publication and got these (admittedly unscientific) results:

Generic "Saddo" avatar - 68%

Copyrighted image - 22%

Text slogan - 4%

Pending approval - 4%

Possible genuine photo of poster - 2%

Interesting to note that all images were pre-moderated.


Assuming that viewing avatars here would be optional I really don't care which way the debate goes.

And I would be happy to see any convincing arguments that actually addressed the issues.



 2:45 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Trust me i would love to see Tangor too now :)
There is some power in giving face to a persona. And i must admit i admire how strongly he is defending his arguement. That was my point, To have a feeling of a real world community.


 2:47 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Been up all night, working hard and... towards the end lofting a few and should just let this pass, but I can't. Recall this: Who would have thought goog would be dragged through the courts for street view. After all, that's only a few harmless pics.

Avatars are NOT evil... never said that. Legal exposure, however, is everywhere and keeping track of TEXT is hard enough much less adding images (and who can track all of those?). (Remember recent youtube lawsuits?)

Believe me, gals and guys, I'm NOT against avatars, I simply do not think they will add to the Webmasterworld experience, nor will they make WW more "cuddly" or "cute" as we are neither of those in the first place... else you (the greater out there you) wouldn't be here in the first place. "You" have been to all the avatar rich places and keep coming back here, else we wouldn't be having this conversation, and I have to ask why? Could it be that this is a place to get answers rather than strokes?

How did I get stuck on the avatar question? My want from Brett and co is getting customization of font and color back, and that's all I wanted (with perhaps a bit of fluid layout so I can zoom this for my aging cataract laden eyes)

I've given all the cautions regarding avatars I can give. Sign me Buzz Killington
I like that my baby nick was Buzzy until I got old enough to throw fists.


 2:59 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

No-one has or would suggest that avatars are more important than the text content; but individualising authors can add authority where deserved. The argument about identity theft, if serious, was specious.

So long as members were told not to use copyrighted images, and mods removed any challenged avatar (or any 'reported' internally), then the legal issue is overinflated.

I don't deny that many avatars are 'stolen', but that fact is not a valid argument against their use ("you can't drive your car on this road, because many drivers have broken the law on this stretch").

The only argument against so far with anysubstance is the suggestion that there may be more work for the mods; that I cannot deny, but I think it will be pretty small - most serious offenders will be losing whole posts or membership, rather than a simple avatar.

Avatars really don't need defending in the 21st century, and demolishing paper tigers is a sacred duty for those who see them for what they are.

The positive benefits are that many members like them, they do no measurable harm, and those that don't can choose not to see them. Just like the ubiquitous ;)


 3:02 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just read Tangors post; I'd rather everyone had a sky-blu-pink avatar which I can 'not see' than have to put up with multisized, multicolored, multifont text, which DOES detract from meaning, and over which I'd have no control at all.


 8:52 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that an image would be great. I sometimes visit other sites, and will find people that may have to use a different username then what they have here, and an image is a good way to identify who is who.
I do believe however that members should be able to turn avatars or images off if they dont want their screen cluttered, but still allow for members to upload.


 9:13 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't deny that many avatars are 'stolen', but that fact is not a valid argument against their use

What is required here are sustainable arguments for the introduction of avatars.

The figures I quoted above, while an unscientific sample, suggest the following:

* Around two-thirds of members will not bother to upload an avatar, meaning that around two-thirds of posts will feature a generic "Saddo" icon, and while I don't doubt that the intention is to enhance a sense of community and cheer up the look of the forum, in my experience the effect is the exact opposite - all those generic "Saddos" in a thread look like nothing so much as a row of tombstones.

* Many of those who do upload an image will infringe copyright (few newbies read the rules) and in some cases will probably "steal" the image from another member's website (sparks will surely fly).

* Some text slogans will be used (something like "God Hates Fags" is very legible at 50x50 pixels).

* Almost nobody will upload a genuine photo of themselves - the stated reason for the opening post in a thread that has seemed badly mistitled ("Allow Picture in Profile") from the start.

* Moderators will have plenty of extra unpaid work to do.

As before, assuming viewing is optional I don't have any personal objection, but I don't have to write the policy and deal with the problems.

The positive benefits are that many members like them

Many members may also like animated gifs, rollovers and Flash (though probably not BLINK tags).

demolishing paper tigers is a sacred duty for those who see them for what they are

If you can formulate a coherent policy that addresses all the potential issues you might get somewhere.

I wish you luck.



 9:28 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

You are making mountains out of a molehills, as I've already said about six times; and when offered arguments for, you choose to ignore them (go on, reread. They aren't earth shattering, neither should they need to be in 2010).

Let's hope Brett is more amenable to argument without red herrings!

I'm outa here.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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