Fewer custom avatars on Xenforo.com?

Discussion in 'XenForo' started by The Sandman, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    Is it my imagination or are there fewer custom avatars (as evidenced by more and more of the default single letter avatars) on XenForo.com since they moved the site to XF 2?

    I suppose it's not surprising - people register and are immediately given a serviceable, somewhat special avatar so why bother uploading a custom one.
     
  2. LordnMaster

    LordnMaster Aspirant

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    The same is true for Invision Power Services' support forum https://invisioncommunity.com/forums/
     
  3. LordnMaster

    LordnMaster Aspirant

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  4. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    I think I'd classify this as an unintended consequence of what seemed like a good idea. I think it's fine for things like comments on news sites or blog sites for example but not so much for forum communities, where avatars are (to me at least) an important part of the community feel.

    The letter avatars are better than default avatars but not near as desirable as custom ones.

    I'll be looking for an add-on that gives encouragement to members to upload custom avatars rather than stick with the lettered ones, and/or adds features to make each "default avatar" more unique.
     
  5. LordnMaster

    LordnMaster Aspirant

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    On my community, I noticed a small jump in forum interaction once we adopted this system. I believe it is because it provides a more personal and unique feeling to the member, especially if they by chance are using their real name. For this reason, it has become desirable, at least to each individual who is using it as the default.
     
  6. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    So... you're a fan then? ;)
     
  7. MarkFL

    MarkFL La Villa Strangiato

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    I much prefer when users upload a custom avatar. But, that requires a dozen or so seconds of effort, and is likely above and beyond what we can expect from a significant portion of users now.
     
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  8. LordnMaster

    LordnMaster Aspirant

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    I see what you did there. :rofl:

    I am a fan of the new avatar system in general, yes. Thankfully both IPB and WoltLab have seen the value in this new system and have implemented it. :tup:
     
  9. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    I installed an add-on that was supposed to simulate the XF2 system for default avatars. It didn't work correctly and showed everyone with the letter avatars (in that case all the same color but with 2 letter avatars). It was awful. So my fear is that at first, the letter avatars will be okay but as they increase in use on a forum they'll reach a point where they aren't okay anymore.
     
  10. dtdesign

    dtdesign Developer

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    True, but isn't this the point of having a choice? Not everyone uploads a custom avatar, for whatever reason, and giving them a somewhat meaningful avatar is a decent move.

    It also increases the usability for others by assigning distinguishable avatars for those, who chose not to upload a custom one. Nothing is worse than having a long thread with pretty much all participants showing a default avatar, at least for me, who more often than not just uses the avatars to draw the connection between posts.

    It doesn't mean that anybody plans to strip away custom avatars, instead it is all about providing sane defaults for everyone. The current development version supports the "Initials"-, "Gravatar"- (multiple types) and the "one image fits all"-avatar as default value, selectable by the site administrator.
     
  11. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    Yes, I understand this is the intention, and it sounds good in theory. But what I think we're seeing is that without the plain, same for everyone default avatars acting as a motivating factor for people to upload a custom avatar, people are just keeping the letter avatars. And it this trend continues I think it will have a negative impact on forums.

    It's too early to tell net effect of this - we might end up with forums where most members have the letter avatars or at some point people may decide they don't like all those letters and move back to uploading custom avatars.

    If members stick with the default letter avatars perhaps the best thing to do would be to increase the uniqueness of the default avatars with 2 or 3 letters, background patterns, other symbols, colors, etc. - perhaps even a default avatar customizer that each member can use to chose their own letters, symbols, backgrounds, and/or colors.
     
  12. ChrisTERiS

    ChrisTERiS Developer

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    Even if I don't agree with Avatar solution at all, I prefer real user photo, here are some ideas:
    1. As you've Gender field in profile, I'm attaching 3 images that I'm using for those who don't select any avatar.
    2. A better idea is instead to use default avatar, to select in random, one from the gallery. In most cases, especially if the user don't likes it, he'll change it with something else or he'll upload his own.
     

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  13. Kevin

    Kevin Oooh, something shiny!

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    Guess I'm in the minority of folks who use Robohash for a bit of fun.
     
  14. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated ass-hat

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    Or make the default avatar one that any reasonable person would WANT to change.
     
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  15. R0binHood

    R0binHood Adherent

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    Exactly, I just have a picture of Tracy Perry as the default for all new users. Doesn't take long for new members to find something else to put there :p
     
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  16. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated ass-hat

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    Heck, nobody would want to change it then!

    I was thinking something more in line with this

    default_avatar.jpg
     
  17. R0binHood

    R0binHood Adherent

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    Quit posting selfies Tracy, we get it, you look cool in sunglasses! :cool:
     
  18. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated ass-hat

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    Here I am showing off my 6 pack. :whistle:

    6pack.jpg
     
  19. ChrisTERiS

    ChrisTERiS Developer

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    Here is a big collection for random avatars. And finally should be a happy community :)
    bob.jpg
     
  20. haqzore

    haqzore Habitué

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    I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

    My personal opinion is that the new defaults have very little impact on the "urge" members have to set an avatar.

    I also think the new defaults improve the look of communities.

    So I sort of hear this as saying "lets keep a worse look for the community overall in the hope a few more people set an avatar"...

    I love the way IPC 4.x has the built-in profile completion walk through functionality. We should create other positive forms of encouragement like that, not make things look worse as a method of encouragement.
     
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