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Author Topic: Using Avatars and Handles Back to Topics
scoutmaster

Champion Author
Pittsburgh

Posts:97,069
Points:3,851,115
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 10:09:37 PM

It appears regulate_now and others want to use an avatar that gives the impression they are GB staffers. Others like GBmoderator and Gas_Buddy want to use names that could give the same impression.

I have less of an issue with the handles but I don't think either should be allowed. Let's discuss!
REPLIES (newest first) Topic is locked
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 5:29:54 PM

For the record,

The member regulate_now was and has not been scrutinized or punished in any way. He was using an avatar that GasBuddy, the company, had given him.

His previous avatar of the GasBuddy logo was removed by another moderator's discretion following a discussion about better avatar replacement procedure, and this was done without warning.

I myself am apologizing on behalf of the GasBuddy moderators and the organization for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Best Regards,

Don (DH)
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 4:49:18 PM

@regulate_now,

To be honest, your last message has use a little confused, we're not entirely sure what you mean by "I will not tolerate that nor the organization that supports it (behavior like Scoutmaster has exhibited)".

scoutmaster did raise a valid point, which has led to a valuable discussion about whether we should continue to replace inappropriate/offensive avatars with our own logo or not. Your previous avatar(s) have been removed and you have been contacted in the past, it had also been suggested you could change the GB logo to something else (this, from an email sent 10/24/2012).

We're sorry that your username was what scoutmaster chose to use as an example, but this is outside of our control. There are number of other users that could probably also have been referenced.

"I feel my integrity has been slandered and I will not tolerate that nor the organization that supports it."

We're sorry that this had made you feel this way, but that is outside of GasBuddy's intention, I think you may be misinterpreting the situation. From what I have seen, no one from the GasBuddy Organization has posted anything remotely insulting towards your username. Insulting our own members is not something that we strive to accomplish. You may utilize the ignore member feature to block users in the forums to prevent yourself from seeing content you may find objectionable.

Obviously this topic of discussion has taken a turn in a very wrong direction.

regulate_now, please feel free to contact us through Website Feedback or through the personal messaging system to discuss this further.

This topic is now closed for discussion.

-Don
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regulate_now
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:6,626
Points:1,009,050
Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 4:08:50 PM

Ryan,

Since you let this affect the icon that you (GBs) gave me, consider me gone... If you (Gas Buddies) will bow down to behavior like Scoutmaster has exhibited I no longer feel the desire to belong to an organization like this. I feel my integrity has been slandered and I will not tolerate that nor the organization that supports it. I have been a valuable member for Gas Buddies taking car of almost a third of northern rural Indiana for the past 4 years. I have spend many thankless hours on many tasks for Gas Buddies and for the members. I never did one thing Scoutmaster insinuated or complained about... My family and I will not be apart of this, that's 4 members lost for this post... and I will verbally let those I meet where appropriate know of this... word of mouth- a powerful positive and negative for any business...
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GM
Moderator
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 3:46:35 PM

As Don said, right now if a member has a profile picture that needs to be changed we change it from our end. Instead of just having no image we decided to use the GB logo as a default. That is the way things are right now and maybe we will find another image in the future. The icon really doesn't say a lot about the member.

The same goes for the name, this account's is "GM" most people don't know that means "General Moderator". Another good example is "Don", if anyone else had that username they wouldn't assume he is a moderator. The only thing that sets us apart from the rest is our bus icon and "Moderator" author status.

The only way an account can get a bus icon is if a developer sets that account up for us. Again as Don said that is clearly stated here.

Yes, if someone is posing as a moderator that is something we have to deal with, generally things like that are addressed behind the scenes, not in an open forum. If a member mistakes another member for a moderator due to their name similarity or profile image we can't do much about that. We do appreciate the help of our avid user's, if users were changing their avatars willingly to our site logo that would offer different repercussions, but the present example, the image was given by GB staff.
Maybe the best practice is to have an avatar where the image is something of your creation or is an image that you have permission to use.

regulate_now's avatar has been changed to the default profile image, he can change this to a more appropriate image if he wishes. Gas_Buddy's username will remain as it is.

Sorry for the long message, I hope everything was covered.



- Ryan (RD)
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,069
Points:3,851,115
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 2:40:24 PM

Well, regulate_now you have the option to change your avatar at any time. It appears you seem to like having people think you are a GB staffer. Very misleading.

And don't be flattered regulate_now. This topic was created so the other wasn't hijacked anymore that it already was. And I'm betting it will be illegal, regulate_now. It is very misleading.

[Edited by: scoutmaster at 11/28/2012 2:43:15 PM EST]
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,808
Points:3,632,800
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 1:26:25 PM

Side note:
regulate_now and I, by pure coincidence, are posting simultaneously.

Least anyone think there's any disagreement between regulate_now and me, there is not. I have nothing but respect for regulate_now (I'm sure we agree on some issues and disagree on some issues, but it's not personal, only perspective). My only concern, which regulate_now knows, is not about his previous avatar (I have no idea what it was) and not about anything regulate_now has posted; just concern about how the GasBuddy Incorporated Inc logo might cause a presumption of association, just as I try to ensure that my screen name isn't mis-associated.

From one relatively long time and relatively active member to another, I appreciate regulate_now's contributions to this website, and, as he said, we're just trying to do our part.
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regulate_now
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:6,626
Points:1,009,050
Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 1:17:16 PM

Gas Buddy, my avatar has not been changed... see my post just below yours... Way too big of a deal!!! I have never been any different from you- just a price posting member doing my part- no more no less...
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,808
Points:3,632,800
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 1:08:09 PM

I appreciate the changing of the avatar from what appears to be an indication of staff association.

As for "handles", I don't disagree that (with about eight years of hindsight) I possibly would have chosen a different screen name. At the time I joined, the day I joined, I went through a series of screen names off the top of my head because I needed to get one exit the program, make a list of possible screen names, and try to join another time. I elected to try to come up, quickly, with a screen name and get started on the website by quickly (unsuccessfully) coming up with variations of first name, locations (local area and state), and a number of Gas Buddy variations (i.e., MD Gas Buddy-type names) that were already taken or "unavailable". Whereas (if memory serves correctly), GasBuddy and Gas.Buddy and Gas-Buddy didn't work, Gas_Buddy was acceptable.

I don't believe I have ever unintentionally indicated (at least I hope not, other than, again with hindsight, a generic screen name)) I was associated with the organization, and have on several occasions (in response to any mis-association) either posted that I was a run-of-the-mill member and/or sent a white board message to a member to ensure they understood my association with GasBuddy Organization Inc was only as a fellow member. In that vein, several other long time members posting in a topic (if a fellow member made a presumption of my being more member or associated than I am) have quickly identified me (and I'm appreciative of it) as being merely a fellow member.

That said, I think there's a difference between confusing the majority of screen names (even mine) as representing Gas Buddy than there is with using an avatar that contains the GasBuddy Organization Inc logo, and the specific "GasBuddy Organization Inc" wording in the avatar.

What I think started led to this topic is my asking, in a different thread, why regulate_now (and let me say explicitly that I'm not questioning anything about regulate_now's posts, intent, or anything else, other than I was confused. In a topic he started, under the GasBuddy Organization Inc avatar, it seemed as if he was asking a question that, if he was a moderator or other staff member, would phrase as a statement. It appeared to be a staff member was asking the moderators a question rather than resolving the issue internally and then presenting it as a "Members, here's a moderator comment..." in a "What's New" manner. If regulate_now's avatar was the generic "no avatar chosen", the black silhouette, I would have never raised the issue. And, I have since learned that other members' postings display the GasBuddy Organization Inc logo as their avatar.

To me, and maybe I'm being simplistic, rather than the moderators trying to come up with an avatar for a member, why not simply use the current black silhouette until such time as the member selects a new (acceptable, if that's the issue) avatar? I, for one, would not want any member's new avatar to indicate that his/her previous avatar was removed by the moderators for any reason (let alone for cause).

As for using a possibly confusing screen name, I'm of divided opinion. As a long time member (and a relatively active member), I would hate to have to change my screen name at this point and try to again reestablish any anonymous recognition I may have for my views and opinions. But I can see how a new member, one who hasn't taken part in the discussions, could make an assumption, though not as quickly as if my screen name used any variation of the word "moderator". Maybe the solution is to grandfather names already in use and limit future " -GasBuddy " or "GasBuddy- " names, thought that would limit such screen names as "Hawaii_GasBuddy_Fan", "Gas-Buddy-Helps-Us-Save", etc.

I shall, however, for my part, continue to let people know that I'm merely a member of long time membership and low standing if there's any indication another member might be believing or associating me with more or different status than I have.

And, I'm open to suggestions from anyone thinking different.
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regulate_now
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:6,626
Points:1,009,050
Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 1:08:09 PM

Yes, thanks for handling this Don. See Scout, my avatar is not "illegal " and I am tickled you honoured me with a post dedicated to my avatar. Thanks too Scout for the time and effort you put into looking into this important issue. I hope it did not detract from your otherwise important duties from your busy schedule. BTW, not to hijack the thread, I still have not seen an answer to my more important question regarding the original post on the reporting protocol- but that was not nearly as important as user names and avatars . . . I must have misunderstood the priorities... Oh Scout, since you asked- as Don said, I did have a political avatar that GBs got a complaint on so they did remove that... I believed they replaced it with the one you complained about and called "theirs" or misrepresending" ...on to the next big issue...
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,069
Points:3,851,115
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 11:47:33 AM

Thanks for handling this Don.
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 11:45:51 AM

We've had a quick discussion about this, we may come up with a specific image that indicates an image has been removed (this may or may not be part of the humorous variety) or refer to the default, no image added photo.

Thanks for your feedback.

-Don
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,069
Points:3,851,115
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 11:12:29 AM

Thanks Don. I think it would help if you didn't let members use the same avatars as you and the other moderators and JT & DC use. Since the avatars are more noticeable this makes sense.
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 10:44:03 AM

Avatars that are reported as being offensive that end up being removed are sometimes simply replaced with a GB logo.

Quite frankly we don't have enough time to wonder what a member's personal taste in avatars is, obviously if an avatar is being removed then we'd like to replace it with something neutral and on-hand and continue on about our day.

Users are more than free to change their profile image to something more appropriate.

What you're describing is exactly why site staff have their own reserved car icons to distinguish from other members (who may or may not pose as GB staff), more info can be found on the member info page.

If a user does not have a bus icon and an author status of "Moderator" under their username, then they are not site staff.

-Don



[Edited by: Don at 11/28/2012 10:46:13 AM EST]
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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

Posts:70,724
Points:4,250,185
Joined:Aug 2001
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 9:59:32 AM

I don't think many of those gasbuddy* names are much of a concern as most are barely used, and I suspect some may be test userids.

I agree the use of GB official avatars by members should not be allowed.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,069
Points:3,851,115
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 7:54:09 AM

Add ModeratorDan and there are 35 pages of some form of gasbuddy.

The handle Moderator(fill in name) should not be allowed.

[Edited by: scoutmaster at 11/28/2012 7:55:44 AM EST]
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:12,669
Points:2,212,975
Joined:Jan 2006
Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 12:51:09 AM

Regulate_now is clearly using an avatar that should not be available to anyone except employees of GB. Hopefully the Mods will see this topic and take care of it.

GBmoderator is clearly using a nic that should be reserved for actual Moderators. Fortunately he has never posted in a forum and has a generic silhouette for an avatar so he is not confusing anyone.

Gas_buddy has a generic avatar but he does a lot of forum posts (mostly useful ones IMO), which probably confuses some folks. I do not have a strong opinion about him as I do for the first two.

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