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Old 2005-12-31, 15:52   #1
Numbers
 
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Default Do peoples avatars affect you too?

One of the great things about a web forum is that it allows us to interact with people with whom we share an interest at a time and place of our own choosing. Unlike real friends who call round when it is not convenient, and make impositions upon us. How we handle those impositions is a measure of our friendship, but you can't impose yourself on me. No matter how much you glare at the monitor you cannot force me to reply to your question. And if I want to wait until 3 in the morning to reply, I can, and will.
Whilst this is one of its strengths, it is also one of its drawbacks. We cannot help form opinions about each other based purely on our messages. After a while we know which folks are really good at math, which ones know about programming, or hardware etc. So we learn to interpret the answers we get to our questions in light of our impression of the person who answered. But this impression is imperfect. It is only a glimpse of what the person is really like, and can sometimes be formed on very flimsy evidence.
Lately, I have discovered that I have been using, unconsciously, peoples avatars to help form this impression. I don't mean that because Citrix has a lemon for his avatar that I think Citrix is a lemon, it is much more subtle than that. TRex for example has this very friendly looking tiger, looking into the centre of the screen, as though it is looking at me. And this forms a much warmer image than say, Xillman's rather terse finger-pointing exercise.
Pet owners are renowned for anthropomorphising their pets, and I suspect that to a degree that is what I have been doing too. I just wondered if anyone else has experienced this, or has anything to say on the subject.
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Old 2005-12-31, 16:30   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numbers
And this forms a much warmer image than say, Xillman's rather terse finger-pointing exercise.
There's a story behind my choice of icon. I learned to count in binary on my fingers many years ago and can tally things at a reasonable speed --- at least 2Hz. I can also add and subtract in binary, though much more slowly.

Some years ago I was demonstrating this skill to Phil Carmody. He sent me the animated GIF a while later. He's recently sent me a much more realistic counting hand, but I fear it is rather too big for use as an icon.

Paul
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Old 2005-12-31, 17:20   #3
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You have to be absolutely the only person I know who would say that he can count on his fingers at 2Hz. Everyone else would just say 2 a second, and mean exactly the same thing. When I read TTn's comment (in another thread) that he doubted you were an educated man I choked on my toast. He was obviously after a reaction, and the fact that he didn't get one probably went a long way to convincing him that he was wrong (or right).
I am a little disappointed that I now know that it was not you who programmed it. My belief that you had was part of the image-forming process that this thread is about, so I guess this proves what I said about our impressions often being based on flimsy and incomplete evidence.
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Old 2005-12-31, 17:34   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numbers
You have to be absolutely the only person I know who would say that he can count on his fingers at 2Hz. Everyone else would just say 2 a second, and mean exactly the same thing.
Brevity my dear Numbers, brevity.

"Hz" is two characters. "a second" is eight.

Paul
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Old 2005-12-31, 23:40   #5
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Be aware that a large number of avatars in the forum are randomly assigned, and are without meaning.
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Old 2006-01-01, 01:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy
Be aware that a large number of avatars in the forum are randomly assigned, and are without meaning.
Indeed. Some time ago (I don't know if this is still going on now), the moderators unilaterally assigned avatars to users (including me) with a large number of posts.
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Old 2006-01-01, 01:56   #7
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Yes, I thought that might be the case, since I did not choose the one I have. It just appeared one day last summer. But since it is the avatar we have that contributes to this essentially false image that other users form of us, the fact that we didn't choose the avatar reinforces the falsity of the impression.

Maybe I didn't explain it very well. It's a bit like people who know smoking is bad for them, but they still smoke. On one level they are intelligent and rational enough to know that smoking causes nasty things to happen to them. But on another level they can't help walking into a newsagents every day and buying twenty more cigarettes. Their rational self cannot justify that, but the illogicality of it doesn't stop them buying cigarettes.
So in the same way I know that you are not a bird with a long red bill, that Delta T is not a green frog, that surprisingly I am not a yellow butterfly, but that doesn't stop the irrational, illogical part of me associating the person with the avatar.

Its also I suppose a bit like mathematical symbols, or the symbols on a map. A real life railway station is not a red circle,...

Maybe it was just a dumb question.
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Old 2006-01-01, 16:32   #8
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I use 'my' avatar all around several forums. It was an art work someone made of a cartoon that was made in a few episodes that i liked very very much. Silly subjects of the cartoon ofcourse.....

But I haven't seen it somewhere else. So i like it and it sets my reactions apart from others. It is also usefull to see it quickly seperating it from others in a thread while scrolling down or up.

I think that the colors look nice and warm :)
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Old 2006-01-01, 20:36   #9
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Speaking as a painter, blue is considered a cool colour. One of the considerations when painting a picture is that cooler colours go towards the rear of the picture and warmer colours come to the front. It's one way of creating depth in the picture; distant hills are often painted a very pale blue, for instance.
But greens and reds are, as you say, warm colours, and these over ride the cool blue in your avatar, particularly against the pale blue background of the forum.
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Old 2006-01-01, 20:41   #10
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I always browse the forum with image rendering disabled, so people's avatars matter not a whit to me.
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Old 2006-01-01, 21:46   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numbers
Lately, I have discovered that I have been using, unconsciously, peoples avatars to help form this impression. I don't mean that because Citrix has a lemon for his avatar that I think Citrix is a lemon, it is much more subtle than that.
I connect the avatar icon to the people - it will be a very strange situation when I someday meet members of this forum in person...

Quote:
Pet owners are renowned for anthropomorphising their pets, and I suspect that to a degree that is what I have been doing too. I just wondered if anyone else has experienced this, or has anything to say on the subject.
Guilty!
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