rinkuhero's picture
Submitted by rinkuhero on Sat, 2006-02-25 12:00

Hello, I just joined, although I'm a long-term reader.

This question might have been asked before, but why does virtually everyone on this forum use their actual photo as their image?

Personally I think that screams naturalism, and doesn't really tell you much about a person. It's more romantic (i.e. essentialist) to post an image of something more representative of you; there's one of you here that I saw using the mad Doctor Brown from the Back to the Future movies, and that one image probably tells me more about him than any other here.

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Nice to Meet You

Ashley's picture

Personally, I like knowing a person's real name and seeing a real photo because eventually we all meet and it's just a bit nicer to recognize people. I don't find given names to be forgettable, any more online than face to face. Here's a nickname I just saw: "igmig00" It is virtually unpronounceable, it means nothing to me, and if you think I would call a person that out loud, forget about it. It might be fun if everyone used their favorite work of art as an avatar, but then again, when we were all together face to face we would all be like strangers. No thanks.

This isn't really me...

Summer Serravillo's picture

<------ it's really a pic of Olga, my neighbor's schnauzer.

Yes, Landon. I was

Ross Elliot's picture

Yes, Landon. I was *assigned* the visage of a well-hung mongrel Smiling

Didn't you also appear as a

Landon Erp's picture

Didn't you also appear as a dog? As a person who's appeared as the Question on several forums and has a next to impossible time trying to find pictures of myself without music gear or make-up I can relate.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

Well, as someone who's

Ross Elliot's picture

Well, as someone who's appeared as myself, Dr Emmett Brown and Nuwanda, I can fully recommend a brief change of personality. My true visage is that boring that I find a substitution refreshing... as I'm sure my fellow SOLOists do.

[Christ, I'm sounding like Stolyarov. Someone lend me a big hat!!]

Regardless, soon I'll be appearing as a succulent redhead. After that I'll entertain my shoe fetish (ladies?)...


Charles Henrikson's picture

Using one's own picture is more realism then naturalism--one is what one is. Naturalism would be us in the buff... scary.

Just curious runkuhero: How is child Link from the Legend of Zelda is representative of you? What does that tell us about you -- are you trying to evade reality?

Romantisism would be more like photoshoping one's image to remove acne/blemishes/moles/other people/things from the picture to make it more idealistic.

I agree that one's picture, an acident of birth, doesn't tell anyone much about you -- it is thier actions that will tell you about them; no image could tell you about their actions.


JoeM's picture

Damn shame, I have a thing for redheads Sad

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Fraser Stephen-Smith's picture

If you prefer (and think you need) a name that immediately explains to a new acquaintance how you see youself (or would like to see yourself), then why stop at internet pseudonyms?

I have a friend who renamed himself Ramjam Delilah Funkyboogaloo-Smyth. Ramjam's friend had been reading Sartre, and decided that he would be better at choosing a name for himself than his parents had been. Ramjam's friend renamed himself Koolinthegang Danger Funkyboogaloo-Smyth, and Ramjam thought that was a fine idea. Kool's name is superior of course, as people refer to him as 'Kool' and he can accurately claim that 'Danger' is his middle name.

I'm sticking to monochrome as well, to make sure that no one ever suspects my secret shame - that I am slightly ginger.

What if the people you met

Duncan Bayne's picture

What if the people you met face-to-face walked around with bags over their heads which were painted and supposedly "conveyed their true inner self" and introduced themselves as something such as "Magenta Hornet", or "Orion Reasoner"?

I'd assume I was at a meeting of the JLA Eye

Making Myself Clear

Bikemessenger's picture

I've just taken up the habit of refering to myself as "The Bikemessenger" because nicknames seem a common practice, and that is, after what I am.

But I have no qualms about giving anyone my real name, Robert Noval.

As far as photos go, I just don't want to be bothered, rest assured you're not missing anything, there's really nothing special or unusual about my appearance.

I like to think if there's anything unique or worthy of note about me, it's my thoughts and perspectives.

---The Bikemessenger


Jody Gomez's picture

What if the people you met face-to-face walked around with bags over their heads which were painted and supposedly "conveyed their true inner self" and introduced themselves as something such as "Magenta Hornet", or "Orion Reasoner"? Why do you not consider it strange for people to behave in that manner online? I wish names and photos would be a requirement, and that we could do even more to deter worthless trolls that try to hide behind such bags and pseudonyms. Obviously, at this early stage you do not seem a troll, but hang around long enough and you'll understand.

That's very true Jason. I've

JulianP's picture

That's very true Jason. I've never thought about it.

If somebody made up a completely fictional persona, with a photo of somebody else's face, and a real-sounding name, I would not know. But I would still remember them easier, and relate to them easier, than a character with a name like 'Communist', for example, with a picture of some abstract painting, or worse, no picture at all.


Not to mention Mr. Sturm ...

Duncan Bayne's picture

... Tim, your photo really doesn't do you justice. In person you're young, vital, enthusiastic ... but your photo, well, doesn't capture any of that. It desperately needs updating!

"It's easier to remember the

Jason Quintana's picture

"It's easier to remember the typical internet forum names than it is to remember ten different Johns or Jasons."

Believe me.  The different characters become very distinct when you know their first and last name along with a face next to the name.  

 - Jason

"And I start thinking all kinds of weird things. But that's because I see all kinds of weird things. " -- MSK

This isn't really addressing

rinkuhero's picture

This isn't really addressing the topic I brought up, I don't think the two topics are more than vaguely related, but, I don't think that using a self-chosen name rather than a parent-given name is "anonymous" at all. Often self-chosen names are much more personal than their given names, since a person put a lot of thought and effort into it.

Would you say that people who write under a pen name, such as Mark Twain, are doing so out of an effort to be anonymous, or simply because they prefer some other name to their own? This is especially strange to see in an community about Ayn Rand -- which was not her real name.

Also, given names tend to be very forgettable. It's easier to remember the typical internet forum names than it is to remember ten different Johns or Jasons.

If people who used internet names didn't give their full name, you would have a point, but most people who do not use their real name would give it on request.

Uh, I think I'm one of the

Landon Erp's picture

Uh, I think I'm one of the people Linz was complaining about.

My reasoning for this photo was I don't have many photos of myself without my bass (I don't play anymore). I got really sick of the music questions. I also submitted this photo as my new RoR photo and they still have that requirement.

Rest assured, I get a new photo I'll change it.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

We should do everything we can to encourage folk to be up-front as to who they are and provide authentic photos of themselves. We seldom get troll-trouble from people who do that! So ... whatever it takes.

While on the subject, can you make a renewed effort to persuade the monochromists to send in *colour* photos, & those who've sent unidentifiable full-body shots taken from the other side of town to send in mug-shots?! Smiling

Hmm... Jason, I agree with

JulianP's picture

Hmm... Jason, I agree with you. I prefer to know who I'm conversing with. I like your suggestion of providing a note in the registration page that lets people know that they can use their full name as their nickname, if they wanted.

Linz, what do you think?

Mr Winefield, I suspect Duncan is looking into the idea of multiple photos, but I'll have a poke-around as well. Smiling



Robert's picture

Remember that SOLOP allows you to "update" your image at any time. Thus you could start out with your true visage and then migrate to a pseudo-visage whenever the mood strikes you.

In fact, wouldn't it be excellent eye-candy (ie well down the list of things for overworked webmasters to do) if you could store 3-4 pictures like you do E-mail signatures. Then you could attach the appropriate to the post...

Smiley face for fun posts. Angry face for angry posts. "Flippin' the bird" for replies to those who demand you feed starving babes in the woods or face the firing squad...


Jason Quintana's picture

SOLO has always been a place where people interact on a first name basis. We've never been into interacting with anonymous people. That might change here on SOLOpassion but I prefer it the old way.

(In fact, I would have something during the registration period suggesting that people use their full first and last name as their nickname)

- Jason

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