Extension talk:LiquidThreads/Avatar storage

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Myrtone (talkcontribs)

Could it be possible, especially on wikis where login is required to edit, for users to control the visibility of ther avatars. For example, a user could have the option of making their visible only to logged in users, or, especially on wikis where email confirmation to edit, make avatar visible only to email confirmed users. By giving this option, users who otherwise wouldn't want to show thier faces might now feel confortable using Photo IDs as ther avatars.

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Well, first off, no one said anything about requiring a photo ID for an avatar. In fact, most of the designs I use only have photos for Foundation staff (which are already public); I try to include at least one example of an abstract or non-identifying image.

Whether or not to control how avatars are display is something that being discussed. The current plan is to include a mechanism for users to hide all avatars for themselves (but not one for individual users to restrict access to their avatar).

We've discussed an idea of requiring an "opt-in" to view avatars (so that people are not surprised by what could potentially show up there, for instance). In the past, on other sites, I have designed avatar systems where you must be logged in and you must have opted into a "view adult content" in order to see any user-created content. Most wikis have a policy of non-default censorship, however, so that method is unlikely to be implemented (we'll have the opt-out).

Opt out is interesting to us because it gives us statistics about usage. For example, if 70% of users turn avatars off, then the feature clearly isn't considered useful, required, or desired, and we'd likely cut them from the product. However, if the numbers were opposite, the feature might end up being emphasized. We're very data driven in that way.

What you are suggesting (fine-grained permissions) is an interesting idea: each user can provide a series of privacy rules regarding their avatar. It's something I hadn't examined. At first glance it approaches a "facebook" style permissions set (show my Foo to the following types of people...). However, I must say that in practical application I think it's unlikely to gain enough popular support to warrant development time: anyone can create an account in order to see your avatars, making the permission bit pointless.

Outside of Wikimedia Foundation wikis, as an extension to MediaWiki, I don't see a problem with any of those things and would probably enjoy someone hacking support for it into the codebase.

Myrtone (talkcontribs)

Well, first off, no one said anything about requiring a photo ID for an avatar. That wasn't the idea, the idea is to discurage as few users as possible from using Photo ID avatars.

What you are suggesting (fine-grained permissions) is an interesting idea: each user can provide a series of privacy rules regarding their avatar. It's something I hadn't examined. At first glance it approaches a "facebook" style permissions set (show my Foo to the following types of people...).

This permissions set means that you can give certain users the idea they are communicating with real people much as they would in person, without revealing your identity.

However, I must say that in practical application I think it's unlikely to gain enough popular support to warrant development time: anyone can create an account in order to see your avatars, making the permission bit pointless.

First of all, it depends on whether direct account creation is possible and if it is, whether an email address is required upon creation. Some wikis require email confirmation to edit pages and there users should be able to restrict avatar visiblity to emailconfirmed users.

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hrm. That's an interesting perspective. Let me see if I understand your point (yay, active listening):

Your goal is to encourage photo IDs, and believe that allowing restrictions on viewing the photo will mean that people will feel safer about using a photo ID?

The entire point of including avatars is to encourage people to think that they communicating with "real people" and not "wikipedia".

My comment about it "not gaining popular support" was about it being on Wikimedia Foundation wikis. Let me have a think on it; it may be worth including in the design.

Myrtone (talkcontribs)

Your goal is to encourage photo IDs, and believe that allowing restrictions on viewing the photo will mean that people will feel safer about using a photo ID?

You put it almost as well as I do. What I am saying is that if users avatars are publicly viewabse (to anyone on the web), so many will be dicouraged from using them.

Emufarmers (talkcontribs)

It seems like this would only provide an illusion of privacy. If somebody isn't comfortable with his picture being seen by everybody, we shouldn't try to convince him that it's somehow different to show it to an effectively unrestricted subset of everybody (which emailconfirmed is). The only places I could see this being useful are wikis where account creation is truly limited (but those tend to be the ones that require real names or only have two editors).

Myrtone (talkcontribs)

If someone is not willing to contribute to a given wiki, they are less likely to create an account and even less likely to specify a valid email address, and if they restrict the avatar visibility to those who are both autocomfirmed and email comfirmed it would certainly give more privacy.

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