Author Topic: Profile & Settings: Avatars and Signatures on the SMF 2 Board  (Read 1220 times)


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Avatars and Signatures on the SMF 2 Board
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:22:02 pm »
[Prompted by a request for help from a new user. While there are posts dealing with this matter, most of them date to the vBulletin software previously used.]

(ETA***: These instructions are for those accessing TC via a browser, not via Tapatalk on a mobile device. We hope to eventually have Tapatalk instructions as well, but Tapatalk being Tapatalk, it's possible they'll consist of 'sorry, you'll need a proper browser to do this'. - Sunflower)

What is an "avatar"? That's the small picture which appears at the upper left of your posts on this board, otherwise known to the board software as a "Personalized Picture". Mine, as of this writing, is a photo of a steam locomotive. PM 1225, to be exact.

The hosts of this board like to put an image with every name. They have installed a mod which auto-generates an avatar image of a face which is based on a computer "hash" of the email address you used when registering. Since no two email addresses are exactly alike (you can't register a duplicate!), no two images are exactly alike. That's good. However, the computer algorithm has no taste, and so in many cases your auto-generated avatar may come out looking like a caricature of General Tojo, circa 1943. That's bad.

(ETA****: Potentially even worse (or, OTOH, possibly convenient, depending on what sort of online privacy firewalls you prefer), if you have a Gravatar associated with the email address on your TC account, the mod will show that Gravatar if you choose 'no avatar'. So if you don't want your Gravatar image as your TC avatar, you do need to choose a different avatar. See also my parenthetical below*****. - Sunflower)

The good news is that you can set your avatar to essentially any image which complies with the hosts' Avatar Guidelines...basically, no larger than 128 pixels wide by 200 pixels high and no more than 10K file size total. There is also a gallery of several hundred pre-defined images which you may select. To do so, you will need to modify your user profile.

Begin by hovering your pointer over the very small thumbnail of your avatar in the upper right corner of the window. This should be just to the right of the search box. A menu should drop down; move the pointer to hover over "Modify Profile." A submenu should drop down from there; select "Forum Profile."

[NOTE: You can right-click on these images and select "View Image" to see them at full size.]

That should take you to the profile screen, where you can set several options to personalize and identify yourself. The top item is for your "Personalized Picture," or avatar.

You have four options in this section. You can select, "No avatar", but that may revert you to the auto-generated Tojo caricature (I haven't checked) (***** Yes, that's what happens. -SP). You may select, "Choose avatar from gallery." This will bring up a menu of several different categories of images, which you can click on to view and select a pre-defined avatar picture for yourself. The last option is, "Upload an avatar," where you can upload a suitable picture direct from your computer through your web long as it complies with the avatar guidelines referred to above.

There is also an option where you can select a URL to use an image from the Web. Use this with caution; you should only link to images which are on sites that you control through an image or web hosting account or (for the real geeks ;)) on your own web-connected server. It is considered bad net-manners to "hot-link" to someone else's images. If enough people do it at the same time, it can pull a web site off-line. Happened to me, although not for an image...a discussion about a timetable I had posted went viral on Reddit and after several thousand page views within the span of a few minutes my hosting provider pulled the plug. I was down for five days until I implemented a throttling policy. Some webmasters have even gone so far as to replace the image of the Cute Kitty Pic you're hot-linking to with a picture of Adolph Hitler saying "The Holocaust Never Happened And It Needs To Happen Again" or something similar...after changing the image address on their own site, of course. Something to keep in mind.


While you are on the "Modify Profile" page you can also set your (optional) signature. This is a block of text which is displayed below each of your posts...currently, mine is a thumbnail of Marvin Martian as a tribute to the "Looney Tunes" creators. To set an image, or to use other effects such as bold or italic text, you will need to use BBCode*. When using BBCode in a signature to add an image**, you must link to a URL from the Web. Again, as I stated in the previous paragraph, you are well advised to do so only with images which you personally control. In fact, to stay within the requirements of the hosts' Signature Guidelines (which you really need to read), you MUST link only to images you personally host and control.

Also, while you're on the profile page, fill out some of the other options such as the Member Map (let us know [about!] where you are) and your personal web site, if you have one.

And welcome!

[* and **, edits 14 Dec, to add link in place of suggestion to Google, and to clarify the sentence following. - Sunflower]
[***, ****, and *****, edits 15 Dec to add more info. All new content is in parentheses. - Sunflower]
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 10:49:16 pm by SunflowerP »
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Re: Avatars and Signatures on the SMF 2 Board
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 06:00:16 pm »
What is an "avatar"? That's the small picture which appears at the upper left of your posts on this board, otherwise known to the board software as a "Personalized Picture". Mine, as of this writing, is a photo of a steam locomotive. PM 1225, to be exact.

That's an excellently helpful post. Thank you very much for taking the time to do that.
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