Third Party removal of Avatars & Avatar Gallery just woeful

49 posts in this topic

Posted

My community is a FAN site which has been using IPB software for over 6 years, we found it to be perfect for our community needs however the new 3.2 has ruined part of our community as the software is falling below our needs rather than improving them.

I sent a Ticket to ask how I can have Third party Hosting for our members Avatars & how my community can have the Title descriptions returned as we used this feature all the time & why the Avatar Gallery was removed.

Our Fan community often have competitions in creating themed Sig & Avatar combos & have always used them on Photobucket which they could share everywhere, they can still host their sigs form there but not the Avatars

The idea of uploading them to my server is stupid as it just clutters up my server and basically I'd have to clear out unused images that just remain there after members update / change their avatar again

only 3 months ago my Community created 25 new Avatars which were placed into our Avatar Gallery for members who didn't have graphic skills etc so that members could use them & now I regret updating to 3.2 because these images have now disappeared as their is no longer an option for it

I wrote a Ticket to IPS re this & all I received was

Linked avatars are no longer allowed. Gravatar can be used as a 'linked' image, but you can't link to a third party site for the avatar any longer. Avatars and Photos were merged because people wanted one image to show everywhere. Topic descriptions were removed for the tagging system, though, they are still there, and you could skin them back in if you wanted. But, there's no way to enter new descriptions.

That didn't answer anything just told me what I already knew & that is these options are no longer available.

I keep seeing posts that many IPB owners don't even visit these forums yet apparently this is what people wanted? why was I never informed? where was teh survey?

This is just appalling & sory IPB after spending so much money on this software over the past 6 years I am about to walk to the competition, I can't believe you would shaft your members like this without any good real reason at all.

As I asked in my reply to the ticket, What is Gravatar paying IPB to only use them? simply appalling & I wish I hadn;t upgraded now, even though I have paid for the right to do so & the right to use the new features, the removal of the abve instead of allowing Admin to simply toggle these features etc on their own boards is a step back in time for this software & that is unfortunate

Ever heard of don't fix what isn't broke? just appalling






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Posted

Thanks very much for this, at least with this they can still use Photobucket. just can't believe that they would completely remove features rather than allowing us to enable / disable them. we pay for support licences so we can continually benefit from bugfixes & updates yet they remove some key features & then expect modders to go out of their way to recreate what we already had & therefore force us into paying extra for those same features which were originally there.

As I originally said, stepping backwards is not a good thing for software developers but thanks for the link, at least it gives me what IPB took away

The part I find ridiculous about this is someone saying it's about external images & security?

um... well we still link externally to our Sigs which are hosted with PB (Which better never change) & we allow people to insert links using bbcode on the forums so what difference does it really make to remove this option in the first place?

Haku2 likes this

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Posted

What else amazes me is that I also own a Gallery License yet why is there no option to allow members to use a photo from the galleries as their profile pic? would have expected these all to interlink?

If we can't have an Avatar Gallery anymore then why can't I create my own Avatar Gallery in the gallery software & allow members to use these??

Haku2 and Ikadon like this

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Posted



mmm, I never wanted this and I've seen plenty of other posts by forum owners here who want an avatar for the forums and a personal photo for a member's profile. One reason for having both is that you can prevent search engines from accessing profiles. This then stops a member's photo ending up on Google ( as my personal photo in these forums here does). Their avatar however does which is fine.

Re avatars / photos cluttering your server. I don't think that this is an issue. When a member changes their image the old one is removed. Deleted members photos can be removed by running a maintenance task in the ACP.

Until some of the 3.2 downgrades are resolved I'm sticking with 3.1.4

3DKiwi

Avatars and Photos were merged because people wanted one image to show everywhere.

AlexJ and Haku2 like this

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Posted

I also know quite some forums (all of them are using VB though) which only allow the use of gallery avatars to prevent user avatars from ruin their design (you know those Windows paint avatars, wiggling breasts etc). I really wonder if this feature was used so rarely to justify its removal. But what do I know. ;)

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Posted

Well looks like IPB have lost a customer

I sent a reply to my original ticket asking why no survey etc went out to members & why these were removed only to receive this from a Jason Hannah

What makes you think you're not part of the few?

It appears even support can't be bothered giving people answers so I am through paying for a product that the company refuse to assist or acknowledge their mistakes

I consider this response as down right rude & arrogant & the fact that every post I have made re this has gone unanswered by the mods or developers, obviously interested in only answering questions from their regulars rather than the select few who very rarely visit these forums says it all



gizmodo, insectdude and Haku2 like this

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Posted

[quote name='WraithWatcher' timestamp='1313310771' post='2153503']
Well looks like IPB have lost a customer

I sent a reply to my original ticket asking why no survey etc went out to members & why these were removed only to receive this from a Jason Hannah



It appears even support can't be bothered giving people answers so I am through paying for a product that the company refuse to assist or acknowledge their mistakes

I consider this response as down right rude & arrogant & the fact that every post I have made re this has gone unanswered by the mods or developers, obviously interested in only answering questions from their regulars rather than the select few who very rarely visit these forums says it all

Jason Hannah? He's been nothing but helpful to me.

What other features do you consider "downgrades"? If you allow no more than one tag per topic, how is it not a "description"? RPGF Nowe gave you a fix for the avatars.


XenForo doesn't have remote avatars or topic descriptions, and vBulletin will have you running back here in no time.

I am about to walk to the competition

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Posted

yes but my ticket was why the Avatar Gallery was removed & why the Topic descriptions were removed, my members used these features all the time & to only receive the above reply after requesting an explanation is just outright disgraceful service

I have been running IPB for over 6 years & you would think paying renewal support fees every 6 months over that time for Ip Board Gallery & Blog plus the original purchase prices for each would warrant a better standard of service & reply

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Posted

Just my 2 cents, don't mean to disrespect IPS but this is a unilateral decision that effected a lot of communities, one that you must accept if you want to keep your board up to date.

I feel that removing members avatars was the single biggest mistake with 3.2.x. There was no real consultation on this. Telling customers that the feature is simply being removed isn't proper consultation. My members love their avatars, have loved making avatars up for each other. They are their identity. IPS should really have switched to using avatars next to comments and status updates, not photos. A profile photo is exactly that, a profile photo, there is no need for it to be used everywhere. That's what an avatar is supposed to be for! Lots of members choose an avatar and not a profile image, therefore you end up with lots of empty photo images all over your website.

Yes you can keep your avatars but they become your profile photo? That's just not right.

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Posted

[quote name='The Old Man' timestamp='1313317123' post='2153535']
Just my 2 cents, don't mean to disrespect IPS but this is a unilateral decision that effected a lot of communities, one that you must accept if you want to keep your board up to date.

I feel that removing members avatars was the single biggest mistake with 3.2.x. There was no real consultation on this. Telling customers that the feature is simply being removed isn't proper consultation. My members love their avatars, have loved making avatars up for each other. They are their identity. IPS should really have switched to using avatars next to comments and status updates, not photos. A profile photo is exactly that, a profile photo, there is no need for it to be used everywhere. That's what an avatar is supposed to be for! Lots of members choose an avatar and not a profile image, therefore you end up with lots of empty photo images all over your website.

Yes you can keep your avatars but they become your profile photo? That's just not right.



+1000000

totally agree with you on this

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Posted

That's pretty rude of Jason to type that. :o

[quote name='The Old Man' timestamp='1313317123' post='2153535']
Just my 2 cents, don't mean to disrespect IPS but this is a unilateral decision that effected a lot of communities, one that you must accept if you want to keep your board up to date.

I feel that removing members avatars was the single biggest mistake with 3.2.x. There was no real consultation on this. Telling customers that the feature is simply being removed isn't proper consultation. My members love their avatars, have loved making avatars up for each other. They are their identity. IPS should really have switched to using avatars next to comments and status updates, not photos. A profile photo is exactly that, a profile photo, there is no need for it to be used everywhere. That's what an avatar is supposed to be for! Lots of members choose an avatar and not a profile image, therefore you end up with lots of empty photo images all over your website.

Yes you can keep your avatars but they become your profile photo? That's just not right.

I couldn't agree more with this. I won't upgrade until they change it back.

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Posted

I fully support the removal of remote avatars. They break and often load badly. Then you get image hosts who become hacked and it fills your forum with some dumb message they left till it's fixed. Signature upload would be nice.

Gravatar, Twitter, etc are a far easier and modern ways of handling remote avatars anyway.

mojeda and GreenLinks like this

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Posted

[quote name='Jυra' timestamp='1313352611' post='2153904']
I fully support the removal of remote avatars. They break and often load badly. Then you get image hosts who become hacked and it fills your forum with some dumb message they left till it's fixed. Signature upload would be nice.

Gravatar, Twitter, etc are a far easier and modern ways of handling remote avatars anyway.


Just because you don't make use of a feature doesn't mean it should it be removed. If you don't want members to use remote avatars on your board, then simply disabling the feature should suffice. Not every board owner is going to like every feature and that's why there are on/off toggles.

In regards to what you said about remote avatars breaking and loading badly, I've never seen that happen on any of the boards I've ever visited in my life. And as far as I know, ImageShack and PhotoBucket have never been hacked. If any of them have ever been hacked, it must have been a rare occurrence. However, people can use avatars with dumb messages regardless whether they are hosted remotely or not. In either case, you can easily remove their avatar as a super moderator or administrator. Have you personally even ever encountered these problems?

One thing that everyone needs to keep in mind is that avatars use up disk space and bandwidth. If you run a board with thousands of members and billions of hits a day, the disk space and bandwidth of the avatars hosted on your own server(s) adds up very quickly. There are boards that disable avatar uploads for this very reason.

Lastly, I would never recommend my members to use Gravatar, Facebook, or Twitter as a place to host their avatar. Aside from being an annoyance and distraction, most people don't use a real-life picture of themselves as their avatar. If avatars were still separated from profile pictures, then maybe you could argue the importance of these websites.

Kind Regards,
Haku

The Old Man and WraithWatcher like this

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Posted

I've never liked having two separate member photos and remote avatars is a terrible idea.

Love it the way it is right now.

Mark likes this

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Posted

Gravatar isn't a social network or a distraction and yes I've had experienced those problems. Real-life picture isn't even anything, as Twitter is an example doesn't have many people who use such images.

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Posted

Yeah, I don't know why this was removed either. If people don't want the ability to allow remote avatars on their forum then it should have just been something to disable in the admin cp.

Personally I don't like having to add extra pressure on my server for people to host their avatars on it, and then if I don't allow it I can't even currently give them the option of just being able to use Gravatar. For them to be able to use Gravatar at the moment, they also have to have the option of uploading their images to the server. I don't want to allow uploads of anything by members to the server. At least if the option to have avatars on photobucket, etc is removed at least allow the only option to be that they are hosted on Gravatar.

I did not know this was an issue in 3.2.1 if I had have known that I would have stuck with 3.1.4.

WraithWatcher likes this

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Posted

[quote name='Jυra' timestamp='1313352611' post='2153904']
I fully support the removal of remote avatars. They break and often load badly. Then you get image hosts who become hacked and it fills your forum with some dumb message they left till it's fixed. Signature upload would be nice.

Gravatar, Twitter, etc are a far easier and modern ways of handling remote avatars anyway.



Over the last 6 years of using IPB I have never encountered this issue & this still doesn't explain why they removed the Avatar Gallery?

The Avatar gallery was maintained by my mods who happily uploaded thes to my server NOT a remote third party server & therefore all those were served by my site & wouldn't break the site yet IPS in all their wisdom decided to get rid of this? Why?

bfarber said himself in another thread that he is used to people using IPB for their Fan sites not like Facebook yet now we have been denied the use of a Gallery specifically catered to our Fandom for those who had no knowledge of how to create an avatar & some members also who weren't the best with technology who happily had the option to simply select an image from our site to use, waas so easy but now IPB have made that whole process a damn lot harder by forcing us into using what they want us to use rather than what was appropriate for our community, talk about removing the rights of an Administrator using their own forum

The Old Man likes this

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Posted

[quote name='The Old Man' timestamp='1313317123' post='2153535']
Just my 2 cents, don't mean to disrespect IPS but this is a unilateral decision that effected a lot of communities, one that you must accept if you want to keep your board up to date.

I feel that removing members avatars was the single biggest mistake with 3.2.x. There was no real consultation on this. Telling customers that the feature is simply being removed isn't proper consultation. My members love their avatars, have loved making avatars up for each other. They are their identity. IPS should really have switched to using avatars next to comments and status updates, not photos. A profile photo is exactly that, a profile photo, there is no need for it to be used everywhere. That's what an avatar is supposed to be for! Lots of members choose an avatar and not a profile image, therefore you end up with lots of empty photo images all over your website.

Yes you can keep your avatars but they become your profile photo? That's just not right.

Can't believe the avatars have gone!! please bring back the gallery feature

WraithWatcher and The Old Man like this

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Posted

[quote name='Jamer' timestamp='1313416113' post='2154316']
Can't believe the avatars have gone!! please bring back the gallery feature



totally agree, the removal of this feature has wiped out 6 years of hard work from my creative members in helping those who aren't Confident in graphics.

our fandom had competitons every year adding 25 avatars to our galleries which members who weren't able to create such items were excited & happy to use, now IPB have stripped these members from being able to do this because they feel everyone should use Gravatar or upload their own, absolute incompetence on their behalf. They obviously don't give a rats arse re these kind of people.

Thanks IPS for ruining my community which has built up over the past 6 years like family, we help each other but IPS obviousy couldn't care less

The Old Man likes this

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Posted

Firstly, I apologize that Jason's response to you was a bit direct. I'm sure he didn't mean to offend you.

Secondly, there are about a dozen other topics about the avatar changes already, and opening a new one isn't going to accomplish anything the other topics haven't already.

And lastly, I hope this doesn't sound rude (because I sincerely do not intend it to be), but we can't honestly be expected to explain every single feature-based decision we ever make in all of history. Every time we add, change or remove something we have people asking us why, and then half the time people don't believe our answers. Nevertheless, I'll answer you.

1) We don't get paid anything by Gravatar. We don't even really promote that feature very much - it has simply been pointed out as an alternative for remote avatar hosting. If you wish to use it, it's there. If not, that's your choice. Like I said, your use or not of Gravatar in no way directly or indirectly affects us, we're not getting kickbacks or anything like that from them (as far as I know, it's a completely free service), etc.

2) We removed avatar galleries when we cleaned up avatars/photos because frankly, very few sites used them. I bet if I registered on 100 random IP.Board 2.3-3.1 sites that I just stumble across in Google right now, 95 (or more) of them will have the default avatars we've shipped since 1.0 and no others. You know, those blocky cartoon ones that really look dated these days. ;)

Every feature we have requires time and effort to maintain and update, so we made the difficult decision to cut some features when we worked on 3.2. Particularly because we were merging avatars and photos (which was extremely confusing to the vast majority of our new customers - "why do I have two images to represent me?"), this is when we removed the gallery feature.


I realize this doesn't resolve your concerns and doesn't help you any given that fact that your site might be one of the very very few that did actually make use of avatar galleries (every single feature that we've ever had of course *someone* is using or has used), but that is the real reason it was removed.

Creaky, Pereira, cmiller and 1 other like this

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Posted

Thank you for your reply bfarber, as I said though, why couldn't we as Admin of our own sites decide whether re enable / disable features instead of have them completely removed

as i mentioned in another discussion, my site relied on the avatar galleries as we have a fan community & have a few people (around 25%) of our members who don't know how to create an avatar & they relied on our galleries which our members who did create them added every year through competitions in order to keep them fresh

now all that hard work by our members has been thrown out the window by IPS's decision to simply remove the feature

I thought maybe I could re add the avatars to my IP Gallery as an Avatar folder & let people use them from their but am disappointed that this option is not available to me as well

currently the way it is set up would mean I would have to host them in Gallery, the member would then have to save a copy of the image from gallery to their computer & then either upload it to my server meaning I then have duplicated images on my server or upload it to Gravatar

some of my community aren't the best when it comes to explaining how to do such things so as stated, IPS has just made my community a lot harder for around 25% of my membership as I have already received requests of help from numerous members asking how they can get their avatar back, now I manually have to go into admin to see if I can set one up for them through their account

thankfully because of the hook mentioned above I now can use Photobucket again but it is disappointing that every time the board goes through future updates i have to wait for other hooks & features to be updated in order to use them because these options are no longer in the default installation

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Posted

[quote name='WraithWatcher' timestamp='1313454423' post='2154695']
Thank you for your reply bfarber, as I said though, why couldn't we as Admin of our own sites decide whether re enable / disable features instead of have them completely removed


......


[quote name='bfarber' timestamp='1313436006' post='2154531']

Every feature we have requires time and effort to maintain and update, so we made the difficult decision to cut some features when we worked on 3.2. Particularly because we were merging avatars and photos (which was extremely confusing to the vast majority of our new customers - "why do I have two images to represent me?"), this is when we removed the gallery feature.


now all that hard work by our members has been thrown out the window by IPS's decision to simply remove the feature

You don't have to upgrade to 3.2 if you don't want to. If you do though, why couldn't your members continue to make these avatars for people who don't know how? IPB isn't doing anything that prevents your members from designing avatars. Last I checked, there was never an "avatar designer" built in. When your users do design these avatars for people, could they not just explain how to upload them either directly to the site, or to gravatar? Could you not just have a thread, or help topic full of said avatars for them to download and use both on your site, and wherever they want?

as i mentioned in another discussion, my site relied on the avatar galleries as we have a fan community & have a few people (around 25%) of our members who don't know how to create an avatar & they relied on our galleries which our members who did create them added every year through competitions in order to keep them fresh



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Posted

Current way is also much more user friendly. Much better than having people who are less familiar with forums putting in bbcode or html in with the remote avatar URL and than asking why it doesn't work.

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Posted

Does anyone know if a hook for URL avatars is currently being made or if there will ever be one made? Preferably a free hook.

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