Names and avatars

2 years, 10 months ago

I was wondering what the impact of people their names and avatars have on how we relate to each other on a forum. I was wondering this because of the reason that I wondered how it would be if in court, the judges would not be able to see the suspect visually nor would they hear the suspect. This came into my mind because I had a discussion about this issue earlier today. We are already biased towards certain people/ethnic minorities because of the ‘name’ they get in society. For example, here in Holland, the minoraties of Turkish/Moroccan people are being stereotyped as criminals and or linked with certain other bad behaviors. Therefore in court they are more often obliged to a penalty than indigenous.

To transfer this into our online virtual world, my question is how our virtual names and avatars have an influence on our manner of discussing with each other. How deep and how subconsciously does this have an impact on us? Because I am sure that it has some impact, stronger with one than the other.

And what about somebody his or her history of posting? Does this have an influence or how we discuss new discussions with each other? It should not have an influence, since the point of a discussion is to stick with the content and not the messenger, but we are humans and always influenced by subjective factors.

What do you guys think?

April 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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Profile photo of SumtinProphetic SumtinProphetic (@sumtinprophetic) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

a) I think our viritual names and avatars have more of a personal impact on what we post as individuals. If i’m using a false name/picture,I have complete anonymity regarding whatever I post. If I use my real name/picture, then everything is traceable to a specific person.

I choose a real picture but fake name because I own a business. What I say here could be traced back to me, and eventually to the business – I try to keep certain personal & subjective matters separated from my business because it would affect the overall image. But I use a real picture so people can have a real representation of who/what is posting

b) Of course the messenger affects how the message is received – I’m way more prone to trust a post by someone who has a consistently fair and knowledgeable record

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Profile photo of Ellie Ellie M (@tangledupinplaid21) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I’ve definitely noticed that the way I view what someone on High Existence says changes when I recognize the person posting. For example, someone left a comment on a topic I started and I read it and took it into consideration(like I do with all comments), but considered it much more deeply after realizing that this was someone I’ve interacted with a lot on here before, who had just changed their avatar. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way.

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Profile photo of Uncle Myu Uncle Myu (@wizster) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I prefer to see a picture of someone vs. an animation or picture. the reason i don’t have a pic is because i don’t have a digi cam and this desktop is old. When I see a pic, then read a post, i sorta try to sound like what i think the pic sounds like. If i don’t like the voice in my head, i tend to give the post less credibility (at least i’m honest about it). Then i read the words in my voice and try to remain neutral and unbiased.
If i see a girl post something, i immediately judge that it will be either brilliant, foolish, or stoner talk. I read it, then re-read it as unbiased as possible and try to remember that the words are those of a soul, not a gender.
If it’s a dude, my immediate reaction is that he is either cool as me, dumb as shit, or if he’s smart but i don’t like his content, he’s a jackass. Then i dismiss these ideas and realize that if he’s on HE, he’s probably nothing like the assholes i encounter daily on the web and in person. Respect him Myu. After this, i read his statement as one should, as unbiased as possible.
I have my demons and my ego. I know. My honesty impresses me, i just learned something faced something about myself. I think the reason i don’t like animate avatars is because i can’t judge them initially. And i think people are beautiful. for example @beyond aka Sasho has a picture that seems joyous, loving and extremely benign. @xyrenita has a picture that looks right out of 1979 family photo album on a warm summer day. Like wherever she is, she’s living the good ol’ american dream with swing sets and ice cream cones. Those pictures make me smile

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I’m reminded of a line from “Samurai Jack”. In it, the titular character was asked what he called himself, to which he replied “A name is not what you call yourself, it’s what other call you.” In internet forums like this, we are unusually fortunate in that we can choose to call ourselves whatever we want, and provided the name is available, we can choose how others perceive us.
Take me for example. My common internet moniker is “The Laughing Fool”. Given that name, you’d think I’d have a well developed sense of humor. While I do enjoy a good laugh more than anything I can think of, I don’t really see myself as a funny guy. That name came to me out of a long series of events that sprung from timing and mistranslation. The avatar I use is also related to this name, as I felt that I should create a symbol I would use for myself (If you can’t see it, it is supposed to be a laughing face).
Do I think there are any consequences for having this moniker, either good or bad? I’m not really sure. I’ve never had it come up before, and if it did, I didn’t really pay attention to it. For me, it’s just a cool (in my opinion) name that I’m proud to use in lieu of my real name. I guess since it’s never been an issue, it must be fairly innocuous. I think this has more to do with the internet culture becoming more desensitised to the unusual. Maybe if I had a moniker like “ChildRaper47″, it would be more of a problem.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I agree with both of you. It doesn’t really matter to me who it is. It depends if they have a good response or if I recognize the person.
At sumtinprophetic, the last about more knowledgable record, it really depends, some people have more knowledge/experience with other subjects than others so someone might have a terrible history then all is a sudden, an unexplainable great contribution.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

People make fun of me when they find out I’m a 56 year old, post-op transgendered Haitian with a botched boob-job and a lazy eye.

So I wear masks to feel sexy online.

Avatars have absolutely no impact on how I react to people, though.

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Profile photo of Filip Filip M (@filipek) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Interesting views. I especially like @wizster, your way of facing this problem. Firstly judging like we all do, but then reflecting on it, and trying to see the post/comment in an objective non biased way.

I think it is not only difficult due to the names and avatars, but also the emotions that get involved, which of course can be due to the names and avatars as well, but also somebody his or her ‘history’.

I try to be as less judgmental as possible, and reply to the content, but I too catch myself on judging already by seeing a name or post coming up, even before I have seen the actual post. Whether these are positive or negative judgments, it does not really matter, and I think it can be seen in a positive way as well. We are not robots, and I think emotions and jugements are, and will always be, part of the discussion/conversation. There are not only negative sides involved.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I’ve noticed when people switch their avatars I’m more accepting of what they say.

Otherwise I become conditioned.

There are some sites out there that every month or so you must change your avatar & name. There are of course ways to make it obvious, but it really makes things interesting.

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Profile photo of Sasho Stoyanov Anonymous (@) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I’m using my real name and my pictures, and I don’t care about impressions. See how insecure and bored I am. Cowards.

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