The value of an avatar

It happens sometimes that as I am working on IDs for a given taxon or location, I will happen to see an avatar that catches my attention and motivates me to check out the profile. That in turn has been known to lead me to look at all of that particular user’s observations and focus on refining or confirming them.

Usually these are avatars that in some way stand out as different from just another face pic; avatars that show something interesting about the person.

Maybe not all of you respond to avatars in this way; but if even a relatively few of us do, that influences what observations get more attention.


They are probably using some silly, photogenic insect from a local hike


Good art, especially when it has something from the nickname or name, catches the eye!
Though with avatars first that comes to mind is silly faces, can’t really take a person seriously if they chose such a photo to represent themselves, so instead of iding spend time trying not to look at the photo, especially when in its smaller size you see it not the way it actually is.


And then there are those of us who hate photos of themselves, and can’t think of one creature that represents them better than their initial.


Honestly, just put anything at all, and that will let me know you’re more serious about your account than someone who has the default no-image icon.


I always loved yours Elliott.


I like how you carried the letter over to your iNat account as well. It is much nicer than the generic silhouette.

I tend to recognize people from their icon rather than reading their username all the time, so it throws me off when people change their icons! “Wait! Who’s this new person! Oh, it’s so-and-so with a new icon. Okay.” The people who don’t have any icon are “those people”, because I have to pause and read the username. Lol

I’m getting better at remembering some people’s names, but I’ve always been a faces rather than names person.


People who have the thing they ID as their avatars are always scarily fast and good. I feel like I’m giving offerings to ancient, benevolent gods whenever I upload a picture of something and someone with that as their avatar IDs it.





I actually do like the faces avatars, as it has such a nice personal touch (however, I do not like to use one of those myself, but I appreciate much if others do)… I often do check those profiles. But actually, I more often check profiles because people caught my eye in what they ID, what they upload or also what they do in the forums… no matter their chosen avatar :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t like it so much if avatars change, as it also throws me off a bit. But it does not effect my behaviour


The ones that have art, cats, and dogs definitely get more clicks from me. What I enjoy more is if the person has taken some time to write something in the profile since it gives a sense of who they are.


I am a gigantic rubber duck…who else dare challenge me


Actually I’m not responsible for the V on either iNat or the forum. It came from Google, because I used my google account to log in when I first created the account.

In all honesty, I prefer face avatars as it feels more personal, if I ever click on an avatar it would be as @Ajott stated a thing they posted in the forum or an ID that’s interesting, oh and frequent users.


Actually for me the avatar is a secondary thing, I tend to go to the user’s profile either after having a look at one of their observations, or seeing them at the top of the observations and/or identifiers list of a particular taxon.

EDIT: And then gradually I associate both username with their avatar pic together.


Please please please - anything but the grey default ghost
Or the bland initial (sorry)

iNat is visual for me. Photos all the way. And text, I will read - but I skip audio since I have one deaf ear and no hope of tracking what where when I hike.

If you are a taxon specialist then your chosen taxon makes it so much easier to remember who does bats in Africa?

I don’t need to see your face, but I use your obs to try and work out where you are based (if you don’t say on your profile) My two examples have name = taxon that has stuck now. Default face across social media for me goes back to Google Plus tricking me into guinea-pigging their Authorship.

I like to sweep thru the web of life on Unknowns. Many many taxon specialists to find and remember plus location for each one. And then I did set deep value on
handstand = spider but I see a person over on iNat so will have to remember to camera not handstand!


I am neither a plant nor a herp guy, but considered them both as non-human representatives for me:

Here in the forum it is an Ophrys flower, because I recognise happy faces in their pattern (different facial expressions in different species) and I imagine how those flower gnomes are constantly happy and in awe by seeing insects and other critters constantly crawling in the grass around them.
grafik grafik

The story with the salamander as my iNat-avatar, however, is a very personal one:
When looking at the photograph, I discovered, although the letters are shuffled, that my name is written across its back. So quite a good representative, in my opinion :blush:


HaHa, yeah that’s why I haven’t changed mine.


I personally like the face photo - it gives me a clue as to who I am interacting with. I have made some ‘friends’/acquaintances on inat who share my interests and it is nice to know who they are.
However, I appreciate your post. It got me off my butt to add my avatar to the forum profile