No Avatars in the "In Character" Forums - DISCUSS!

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Original poster
Invitation Status
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Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
10AM - 10PM Daily
Writing Levels
  1. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Female
Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy, Thriller, Space Exploration, Slice of Life
If you've been actively roleplaying during the past week or so, you'll notice the avatars, post data, and siggies are missing from all of the IC forums. All that you see is the Username and the POST.

This was an experiment.

The obvious knowledge is that people are supposed to see and focus on are the roleplay posts themselves. The writing. Thus we have;

Missing Avatars/Fluff: It's been suggested that people often skim too much or skip over content when they see the avatar/siggy. Their theory is that without these flashy tidbits, players are force to actually READ the roleplay posts and therefore be less likely to miss the details. With the user names still there and visible, that should be enough to know who posted.

Pro Avatars: The opposing, theory is that people recognize images easier and faster. They don't always have time to fully read a roleplay post, so seeing the avatar and recognizing who posts means they can do a quick skim and then come back to it when they have the time.

How has it been for you? What are your opinions and experience?
(I had been thinking it was some kind of glitch xD)

I like the Missing Avatars/Fluff version!
It makes the roleplay posts look different from the normal posts and it does put distractions like signatures away ^_^
Like you said, it made it easier for me to read posts without having a change in thought by looking at something else. XD

Alright I do want to put this out there.

Danana took away my avatar and signature in the only place I really post here on Iwaku. Thus the only place you'll see it is the OOC and well I don't join many stories at a time thus you'll not know who I am unless you actively join stories I'm in. (Or via Staff but 1. What about the little guy not on Staff and 2. I haven't done many public works in awhile in Staff)

So if I had to choose a side I want them back Di. After all it is the responsibility of a RP'r to make sure they are read up or at least know the facts of the goings on.
My only concern is finding stuff quickly. As GM I have to read back over lots of posts, especially when I'm hijacking (which is all the time), to make sure I get the continuity right.

As for a sense of identity, I don't overly mind losing my avatar, especially since I've started to put character pics in the corner of all my IC posts.

I can see Piro's point though.

So put me down as 60:40 in favour.
Though I've been here two days I really like not having all that extra stuff. I have always found it pretty distracting. In the one roleplay I am in we all post in a different color which breaks everything up and makes it easy to differentiate between the characters. I could see from a staff/admin perspective it being more difficult to spot specific people but I think the pros out way the cons.
I actually like having the avatars WITHOUT having the signatures. Leaving avatars in allows me to visually identify a poster more quickly. Maybe it's just how I take in information. In cases where the player doesn't use their character's name near the beginning of the post, or even at all, having the avatar gives me a little more of a chance to remember who the character is more quickly... Especially when it's a new character or I'm new to the game and am not familiar with everything yet. THAT being said, I like the ABSENCE of signatures because it means I spend more time reading content and less time scrolling down over repetitive content, and the whole screen loads more quickly.

Also, I do like having timestamps present and I always want edited-by lines too.
Alright, so yeah. I don't like it.

Don't take the avatars out. As a GM, it's useful to have images to go by and easily find out who I need to pester. As a player/reader, it isn't useful in the least to not have the avatars. I mean, they're little squares. They don't stretch the post at all unless it's like, a one-liner, and that's kind of a rare species around here. Whether the avatar's there or not doesn't affect how much or in what way I read a given post--that is determined entirely by more important circumstances that a little style change won't affect.

As for recognizing people by their character pics, well, that's pretty much useless for two reasons. One: People like me have a really, really hard time finding images that match the character in mind, and don't use them; I really doubt I'm the only person like me in that respect. Two: If you're in a lot of RPs, which I used to and would like to be again quite soon, it's too much to keep track of: One image per player is much easier to recognize than six, and it gets even worse if somebody has an image for this RP and not for that one, etc. etc.

I don't object nearly as strongly to removing signatures within the subforums--After all, by the time you get there you've had the opportunity to read the post already. But I don't think it would help much, either. It's just as easy for the individual to develop an "inattentive blindness" to them, as I think most forum-users can do/have done already. I don't really even see signatures unless I'm looking for/at them intentionally.
[[EDIT: In the interest of slow-loading computers not having to take up time to get all those extra images and words, this might even be okay. Apologies for not thinking of my weaker-connectioned fellow members.]]

Bottom line: More focus on the roleplay has to come from the READER(s); changing the format won't do anything for it and, in many cases, can easily mess up the GMs. It wasn't broken before, so there's no reason to break other things trying to "fix" it.

It would be like if a novelist took out chapter markings because (s)he thought it brought more focus to the story, when in fact it would have little to no impact besides making it harder to communicate which part of the book you're referring to when conversing about it. If a person wants to read, they'll read; if they don't, they won't.
It helped me! I mean, I have ADD, and I liked it! It made me pay more attention!
Instead of doing an explanation of why, I'm saying I'd rather have the avatars back 100 percent. The only reason why I don't want to explain is because not matter what I say or do people always take off and say something like "why did you say this".
I like the policy. Of course, I'm still a newb, so I defer to the final opinion of more experienced posters and ultimately the mods, but here are my two cents:

For me, taking away the avatars and sigs isn't so much about making it "easier" or "quicker" for readers or players--in fact, it might be the opposite. But this can be a good thing. A simplified format improves the perceived quality of the posts, making it closer to a mature, published product. As we grow, we graduate from reading picture books, to illustrated short stories, finally to novels with no pictures. A novel would be "easier" to read if every line of dialogue had a picture of the character next to it... but it wouldn't be a serious book anymore if it did that. The simplified format makes the RP forums look and feel more serious and professional, by reducing clutter and extraneous information. It forces us--often against our will--to be better posters and to think of what we write in RPs as a finalized, edited, formal product, rather than just "fun things I write on a forum." I think pushing ourselves to be better writers is one of the things a great RP forum should do. Making the IC forums "different" from general chat forums by making them more clean and writing-centered can encourage us to think of ourselves as writing not just for our own entertainment, but also to train our creative skills and ultimately enable us to create publishable product, worthy of the enjoyment of others.
Iwaku's already pushing people to be better writers, there's some kind of weird (positive) peer pressure that you aren't really even aware of at first that does that. It really doesn't need help, from what I've experienced, but even if it did we have people like Asmo running a writer's school thing and writing challenges cropping up that nobody's paying any attention to, and so on, and that stuff is WAY more helpful than removing the avatars that GMs like myself like to have for reference.

Also, there are still going to be pictures of the character by every IC post of some players, that isn't affected by removing avatars and probably won't happen because the admin behind the change happens to like doing it quite a bit. And if they tried to mess with taking out post colors that'd be something I was really strongly against.

What I'm saying is, we don't need to change the way it looks to appreciate that it's art we're creating here. If you don't already know it, it shouldn't be that hard to figure it out; and if you refuse to figure it out, no amount of style or format changes are going to help you. My point overall is--this doesn't do anything helpful, and the little effect it does have is inconvenience. I wouldn't complain about minor inconveniences, but paying even a small price for absolutely nothing is not good in my book.
Good point. *shrugs* I guess what I like about the proposal can be summed up in that "it makes the RP forums look cleaner and more 'published.'" But you're right, that it's not really necessary and may be a hassle for GMs (something I don't have experience in). I'm definitely cool with it one way or the other.
I'd like to edit my previous statement. I still would like to be known around the forums, identifiable by a picture. There for I'm editing my previous statement to be "Yes you can take out signatures as most of the time they are just random hobby things or a saying, but keep the avatars. After all I liked to be pointed out as the Moon Guy rather than The GM that occasionally doesn't post but will if you get a hold of him on MSN and help him develop his busted muse."

And there ya go.
Quite honestly, I've never seen the Avatars or the Signatures to be a problem. I mean, sure they're pictures, but they've been visible for so long, if you still have problems with them, then you just must be really bad at adapting. Avatars are useful for finding a specific person's post, and a signature is a little expression of who you are as a person. Why shouldn't something like that be allowed in roleplays when it's a ROLEPLAY forum? I say, if people really want them gone that badly, have it as an option. But don't make us all suffer by being made unable to see them. It should be a choice, not something forced on us.
I'll probably mention something that's already been expressed, but here goes...

Me personally? I don't mind the lose of the Avatar, or Signature. It takes away from distractions when I'm trying to read what's posted, but for there are times I'm, looking specifically for someone's post. Avatars, and Signatures are like homing beacons for my eyes, and it lets me find the content a lot quicker.

What I do like about not seeing the Avatars, and Sigs is when I'm in an IC thread, it feels much more like a book. It's a nice change of pace, but I believe it might be a good idea if there's some way that the threads could be toggled for avatars, and to hide them.
Keep them, I say.

This is a forum, after all. We're not sitting around a table together roleplaying, we can only communicate through the form of text. Avatars give each member a certain level of identity on Iwaku, a chance for others to recognise them not just as a name. Like Piro with his moon-themed avatars, WMD with his rather badass gif or Jumi with Buckethead, we all have something that others can associate with us.

Personally, I've found this helps when you're looking for posts by a specific person as a GM.
For all reasons posted about, I'd like to keep avatars and sigs in roleplay. It makes it easier for me to recognize the post while I'm heading it. When I skim (I frequently read and reread certain posts, but I gotta find 'em first) I like seeing avatars and sigs. I don't really know why. Besides, anyone who has been a forum-user for a long while should already probably be signature/avatar blind when they're focusing on the posts. I know personally I never see avi/sigs when I post, even when they're there. They just don't recognize in my head.
Random idea: How about if RP threads just had name and avatar with each post, while removing title, reputation, join date, location, postcount, blogcount and siggies? That way, you could still look at the avatars for quick reference, but the clutter of the other stuff and the sigs (which can be kind of long sometimes)? At least when sigs are out, the text of the thread can sort of read as a nice continuous flow, rather than broken-up as it is when you include sigs. Or maybe that's the point of having them in, to break up the flow... Okay, I won't intervene in this anymore, but just wanted to get my thoughts out there.
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