Required Avatars Feedback

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BuckGB
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Required Avatars Feedback

Postby BuckGB » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:05 am

In order to come up with some consistency across the forums and news comments, members will soon be required to pick an avatar for their account. I'm in the process of creating dozens and probably hundreds of different avatars from characters, monsters, and even symbols from the artwork used in popular RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Star Wars, Warhammer, etc. I'm trying to incorporate a nice range of genders, races, themes, genres, etc. to ensure there's something for everyone.

Right now, there are just too many people that don't have an avatar at all, and I think the overall look of our posts and comments would be greatly improved if everyone had one.

I'm also debating on whether or not to turn off custom avatars and force everyone to use the ones I'm creating now. Again, this is for consistency purposes, as they'll all use the same dimensions (75x75, like my banshee image) and be of the same quality. I know this might not please everyone, but it's standard practice on many other gaming forums across the web, for many of the same reasons. For those people who want to use a specific RPG-related avatar that isn't available, I'd be willing to create a standardized version and add it to the pool.

I was thinking we might want to have a pool of avatars that only moderators can use, too, so that your posts stick out more than others.

Thoughts?

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fable
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Postby fable » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:24 pm

I kind of like my unicorn chess piece, and would prefer to keep it. :) But if it's going to be done, moderators should have a different one from other members.
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Postby Bloodstalker » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:21 pm

It may be standard practice among many other sites on the web, but it's also a sore sopt for a lot of members of those boards as well to be quite honest. I know I never liked having to pick from a pre-selected pool of avatars. For one thing, it makes it more difficult at times to keep track of who's saying what. I generally identify people by their avatars rather than their names on here. When there are several peeple using the same avatar (which is unavoidable in the sace of avatar pools), it can get rather confusing to keep track of who is saying what. It's one of the reasons I don't take part in other forums.

I'd prefer to keep the option to use customized avatars if possible, while perhaps just forcing members to choose from a pool of avatars when they sign up. That way, they all have to have an avatar, but can still customize it when they want to. It's your site though, so it's your call of course. I just generally dislike an enforced pool of pre-approved avatars.
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dragon wench
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Postby dragon wench » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:02 pm

I agree with Fable and BS..

I would prefer to keep my avatar if possible, and as BS notes, being forced to choose from a pre-selected set of avatars tends to irritate forum members generally. I know I've been part of other communities where this precise issue has been a major point of contention.

I'd be happy to make my Ava a standard size if that would help?

Definitely, I do think it would make sense to have new members choose from a pool of avatars, for the reasons you state, but my feeling is that it would be better to allow customization later on.
Maybe it's even something that could be granted as a perk, along with gaining exalted member status? I realise this could lead to mindless spamming.. but if not abused it could also be fun, and it would give more meaning to becoming an "exalted member."

One thing to bear in mind, from a marketing angle as well, is that features such as avatars, signatures and locations provide individuality in an otherwise anonymous internet setting. Taking these choices away from people tends to cause a lot of upset.

Though, clearly, it's your site and your decision in the end, Buck ;)
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Postby BuckGB » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:54 pm

I'm not opposed to leaving custom avatars enabled, but at the very least I would like to encourage members to use the same dimensions (75x75). That might be something I could recommend in the rules or something. Allowing users with a minimum number of posts to upload custom avatars isn't a bad idea, either.

Maybe it's time for a user title revision while we're at it?

Novice Scribe - new users
Apprentice Scribe - 50 posts
Journeyman Scribe - 100 posts
Veteran Scribe - 250 posts
Master Scribe - 500 posts
Exalted One - 1000 posts, custom avatar?

I don't think we see enough new users these days that having a few extra title changes would cause a bunch of pointless posting. Thoughts? Is 1000 posts too much to earn a custom avatar?

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Postby dragon wench » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:09 pm

Personally, I'd be fine with asking members to use the 75 by 75 dimensions, I can see how at least a certain degree of uniformity might be appealing to the eye. And I guess it would be a compromise.
Though, I just measured my ava, and it actually is that precise size, so I'm probably not the best voice on that one, since I'm not impacted ;)

I like the title ideas though, "exalted one" has a nice ring to it :D

1000 posts seems pretty fair to me.
Sounds kind of like an initiation rite though... does this mean all of us "exalted ones" get to haze and generally abuse fledgling members? :p
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Postby Aqua-chan » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:13 pm

dragon wench wrote:1000 posts seems pretty fair to me.
Sounds kind of like an initiation rite though... does this mean all of us "exalted ones" get to haze and generally abuse fledgling members? :p


Don't we do that anyway? :D

Speaking from a graphic point of view, 100x100 avatars are far more prevalent and are the most commonly accepted size of file I have seen on the web. Generally I have to re-size my pics to fit them on Banshee, but it's simple enough to do with a basic graphic program. Either way, it doesn't bother me much unless an image I really want to use looks like crap upon compression.
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Postby Xandax » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:09 am

I can understand (I don't really agree with it) the "need" to have an avatar to create a "uniform" layout, but I do not agree with a) only from a selected list and b) custom avatars tied to post count.

On a site like this I do not see the requirement of having a list of avatars to choose from. It makes more sense in forums for MMOs for example - where forum accounts can be tied to in-game accounts and what not.
I would not like to see the few avatars I've used over the last 9 years being substituted for something from a list. I tihnk over the years I've had 3 avatars on this site. Usually on other forums, I rarely select an avatar.
I would also have to hate to resize my avatar to fit into the layout when HTML layout on the web generally are very dynamic in this day and age, and static layout is a thing of the past.

I also do not really agree with the post-count tying for custom avatars. I hate forums which tie specific perks to post count because it only promotes post-farming and spamming to gain a post count. People value post counts way to much because of this when it really should not matter much at all.
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Postby Maharlika » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:37 am

I'm with Xan on this one.

How about just having these set avatars still at hand and let the users decide whether to use them, have their own or none at all?
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Postby BuckGB » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:00 am

Aqua-chan wrote:Speaking from a graphic point of view, 100x100 avatars are far more prevalent and are the most commonly accepted size of file I have seen on the web.


100x100 seems a little big to me, but I'd be willing to give it a try. All of the images I have are ready to be cropped to any 1:1 dimension ratio.

Xandax wrote:I can understand (I don't really agree with it) the "need" to have an avatar to create a "uniform" layout, but I do not agree with a) only from a selected list and b) custom avatars tied to post count.


I really don't think post-farming is an issue, but just to make sure, we could set the option for a custom avatar to a lower amount (50 posts? 100 posts?) just so that new members have a feel for the forum (and are legitimate users) before they start uploading custom pictures.

There's going to be a huge variety of images to pick from, so I don't think anyone will have an issue with having to get nestled in for a few days before they can start customizing. Here's a snapshot of maybe 50% of the images I've cropped so far: [url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/sitefeatures/images/avatars.jpg"]avatars A-L[/url].

The main thing I want to achieve here is to ensure that everyone has an avatar. Right now, I bet a good 90% of our news comments have a "GB No Image" placeholder avatar next to it. I think it would help the site's aesthetics and make our community look more representative if we had some sort of avatar next to each post, RPG-related or otherwise.

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Postby Xandax » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:03 am

If the problem is that people have a "no avatar" image, why not just assign another avatar as default? And then let everybody do as they've done so far?
So instead of a "no avatar" image, they'll just have a "no avatar, but default assigned" avatar.

Or is the problem they all have the same "avatar" in which case you can just assign a default randomized avatar and let others do as they've always done?
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Postby BuckGB » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:14 am

Xandax wrote:If the problem is that people have a "no avatar" image, why not just assign another avatar as default? And then let everybody do as they've done so far?
So instead of a "no avatar" image, they'll just have a "no avatar, but default assigned" avatar.

Or is the problem they all have the same "avatar" in which case you can just assign a default randomized avatar and let others do as they've always done?


I guess I don't see an issue with allowing members to choose an avatar from a list of 200+ as opposed to just automatically assigning them one. All I'm advocating is a one-time requirement to pick an avatar, any avatar, from the list I'll soon be uploading. If they don't want to pick an avatar from my list, then they can upload a custom one. Do you really think that's asking too much?

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Postby Aqua-chan » Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:02 pm

I'm not especially picky on the size. Just pointing out that pretty much every community gathering site I use goes by 100x100 as standard, and it's the size most icons are made in. I don't think 75x75 or less will be detrimental, really.

As for the post farming, I think our community has died out to the point where it wouldn't be an issue. If somebody joins the site and posts frivolously, and none of the mods catch it, then they're bound to be deterred by the fact that nobody really cares about post counts anyway.

Facing facts, most of the remaining posters here have less than 1000 comments. Does giving incentive for discussions really hurt us? Doubt it.
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Postby dragon wench » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:39 am

I'm not sure I'd even be able to keep my ava at 100 by 100...
Revealing much more of the original image is likely to get me banned.... :D
Either that or I have to expand what I already have and suffer the increased pixelation.
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]