Auto-generated Avatars

Avatars are GOOD. Why? Not because they’re pretty pictures!! @#@# anyone who thinks that. They help maintain the flow of conversation for the people who don’t carefully scrutinize or remember posters’ screen names. Basically, avatars just have to be distinct, but something cool I saw on another site was that the avatars weren’t user-added bitmaps (which could be ugly, dumb, or annoying). Instead, they were computer-generated patterns. I think that’s a really neat idea.

I think I’ve seen those… All the users had 2-colour sort of kaleidoscope like images as avatars. I thought it was pretty neat., but I wasn’t sure if it was just a really pervasive fad at that site :slight_smile: Still, it worked in that it gave everyone an avatar and none were intrusive, and it looked really cool and brainy/sophisticated at the same time.

I’m with you on this one, I think it would be really good here.

“really good here.” What makes that concept “really good here?” As opposed to full avatars, or no avatars?

I think remembering people’s screen names isn’t a particularly difficult challenge. No need for avatars of any type, IMO.

Is remembering “left swirling green and purple, with the black border” really easier to remember then “Alex_Dubinsky”? I’ve not seen boards that use that, but it’s not an obvious improvement to me.

I am in general opposed to avatars here. But I do note as a teacher that there are a significant number of people who associate things visually, rather than through words. So for such a person, “left swirling green and purple, with the black border” might well be easier to remember than “Alex_Dubinsky”, when asked to differentiate the name from, say, “DSYoungEsq”.

[one data point]I’m a very visual person, and yes avatars help me in remembering who is who. Just as long as they are not animated, in which case they make me want to reach through the screen and strangle the party in question.[/one data point]

Avatar + name = infinitely more useful than just name or just avatar. If hosting is the issue, let us link to an image hosted elsewhere. If appropriateness is the issue, use something randomly generated as suggested here.

Honestly, I don’t even see why appropriateness would be an issue–set standards and enforce them. I used to be a moderator on the forums for a site much larger than this (over 500k registered users, several thousand people online at any given time), and we kept everything in line pretty neatly.

link to a site that uses them or even better, explains how they are generated?

I agree. I would like to see for myself just what exactly is being discussed here.

Well, to start with, it would be good in the way all avatars are good, as has already been explained here. Meanwhile it would avoid the downfalls of avatars which everyone is also familiar with. Downfalls which seem espescially unnacceptable to this community seeing as how avatars are not allowed here at all (and when the topic comes up, few suggest enabling them.) They were all different and yet they all kind of matched, so it wasn’t cluttered or untidy, yet also not barren or empty.

And there’s something else… It’s hard to explain… it wasn’t swirls like a doodle or something you’d see from an amateur artist. It was simple. It was clearly recognisable as a visual representation of something mathematical. Something about the combination of randomness and order in the generated images gave a kind of impression which, now that I think back to it, is very similar to the impression I get from this board and it’s members overall. (whatever that’s worth to you :))

I wish I could find the site on which I saw it, but as I said, I didn’t recognise what I was seeing at the time, or I would have taken more note of it.

Ugh… I can’t find any forum that uses them… My google fu is weak. :frowning:


A HA!!! I didn’t give myself enough credit :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

They’re called ‘Identicons’.

I still can’t find any actual forum using them exclusively… I’ll keep looking.

That’s kinda cool. I was imagining something a lot more complicated and interesting. Imagine a graphic along the lines of the one shown on the wiki link but where the image is somehow generated based on your board statistics: post count, length of membership, percentage of posts that get quoted, number of warnings, reputation, subforums you frequent, etc.

That’d be pretty complex.

I just want to see pretty and distinctive images that aren’t even assigned to us but that we can pick out ourselves.

Although, the concept of an autogenerated image that carries information does intrigue me. It can’t carry a lot of info. This example manages to communicate feedback score pretty well. The wiki article links to a lot of great examples. (And then there’s a banner that says “wikipedia articles shouldn’t have so many links.” Wtf!?)

I must confess I prefer no avitars. That said, the artist in me finds these identicons ugly. I can only imagine a whole page of them would be worse.

I do not think randomly generated squares of geometric imagery would be easier to remember than a name, even when combined with that name.

But then the image would be constantly changing. That would seem to undercut somewhat the intended goal of making posters identities recognizable at a glance. I think it would make more sense to just stick with hashing the email address. Since two people can’t use the same email address to sign up (I think) no two people would have the same avatar.

BTW, when used, they’re much smaller than the example on the wiki. Also, if they’re on the right colour background, they are not a square containing shapes but rather a unique shape in and of themselves, which makes them more individually recognizable.

Meh. Those computer-generated patterns still look similar, at least to my eyes. Half of them seem to look like pixellated and mosaic-ized swastikas.

I’ve had my say about avatars. I’m a lone voice in the wilderness in believing that they won’t spell doom and gloom for the SDMB.

Ah, so that’s what these little pictures on Strange Maps are after all! Although this blog doesn’t use them exclusively; some posters use actual avatars but I’m not sure how they got them.

Personally, I don’t find that they help me keep track of the different posters. Actual avatars are better for this task. Identicons are not distinctive enough, for my brain at least.

They won’t make the boards go to shit, they’ll make the boards look like shit. That’s the problem.

I’m with you. I like to see how other users on various message boards pick as avatars. That they also act as a memory aid makes them even better.

I know my *name *would make more sense with an avatar. :smiley: